Toshiba Portege R600-ST520W Review


The Toshiba Portege R600 is an ultraportable notebook that can easily be mistaken as a Netbook for its size, but offers a better performance than your average netbooks, has a great battery life. In addition, the built-in DVD burner is more than average for a netbook.

While there are some problems with the screen (you can bend it a little too much) and the price is a little high, the The Toshiba Portege R600 is a device we recommend if you can afford it and want a smaller notebook, but want more performance capabilities than your average netbook.

The Design

The Toshiba Portege R600 is part of Toshiba’s series of ultraportables that pack up good performance in a small package. It tries to be something of a laptop and a netbook, offering you performance that tends to the laptop market and has size and portability features that make it seem more of a netbook.

The R600 is 11.1 inches wide, 8.5 inches deep and 0.77 inches thick and features a 12.1 inch non glossy screen that works natively at a 1,280×800 pixel resolution. The screen is big enough for you to be comfortable but just like the keyboard, you will want something a little bigger and spacious if you plan to work a lot on it. You will have no problems if you plan to work a limited number of hours with it, but it’s not enough to make it your primary system.

The Features

Of course, the 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U9400 is something you will never find in a netbook, while the 3GB of 800MHz DDR2 RAM memory boost up quite a lot its performances.

The R600 is not centered around entertainment, but rather on performance and mobility. This is why you will find only a small speaker at the top left of the keyboard and there are no media controls. The fingerprint reader is something you will use for more security while the Security Assist software will encrypt and password protect your BIOS and hard drive.

Speaking of the hard drive, the standard version comes with a 160GB hard drive working at 5,400 rotations per minute. By buying the $3,500 version of the R600 you get a 512GB hard drive while the $2,500 version comes with a 128GB SSD. We find that there is little use for any of these, since it $160GB should be enough for your work station, especially since you can use the built-in DVD RW drive and the ExpressCard slot to back up your data.

In the connectivity department, the R600 offers Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi options, which is great, and it also comes with a Xohm WiMAX radio. Most people cannot use this network, but if you are living in Baltimore, Md., or Portland, Ore., the use of this wireless Internet service is something you will no doubt enjoy.

The Performance

Performance is one of the domains where R600 is great for its size. Although the processor is working at low voltages, the Intel Core 2 Duo has performed great in multimedia multitasking. It is also a good solution if you plan on working with office documents, image editing software and such.

The battery is also great, keeping the R600 running for about 5 hours in video playback mode and a lot more if you use it for office related tasks. You can also increase the time you can work with the R600 by shutting down the backlight and use external light (thank the not glossy screen for that).

All the parts come with a three-year warranty except for the battery, which is warranted for only one year.
Overall, this is a great choice for those of you who want a portable solution without compromising too much performance.

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