First look: Toshiba Portégé R600


portege-r600-back-reduced-300x200At first glance, there’s very little to distinguish the R600 from the R500, but the devil is in the detail. For one, Toshiba has strengthened the base – protecting the all-important motherboard – by adding ridges for extra rigidity.

It also claims to have made the screen better protected, with Toshiba’s interesting spin being that the lid’s flexibility – which might initially make people feel that the R600 is a bit fragile – actually increases its reliability. Certainly we gave it a good old flex and it stayed in shape, which is fortunate as this was the one European sample.

But the really big enhancement is to communications. There’s now embedded 3G mobile broadband which, along with a claimed battery life of up to eight hours – with an extended battery – and an astonishing weight of 779g, makes this a highly attractive laptop for mobile professionals.

As with the R500, you can also use it outside. There’s a transflective LED display, and by pressing a single button you can make it feasible to use outside on a sunny day. The keyboard is a pleasure to use too. All the keys are large and easy to hit, with a responsive feel – this is one obvious area where it’s superior to the cheaper Portégé A600.

portege-r600-front-reduced-300x269It’s powered by an Intel ultra-low-voltage U9400 CPU, but as we’ve come to expect from the company’s latest processors it’s still a powerful machine. We’ll wait until we’ve put the R600 through our usual benchmarks, but there’s no obvious reason why most people couldn’t use this as their main PC.

Toshiba hasn’t yet confirmed prices or exact specifications for the UK, but we know the R600 will come with the option of no optical drive or with one integrated into the chassis (adding around 200g to the weight). We also know it will be priced at roughly the same price as the R500, so approximately £1,000 exc VAT.

We’ve been assured we’re top of the list for when full review samples become available, so keep an eye out on PC Pro reviews within the next two to four weeks – which is also when the R600 is likely to go on sale.


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