Toshiba’s in-between Portege R500 looks appealing


Prod_porteger500_30003 Tucked within netbooks and the thin-and-light notebooks, I keep forgetting that there are some full-featured laptops that sit in between. I’d like to take a look at Toshiba’s Portege R500 simply because it has that 12-inch "sweet spot" display size I’m interested in, has a starting  weight of 2.4 pounds and is reasonably priced as well. I actually just got a note direct from Toshiba telling me that there’s a $100 instant rebate on the R500. I hit the link and sure enough, the device is now priced at $1,699.

It might be a good middle ground between something like my MSI Wind and the Lenovo X301 I borrowed. The weight is actually less than the netbook and the price is around a grand less than the Lenovo. It still has an integrated optical drive, which most folks seem to look for and has reasonably good specs for a non-desktop replacement portable device:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo at 1.33 GHz
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Windows Vista Business
  • WXGA or 1280×800 resolution on the 12.1-inch transreflective display
  • 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
  • 160GB hard drive at 5400 RPM

Toshiba claims battery life up to 7.5 hours, so I’d expect around 5.5 to 6. While the device won’t set the world on fire in terms of performance, the compromise is that it’s as light or lighter than a netbook and should handle tasks with a little more ease. The two downers that I can see: no integrated webcam (unless I missed it in the specs) and the integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics. There’s nothing wrong with the Intel GMA 950, but comparable devices have a little more graphical oomph these days.



The Toshiba R500 might be nicer than your Wind, but is it four times nicer? It costs four times as much.

The larger display is nice, but I don’t know what possible advantage the 1.33 Mhz dual core could have over the Atom in actual use.

10″ netbooks like the Wind, the Eee 1000H, the Lenovo S10 and the Samsung NC10, are the smallest computers with a usable keyboard, IMO. They are an amazing bargain.


Why can’t someone make a tablet pc with this weight? That’s what I really want. I grade papers on my tablet and light is really important but there has been no progress on making tablets lighter (even slates) in a long long time. Will they ever get lighter?

Lukas Okmis

Hi, I have to disagree… I have a toshiba R100, fujitsu Q2010, toshiba R500, vaio TZ. I will always love the R100, but the R500 is not worth 500 dollars. Its loud, its flimsy built, it makes sounds when you hold it in one hand – quiiks :) The touchpad is unresponsive, the touchpad buttons are waaay too hard to push, plus they feel very cheap. Altogether, its not a good investment. The screen is not as good as described everywhere…the transreflective layer makes it kind of blurry, not nice to look at. Of course when you work outside, its nice. Toshiba knows, why they issued the R600 so fast after the R500 – it was just not good. I would change the R500 instead of a new R100 anytime. PS: Ive got the 64gb SSD without dvdrom version of the R500.
Both the Q2010 and the Vaio are nice notebooks, with a LOT less flaws then the R500.
Hope that helps to see some prospective.


Another comparable computer is the recently released Fujitsu P8020 with Montevina processor and graphics.


Yes kevin, go for it. I’m typing this on my toshiba r100, which is the much older version of the r500. My r100 is light weight, good resolution, plenty fast for my school needs, perfect keyboard, and incredibly long battery life. Leaving brightness to 40%, using wifi, and listening to music with the extended battery I get around 7hrs out of it. Once I graduate and get a real job I want to buy the Toshiba r600. I envy nothing out of the netbooks out there, well except for the feeling of getting something new. Good luck and hope you get it.

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