Toshiba Portege R700—Introduction

Toshiba Computer released Japan’s first notebook computer in 1985, instantly cementing Toshiba as one of the pioneers of mobile computing. Since then, Toshiba has consistently been amongst the sales leaders of consumer notebooks in the US. But for all their mainstream success, in recent times Toshiba has not had any particularly compelling designs out there. There’s a lot of systems in the same vein as the A505 we tested earlier this year—vanilla mainstream notebooks that offer a lot of glossy black plastic to go along with a good amount of value, but no really compelling portable systems like the Portege R100 or R400 tablet from the past. Until now, with the introduction of the new Portege R700 and R705.

The R700 is Toshiba's latest ultraportable, and on paper, it's very impressive. It uses regular voltage Core i3, i5, and i7 processors and manages to stuff an optical drive into a 3.2lb, 1" thick enclosure. The casing is all done in brushed aluminum, and the internal structure uses a magnesium alloy and features an aluminum honeycomb to dissipate heat. The result is a notebook that is reportedly both lighter and stiffer than the previous Portege R500 and R600 notebooks. Unfortunately, like most other non-ASUS ultraportables, the R700 uses the onboard Intel HD graphics instead of going for a discrete graphics card, but given the 1” thin, 3lb form factor, it’s an understandable concession to make.

Toshiba Portege R700-S1330 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-620M
(2.66GHz, 32nm, 4MB L3, 35W)
Chipset Intel QM57 Express
Memory 2x2048MB DDR3-1333
Max 2x4GB DDR3-1333
Graphics Intel HD Graphics (64MB—1696MB shared memory)
Display 13.3" LED Backlit Matte WXGA (1366x768)
Hard Drive 2.5" 320GB 7200RPM SATA (Seagate ST9320423AS)
Networking Intel 82577LM PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6200 802.11a/b/g/n
Audio Realtek AL269 2-Channel HD Audio
(2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)
Battery 6-cell Lithium-ion, 5800 mAh, 10.8V, 66 Wh
Front Side None
Left Side AC Power Connection
VGA Port
1 x USB 2.0
eSATA/USB Combo Port
HDMI port
Right Side 5-in-1 memory card reader
Integrated DVD SuperMulti Drive
ExpressCard slot
Headphone jack
1 x USB 2.0
Gigabit Ethernet
Kensington Lock
Back Side None
Operating System Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Dimensions 12.44" x 8.94" x 0.66-1.01" (WxDxH)
Weight 3.0lbs (SSD), 3.2lbs (hard drive)
Extras Bluetooth 2.1
Integrated webcam and microphone
Warranty 1-year battery warranty
Pricing Portege R700-S1330 from $1489 at ProVantage

The R700 starts at $999, but our $1599 R700-S1330 test unit features top of the line components—the 2.67 GHz Core i7-620M, a 128GB SSD, and 4GB memory. For a 3.0lb machine with eight hours of battery life on tap, that’s a lot of power. The "little brother" Portege R705 is a really interesting configuration though. It shares the same chassis as the R700 (with a blue-painted lid), but has a Core i3-350M, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and trades the ExpressCard slot and docking capabilities for Intel’s WiDi built in. For a price of $829, that’s pretty awesome, especially when you take into account the completely aluminum chassis and 3.2lb carrying weight (R700/705 models with hard drives weigh slightly more than the 3lb SSD test unit we have). So on paper, the R700 finally brings something special to Toshiba’s otherwise-ordinary lineup, but does that impression hold up in person?

Toshiba Portege R700 - Inside and Out
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  • OCedHrt - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - link

    Would like to see a proper review of the Sony Z. Even though I already have one, I feel this one deserves a proper review. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - link

    I'm sure we'd love to (Vivek would probably love a change of pace since he handles our ultraportables, etc.), but we can't review what we don't have and aren't offered, and Sony's very cagey about review hardware. :( Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - link

    My wife just got that Vaio Z model and I really must say that the screen is drop dead gorgeous. There might be a better screen out there, but I've not seen it if there is one. It's also just a ridiculously fast machine and what I would get if I could afford it (work paid for her's). It's also worth noting that is has a resolution of 1600x900 or 1920x1080, not the 1366x768 of the Toshiba. Reply
  • Osamede - Thursday, September 9, 2010 - link

    I have the Sony Z12 myself and I like it a lot. It's the best screen I've seen on a PC laptop so far.

    That said the screen on the 13" and 15" MacBook Pro are better than the one on the Z. A bit more glossy but actually also sharper and clearer. You put a powerpoint presentation up on those and the clarity is great, the color "pops" - its phenonmenal. Even on plain old text slides.

    On the Z my powerpoints look good, but not that extra good like those Macbooks.
    Reply
  • IvanAndreevich - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - link

    I really appreciate it! You are giving us power users who own a desktop IPS screen a voice. With the demise of the AFFS screens from Lenovo we have almost nothing left :( I can't stand TN trash. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - link

    Agreed! Reply
  • Taurus229 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - link

    Nice! Make it a giveaway! Would love to have one! Reply
  • jrocks84 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - link

    Having had first hand experience with many Toshiba R500 and R600's, I can say that those were the flimsiest computers I have ever seen. The screen, the chasis, the... well everything had massive amounts of flex. There were always imprints of the keyboard on the screen too that were near impossible to remove. And they keyboard also sucked.

    Due to the lack of build quality in the R500 and R600 series, the company I work for lost all confidence in Toshiba and has since started using HP 8440p's and 2540p's. When I heard they had switched to HP, I was quite surprised because of their crappy consumer laptops, but those things were solid and surprisingly had good keyboards too.

    On the software side, I have a friend who owns a Toshiba laptop and it too came loaded with all that crapware. Most of the stuff is even Toshiba branded crapware, so it's not like they get money for most of it...
    Reply
  • SteelCity1981 - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - link

    That's the first thing i do when i get a laptop is reformat it with a Windows 7 CD, because every namebrand pc now od days just love to add lots of bloatware onto their systems Reply
  • METALMORPHASIS - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - link

    Daughter has one from 4 or 5 years ago,runs great. Let your pocketbook be your guide as always! Reply

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