Toshiba M40

The M40 boasts an impressive array of the latest notebook technologies, especially for those with a multimedia bent, although it could do with running a little quieter and cooler.

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The M40 essentially replaces the older Satellite M30, and is aimed at those wanting a multimedia notebook. That means it's not the most portable, or the lightest, but it is decked out with just about every bell and whistle you could hope for in a modern system -- save for Windows XP Media Center, and presumably Toshiba would prefer you purchased a Qosmio if that's your particular ambition. The display is an extremely sharp 15.4 inch WXGA panel. That's 1280x800 for those who hate acronyms. Those who want more than just passable audio out of their notebook will appreciate the Harman Kardon speakers that sit just below the display.

We've always had a soft spot for Toshiba's notebook keyboards, which have plenty of responsiveness and robustness. The M40 uses a glide pad rather than a trackpoint, which is more or less a matter of personal preference. With three USB 2.0 ports, you could always sacrifice one to a mouse, which would suit a notebook of this size which is more likely to spend time on a desktop than a lap. It's also got integrated Firewire, a five-in-one media card reader, and even an integrated IR port. Does anyone out there still use IR for notebook connectivity? Presumably Toshiba think so.

The unit we tested with was the Satellite M40/038009 (don't try to say that while drunk), which is a Sonoma-based system that comes with a Pentium-M 740 processor running at 1.73GHz, with 2MB of L2 cache, and 512MB of inbuilt memory. The 15.4 inch display is WXGA capable, and combined with a 128MB PCI Express nVidia GeForce Go 6600, it should be well capable of any multimedia task you care to throw at it. It wears a Centrino badge, and runs on 802.11b/g networks, with a simple on/off switch on the very front of the notebook itself. It's also Bluetooth capable -- essentially, if you can't connect to this notebook, you're really not trying. Add to that a dual layer multi-format DVD burner, and the M40 certainly presents itself as an attractive proposition on paper. According to Toshiba's Web site, they also offer a 1.86GHz unit, with a similarly confusing nomenclature -- it's the Satellite M40/037009.

The M40's other clever bit of hardware trickery sits below the unit's large blue power button (which itself glows a comforting orange when suspended), and that's the express media player. By holding the express media button down instead of the power button, you'll bypass the Windows XP Pro SP2 install, and instead run a dedicated DVD/CD media player quickly and efficiently. It's a nice step if you just want a quick bit of DVD playback -- on a plane, for example -- although it's worth bearing in mind that as it's almost entirely optical-disc based, you'll burn a fair bit of power this way.

When we first began using the M40, it felt a little sluggish to us, so we reverted to our common practice for review notebooks, and reinstalled the OS -- often the rigours of going through multiple publications can leave a notebook a touch on the stressed side. Here we noted one quirk of the M40's express media player. Because it's essentially a separate, dual booting operating system, you've got to install it before running the Windows XP reinstall CD, or not at all.

After an OS reinstall it was much happier, although we did hit a few hard drive caching bottlenecks. Where we still noticed noise was from the integrated dual layer burner. It's more than a little noisy when reading and writing, especially if you need to do so with the M40 on a surface that isn't stable, such as your lap.

As with many modern larger notebooks, the M40 does generate a reasonable amount of heat when it's been running for some time. To its credit, the M40's one of the first notebooks we've seen with a specific warning on the base indicating that it might be a bad idea to leave it running on bare skin. If nothing else, it'll keep you warm on winter nights.

At AU$3199 (AU$3699 for the M40/037009, which doubles the memory and expands the hard drive), the M40 isn't the cheapest notebook around, but at this level of cutting edge technology, that's to be expected. It's more a demonstration of how notebook prices at the high end aren't particularly dropping in real terms -- it's just that you get an awful lot more for your money with a modern high-end unit.

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Stugats posted a review   

The Good:-The 6600 video card.
-No problems as of yet (2 years)
-great machine all around

The Bad:-DVD drive spinup can be a bit loud, but should die down once loaded.
-case is a bit flimsy. I wouldnt try to drop it. heh.

My gf has this. Very nice piece of hardware. Laptops are known for their lack of 'gamer' ability, but the Nvidia 6600 GO on this thing is very nice. I play WoW on it all the time. If you'r a gamer, consider upgrading with another stick of 512 ram, and you're good to go. Not sure about the newest games tho, since the 6600 series is a bit dated. Still, a lot better than what i've seen from other notebooks.


boyis92 posted a review   

The Good:big screen

The Bad:loud drive my cpu fan died and charger died

this computer is a waste of money


vt47 posted a review   

Wonderful laptop


md_bala posted a review   

super laptop to work in all place


"very resilient laptop"

prabhkeerat posted a review   

The Good:its recovered from quite a few possible crashes for me.

the sound quality.. the speakers sound as good as any good pair of headphones.

Its fast.

The Bad:The recovery disk.... u gotta wipe the hard disk to recover ur windows.

the hard disk is also hard to partition.. not very versatile.

Its a gr8 laptop, n it does keep u warm on winter nights..LOL ;-) . The only hitch I found was the all in one recovery disk that means you have to wipe ur hard disk b4 it lets you repair windows.. It handles all my graphics needs very well, n the multimedia capability is commendable.


"Wonderful gorgeous laptop! :-)"

Anonymous posted a review   

The Good:Great sound, stunning display

The Bad:Addictive

One of the best screens around (I'd say the best), really bright, clear and sharp; Stunning sound; sleek & nice design; durable. I found it excellent for graphics work, web design, entertainment, work and everything else really :-) A pleasure to use every time! You can never get bored with this laptop! I'd say 10/10 and above! :-)


"great laptop"

Anonymous posted a review   


"This laptop is the best pc i've ever have"

Luis posted a review   

The Good:it is extremely simple to use and it have all that i need. In my modest opinion there is a pc that have all its characteristics in favour of it.

The Bad:The only thing I think that could be enhanced is the authonomy of the battery but when i need to work with the pc more than two simple hours i need to work the rest of the time with the electricity powered


"2nd laptop in last 3years and much more impressed than with previouse laptop"

mckinlsm posted a review   

The Good:Biggest thing is that I was looking for a laptopl that I could use bluetooth on! Of course its one of those things you want but never use but none the less I HAVE IT! The ability to deck out the laptop was great! My last laptop which was an HP made me hate laptops, and thats about all I use day to day. With the HP I was formating almost every other month to keep it running right and now with the toshiba it has been almost a year now and still haven't done a format.

The Bad:This is a little harder, paint on the case could be stronger I already wore through it on the left touchpad button (Nothing new there). Another problem I've run into is the wireless signal is TOO strong I know how can someone say this but it was true I was picking up everyones wireless connection. After a reordering of prefered networks it seems to be working much better now.

-Manual Volume switch (Great for when you want to turn down the volume before you reach windows)
-Manual Wireless switch(Can turn it on and off when you feel like it)
-Memory slots in front for every thing you can think of (I don't use it)


"Could use a quicker HDD but plays Dystopia at max settings so I'm happy."

Anonymous posted a review   

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User Reviews / Comments  Toshiba M40

  • Stugats



    "My gf has this. Very nice piece of hardware. Laptops are known for their lack of 'gamer' ability, but the Nvidia 6600 GO on this thing is very nice. I play WoW on it all the time. If you'r a gam..."

  • boyis92



    "this computer is a waste of money"

  • vt47



    "Wonderful laptop"

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