To the test – Portégé R700
by Keris Lahiff
In the market for a travelling companion? To see whether it can withstand the pressures of travel, we put Toshiba’s Portégé R700 to the test.
Don’t be fooled by the acute accents – the Portégé R700 is no sissy laptop. An A-grade processor and ultraportability mean it's reliable, the perfect addition to the traveller’s technology suite.
On the go
One of the lightest laptops on the market, the Portégé R700 is built for travel. To put this in perspective, compare with Apple’s MacBook Air. Marketed as the “thinnest and lightest Mac notebook”, MacBook Air weighs in at 1.36kg, while the Portégé is a mere 1.1kg. And, though bulkier than some laptops (approximately 31 x 2 x 23cm), adding it to a briefcase, backpack or hand luggage won’t prove a major inconvenience.
Incredibly, while it is ultraportable, its battery life is not compromised. Between charges, the R700 lasts eight-and-a-half hours during average use – that is, using low-energy consumption activities such as email, Word and Excel (multimedia programs are likely to consume more power, and thus drain the battery faster).
A few more travel-friendly features sweeten the deal, including a spill-resistant coating on the keyboard, shock-absorbing technology to protect its critical organs and extra protection surrounding the hard drive.
No second-rate performance
For a laptop designed for travel, the Portégé hides a lot of grunt within its demure casing. Unlike previous editions in the series, the R700 has done away with low-voltage CPUs, only offering premium Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs. This means that functionality and speed are not compromised in favour of portability.
To avoid the common problem of overheating, Intel and Toshiba have teamed up to innovate the airflow cooling technology found inside the R700. This means that while the processor offers premium performance, it isn’t likely to burn out during prolonged use.
The island-style keyboard has been upgraded for easier touch-typing, including an easy-reference button to disable the trackpad to avoid accidental nudges from the base of your palm. Unfortunately, while the trackpad allows for pinching, three-finger clicks and two-finger scrolling, its touch receptiveness can be unreliable.
A 13-inch screen is a bonus for a laptop of its size and, while the matte screen avoids harsh glare in office environments, the lack of transreflective technology makes visuals appear slightly dulled.
To stay connected with the office, the Portege offers multiple means of external input. The list includes an external monitor port, an eSATA/USB combo port, two USB ports, an HDMI outport, bridge media slot, LAN jack, microphone jack, PC Card slot and, in some models, an ExpressCard slot.
Translation: the R700 has seemingly infinite possibilities, whether it be inserting an external hard drive, connecting the laptop directly to a TV or computer monitor, importing photos directly from flash memory card or connecting to 3G wireless networks. As a bonus (in most R700 models), the USB ports act as chargers for USB-enabled devices such as mobile phones, even if the computer is turned off.
While other ultraportable laptops have stripped the hardware of a built-in optical drive (for CDs and DVDs) to reduce total bulk and weight, the Portégé has one nestled in there. However, though Toshiba has upgraded the laptop to include two speakers instead of one, the sound quality is not superb and use of headphones is needed in noisier areas.
While it’s no substitute for a desktop computer, Toshiba’s Portege R700 is the perfect laptop for the mobile or travelling businessperson. Teeming with options for connectivity, it’s the itinerant businessperson’s solution, a tether to the office’s heartbeat.
Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
Published on: Thursday, October 07, 2010