Toshiba Portege 4010
WHAT'S HOT: The Portégé 4010 is a friend to the weary traveler: It weighs only 4.5 pounds, including a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combination drive, so you'll hardly feel it while running down the concourse to your next flight. Built-in 802.11b and Bluetooth network interfaces let you surf the Internet wirelessly and exchange data with other small devices wirelessly back at the office (versions without wireless networking are available for $200 less).
Have a PDA or digital camera with a Secure Digital slot? Then transferring pictures, music, and other data onto the 4010 will be painless thanks to the SD slot above the combo drive. If you need extra battery life or more storage, you're covered there, too: You can swap out the 4010's combo drive for a second battery, or for a second hard drive up to 40GB in size. Finally, the 4010 proves that small doesn't necessarily mean basic and boring. It sounds great; a set of small but powerful stereo speakers jut from the back corners of the keyboard. As well as sounding good, DVD movies looked good on the 12.1-inch screen.
WHAT'S NOT: The Portégé 4010 lacks parallel and serial ports. This is the first 933-MHz Pentium III-M notebook with 256MB of RAM and the Windows XP Professional operating system that we've tested, but the 4010's PC WorldBench 4 score of 82 puts it a little behind other notebooks on the chart. Like an increasing number of vendors, Toshiba doesn't include the USB floppy drive as standard: You'll have to pay an additional $50.
WHAT ELSE: The 4010 is Toshiba's old Portégé 4000 upgraded with a faster processor, but the company was wise not to change anything else about this winning thin-and-light notebook. It's handsome, with a smart silver and black case. The little keyboard suffers from some drawbacks, including half-size Tab and Caps Lock keys, but it's fairly comfortable to type on and features dedicated Page Up, Page Down, and arrow keys, rare treats on a notebook this small. The mouse buttons, stacked crescents made of a comfortable rubbery-feeling material, work fine in conjunction with the stiff eraserhead pointing device. They're flanked by two smaller buttons you can program to launch applications. We liked being able to close a port cover over the network, modem, and monitor connections on the back. You also get two USB 1.1 ports. You can upgrade both storage and memory yourself, though doing the latter requires that you remove three screws on the bottom to reach the slots beneath the keyboard.
The only false design move is the sloped lip on the base, which looks cool but hides the status lights on the front from view when you're working. A thick printed manual also provided in electronic form covers all the 4010's features.
UPSHOT: Looks, cutting-edge features, good keyboard, long battery life, easy-on-the-shoulders weight--the Portégé 4010 has it all for people who travel and demand the best, even if they don't have the most to spend. The $2449 4010 is reasonably priced considering all it offers.
By Carla Thornton