After the usual DHL fun and games (fortunately not as much DHL fun and games as Carlo's Moto Z8), I got the lappie just in time for the run of Christmas parties, childrens' Nativity plays etc. so I didn't get very long to play with it, and I had an email halfway through from talkToshiba effectively saying, "don't worry too much as it's now been replaced by the Tecra A9 in Europe". So as others have already gone into depth reviewing the beast I'll cut to the chase, it's a nice bit of kit, well made, very well specced and more than fast enough for 99.9% of the stuff you'll want to do on any laptop. On the minus side, it's no midget and it's got a trackpad rather than a "nipple mouse" - both personal preferences rather than damning indictments. One final minor niggle is that some of the keys had marked the screen slightly, but given this was a hard worked, used, and abused review machine I'm not sure if this would be entirely representative.
Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology featuring Intel Core.2 Duo Processor T7200 - Genuine Windows XP Professional - 100 GB Hard Disk Drive - 1,024 MB DDR2 RAM (533 MHz) - 15.4 WXGA TFT display - DVD Super Multi (Double Layer) drive
So, picking the good bits out of that, pretty much everything, the processor's plenty quick enough, XP Pro is a saner choice than Vista for anyone who has to run Windows, I'd personally add a bit more ram, and I'm still not entirely convinced about widescreen displays; they're great for watching films, but as a developer I'd be happy to sacrifice width in favour of height, the human eye/brain can't read long lines of text anyway, why do you think newspapers use multiple narrow columns?
Along with XP, Toshiba bundled some interesting utils, one being a utility which detects any movement or vibration and moves the hard disk head to a safe position to prevent any damage. Perhaps this is overly sensitive, because it appeared to be in constant usage when I used the laptop on the train. Also bundled was Toshiba's Bluetooth stack, I gave this a once over and easily got it to use my phone's 3G connection for internet connectivity (which promptly cost me a couple of quid courtesy of Windows Update...), one thing I didn't check was whether the Toshiba stack had a headset Bluetooth profile, this would be a useful improvement over the standard Microsoft stack for things like VOIP.
After a few hours play I was quite impressed, and also rather bemused by just how sparse a bare-bones Windows install is for a developer, where's C++/Python/Perl, webserver, editor, ssh client? etc. etc. It's not Toshiba's fault, but highlights how badly the out-of-the-box Windows experience fits the needs of one particular market segment. To attempt to remedy the situation, I spent 30 minutes installing Ubuntu 7.10 with the only obvious problem being a lack of audio, this fix should resolve that, but I didn't get around to trying it. The 30 minutes installing Ubuntu was also significantly quicker than the hours spent downloading Windows security fixes...
So, to wrap up, would I buy one? No, but I would recommend one for someone who didn't mind the size. Personally, I'm looking more for Eee PC sized (or perhaps a little bigger and better), something small would be a much better fit for my usage patterns; I wonder if I can get talkToshiba to lend me an R500 at some point?