Notebooks Guide

Toshiba Portege R600 review

Toshiba Portege R600: Defying Gravity

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On A Diet

On A Diet

With most ultraportables, you'll be expecting a stripped down computer that's sorely lacking in features, but this is not the case with the Portege R600. Most of the ports are there, and Toshiba has also managed to squeeze in an optical drive. If the Lenovo X300 was a work of engineering beauty, then the R600 deserves equal, if not better, billing. That's not to say the Toshiba's perfect as the unit does have a major flaw in its screen and we'll get to that shortly.

Like the R500, the R600 uses a transreflective LCD screen that's LED backlit. Transreflective is a pretty cool thing in our books as what it does is basically absorb the incoming light to illuminate the screen when the backlight is turned off (there's a switch on the R600 to do so). This tends to work best outdoors in bright sunny weather, but if anything, our field testing showed that while this was true, the results aren't really that spectacular.

So while this was a feature that made unit interesting, the biggest problem here as far as we could determine was the LED backlight bleed, which was terrible to say the least. On a black background, you can easily spot the white lines leaking on the top and bottom of the screen. Yet another complaint about the screen rests with its very flimsy feel due to its extremely slim build which causes it to flex easily and gives the impression that it may break if you accidentally twist it too much. While it's understandable that Toshiba was trying to shave off weight on every angle as much as it could, we really didn't expect a 'flexi-screen' which wasn't actually part of its features. Toshiba has assured us though that the screen is pretty durable and shouldn't break from casual handling.

Moving to the bottom half of the notebook though, we find that things are generally much improved. The keyboard is smooth to touch and easy to handle, with just the tiniest of flex when you type. The R600's keyboard layout was also decent, with dedicated Page Up and Page Down buttons located in easy reach near the arrow keys, making scrolling easy on the fingers. Like some business-rugged models, the R600 also has a spill resistant keyboard, but we were told that it wasn't up to the same standards as business-rugged models. The trackpad's sensitivity too was good and you'll have no problems navigating with it. Lastly, we found the chrome finish on the trackpad buttons don't really bode well with the overall design scheme of the notebook.