Toshiba Portégé R700 13in notebook
One-time MacBook Air alternative gets chubby in middle age
Performance, at least, has gone in the right direction, the R700 managing 1080p video without a hitch and putting in a 3DMark 06 score of 1915 - more than three times the R600's 612. But it's still well below any laptop with discrete graphics.
It's PCMark Vantage numbers put it well above the 13-17in notebook class average, thanks to its speedy SSD and the horsepower of the two-core, four-thread Core i7.
The R700's lid is more rigid than its predecessors'
But the CPU brings its own issues: more aggressive cooling, which has not only helped bulk out the R700 but also involves a very noisy fan. And the R700's thin, lightweight chassis doesn't muffle the sound the way another laptop would.
The R700-155 is pricey - £1691 inc VAT - but it then it does include a 128GB SSD, the Core i7 and a HSDPA 3G modem. The cheapest R700 comes in at £739, for a 2.26GHz Core i3-350M, 320GB HDD and no optical drive. If you want the DVD writer, you're looking at an extra £176 - you can get an occasional use external unit for a lot less than that. Pay £1056 and you'll get one anyway - and a 2.4GHz Core i5-520M - or the i3 plus 3G.
The slimline Portégé R-series sub-notebook of old has grown into a mainstream laptop. It's lost its raison d'être on the way. What was once an impressively small, light yet feature-packed machine is now just another 13.3in machine. ®
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