There is no manufacturer that can match Toshiba for its length of service to the notebook industry. With 20 years under its belt, the company has helped establish the market. For the main part, that market has been in supplying business travellers. So its no surprise that its latest ultraportable, the Portégé R200 is a slim and light number aimed at the business buyer.
Weighing in at a featherweight 1.3kg, you may not even notice that you’re carrying a notebook around with you. This may be an exaggeration with a footprint of 287 x 222 x 23mm, you’ll find that you won’t need a dedicated notebook case to carry the machine about, which is ideal if you’re worried about theft. The R200 looks like it means business, with slate-grey-and-black styling and a chrome strip around the touchpad. On the downside, the chrome may be pleasing to look at but it soon gets covered in fingerprints, which lessens the image.
You don’t get a portable down to this weight without sacrificing screen size and the R200 is no exception. The 12.1-inch screen is the standard 4:3 ratio, rather than the increasingly popular widescreen format. While this means you don’t get the extra display area, images are sharp and the screen is of high quality. The extra padding being the screen will stop the panel getting damaged in transit and adds rigidity to the build of the chassis.
The Portégé R200 strikes a good balance between performance and battery life, powered by a 1.2GHz Pentium M 753 processor. This is part of Intel’s ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) chips, which places emphasis on battery life rather than raw processing power. With 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive, you won’t be too concerned as the system runs smoothly and quietly.
The key advantage of Ultra Low Voltage components is saving power. We were pleased to find the battery lasted for just short of four hours in constant use. So, whether it’s getting started on that report in the morning, or finishing it on the commute home, you should find yourself with plenty of juice to spare.
Graphics, as we have come to accept from ultraportables, is handled by the Intel chipset. To this end, it’s fine for daily office tasks but you won’t want to relax with a game in the evening.
Data protection has been taken care of with the inclusion of a biometric fingerprint reader and a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) encryption chip. So, should you lose your notebook - or leave it in the back of a cab - the person who finds it won’t be able to access your data. That is, if you’ve remembered to set up the security. With weight at a premium, you won’t find an optical drive in this system, so you may find yourself relying on the built-in wireless LAN connection for copying data to the notebook.
The Portégé R200 may not be as fast as other ultaportables on the market but with a weight as light as 1.3kg, there are always compromises to be made. That said, with reasonable performance and a battery life that is more than impressive, it’s hard to complain with what’s on offer - we just wish it was a bit more affordable.