capsule review

Toshiba Tecra A8-S8314

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Tecra A8-S8314 Notebook

    PCWorld Rating

    This budget business laptop includes dual pointing devices and a decent design, though the keyboard is uncomfortable.

A frustrating keyboard mars the Toshiba Tecra A8-S8314, a budget business laptop with an otherwise good design.

Dubbed "the hallmark of quality" on Toshiba's Web site, this 6.3-pound unit is indeed a good performer and competitively priced. Our $1350 (as of 11/6/06) review unit included a 1.83-GHz Core Duo T2400 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 15.4-inch wide-aspect screen, a 100GB hard drive, a double-layer DVD burner, an SD Card reader, a FireWire port, three USB ports, integrated video memory, a fingerprint reader, and Microsoft Works 8.5.

The Tecra's WorldBench 5 score of 91 outpaced a Gateway 255-E with a 2-GHz Core Duo T2500 processor that scored only 90. The Tecra's battery lasted 3 minutes shy of 4 hours, well above average.

Toshiba is one of the few major players left that offer notebooks with two pointing devices, a nice extra for companies that want to give their mobile employees a choice. This notebook's pointing stick worked well. However, the very top edge of the already small touchpad is unresponsive to finger swipes, which makes the unit hard to use without looking down at your hand.

The keyboard is poorly thought out as well, and is more cramped on the left side than on the right. When reaching for the undersize Tab key or the keys at the lower left of the keyboard, I often bumbled into a nearby panel of shortcut buttons, and again had to look down and reposition my hand.

This misstep is unusual for Toshiba, and it would be a shame if the company dropped out of the dual-pointing-device market altogether. Here's hoping that the next iteration of this model gets the keyboard it deserves.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This budget business laptop includes dual pointing devices and a decent design, though the keyboard is uncomfortable.

    Pros

    • Includes a fingerprint reader

    Cons

    • Keyboard feels cramped
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