What an exciting week it’s been! As you may have noticed, I hinted to a purchase in my last post about a new Tablet PC. I bought my first laptop computer this week, and decided that my first should be one built to last a while. After reading review after review at sites such as CNet, and Newegg, I finally pulled the trigger and clicked, “confirm order”. Mind you I sat there looking at it for about 15 minutes, but I did press it!
I decided to purchase Toshiba’s newer Tablet PCs, the Portege M400. There are quite a few reasons that influenced my purchase. First of all, I needed a laptop that would allow me to be mobile. I had a laptop in the office that I had received as a gift, but the battery simply did not hold a charge, and every replacement battery I purchased died after 2 weeks. That kind of brings the whole mobile thing out of the picture if you need to have the laptop plugged in to work, doesn’t it?
I also wanted a Tablet PC because I felt it would be great to have my clients sign real estate contracts digitally. We’ve been doing it for years at grocery stores, malls, and various other locations. Why not in real estate as well? After Bill Clinton signed the Digital Signature law in 2000, it all became legal.
Lastly, I needed a Tablet PC that was going to be Windows Vista ready. I also wanted it to be able to take advantage of all the unique eye candy that Vista will be able to offer, plus the performance enhancements of having a dual core computer. The Toshiba Portege M400 allows for all of these features to take place. I’m really surprised that it came with a dual core cpu; that just makes the purchase all the more easier.
After making the purchase from Newegg with a final cost of $1610 with shipping, which by the way is my only source for buying computer components, I eagerly awaited its arrival. It came 2 days later as promised, without a scratch. I quickly began to boot up the pc, and marveled at its “new laptop smell”.
Unusual Design and Software Preloading
I began to notice something that quickly bugged me. In my history of building computers, I really enjoyed running a clean system with an efficient system tray (the less icons on the bottom right of your pc was always a good sign for me; computers run more efficiently that way).
The Toshiba Portege M400 comes preloaded with tons of software, albeit some not really necessary, but the system tray looked horrendous. I lucked off, being that I know how to be rid of these pesky processes running in the background. However, for the agent that is looking to just boot up a computer and get going?
Those processes could slow down the performance of the laptop itself, and it may cost money to have their local techie to remove them. It took quite a bit of cleaning but finally, I’ve gotten them down to the bare minimum.
That Pesky DVD Player
The only other thing that really bugs me about the Toshiba Portege M400 is the DVD. The DVD is located on the right side of the laptop, and it sits flush. The only piece of it that is not flush is that actual button to open the DVD player.
If you’ve ever owned a laptop, you know how these DVD/CD trays feel very fragile (I wouldn’t ever put too much pressure on it). Simply having the button protruding from the rest of the laptop is ridiculous. When I have the laptop in Tablet mode, the DVD player sits at the bottom of the orientation of the laptop. This means that if you sit the Tablet in vertical mode resting against your arm while taking notes this button can be EASILY pressed.
I can imagine someone unlucky (let’s hope not me), that will accidentally open the DVD, only to swing the Tablet some direction and accidentally damage the DVD/CD tray. I feel that the button to open the DVD should be flush with the entire laptop, so that any accidental mishaps can be avoided.
My Conclusion So Far
As you can see, these are my first initial impressions of the Toshiba Tablet PC Portege M400. I will continue to use it daily, and learn its pros and cons so that I can deliver a great review very soon, after using it daily in the life of a real estate agent.
Overall, the Portege M400 is a great laptop with fantastic features. There are just some design flaws, and software preloading that keeps this laptop from being perfect for the real estate agent.
Search for the latest prices for the Toshiba Portege M400 over at Pricegrabber.