Toshiba Portege R700—An Open Letter Regarding Bloatware

Dear Toshiba,

First off, I’d like to thank you for making a great ultraportable system. The Portege R700 is a very impressive piece of technology, especially with the Core i7 processor and solid state drive. I really love the light weight aluminum chassis, and the lower configurations are good values. The R700 gives the Toshiba line a standout product that is truly amongst the most highly featured ultraportables on the market.

Now I know that including bloatware on desktops, notebooks, and even smartphones has become the industry standard. People like McAfee, Symantec, AOL, and others are willing to pay you to toss their software onto your standard system image when you ship computers. I get it—it just makes business sense; you’re being paid to do basically no work. Everybody does it, from the biggest to the smallest, with the exception of those high rolling enterprise-class guys. Dell, HP, Sony, ASUS... nobody is immune to it and I’m not here to point any fingers. It’s not your fault for taking the effectively free money that is offered to you.

But this is getting a bit ridiculous. I fired up the R700 and found 91 running processes on boot. Ninety-one. Seriously, that’s insane. A well configured notebook should have between 40 and 50 running processes on boot, depending on how many utilities the manufacturer uses. On my personal use notebooks, I don’t even think I’ve seen 91 processes running EVER, even with 20 instances of Google Chrome running. It’s enough to bring the R700, even this high end SKU, to it’s knees while not doing much of anything. To say it’s pretty disappointing to see a $1600 notebook with top shelf components crawling through the most mundane tasks would be an understatement of epic proportions.

So please, in the future, don’t load your computers up with quite so much bloatware. It really kills the out-of-box experience for the end user.

Regards and thanks again for the otherwise great notebook,

Vivek Gowri

Toshiba Portege R700 - Inside and Out Toshiba Portege R700 - Performance
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  • FH123 - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    Not so simple. I have a T410s. Yes, it's better in most regards, however the screen is actually worse. Yes, hard to believe though it is, notebookcheck.net have measured it at only 95:1 contrast and the vertical viewing angles are virtually non-existent. Does the T410 have a decent screen? Reply
  • seanleeforever - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    yeap. the s is for slim, but you sacrifice the screen quality (not that they have good screen to begin with).
    bring back the IPS/AFFS flexview....while i appreciate my 400 nit outdoor IPS tablet, i can use a 15 inch with 1920*1200 resultion for my CAD work.
    Reply
  • Belard - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    To me, the normal notebook (business) viewing angle is fairly straight on. Having others in a meeting having easier screen access is not my desire. We can't have everything... perhaps in 10 years, we can have screens that switch to narrow and wide view angles :)

    Here is my ThinkPad screen experience:
    I'm typing this on my R61 (R500 replaced it - then the Ls replaced Rs).
    I'm fine with its low-res screen (1280x800), its brighter and more colorful than the T61.

    The SL-500 looks better than the T61.
    The T410s looked okay to me.
    The T410 looked better than the SL510.

    In general, Glossy screens - by their nature, have higher contrast over most matter screens for notebooks and even many desktop screens.

    Theres a give and take going on here. Like many years ago, Anandtech would give a NEG to a mobo review for having the DIMM slots next to the PCIe slot... but if that problem wasn't there, it meant one less PCIe slot. I posted/email... you can't have it both ways ;) Then they started pointing this out ;)

    So can Lenovo go with a much better LCD screen? Yes... if they are even being made. but at what costs?

    We live in a time in which Notebooks costs $300 and up with a 15" screen. Unlike 10+ years ago when a ThinkPad went for $3000~6000!

    ThinkPads would be DEAD without some sacrifice.

    A: Glossy notebook for $600 vs:
    B: ThinkPad for $2000, both with same CPU/hardware stats.

    Almost nobody will buy the ThinkPAD! Sell it for $600~1000, its marketable.

    I paid $500 for my R61, new. Next to it in a store, an IDEA-PAD for $600.
    Mine came with the PDC @1.6Ghz / 1GB / 40GB HD / WinXP-Pro.
    The IdeaPAD had a C2D @ 2.2Ghz / 3GB / 100GB HD / Vista-Home / Camera.

    I was going to spend $100 for XP Pro for the IdeaPAD... the matte screen and stronger body sold me on the ThinkPad. Even thou the IdeaPAD was a "better" deal in many ways.

    My 3 year old ThinkPad has been upgraded to 2GB and runs Windows7 like a champ... it runs better than it ever did with XP.

    Using a friends T410, I love it.

    But I wouldn't recommend ANY 15" Thinkpad to anyone anymore... they are EXTRA-Widescreen. So the 14" is just as tall, screen wise and about 1.5 lbs lighter. Yep, the T410(s) screens are just as tall as my 3-year old's 15" screen. Hate these wide-wide screens.
    Reply
  • I4U - Saturday, October 09, 2010 - link

    Dell proposed, some years ago, a display option to narrow the view angle. Reply
  • QChronoD - Wednesday, September 08, 2010 - link

    Would it be possible for you guys to have a separate page on the site that gives a condensed breakdown of the major specs for the different laptops/cpus/ssd/etc that you are always comparing against. (tech-report had one a few years ago that I was always going back to for cpu reviews) It's been years since I've been able to figure out WTF Intel and AMD model numbers really mean since they change them so frequently.
    Also it would help when looking at the benchmark numbers for systems so we can focus on those with the specs/price we are most interested in.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I use the following two web pages ALL the time:

    http://products.amd.com/en-ca/NotebookCPUResult.as...
    http://ark.intel.com/Default.aspx

    Wikipedia also has a good list of CPUs and chipsets (and a ton of other stuff as well). I've considered trying to get some sort of setup where users can click on a result to get the full laptop specs; maybe we'll try to do that when we do Mobile Bench.
    Reply
  • BushLin - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    "The result is a notebook that is reportedly both lighter and stiffer than the previous Portege R500 and R600 notebooks"

    Sorry to urinate in your soup but the R700 is considerably heavier (in ultra-portable terms) than both the R500 and R600 models. This isn't surprising since the R700 has a larger screen and less compromise on rigidity in order to save weight. I look after my laptops and sad to see the R600 is now unavailable and doesn't have a direct replacement. There are no sub 1KG (2.2lbs) models from Toshiba currently.
    Reply
  • Osamede - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    When this Toshiba was announced a lot of people claimed it would be a Sony Z killer and I knew it wouldnt. Toshiba actually has the ultraportable heritage and pedigree but TODAY toshiba is no longer about making top notch products.

    Which is why they initiall fudged on the specs of the screen. I knew it would be a bottom-of-the-barrel 768p screen with low contrast - and so it is in the end.

    Why Toshiba would bother shouting about this laptop I dont know. Its actually heavier than the Sony Z and not as good all round, depsite having a lower res screen. Worse yet there are a million Acer and Acer models that provide better value and durability.

    A pointless product release. Toshiba should just quit this market and go home.
    Reply
  • gescom - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    Sony Z12 = unbeatable machine!
    Period.
    Reply
  • BrianTho2010 - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    Vivek,

    I can not stay for sure of the R700, but the R500 and R600 which have VERY similar designs have an all magnesium chassis. I would double check with Toshiba if in fact the R700 is using aluminum and not magnesium.

    -Brian
    Reply

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