The Toshiba Portegé R600-108 is not just a statement in lightweight laptop design: at only 810g, Toshiba has written the book on ultraportability.

Pick up the Toshiba Portegé R600-108 and you'd be forgiven for thinking that the assembly line had forgotten to install a computer inside the case. But inside nonetheless resides an Intel SU9400, a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor backed up with 3GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage.

Contributing to the Toshiba Portegé R600-108's extremely low mass is a body built from eggshell-thin magnesium alloy, and a small battery pack limited to 2900mAh - that's around half the capacity of many models.

No surprise then that in MobileMark 2007 battery testing the Toshiba Portegé R600-108 prematurely packed in at 117 minutes - less than 2 hours' use. Real-world speed performance was more encouraging, scoring 69 points in WorldBench 6, thus making the R600 one of the faster ultraportables we've tested.

There's an interesting mixture of ports distributed around the Toshiba Portegé R600-108, including an eSATA doubling as a USB at left, and a full ExpressCard/54 slot on the right. Absent is any video port more modern than a 1980s' VGA socket. If you require digital video output you can find DVI after buying a separate port ‘replicator'.

We were pleased to see a matt-finish screen on the Toshiba Portegé R600-108, a 12in LCD with 1,280x800 pixel resolution, although our joy only lasted until we switched the notebook on.

Even at full brightness, the screen remains rather dim, and viewing angle is so limited that you have to move your from head side to side just to see clearly what's on the screen - even when sitting directly in front. It's a transreflective type, which is supposed to work in direct sunlight.

Wireless facilities comprise dual-band 802.11 with a/b/g/draft-n variants, Bluetooth, and an HSDPA 3G modem, with SIM slot inside the battery bay.

Toshiba Portegé R600-108: Specs

  • 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400
  • 12.1in (1280x800) 16:10 matt LCD
  • Windows Vista Business 32-bit SP1
  • 128GB SSD
  • 3GB (1x2GB, 1x1GB) DDR2-800 RAM
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD
  • VGA, Gigabit ethernet
  • 3x USB 2.0
  • USB combo
  • express card 54
  • mic, h/phone audio ports
  • mono speakers
  • mic
  • SD card reader
  • 802.11a/b/g/draft-n, Bluetooth, 3G
  • 0.3Mp webcam
  • fingerprint reader
  • 283x216x20-26mm
  • 810g
  • 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400
  • 12.1in (1280x800) 16:10 matt LCD
  • Windows Vista Business 32-bit SP1
  • 128GB SSD
  • 3GB (1x2GB, 1x1GB) DDR2-800 RAM
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD
  • VGA, Gigabit ethernet
  • 3x USB 2.0
  • USB combo
  • express card 54
  • mic, h/phone audio ports
  • mono speakers
  • mic
  • SD card reader
  • 802.11a/b/g/draft-n, Bluetooth, 3G
  • 0.3Mp webcam
  • fingerprint reader
  • 283x216x20-26mm
  • 810g

OUR VERDICT

Overall, the ‘look and feel’ impression swings somewhere between awe at the empty weight – and horror at the huge price for such an insubstantial toy-like notebook. The Toshiba Portegé R600-108 has a good performance benchmark result but a dreadful screen and foreshortened battery life that makes it hard to recommend.

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