Toshiba Portege R500 Laptop
by Kelly Foss
What first attracted me to the Toshiba R500 notebook was its combination of small size and extensive capability. In the range of laptops on the market today, this one is very compact, amazingly light, yet quite capable for its size.
Compared with other portables, the first thing that really gets your attention is just how light it really is. Weighing in at just over 2 pounds, it is among the lightest on the market today. You take it out of the box and realize that the box that it came in feels heavier than the laptop itself. This thing is a feather weight. I found myself fantasizing about my next trip and how wonderful it would be to take it out for a test drive. The thought of not having to lug the large, 6 pound, widescreen, desktop-replacement laptop made me almost giddy.
Technology is what allows such an extensive array of capabilities to be crammed into this petite device. To begin with, the R500 is available with either a traditional 120 GB hard drive or 64 GB SSD solid state static ram drive. Logically, static devices which have no moving parts use very little power compared with a disked storage device. Additionally, they tend to be very durable because there is nothing in them that wears…just electrons moving about. With fewer power sapping devices on board, the R500’s smaller battery pack still delivers 4 plus hours of usage depending on how you’re using it. To continue the light power usage theme, our evaluation R500 is also equipped with a low power Intel Centrino Duo 1.2 GHz processor and 1 megabyte of low consumption ram.
The true performance capability of the R500 is masked to a certain degree by Windows Vista®…I am still no Vista fan. Notwithstanding, the little Toshiba handles the tasks for which it was intended with ease and reasonable speed. Even in processor-heavy work, the Toshiba churns through image editing and light duty video production very respectably.
The R500 offers a bright, vivid, LED backlit, 12.1 inch display which keeps its brightness even in daylight. Also included are a full keyboard, wireless or wired connectivity, USB ports, and long battery life. The R500 even has a biometric security device. In plain English that means that you can set it up to require a fingerprint scan of the owner or authorized user to log on to this machine. Yes, it has a mini fingerprint scanner on the keyboard!
If you fly and like to work on a portable in the airplane, this machine is a God-send. You can leave it in several low power modes for hours or even days. When you take it out of your bag it fires up immediately. You have the luxury of a full keyboard, a clear screen, good performance, and it even fits on the seatback tray of a compact regional jet.
I tested the video playback capabilities of the R500 by playing multiple YouTube videos at the same time with good results. There is only 1 small speaker on the unit, but plugging in headphones produces a remarkably full and rich sound quality.
Even doing video editing in Windows Moviemaker was easily within the R500’s capabilities. Clearly, it won’t replicate the performance of my high end desktop, but most people won’t be editing video with this ultra-compact notebook, either. The point is that you could if you needed to. All of the applications in the Window’s Office suite also play flawlessly.
In all, I’m mightily impressed with this compact notebook. It has the highly desirable combination of small size, light weight, long battery life and solid capability.
If these are the kinds of capabilities that you’re looking for in a traveling companion, then the Toshiba R500 may be your next laptop.
Operating System **
Genuine Windows® XP Professional (SP2)
Processor Type * : Core™2 Duo Processor Number * : U7600 Processor Speed * : 1.20GHz Front Side Bus * : 533MHz
Memory Size *
PC2-5300 DDR2 667MHz SDRAM
Display Size *
Display Type *
WXGA with High Brightness, Transreflective type
Display Resolution *
Graphics Engine *
Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950
Hard Drive Size *
Hard Drive Speed
Optical Drives *
DVD SuperMulti (+/-R) drive supporting up to 9 formats
Wireless LAN * ♣
Intel® Wireless WiFi Link 4965 AGN (802.11a/g/n)
Bluetooth® V2.0 + EDR
85 key US keyboard, TouchPad pointing device, Toshiba Outdoor Display Switch
Finger Print Reader, Password Security, Security Cable Lock Slot
Intel® PRO/1000 – 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Built-in microphone, Headphone jack (stereo), Microphone jack (mono), Built-in monaural speaker
45W (15V 3A) 100-240V AC Adapter
Battery Life *
Included: 6-cell battery for up to 8.18 hours
PC Card Slots
1-Type II PC Card Slot
PC Express Slot
No PC Express Slot
InterVideo® WinDVD® 5, TOSHIBA ConfigFree®, TOSHIBA Disc Creator, TOSHIBA Management Console, TOSHIBA Security Assist, TOSHIBA Recovery Disc Creator, Ulead® DVD MovieFactory® for Toshiba, Infineon® TPM Software Professional Package 2.0, Microsoft® Office Ready Suite 2007 (60-day trial), Trusted Platform Module (TPM v1.2), AuthenTec EntréPad® TruePrint® technology
Starting at 2.4 lbs.
3-Years Parts, Labor and AC Adapter; 1-Year Battery