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Toshiba hypes Portégé R500 MacBook-killer

Laptop maker attempts to steal thunder from Apple

Last week's launch of the MacBook Air has caused a surge in interest in the thin and light laptop category, but Apple's competitors aren't prepared to allow the Mac maker to win all the plaudits. Toshiba has announced a new version of its Portégé R500 laptop which it says is thinner, lighter and more capable than the MacBook Air – the inclusion of built-in 3G mobile broadband being one of its major attributes.

Toshiba's UK product manager Ken Chan told PC Advisor's sister title Techworld that although the MacBook Air is a triumph of marketing, the company "made compromises for [the sake of] design".

"For Apple, less is more. It is in the unique position of having a strong following of people who are willing to pay a £200 premium to get its products."

He added: "We have an abundance of connectivity features, it makes ours less of a hassle to carry it around than the Apple."

As well as the 3G connectivity, Toshiba's Portégé R500 includes three USB ports, an internal DVD drive, removable battery, a full-size DVI video port, a PC Card slot, Gigabit Ethernet and a Firewire connector. By contrast, the MacBook Air includes just one USB port, and none of the other built-in connectivity features mentioned above.

At 1kg, the R500 is also lighter than the MacBook Air (1.35kg) and is thinner, but Apple wins the bragging rights in terms of screen size – the MacBook Air has a 13.3in display versus the R500's 12in screen.

The Portégé R500 with 3G costs from £1,249 in the UK, while a version with a 64GB solid-state drive instead of a 120GB or 160GB hard drive starts at £1,499.

With additional reporting from Bryan Betts, Techworld.

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