Portability is a technological virtue these days -- gadgets aren't much fun if you have to stay in one place to use them. That's why we all hate fax machines so much. The Toshiba Portege R700 is one laptop that takes portability to an extreme. Our fairly high-end configuration of this machine, the R700-160, costs around £1,100.
When we grabbed the R700 in our sweaty hands, it nearly slipped out of our mitts and wafted out the window. This is one astonishingly light laptop. Despite rocking a 13.3-inch display, this machines weighs only 1.4kg. You could throw the R700 in a briefcase and forget all about it.
The R700 isn't just light, it's also impressively slender, measuring 316 by 26 by 227mm. Again, that makes it a perfect candidate if you're looking for a laptop that will slip into a bag alongside all the other detritus that abides there.
The laptop's build quality is good, although we noticed some flex in the keyboard. The materials out of which the laptop is made have clearly been chosen to make it as light as possible. We wouldn't fancy the R700's chances if it were dropped onto the pavement, but Toshiba has protected the hard drive against drops and sudden movement anyway, which might just save your bacon in a worst-case scenario.
We were impressed by the laptop's keyboard. It's large and well laid out. There's not much travel to each key, but we found typing at speed very comfortable. The trackpad isn't too small either. Navigating the 32-bit edition of Windows 7 Professional with this trackpad proved an efficient experience.
Around the sides, there's an impressive array of ports and extra gubbins, considering the slim dimensions of this machine. There are three USB ports (one is a combined USB/eSATA port); VGA and HDMI outputs; an Ethernet jack; 3.5mm sockets for headphones and a mic; a DVD rewritable drive; an ExpressCard slot; and a multi-format card reader. There's also a webcam above the screen, and a SIM-card slot beneath the removable battery, if you fancy indulging in some 3G connectivity.
The R700 isn't perfect. Like many laptops designed to be taken on the road, its 13.3-inch, 1,366x768-pixel panel features an anti-glare coating to prevent annoying reflections screwing up your computing pleasure. We don't know whether it's because of this coating or some another reason, but the R700's display looks dull and slightly yellowish.
If you only need to read text and blast through emails, a dull display might not bother you much. But, if you were hoping to throw some pretty pictures or movies at this bad boy, think twice.