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Someone bought me this laptop about four years ago. At the time it was the first laptop I'd ever owned and I thought it was magnificent - but now, four years later, I badly want to get rid of it, and get another. I would not recommend this laptop to anyone but the most basic user.
To start with the positive notes, though: it's a sturdy machine, looks good, and the keyboard is very easy to use and is well proportioned in comparison to the rest of the laptop. The screen's nice and wide and the images are clear.
And so to the negatives: it's veeery slow when trying to perform more than three or four functions at once. For example, when browsing the net, if I have more than four tabs open at once the processor simply cannot handle it. (The processor I've got is an Intel Celeron, which is pretty ancient by today's standards). Plus if you're wanting to play modern games, you've pretty much got no chance. I've got the latest Football Manager which, despite not being high on graphics, the laptop still struggles with. Struggles admirably, I must say, and the game's still playable, but still - it struggles. Also the adaptor seems a bit flimsy to me, and has already needed to be replaced four times. And, probably the biggest negative, is the battery life, which is terrible - an hour at most if you're very lucky and not doing much on the laptop.
So, like I say, it's a good enough laptop if all you're wanting to do is use a word processor or a spreadsheet or something, and if you can get it cheap or second-hand (which you probably can) then it's worth it because, like I say, it's sturdy and reliable. But for anyone wanting to do anything else, I'd recommend you set your sights a bit higher than this.
In 2006, I found myself without my desktop computer, and decided I needed a new computer for my day to day needs, and being a Toshiba fan, choose this M50-216 14" laptop. In the job I was in at the time, Its portability would prove a very useful tool, and was worked long and hard for 3 years. Nowadays, It doesn't get the use that frequently, but still provides a good, reliable, portable connection the interweb-a-net. Although it has now been superseded by a newer model, I thought I would share my thoughts on this great bit of kit which has helped me out countlessly over the years.
--It's a load of Tosh!--
It funny that, in my life I seem to stumble upon Toshiba products at a regular rate. Ever since I had a Toshiba portable cassette player when I was 14, (It had auto-reverse!), this particular brand have been making appearances since. I have never had a below-par product from Toshiba, and so consider them to be a brand I trust, so I wasn't worried buying a laptop from them.
Toshiba are multinational Japanese electronics manufacturer, including computer systems and accessories, infrastructure and other electrical consumer products. They were created in 1939, after two companies (A telegraph manufacturer and an electric light manufacturer merged to create the Tokyo Shibaura Denki. This company was soon nicknamed Toshiba ( Tokyo Shibaura Denki), and the company formally adopted the moniker in 1978. They are head-quartered in Tokyo, Japan, with a recent turnover of 68,793.6 million USD in 2010 fiscal year. This resulted in a 212.8 million USD net loss however, and the company are exploring ways of further success, one being a possible merger with Fujitsu.
Toshiba were the first to pioneer technologies such as the transistor television and microwave oven, the color video phone, the MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) system and the laptop personal computer. They also famously developed the short-lived and ill-fated HD DVD, which ceased production in early 2008, The Blu-Ray format of Sony being the favoured choice by the many different film studios around the world as the future format of home viewing.
--Cost and Packaging--
I brought my laptop in May of 2006, just as the Intel Core Duo was emerging. I was not aware of this until week after buying my computer (a bit on naivety on my part), and so was a little disappointed to have a original Centrino set-up with the Pentium M . I went for a just above average specification, which cost me £580, which was on my budget level at the time. Although the M50-216 has been discontinued, you could pick it up for under £300 at second-hand stores and similar outlets. The required spare parts are readily available however, so no worries about parts that may have broken or worn out, but they can work out rather expensive considering the age of this machine.
The packaging is the standard, simple folding-open cardboard box affair. Blocks of polystyrene protect the the components adequately, and are easy to dispose of, the cardboard being fully recyclable.
--Looks and Durability--
With a sleek black, silver and grey colour scheme, we are on familiar ground here with the typical look of the laptop. It has a grey easy-wipe top panel with the Toshiba logo proudly placed in silver in the centre, and has black covering on all other outside surfaces. It looks quite neat and tidy without grabbing your attention massively. On the right of the front edge there are is a lovely old-skool style manual volume control wheel, mic and headphone jacks. On the left are the four operation LED's and the Wireless on/off switch. On the right side are the optical disk drive and two nicely placed USB ports, on the left side are many other ports including the external monitor and i.link sockets. On the reverse is the power input jack, internal modem and LAN ports plus two more USB ports, the latter being awkwardly placed I feel, a little too close to the LAN port and often find myself trying blindly to plug a USB into the wrong socket. Further expansion and access panels are on the base, with the battery held in by two sliding latches. These feel a little loose on occasion, but have never failed with the battery dropping out unexpectedly. Overall the outside appearance is functional, pleasant, but not anything to get excited about.
On the inside, the dark grey coloured keys are all laid out in a easy to use way, clearly marked and without having either that spongy or clicky feel that some keyboards can have. The surround is silver, matching the generously sized touch pad place and switches just off centre at the front. The function keys may feel a little small to some people, the hash key maybe a little large, intruding slightly with the enter key if you are a quick typist. Mirroring this is the Tab key, which is too small and thus creates the same problem with the Caps Lock key.
