capsule review

Toshiba Portege M100

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Portege M100 Notebook

Toshiba Portege M100
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

The Portege M100 is the Miata of ultraportable notebooks: sleek, fast, and equipped with features you'll enjoy showing off. Small and light enough to carry all day, the M100 weighs only 5.3 pounds including its removable DVD/CD-RW combination drive. The front of the black-and-silver unit slopes sportily and features a handy Wi-Fi switch, so you can conserve battery life when you don't need to be online. The M100 goes fairly far on one charge: It lasted 4.1 hours in our battery tests. A secondary battery in the modular bay will up the total battery life to 8.6 hours, according to the vendor. A strong performer, the M100 earned a PC WorldBench 4 score of 115, on a par with the 116 mark of Dell's Latitude X300, which has a 1.2-GHz/600-MHz Pentium M, too (the X300 had 640MB of RAM, however, while the M100 pulled off its score with just 256MB).

Though it has an unexceptional 12.1-inch screen, the M100 shines in other areas; for example, it offers surprisingly powerful stereo speakers with a volume wheel. The keyboard, while small, is not bad for a small notebook. Instead of having a touchpad, the M100 uses an eraserhead pointer, so if that's not your preferred pointing device, you may want to take an external mouse along.

The M100 allows tinkering under the hood, too. The 40GB hard drive is user-removable, fairly rare among light notebooks, and the modular bay lets you double your storage with an additional 40GB hard drive. You'll have to peel back the keyboard to upgrade the memory, but it's a simple matter to pop off a panel and remove two screws. An optional docking station adds desktop convenience. You get a near-complete set of notebook connections plus an SD card slot and an extra PC Card slot. All that's missing are TV-out and parallel ports. The only design weakness is the battery's side release, which felt a bit fragile. An excellent Acrobat manual on the hard drive and supplementary print materials explain everything.

The Portege M100 offers just about everything you need to get work done in comfort while on the go.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Portege M100 Notebook

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