Toshiba Portege R500
Is this the lightest notebook on the market?
- Very light and mobile device, long battery life, comfortable to use, 64GB solid-state drive
- Screen is hard to view, has a PC Card slot instead of an ExpressCard slot, doesn't ship with an optical drive
Its screen is hard to view properly, but apart from that, the R500 is a genuine lightweight. At under 1kg, and with battery life longer than four hours, it's perfect for users who work long ours while on the road.
Price$ 3,850.00 (AUD)
Toshiba's Portege R500 is a small notebook with a big battery. It's designed for business users who just want something that will last them a very long time on the road. And by light, we mean less than 1kg!
The R500 weighs in at 900 grams and it's very thin. Its screen is only 5mm thick; its base is only 14mm at its thinnest point and less than 20mm at its thickest. There is a drawback to its petite stature though: it feels uneasily flimsy. The screen bends noticeably when you open and close it, and the base flexes a little when you pick it up with one hand or squeeze it — it actually feels hollow. However, these traits appear to be there by design, and despite our somewhat rough handling of the unit, we think it held up nicely on the road.
And that's what it's geared towards: mobile computing. There is also a 3G version of this notebook available, but this model can accommodate a mobile data card through its PC Card slot, or its three USB ports. Weight has been kept to a minimum because Toshiba has installed a solid-state drive instead of a physical, spinning platter hard disk, and of course the notebook's shell is constructed out of magnesium alloy.
You get all the ports that you're ever likely to require: D-Sub, FireWire, the aforementioned USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and an SD memory card slot. It also has a 56Kbps modem port, which many of us can do without these days. On the inside, there is a 64GB solid-state drive, which is more than enough for installing essential applications, documents, and even a few music and video files for when you get some downtime.
Because it has a solid-state drive, the R500 makes practically no noise at all when it's running — except when the cooling fan for the CPU kicks in — and there isn't any vibration. As a bonus, the drive won't generate much heat, and this is something that was noticeable after many hours of use — the unit barely got warm at all! As for its performance, the drive averaged 18 megabytes per second when copying data from one location to another, which is a little slower (2MB-3MB) than what a 5400rpm hard drive would achieve.
With a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Ultra Low Voltage CPU and 1GB of DDR2 RAM, there is plenty under the hood to run the latest office suites and even do some photo editing, but we would've liked 2GB of RAM considering that the unit runs Windows Vista Business. There is one slot free for expansion if you find that having only 1GB of RAM inhibits your productivity. For graphics, the notebook uses Intel's 945GMS chipset, so it's not capable of running any 3-D games with any semblance of comfort.
What is very impressive, apart from the unit's size and weight, is its battery life. It has a six-cell, 5800mAh battery, which sits flush against the rear of the notebook, and it lasted exactly four hours in our worst-case test scenario (in which we looped a video file). It will last even longer if you activate an appropriate power-saving scheme. It's perfect for long flights within Australia and abroad, or even just lazing about and surfing the Internet while at the beach.
Its 12.1in screen is a hard one to judge. It doesn't look good at all indoors, especially because its viewing angles are so narrow: this makes it look like it isn't bright enough. It is actually readable in an outdoor, well-lit environment. Still, we feel that the screen could be better and it was the first thing many people who saw it commented on.
As for comfort, did we mention that the R500 is light? It's easy to use while resting it on your lap and it can even be used comfortably on public transport. It has an almost full-sized keyboard that is easy to type on and its keys have good travel, although the keyboard did feel a little bouncy at times. A sometimes-sticky touchpad takes care of navigation. For security, you can use the fingerprint reader to login to the system, and there is also a Trusted Platform Module installed.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Windows 10's power-throttling feature will benefit battery-hungry laptops
- Microsoft's next Surface may be a Chromebook competitor for schools
- US says laptop ban may expand to more airports
- Intel's Cannonlake PC chip shipments may slip into next year
- Razer’s updated Blade Pro is the first ever THX-certified laptop
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCPlatform Engineer - DevOpsVIC
- CCSAP ISU Functional ConsultantVIC
- CCSystems Specialist - Network Systems l Port MacquarieQLD
- FTVDI EngineerACT
- CCSenior Infrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- TPRegional Level 2/3 Desktop Support AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Systems EngineerNSW
- FTGeospatial Data AnalystVIC
- FTTIBCO Support Analyst - PERM DESKVIC
- FTMobile Studio Lead/ Mobile UX LeadNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Full-Stack Developer (Digital Transformation Project)QLD
- CCBusiness Process Analyst (Automation) - Finance - Contract - ParramattaNSW
- TPProject Support AnalystNSW
- CCTraining Lead - TelcoVIC
- FTSQL Server Database DeveloperSA
- CCDigital Solution ArchitectNSW
- CCSAP CRM Functional AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - NV1ACT
- FTDigital Sales Account Manager - Global Ecommerce BrandNSW
- FTSenior Network Engineer - RANVIC
- FTTest Analyst - Application TestingACT
- CCCRM Techno FunctionalistQLD
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW