Buying a Tecra M4 - Current Questions/Concerns Summary

Discussion in 'Toshiba' started by Techson, Feb 16, 2006.

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  1. Namssorg

    Namssorg Industrial Designer

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    As for the weight, it's obviously going to weigh a little more than a slate tablet- or for that matter, one with a smaller screen. Using a 'person scale' I weighed myself with and without the tablet, and determined that it weighs around 6.6 lbs. (if the scale is accurate enough)

    It's definitely not a tremendous amount of weight, but it depends on your size and how long you are holding it. You're right- I do use it in tablet mode quite often, but usually have it sitting on a desk or resting in my arm with one side in my lap.

    I would reccomend finding a book around your house that is about the same size and weight as the M4 and walking around with it for awhile pretending it's a tablet, and see how it feels to you. It's a simple approach, but it will probably give you a good idea of what to expect.

    As for the viewing angle in tablet mode, the screen does get a little darker at greater angles-- but I would say that it's probably always viewable at usable angles. That is, if you're holding it at an angle where you can't see the screen very well, then it's also going to be difficult to -write- on it at that weird angle. I'm assuming you'll be holding it much like you would a clipboard-- and the screen looks perfect like that. After reading some of the reviews, I had the idea in my head that it would be almost a tunnel-vision type of screen, where I could only see it head-on, but I've never had a problem seeing what's on my screen- unless I laid my head down next to it.

    In my case- I use it quite often in tablet mode when it's sitting on my desk, and found that propping it up slightly with a small book in the back (so it's angled more like a drawing table) really helps visibility, and also makes it easier to sketch or write on. You don't have to hunch over quite as much to see the screen at its best angle. I've actually been using the cheap black plastic stand from one of those desktop one-a-day calendars, layed on its side!
    It would be great if the M4 had some 1" little fold out legs in the back, but it's not hard to find something to prop it on.


    Hope that helps.. The screen seems like something a lot of people are concerned about- (rightly so) but for me at least, the viewing angle isn't something that stands out enough to be annoying. I would not have even paid attention to it had I not first read reviews comparing it to other screens. So unless you're used to working on super-viewable screens, or will be using it at odd angles (somehow) you probably won't have a problem with it. Could it be better? Yes, probably. I dont know if it's the LCD itself or the protective layer that does it, but luckily, the screen can be tilted AND rotated with the hinge if you're having trouble seeing it.




    Oh-- and it ran Half Life 2 beautifully- even the HDR Lost Coast level, I was pretty surprised to be playing that in my lap.
    *EDIT* Holy S***! Quake 4 even runs super smooth!
     
  2. Alex

    Alex Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Namssorg,

    I agree with you and did the exact same thing in terms of usability tests. Luckily, my current Dell Laptop sounds just like the M4 in terms of size/weight because it is 14" and weighs 6.5 lbs so I had done the walk around and it seemed quite fine. I would "write" on it while holding it in my left arm and then balancing it against my mid section and then pause by holding it down at my side and then bringing it back up to "write" again. Seemed quite fine but of course, there's always the little wonder at the back of the brain thinking it would obviously be even easier if it was half the weight.

    Additionally, I'm very glad to hear that you feel the viewing angle is not bad because I had also read about the potential "tunnel vision"-like viewing angles.

    The usability tests, the 14" screen and the fact that I would like something powerful (my only PC) keep me close to the M4. That said, as I still have some time before I get one, I guess I'll keep waiting. My thought though is I might still end up with the M4 eventually as it sounds excellent.

    By the way - you mentioned the leg situation. I would think for sure you would have heard of these due to your extensive research but if not, or if it could help someone else viewing here in the same situation, some people online appear to really like the Lapworks Laptop Legs.

    Thanks

    Alex
     
  3. Daring

    Daring Moderator

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    You owe it to yourself to do the same with a 4.5 lb book with the dimensions of one of the 12" tablets. See if you still feel the same. If you do, go for the M4.
     
  4. Namssorg

    Namssorg Industrial Designer

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    arrow those laptop feet look perfect! Might order some , thanks for the tip!!
     
  5. Alex

    Alex Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Namssorg - Glad to hear they sound good to you - let me know if you get them. Seems like a lot of reviews thought they were excellent.

    Daring - good point. I did that and it did understandably feel better - I'm on the fence on this one but I have to say, that 14" screen sure is a nice to have :). I'm going to wait and see what comes out in the next few months.
     
  6. Alex

    Alex Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Namssorg/others - Quick two questions on the M4

    - As the native res of the M4 is 1400 X 1050, how does 1024 X 768 look? Does it look ok (of course in terms of a 1024 X 768 native screen not vs. the 1400 X 1050 screen) or blurry? I really hope it essentially looks fine as I've always been a 1024 X 768 person and I don't know if I'll like the much smaller icons on the 1400 screen even though it would provide more real estate. Having the option to switch based upon the task at hand would be key to me.

    - Does anyone who's very mobile with their M4 have or know of a good portfolio or bump case they use on the road vs. just carrying it around in a computer bag or without some type of cover? I've read about the Nutshell and also Toshiba's portfolio case but hadn't heard great things about it. If that's all there is, that's ok, just looking to the forum here.

    Please advise

    thanks

    Alex
     
  7. poetdante

    poetdante Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    since the screen is the same size as an r15, which has that resolution, it should look fine.
     
  8. Alex

    Alex Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Dante - I appreciate the comment but I was obviously not clear. Like the R15, my current laptop is not only 1024 X 768 native but is also a 14" screen so if the res looked like that, I would be definitely fine. However, I had read that dialing down a native resolution (especially when it's that big a jump) doesn't look as good so I was just trying to ascertain how that really looked. If it looks like the native res or even close to it, that would be quite fine for my needs.
     
  9. Brian

    Brian Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    You'll lose quality when running in a non-native resolution. The edges of icons will blur a little bit, etc. It's a personal thing, I couldn't work like that though.
     
  10. Namssorg

    Namssorg Industrial Designer

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    Yes, it does get a little blurry when youdrop down that far. However, one thing I do on my desktop LCD is use windows to increase the icon size, as well as my font sizes - everything is easy to see, and I still get the extra real estate. I think you can even turn on an option to make buttons larger.
     
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