Toshiba's Tecra range is aimed at the corporate user, and offers strength and usability. The A9-51S is the ideal tool for those seeking a reliable workhorse.

Its 15.4-inch screen is a standard TFT panel, and keeps reflections to a minimum. This is ideal on the train, but the trade-off is seen in its less vivid colour reproduction. An integrated adapter provides graphics.

We managed 221 minutes between charges, under test. The wide screen should create plenty of space for the keyboard, but it's offset in order to house the power button. With the width of the chassis not used efficiently, some of the keys are slightly cramped. But once we got used to typing on this machine, the keyboard proved surprisingly good. The keys have a perfect degree of travel and are firmly attached.

The laptop can be navigated by a responsive and accurate touchpad, or by the pointing stick in the middle of the keyboard. The chassis is as strong as any of its rivals, and the sturdy screen casing also offers a decent amount of protection. There are no concessions to style, with Toshiba putting strength above all else.

The operating system is Windows XP Professional. XP is a lot less resource-intensive than Windows Vista, and the Tecra speed bears that out. Everyday applications also ran with ease, thanks to a 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 processor.

When out and about, a biometric fingerprint scanner adds an extra layer of security, and lets you log in quickly, without the need for passwords.