Tablet notebook users fit in a very small and specialized niche of computing needs: they want the ability to be portable, but also the flexibility to compute without having to break out a keyboard and mouse/touchpad. There are pure tablet PC's which have no user input built-in except for a stylus and there are also hybrid units that can transform between standard notebook and tablet mode, like the Toshiba we're looking at today.
The Toshiba Portege M400-S933 (here on referred to as the M400) is a new hybrid tablet notebook based on Intel's Centrino Solo platform. Using the Core Solo T1300 (1.66GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 667MHz FSB), Intel's 3945ABG wireless card, and the 915GM chipset, the M400 brings the latest in single-core performance and battery life. The features continue with 512MB DDR2 RAM, a spacious 80GB 5400RPM SATA hard drive, 5-in-1 card reader, and integrated CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive. Your tablet experience will be conducted using a 12" XGA screen, powered by Intel's GMA950 integrated graphics. In the past users have had to compromise the hardware in their tablet to get a reasonably small machine, but Intel's latest technology allows for all the features of a regular notebook with the flexibility of a tablet.
If the tablet experience is for you, then Toshiba's Portege M400 series is worth a long, hard look. The build quality of this machine is outstanding and Toshiba has an extremely comprehensive software package to customize the tablet to your every desire. Battery life is a little weak, but keeping the chassis reasonably light means sacrificing a little on battery capacity; the digitizer that allows the tablet interface also draws some extra power. The system's performance is more than adequate for any normal usage and the $1899 price tag is a steal for the features & quality oozing out of the Portege M400-S933.Design
Most people looking at a 12" notebook want something considered "ultraportable," but the dual-nature of this machine makes it substantially bulkier than your standard ultraportable. Weighing in at a hefty 4.5lbs and measuring 11.6" x 9.8" x 1.53", the 12" M400 has the size and feel of a 14-15" notebook without the screen real estate. If you're in need of a tablet that doesn't sacrifice traditional computing (i.e. via a keyboard & touchpad), the M400's size can be easily overlooked.
Case and Design
Toshiba went with a fairly conventional design, and a well built one at that. Dressed mostly in grey with some black accents and black LCD bezel, the M400 has a simple yet modern look.
The only LED indicators are located on the front bezel of the machine, and with the way the LCD sits slightly back from the front edge you can view the LEDs with the notebook opened or closed. From left to right you have AC Power, Power Indicator, Battery 1 status, Battery 2 status, Hard Drive Activity, and Wireless indicator.