Toshiba Tecra M4 crippled in the UK

I’m one of those people who has followed the exploits of
Eric Mack with his new

Toshiba Tecra M4
. In fact, I’ve been a fan of the concept of a
tablet since it was first announced. That said, I use my laptop as
a desktop replacement so although I really wanted a tablet, I
wanted one that was at least as good as my existing laptop, but
with ink too.

With the launch of the Tecra M4 I finally found a tablet with
the desired graphics resolution matched with an appropriate screen
size, fast enough processor, and a decent graphics card that will
run with Longh…, erm, Windows Vista that was also getting decent
reviews. So last week, buoyed by
interview with Chris Jones
outlining that although ink isn’t
supported in the public Beta 1 of Vista, tablet builds do exist
internally, I was checking out the specs for the M4 and looking to

Unfortunately, the

UK Toshiba site
only shows one model for the M4 whereas the
US site has a multitude
of options for processor speed, graphics memory, hard disk size,
optical drive… (you get the idea). Now, I want to buy a machine
that’s going to last – it’s got to do me at least two years and
preferably three – so I want to buy the best that I can get. That
means the best processor, the most video memory, essentially the
best for anything you can’t upgrade later. I called the sales line
for Toshiba this morning planning to give them my money, but they
only sell that one model and they don’t do any custom builds. You
either like the one they ship the way it comes out of the box or
you don’t buy it. I was told I could order a custom build from the
US site but my warranty would be registered in the US and that
doesn’t sound like a such great deal to me.

This leaves me with the choice to buy a processor running at 80%
of the clock speed of the one that I was looking at, with only half
the video memory and the most basic optical disk. This isn’t
something I want to do. After having decided to take the plunge,
I’m now left feeling disappointed. Maybe Toshiba don’t think us
Brits can cope with the top of the range model.