Toshiba Portege R700: Thin, Fast, and Surprisingly Affordable

Toshiba’s latest mid-range mobile creation is a difficult machine to describe. Packing features which are utterly unremarkable and offering performance that’s all but expected for mobile users, it hardly seems like a tech industry favourite the first time you see it. But underneath the bland spec sheet is a laptop that’s equal parts incredibly portable and user-friendly; and best of all, it’s one that almost any consumer can afford to purchase.

Boasting a design reminiscent of Apple’s Macbook Pro and Lenovo’s professional ThinkPad line, the Portege R700 is one of the most simultaneously sleek and professional notebooks we’ve seen over the last few years. A separate-key keyboard is included, along with the now-standard sunken touchpad and a magnesium-aluminium enclosure designed to minimize unwanted heat.

With a thirteen-inch screen and a solid chassis, Toshiba may have inadvertently created the ultimate Windows 7 travel laptop. We’ve tested the Portege R700 against its other compact rivals and walked away with favourable opinions. Toshiba claim that it’s the lightest thirteen-inch laptop ever released, and we’re inclined to believe them.

But unlike its other ultra-compact competitors, the R700 boasts performance that’s more at home in a bulky ‘gaming’ laptop. Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors will be available, each paired with 4GB of RAM and a series of internal storage options. The standard R700 ships with a 500GB hard drive, although solid-state storage options are available on the Core i5 and i7 models.

While its small screen makes it a poor mobile movie station, the R700 is set up for multimedia in just about every other way. Unlike other ultra-thin laptops, it includes an optical drive and various connectivity options. The screen falls short of offering full 1080p HD resolutions, although it does offer enough real estate to play 720p movies and video footage.

Three USB ports are included, along with an HDMI port and optional 3G. Toshiba have clearly built the R700 with intentions of flattening Apple’s Macbook Air lineup, and given its current specs we’re in agreement with them. The Portege R700 combines portability and power like few laptops can, boasting a nine-hour battery life despite its sizeable processor and multimedia chops.

Pricing information has yet to be released for UK customers, though Toshiba has put out figures for those across the pond. The basic Core i3 R700 will be available from just $899, with more powerful Core i5 and i7 models appearing at $1,299 and $1,599 respectively. The laptop will start appearing in USA retailer in the coming days, with UK stores following suit next month.

Toshiba have clearly outdone themselves with this year’s laptop lineup. With a disruptive dual-touch netbook and an extended high-end lineup, it’s difficult to look past the Korean retailer when wading through 2010’s tech releases. The Portege R700 is far from the greatest laptop on the market, but its combination of immense portability, sleek design, and usable power make it one of our favourite mid-range portable notebooks.

Mozbot Team

Mozbot is a UK based technology blog featuring news, reviews and opinions on anything tech related so whether you’re a self-confessed Apple fanboy or you prefer a phone with buttons, you can be sure to find something here.

Batteries not included.