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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  • FH123 - Wednesday, September 8, 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 8, 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 9, 2010 - link

    Dell proposed, some years ago, a display option to narrow the view angle. Reply
  • QChronoD - Wednesday, September 8, 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 9, 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 9, 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 9, 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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