Toshiba – Portégé R700 review

neat little notebook with some appealing features
Photo of Toshiba – Portégé R700
from £629 + VAT

The Toshiba Portégé R700 is the latest incarnation of Toshiba’s ultra portable business person’s notebook. It comes in several iterations and all share some defining characteristics. You can more than double the base asking price if you want an Intel Core i7 processor, 128GB Solid state drive and wireless broadband integration, or for £629 plus VAT you can go for a more humble Core i3 processor, 320GB hard drive and no mobile broadband.

Most of the models lack an optical drive, which is hardly a surprise for a notebook with a 13.3-inch screen. However, several do squeeze in a DVD drive and these models are arguably the all-rounders that could work as an everyday computer for many people.

Battery life is good, with Toshiba quoting a maximum of 8 hours and 55 minutes. On an exercise involving continuous movie playback from a USB stick on a version of the notebook without an optical drive, we got a bit over four hours of movie playback, which is pretty good going. There is an an eco utility to help you monitor power and conserve battery life.

That 13.3-inch screen manages 1366 x 768 pixels natively but will drive a 1900 x 1200 external monitor and there is a button above the keyboard for quick monitor switching. The screen has a matt finish and is clear and sharp. A joy to use.

The Toshiba Portégé R700 is a fairly light notebook measuring 316 x 227 x 16.8-25.7mm. It is light, too, at 1.28kg. If you want to carry it for long periods you may want to invest in a protective sleeve, as the lid section is rather flimsy. Heavier handed typists may also notice some give in the keyboard, though we are pretty light fingered and did not have any problems. The chiclet keyboard design is visually appealing and we find it helps with typing accuracy.

A button above the large touchpad disables it so that if you are the kind of user who brushes the touchpad with your wrists the problem is easily avoided. There’s a fingerprint sensor and webcam on some models, and you can use the latter for face login if you wish.

All the various versions of the Toshiba Portégé R700 run Windows 7 Professional 32-bit and graphics are handled by Intel’s GMA chipset. All also have gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The range of ports and connectors is limited, but to be fair it is difficult to see how Toshiba could have packed in much more. On the right side, by the optical drive if it is present, are microphone and headphones connectors, a USB connector and the Ethernet port. Embedded into the wrist rest on this edge of the chassis is a cardreader for SD and compatible cards.

On the left side is an HDMI port, two further USB ports, with one doubling as an eSATA port and offering sleep and charge facilities, a VGA out port, cooler vent and mains power input.

Company: Toshiba

Contact: 0844 847 8944


Verdict
The Toshiba Portégé R700 hits a lot of the right notes. The build is slightly suspect and the keyboard won't be to everyone's liking, but there are plenty of different models available, and you can get that rare combination of a 13.3-inch screen and an optical drive alongside competent battery life.