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Toshiba Portégé R700 review

Toshiba Portégé R700

Verdict

A powerful laptop that's as light as a netbook, the R700 is well suited to demanding tasks

Review Date: 4 Feb 2011

Reviewed By: Tim Danton

Price when reviewed: £511 (£613 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

The Toshiba Portégé R700 seems to pull off the impossible. It weighs the same as a typical netbook, 1.3kg, yet squeezes in a powerful processor, 13.3in screen and full-width keyboard - and all for a great price.

There's one other feature it shares with netbooks, and that's the lack of an optical drive. You can buy different models of the R700 with a DVD writer but they'll add to the price and 200g to the weight.

The processor in our model, the R700-1DJ, is a 2.26GHz Core i3-350M. Together with 2GB of RAM this pushed the Portégé to a respectable 1.20 in our benchmarks. There's little 3D power, though, with Intel's HD Graphics inside.

Toshiba Portégé R700

Along with USB 2 ports and an SD card reader, there's a combined USB and eSATA port; this is powered, so you can charge an external device even if the R700 is switched off. A Gigabit Ethernet port, D-SUB output, HDMI connector, microphone and headphone jacks complete the line-up. There's also a fingerprint reader.

When it comes to using the R700 in a classroom, you may find the large keyboard is too big for primary school fingers. Everyone should enjoy using the large, responsive touchpad, though, and we like the button for switching off the pad when typing.

Compared to the best screens, the R700's display lacks vibrancy. It's sharp, though, and its 1,366 x 768 resolution is a fine partner to the 13.3in screen. Predictably, the sound quality that comes out of its miniscule speakers is awful: tinny, muddy and lacking in bass. This won't matter too much for Windows sounds, but we don't recommend playing music through them.

Where the R700 pulls back its reputation is battery life. It lasted 8hrs 17mins in our light-use test, which is stunning for such a light yet powerful machine. It's a little plasticky to the touch - Toshiba had to save grams somehow - but we'd have few qualms about it surviving in a classroom.

Author: Tim Danton

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User comments

I looked at this and the Sony S13 but bought the Toshiba R630-141. I have had this now for 3 weeks and it is lightweight, easy to use and the battery lasts a long time. With light use it goes from 9am to around 5.30pm before I have to plug it in.
The only differences between this and the Portege seems to be the docking port and the 3 year warranty. However, the build is the same and one can get a much higher spec R for a much lower price than the Portege. The R630-141 can be bought for £617 ex vat and the upgrade to 3 year warranty is £30-odd (the same as the portege comes with) or £120 for the on site next day, which is what I paid to Toshiba. The i5 Portege in April 11 issue is £925 ex vat so IMHO the R630 seems a much better buy.
Some of the -points mentioned in the review are correct but overall it is an excellent light weight machine which can be used all day long comfortably.

By Zippy204 on 7 Feb 2011

We have just got in the R700-185 which is the Core i7 and SSD model. It is very fast. Though Toshiba still insist on partitioning their drives down the middle. My other gripe is that despite having 64bit hardware and 4GB of RAM, they stuck 32bit Windows on there.

By james016 on 7 Feb 2011

Yeah, the business models (R700) get 32bit windows, whereas the consumer version get 64bit. Guess businesses prefer 32bit for some reason.

R630 is an amazing laptop.

Same weight as a Mac Book Air, half the price and much more power!

By Grunthos on 7 Feb 2011

"Same weight as a Mac Book Air, half the price and much more power!"

Yes but the Mac Book Air does have the Apple badge on it. That must be worth an extra 500 quid on its own.

By Lacrobat on 7 Feb 2011

To be fair, the price difference is probably because of 256gb SSD in mac vs mechanical hdd in toshiba. Also higher resolution screen ups the price considerably as well (sony vaio is good example).

Lol, never thought I'm going defend apple products :-)

By Lomskij on 7 Feb 2011

@Lacrobat - Of course! What was I thinking?! :)

@Lomskij - Fair point but neither of those features are worth the extra money in my eyes. (Sony add a premium for their name just like Apple).

By Grunthos on 8 Feb 2011

@ Zippy204

Where did you buy the Toshiba R630-141 from im thinking of getting one now!!

By pchealer on 8 Feb 2011

@ Zippy204

Where did you buy the Toshiba R630-141 from im thinking of getting one now!!

By pchealer on 8 Feb 2011

Use in a primary school

I have been using a fleet of these in a primary school for several months now. Delighted with them. Light, strong and quick, with great battery life (enough to last a whole school day) and excellent 802.11n wireless capability. The R700 was worth the premium over the R630 for two reasons: Windows 7 Pro instead of Home Premium (essential for use on a Windows domain) and the fact that it has a non-reflective screen. I also installed 64-bit Windows on every machine (the supplied licences are valid for 32 or 64-bit versions). The drivers were all available on Toshiba's website.

By faxon on 5 Mar 2011

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