Toshiba Tecra M2V-S310
At a Glance
The 4.7-pound Toshiba Tecra M2V-S310 comes with a 4200-rpm 40GB primary hard drive, but it also has an expansion bay capable of holding a hard drive with twice that capacity. A removable combination DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive comes standard in the bay, but you can swap in a hard drive, a multiformat DVD writer ($199), or a second battery (also purchased separately) if you wish. The impressive, though pricey, roster of hard drive options includes a 7200-rpm 60GB unit ($449), a 5400-rpm 40GB unit ($239 extra), and a 5400-rpm 80GB hard drive ($399 extra). When it occupies the expansion bay, the additional drive can function as a secondary unit or as your primary hard drive.
You may not need another battery: The M2V-310's standard four-cell unit lasted 4 hours on one charge in our tests. But if you do decide to bulk up, replacing the four-cell with an extended-life twelve-cell battery and packing a second twelve-cell in the modular bay will net you over 11 hours, according to Toshiba (we did not test this). Of course, that adds $338 to the purchase price ($169 for each battery) and increases the hassle for you. Removing one rear-attached battery so you can swap in another isn't easy. In fact, it requires three hands--two to slide twin bottom releases simultaneously, and a third to tug the battery--or some creative propping open of one release with a screwdriver.
The $1449 M2V-S310's built-in charms are a bit more limited. A fairly basic corporate notebook with 14.1-inch screen, the M2V-S310 comes with 802.11g Wi-Fi (with an on/off switch), but no TV-out or FireWire port. Though this isn't mentioned on the compatibility list at Toshiba's Web site, the M2V-310 accepts the Toshiba Advanced Port Replicator III, a $199, 2.3-pound port replicator that attaches to the bottom of the notebook and adds FireWire, parallel, serial, and PS/2 ports; gigabit ethernet; and two more USB 2.0 ports (for a total of four).
The touchpad-equipped keyboard has a presentation launch button for switching to an external monitor at a set resolution, but the built-in stereo speakers don't emit much sound; you'll need a set of external speakers to wow your audience properly.
Equipped with a 1.5-GHz/600-MHz Pentium M processor, the M2V-310 is fast. Despite its somewhat skimpy standard 256MB of RAM, it turned in a PC WorldBench 4 score of 119. An empty memory slot, located in an easily accessible bottom compartment, is available for upgrades. The notebook's primary memory slot, which holds the 256MB module, is accessible as well, though with a bit more effort than is required to reach other slots in this location: You have to remove the battery, a top bezel, several screws, and finally, a metal brace inside.
The Tecra M2V-310 is good for business users who need a fast, lightweight notebook with good battery life and generous storage expansion options.