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Sunday, 29 August 2010 21:20

Review: Toshiba Portégé R700

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Having recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the laptop, Toshiba has delivered a clutch of new notebooks to the market. The Portégé name has long been recognised as one of the premiere small notebooks on the market. We took their latest model, the R700, out for a spin.

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Once we'd made our way through the initial set-up process, the 1.1KG R700's 13.3-inch screen was resplendent with the usual array of icons spread across the 1366 by 768 display. The matte finish mightn't look as bright as some of the Portégé's competitors but it meant that the display was easier to read in uneven light and there aren't any annoying reflections. We've used some systems that could have doubled duty as a mirror.

In a break from tradition, Toshiba has broken away from their traditional aluminium finish for the Portégé. The new R700 has a brushed matte black finish that looks elegant. Although we didn't put the R700 through a tough roadtest, it was obvious that the finish wouldn't scratch easily and could take being carried in a backpack without having to worry about superficial damage.

The ins and outs are well covered. The R700 has a pair or USB 2.0 ports. Conveniently, one is placed on either side of the unit so so that one side of the device doesn't get too cluttered if multiple devices are connected. Toshiba's USB drivers allow for USB ports to be used for device charging when the computer is in either 'sleep' or 'stand-by' modes. Each time a USB device is inserted, a dialog pops up so you can choose whether or not enable this mode. That way, the Portégé's 5800mAh battery isn't totally discharged inadvertently while traveling.

Although two USB ports is a little skinny, Toshiba endeavours to compensate by including an eSATA port for connecting external drives and both D-SUB and HDMI output for connecting to projectors, monitors and televisions. The HDMI port is a standard size so you won't need to mess around, looking for some sort of adapter to connect it to a plasma or LCD when you're in a hurry in the boardroom.


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Network connectivity is delivered through a Gigabit Ethernet port and 802.11 a/g/n WiFi. The wireless range was solid. We compared it to a Dell netbook and MacBook Pro and found that it offered comparable range.

Toshiba
Powered by Intel® Coreâ„¢ i5 processor. Also available with Intel® Core i3 or i7 processors with optional Intel® vProâ„¢ technology.
...read more



In order to compare the Portégé R700 we tested to other similar notebooks, we used the PassMark benchmark program. We ran the benchmark several times for an average score of 855.6. This placed it midfield when compared to similar systems from Dell, Samsung and Asus. This matched with our real world testing that showed the R700 to be a competent, although unspectacular performer. For office tasks such as working with Word documents and moderately large spreadsheets, the R700 didn't miss a beat.

Bundled software was something of a mixed bag. The R700 we tested came with Office Starter 2010. This includes Word Starter and Excel Starter but skips on PowerPoint and Outlook. When Office Starter 2010 is first launched, it is automatically installed. At that point, you're asked if you'd like to shell out some extra money to get a more fully featured of Office.

As is the norm these days, Toshiba bundles a stack of other software including some of their own utilities for the integrated camera that's built into the bezel. There's antivirus software as well, from Norton, as well as Toshiba's own DVD playback software for the slim tray-loading drive.

For the mobile office worker or student, the Toshiba Portégé R700 is well worth considering. Although performance wasn't brilliant, Toshiba's build quality and support make this model worth considering. Starting at an RRP of $2700AUD, the R700 is at the premium end of the market.

 




Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Core and Core Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

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