Toshiba's Portégé R700 is a thin-and-light laptop designed for high performance, packing all the features a mobile worker might need into a relatively lightweight frame.
The Portégé R700 range was launched last year, but the R700-184 model tested here is a relatively new configuration with a beefier processor and more memory. However, this also bumps up the cost, and our review sample is almost twice as expensive as the entry-level R700.
In tests, we found the R700 to be a capable machine that should serve a mobile worker well, especially with its inclusion of a 3G broadband modem to enable connectivity virtually anywhere.
That said, it does not feel as sturdily constructed as other laptops we have tested, and comes stuffed with pre-loaded software, much of which probably just slows the system down rather than fulfilling any useful purpose.
The Portégé R700 line supports Intel's Core i3, i5 and i7 chips, but the latter features only in a single top-of-the range model. Our review sample was the next one down, configured with a dual-core 2.66GHz Core i5-560M processor and 4GB RAM (expandable to 8GB), plus a 320GB hard disk and DVD Super Multi drive.
However, our model shipped with the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Professional, meaning that customers will have to upgrade to a 64-bit version if they require more memory than is already fitted.
Connectivity options are fairly standard, with 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth, but the R700 also has the option of connecting to a mobile network via a built-in Ericsson F3607gw HSDPA modem.
At 1.5kg, this model feels lighter than average for a full specification laptop fitted with a 13.3in screen, which should make it an attractive choice for roaming workers who have to carry their computer around.
As mentioned, the Portégé does not feel as sturdy as some laptops. There is noticeable give in the palm rest area, for example, but it is an improvement on earlier Toshiba machines, especially in the rigidity of the lid around the screen.
Display and keyboard
The screen itself has a resolution of 1,366 x 768 and is a fairly decent display, although the default power management settings on our review sample reduced its brightness to the point where it produced a rather murky image.
Keyboards are a subjective matter, but Toshiba's choice of a 'chiclet' style layout on this model means that the keys are large and well spaced, making for easy typing.
A large touchpad is located just left of centre below the keyboard, and a nice touch is a button that disables the touchpad, so you can plug in an external mouse and not worry about moving the cursor by accidentally brushing against the touchpad while typing.
The Portégé is equipped with plenty of I/O, including VGA and HDMI video outputs on the left hand edge, alongside two USB ports, one of which is a combined USB/eSata port that allows high-speed external storage devices to be connected.