Toshiba Tecra Dynabook A40 Review

Updated: Jul 31

By Henry T. Casey Review Source




Offering performance, speed, and style, the Tecra A40 from Dynabook is perfect for making any place a productive workspace. It boasts a durable new color wrapped in Matte-Black and its thin and lightweight. And because it is backed by Dynabook’s proven durability and reliability, the Tecra A40 is the right laptop to work anywhere.


Design


The brushed finish on the Tecra A40's matte-black lid and deck gives it a more stylish feel than you get from the average plastic notebook, and allow me to forgive the Tecra's cheap-looking glossy edges.This is also one of the rare notebooks with a removable battery, a feature we're always pleased to find.

Measuring 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.94 inches, the Tecra A40 is about as thick as other business laptops.


Ports and Webcam


With the Tecra A40's HD and old-school video outputs, hard-line Internet jack and optical drive, this notebook will have an easy time working with the hardware in just about any office.


Toshiba placed a USB 3.0 port, SD memory reader, DVD SuperMulti Drive, security lock slot and headphone jack on the Tecra A40's left side. HDMI, Ethernet and VGA ports sit next to two USB 3.0 ports on the notebook's right side.


The Tecra A40's 2.0 megapixel webcam did a good job reproducing the red Purch wall and my red-and-blue shirt, but the image was noisy.


Durability and Security


Most business notebooks are supposed to survive harsh conditions, but Toshiba has done little to assuage those concerns with the Tecra A40. Unlike the ThinkPad T460s and Latitude E5470, the Tecra A40 was not tested against the MIL-SPEC standards for durability that military equipment is built to survive. Those tests include performance at extremely high temperatures and during heavy rainfall.

Toshiba claims the Tecra A40's spill-resistant keyboard delays water from reaching the laptop's circuitry. Specifically, Toshiba told us that users "should have enough time to the save their work and shut down the machine and begin draining the liquid from the unit" to avoid damage.


Keyboard, Touchpad and Touchpoint


We're not sure why, but Toshiba continues to ship notebooks with keys that are too small. The Tecra A40's backlit keycaps measured 10mm, as opposed to 13mm on the ThinkPad T460s. On the typing test, I clacked my way to 66 words per minute with 96 percent accuracy, which is below my 80 wpm, 99 percent average. This is despite the layout having a decent 1.6 millimeters of travel (1.5 to 2 is preferred).


Display

The Tecra A40's 14-inch, 1366 x 768 display is a major downer, as it isn't as colorful or bright as those on competing business systems. When I watched the Ghostbusters trailer on this laptop, the screen rendered ghosts with flat blues and greens, while the red glow of a proton pack appeared slightly pink. This display clearly illuminated fine details, such as the texture of Melissa McCarthy's sweater and Leslie Jones' small "Patty" necklace.


Performance


Armed with a Core i5-6500U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive, the Tecra A40 provides solid performance for multitasking and productivity. The system stayed speedy and responsive as I split my screen between a streaming 1080p video and a dozen Chrome tabs, including a Google Doc, TweetDeck and Spotify.

The Tecra A40 notched a score of 5,846 on the Geekbench 3 overall performance test. That's below the thin-and-light notebook average (6,271) and the Core i5-powered Dell Latitude E5470 (9,760) and ThinkPad T460s (6,796), which have speedy SSD storage. The AMD Pro A8-powered EliteBook 745 G3 (5,494) earned a slightly worse score.

The notebook's 7,200 rpm hard drive copied 4.97GB of files in 3 minutes, for a speed of 27.9 MBps. That's slower than the storage in the average thin-and-light notebook (115.1 MBps) and the SSD drives in the Latitude E5470, ThinkPad T460s and EliteBook 745 (all above 120 MBps).