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Toshiba Portege R830 review: Toshiba Portege R830

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This machine's wireless capabilities are impressive -- along with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 support, it also has built-in mobile broadband. Slap in a SIM card and you can surf the Web via HSDPA at speeds of up to 14.4Mbps. This is one of the main reasons why the laptop is so pricey.

Eat its dust

The dual-core Intel Core i5-2520M is a Sandy Bridge chip, clocked at 2.5GHz. It's certainly no slouch in the performance stakes. Twinned with 4GB of RAM, it managed to push the R830-138 to a score of 7,536 in the PCMark05 benchmark test, which is pretty cracking for an ultra-portable machine.

This laptop is most likely to be used for tasks like editing Excel spreadsheets and working on Word documents, but a score like this indicates it'll be more than happy dealing with much more demanding tasks, such as editing videos.

One of the benefits of the new Sandy Bridge chips is that they feature Intel's faster integrated graphics. In 3DMark06, its chip helped the R830-138 to a score of 4,036, which isn't bad by ultra-portable standards, although it's still not quick enough to play the latest games at decent frame rates. That said, the R830-138 isn't really a gamer's machine and it'll handle other graphics duties, such as hi-def video playback, without any problems.

Battery life is crucial for any laptop designed primarily to be used while on the move, but, unfortunately, the R830-138 doesn't excel in this area. It only managed to keep running for 1 hour and 23 minutes in the extremely intensive Battery Eater Classic test before giving up the ghost -- the best ultra-portables pass the 2 hour mark. Still, you'll get longer battery life with normal use.

Conclusion

Overall, the Toshiba Portege R830-138 is rather disappointing. It offers great performance and we love the fact that mobile broadband is built in. But we expected better build quality, given the laptop's high price tag, and its battery life is also below-par.

Edited by Charles Kloet 

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