Toshiba Laptop Decoder Ring: Notebook Naming Demystified

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With few exceptions, the way that notebook companies name their products can be highly confusing. What do all those letters and numbers mean? Look no further. We put together a Toshiba cheat sheet (other brands are coming) to help you decipher the nomenclature vendors use so you’ll be able to know at a glance who it’s for, the size, and other features of any given system. You may even give the blue shirts a run for their money!

Satellite (Consumer)

Toshiba's consumer effort is divided into four lines: The C and L lines are aimed at entry-level shoppers, while those that start with A or M are more premium lines, and have flourishes such as chrome accents. The T series includes inexpensive consumer ultraportables like the 13-inch Satellite T235. The E series is a line that was created in conjunction with Best Buy.

Satellite Pro (Small Business)

Satellite Pro laptops are targeted towards small business users, and have office-friendly features, such as compatibility with Toshiba's Dynadock U docking stations.

Qosmio (Gaming/Multimedia)

The Qosmio line is made up of high-octane machines with aggressive color schemes. They also tend to be loaded with multimedia-centric features, such as robust speaker systems, large displays, and Blu-ray drives. The current generation of Qosmio is the X500 series, all of which have 18.4-inch screens.

Tecra (Business/Enterprise)

The Tecra family consists of bread-and-butter business machines that come with a standard 3-year warranty, longer than the typical 1-year for Toshiba's consumer notebooks. Tecras are available in M, A, and R series with subtle differences in design and configuration between them. The R series, for example, is available with both a touchpad and a pointing stick.

Portege (Ultraportable Business)

Toshiba's Portege line emphasizes mobility and high-end business technologies. For example, compact 12- and 13-inch notebooks can be configured with solid-state drives, touchscreens, or tablet capabilities. Current generation Porteges are in the R800 series.

Tip: the last digit of the Portege model number is a five or a zero, which indicates whether the system is marketed for consumers or businesses respectively. For example, the Toshiba Portege R830 is meant for businesses and therefore has Windows 7 Professional installed.

mini (Netbooks)

Toshiba's mini family of portables is comprised of netbooks. They have small 10.1-inch screens, are powered by Intel Atom processors, and can be had for a low price, starting under $300.

Note that the letters at the end of a Toshiba mini model number indicate the color of the netbook. For example, the NB505-508GN has a green lid.

Toshiba Model Number Tips

  • Screen Size: On some notebook lines (Satellite, Portege), the second digit in the model number represents the second digit of the screen size (ex: 3 for 13-inches, 6 for 15.6 inches).
  • Second-Generation Core Processor: An X at the very end of a model indicates that the notebook is equipped with the latest second-gen Intel Core processor (ex: Portege R835-P56X)
  • 3D Display: A 3DV indicates that this notebook uses Nvidia 3D Vision.
  • AMD CPUs: Some Toshiba models end in "D" to indicate that they use AMD processors (ex: Satellite T235D).
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2 comments
  • Tal Says:

    Great article. A little more info - e.g L775-S5271 model - The second number after the 'L' denotes the screen size '7' is a 17 inch screen, a '5' is a 15 inch screen. I'm trying to figure out the pattern of the 4 digit number after the 'S' in the second part of the model number. Again, great article - Thank you.

  • Tal Says:

    Brian,

    Do you know where to get further info on Toshiba's laptop model naming convention? This info is great but I'm sure the series numbers denote a lot about the actual laptop. A number in a certain position of the model number tells the buyer what is under the hood sort of like the vin on a car. Any direction in this will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for the great article on the decoder.

    Tal

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