Toshiba – Portégé A600-122 review

well equipped ultraportable laptop
Photo of Toshiba – Portégé A600-122

One of the three recently launched Portégé series notebooks, the A600 is an ultra-portable laptop that is the slightly heftier brother of the R500 series. The latter, in case you didn’t know, is the world’s lightest notebook (according to Toshiba, anyway).

At the time of writing there are just two family members of the A600; the 120 and the 122 which was our review model. The only difference between the two models is hard drive size; the 120 has a 160GB drive while the 122 comes with a 250GB drive.

While the A600-122 weighs in at only 1.8kg (including AC power adaptor) it still has a few of the build quality concerns that are present in the much lighter and thinner R500; the screen is almost worryingly thin so you’ll need to protect it from other objects in your bag, and the wrist pad has a degree of flex to it. But you may think that’s a small price to pay to be able to carry around a fully functional notebook complete with optical drive all day, that only weighs a little more than most netbooks.

It looks pretty good too in its all-silver finish, which is set off by a chrome Toshiba logo on the outside of the lid and inside by the matt black screen surround and chromed mouse buttons.

The one thing that is very impressive about the A600-122, besides its weight, is its battery life. Thanks to the combination of the low voltage Intel SU9300 Core 2 Duo processor clocked at 1.20GHz, which has a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of just 10 Watts and a large 6-cell battery, the battery life is comparable with some netbooks.

When tested with MobileMark 2007′s productivity test (normal everyday apps), it produced a life of just over six and a half hours. Meanwhile, in the Reader test, which uses the notebook as an e-book reader, it managed to stay on for a stunning eight hours.

On the flip side the processor’s performance, backed by 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory, is nothing to get excited about, but you would expect that with this class of CPU. A PCMark05 score of 2,842 underlines the point, but it will handle your everyday tasks with very few problems.

The screen is good: the 12.1-inch WXGA panel has LED backlighting, a 1,280 by 800 pixel native resolution and has a non-reflective screen which makes a nice change from all the high gloss coated screens we have seen lately. It does tend to subdue colours and contrast a little but is nothing that you can’t get quickly used to.

Despite its small (286 x 223 x 29.9mm) stature, Toshiba has built in a good choice of optical drive in the form of a DVD Super Multi drive, so you can burn to DVDs and Dual Layer DVDs, which is handy if you have a lot of data to back up.

The keyboard is good and responsive, despite the flex in the keybed, and it’s a spill-proof keyboard, which could be useful if you are a mobile user, since you never know when accidents might happen. Sitting under the trackpad are the two mouse buttons, separated by a fingerprint reader.

Port-wise it’s well equipped for an ultraportable; two USB ports, another port that’s a combination USB sleep and charge / e-SATA, VGA out and three audio ports. There are also SD and Express card slots.

To connect to the outside world there are plenty of options, with 802.11a/g/Draft-N WiFi, wired Gigabit and integrated HSDPA mobile broadband.

Company: Toshiba

Contact: 0844 847 8944

With its blend of features, performance and above all weight, the Portégé A600 is an ultraportable notebook that deserves more than a second glance, but that screen needs better protection.