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Toshiba Portege R700-15X review

Kat Orphanides
6 Oct 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
951
inc VAT

The R700 is more powerful than most ultra-portables. However, the high price doesn't sit well with the 32-bit version of Windows, just 2GB of RAM and a 320GB hard disk.

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Specifications

13.3 in 1,366x768 display, 1.4kg, 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 520M, 2.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Professional 32-bit

Toshiba’s Portégé R700-15X ultra-portable has a Core i5 520M processor, which gives it a degree of power that belies its lightweight design. At this price, we expect good performance and were rather disappointed to find only 2GB of memory installed. The R700-15X also comes with the 32-bit installation of Windows 7 Professional, so you're effectively limited to upgrading to 3GB of RAM.

One piece of good news is that, despite its small size, the R700 has a DVD writer, which is lacking in many ultra-portables. It also looks great, with a black brushed-metal finish that feels good too. It’s both light and sturdy enough to cope with being carried around in a rucksack or briefcase.

The keys are widely spaced but responsive and comfortable to type on. There’s no numeric keypad, which leaves more space for larger keys and also means that the touchpad can be positioned underneath the space bar while still occupying a comfortable centrally located positioned on the wrist rest.

Toshiba Portege R700-15X

There are three USB ports, one of which doubles as an eSATA port. You can use either VGA or HDMI ports to output graphics to an external monitor, and there are the usual 3.5mm stereo in- and outputs. There’s also an SD card reader and even a fingerprint scanner for the security-conscious. We were pleased to find a Gigabit Ethernet port and dual-band 802.11n WiFi. The hard disk capacity is adequate at 320GB, although we'd expect more at this price.

Predictably for such a tiny laptop, the quality of the sound that comes out of its miniscule speakers is awful: tinny, muddy and entirely lacking in bass. This won’t matter too for Windows sounds, but we don’t recommend playing music through them.

The 1,280x720 display also has its problems. The mat finish means that you can use it in direct sunlight without any unwanted reflections, but colours look a little dull, even at full brightness. This shouldn't be a major issue, unless you need an ultra-portable with fine colour precision.

The R700 has great battery life, managing seven hours and 56 minutes in our tests. It also did well in our benchmark tests, with an overall score of 86. It isn't designed for gaming as its Call of Duty 4 score of 10fps shows.

The R700 packs a surprisingly amount of power into a lightweight and durable chassis. The DVD drive and 320GB hard disk make it easy to install software and store files. A three-year warranty is welcome and helps to justify the price, but you still have to pay to send it back to Toshiba if there's a fault. If you want a powerful ultra-portable, the R700 is a good choice, but if you're happy to carry an extra 800 grams, Acer's Aspire TimelineX 4820TG costs less, is faster and lasts longer.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i5 520M
Processor clock speed2.4GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size17x316x227mm
Weight1.4kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size13.3 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelMatshita UJ-844S
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11a/n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHC
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Professional 32-bit
Operating system restore optionburn own restore disc
Software includedNero 9
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantythree years RTB
Price£951
Detailswww.toshiba.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.ilgs.co.uk