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.