At first glance, the rather nondescript matt-black design of the Toshiba Tecra R940-1JG looks identical to that of its Toshiba stablemate, the Toshiba Portégé R930. It’s certainly true that both laptops are aimed at business users, and both ship with Windows 7 pre-installed for business user, with Windows 8 included on DVD. However, a closer look reveals a number of important differences.
The Portégé was a lightweight 13.3in Ultrabook laptop designed like the Apple MacBook Air for portability. In contrast, the Tecra R940 is a beefier piece of kit that is more likely to live in the office, although still not desparately heavy at 2kg.
It’s not immediately obvious, but the Toshiba Tecra R940-1JG has a slightly larger 14in screen, packing 1366 x 768 pixels, and its non-gloss coating provides a clear, sharp image for all applications.
The screen could be a little brighter, perhaps, but the viewing angle is still wide enough that you could sit with a colleague and both be able to see the screen quite clearly – not always the case with some laptops.
The speakers are a disappointment, producing a very thin and weak sound, but the Toshiba Tecra R940-1JG is well connected, with a VGA port, combined HDMI/DisplayPort and Intel’s WiDi (wireless display) technology that’s designed to let you connect to a TV or monitor for presentation work.
The trackpad is a little fiddly to use, and a fingerprint scanner is squeezed in between the trackpad’s two mouse buttons. This provides a fingerprint log-in option for business users, but it does mean that the trackpad buttons are annoying small.
Toshiba has also equipped the Toshiba Tecra R940-1JG with an ‘AccuPoint’ pointer that sits right in the middle of the keyboard and is accompanied by an additional pair of buttons on the front edge of the keyboard.
Along with the 14in screen the Toshiba Tecra R940-1JG also includes a DVD drive, which is partly responsible for pushing the weight of the unit up to around 2.0kg.
The Toshiba Tecra R940-1JG does have more than enough power to act as a basic desktop replacement machine. At £750, the R940-1JG is one of the cheapest models in the Tecra range, and comes equipped with an Intel Core i5-3230M running at a healthy 2.6GHz – 3.2GHz with Turboboost – along with 4GB of memory and a 320GB hard drive.
That combination produced a score of 2898 points in the PCMark 7 benchmark. It’s an average score for a disk-based laptop; an SSD drive would easily kick that figure closer to the 4000 mark. However, the Toshiba Tecra R940-1JG still feels fast and responsive and has the horsepower for running Microsoft Office or working on video presentations.
If you don’t mind dropping the screen to 1280 x 720 pixels and using Low detail graphics settings you can even get demanding 3D games such as Batman: Arkham City running at a perfectly playable 30fps.
Battery life is good, providing 5.5 hours of wireless streaming video, so the Toshiba Tecra R940-1JG should hold its own when it’s out of the office.
We’ve seen 14in laptops that weigh around 1.8kg, so the Tecra R940 isn’t the most portable laptop in this category. However, it does provide some of the power and features you need for a desktop replacement machine, while still offering usable battery life for those occasions when you need to leave the office.