The screen has a border around it, but is not unsightly, and the screen area is clear and bright, easy to clean of dust, and only marginally impaired with high and low viewing angles. One thing I do like a lot is the speaker however. Placed underneath the screen, the twin cones are behind a very retro silver mesh, looking chunky and something which dominates the design and makes it look unique.
Most consumer laptops are not designed to be dropped a lot, and this is no exception, but the screen closes securely, the hinges feel tight and the whole build is solid for a delicate piece of kit. Wear and tear has taking its toll a bit over the years, but only superficially. There is a little wear to the silver surfaces, especially where the screen closes and my wrist have been resting, and a few scrapes on the corners but nothing heavy. The only fault that has developed is a small display problem, which I suspected is due to the connections in the hinges, a missing column of pixels that appears from time to time. Not the worse thing, but not great from watching movie's or playing games. I believe this is an easy repair though, and at some point will get round to a repair centre.
Although this computer is a little dated with is technogly now, it still performs most tasks well when a limited number of applications are running. I haven't experienced a major system crash or software fault due to it's restrictions, or lost any vital media or data. In recent times, the operation has slowed down, but it has almost a full hard-drive now with 40GB not being a lot. External expension is the way forward for me, and have another drive to take some data off the system. The original RAM was underpowered however, and it was always slow to boot-up with all the additional software, Expanding the memory helped this, but it is not the quickest laptop to get going from scratch.
Installing new and memory hungry software has never been a problem however, and manages and runs programs like Flash, Photoshop and Media Player without any big issues. I primarily use it now for writing and browsing, and so running Word and Chrome this is a walk in the park for its capabilities. Other big positives are the display which is of a high quality, sharp and true with good colour definition, but does sometimes look a little dark when watching DVD's. The battery, although a tad limited with its longevity, is quick to charge with a rather non-bulky charger, and with a very handy and easy to use power management tool included.
Whist the speakers look fantastic, and give a excellent crisp sound, for me the volume level could be better, sometimes needing a little more whilst playing some mp3's that play louder on other systems. This is another minor annoyance however, and the overall performance is very satisfactory. Not the laptop for any hardcore gamers or photographs certainly, but a good accomplice for general needs on the go.
The system came with Windows XP, and with the XP2 pack, still personally my favourite Microsoft OS, and again no problems are to be reported with this. The Wi-Fi receiver is fine, and doesn't break connection often if the signal is strong, but can also sometimes have a surprising range. Integration with USB devices is fast, although this can be delayed if you don't give the system time to completely boot-up fully, with all the background programs like Norton and MSN running. Multi-tasking can slow the system down considerably, but seldom get a system crash or freeze-up.
Technology - Intel CentrinoTM mobile technology including Intel Pentium M 1.73 GHz processor 740, Wireless 2200BG network connection.
Operating system - WindowsXP Home Edition (Upgraded to XP2)
System memory standard - 512 MB DDR2 (Upgraded to 1.49 GB)
maximum expandability - 2,048 MB
Hard disk capacity - 40 GB
Drive rotation - 5,400 rpm
Physical Dimensions Width x 343mm, Depth x 242mm, Height x 29mm (front) / 38mm (back)
Weight - 2.26Kg (With no upgrades)
DVD Super Multi drive - (Double Layer) compatibility - CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R,DVD+R(DL), DVD+RW, DVD-RAM
Maximum speed - Read: 24x CD-ROM, 8x DVD-ROM
Screen Display - 14.0 " Toshiba TruBrite WXGA TFT display
Internal resolution - 1,280 x 768
maximum number of colours - 16.7 million
Max External Video Modes Max Resolution - 2,048 x 1,536
Max Refresh Rate - 100 Hz
Interfaces - 1 × Headphone Jack,1 × External Monitor, 1 × RJ-11, 1 × RJ-45, 1 × TV-out (s-video), 1 × i.LINK® (IEEE 1394), 2 × built-in speaker, 4 × USB 2.0, 1 × mic-in
Wireless Compliance - Wi-FiTM
Network Support - 802.11b/g
Wireless Technology - Wireless LAN (802.11b/g dual-mode integrated network support)
Internal Wired communication - International V.90 modem, V.92 ready
Speed : 56 Kbps data (V.90) and 14.4 Kbps fax, Ethernet LAN, 10/100 Base-TX
Sound system format : 16-bit stereo, MIDI support
speakers - built-in stereo speakers
Pointing Device - Touch Pad, PS/2 Interface
Battery Type - Lithium-ion
Max Life - 2:53 hours
AC adaptor input voltage - Autosensing AC adapter (100/240 V), Output voltage - 15 V, Output current - 5 A
For when I first bought it, it was a good just above-average computer. Now of course, it is a little outdated, but still does all which I require it to do. I'm sure there are many applications and programs out there now which my Toshiba will struggle with, but that doesn't concern me. I was very pleased with the overall aspects of this machine when I purchased it, I think it looks great, particularly on the inside, has a good layout, plenty of ports and good connectivity.
Again it seems, Toshiba haven't let me down, and when I come to replace my laptop, I would suspect its going to be a bang-up-to-date version of an Equium, safe in the knowledge that I would not be disappointed. Unfortunately, I still won't be able to pronounce Equium correctly!
Thanks for Reading. © Novabug
Also posted on Ciao.co.uk