Thin, sleek and the ideal travel companion

Thin, sleek and the ideal travel companion

THERE are few better ways to soothe the rigours of a long-distance business trip than having Toshiba’s Portégé R200 as a travel companion.

The R200 (RRP $4,073) is Toshiba’s latest ultraportable notebook and I recently had the pleasure of taking one along on an overseas trip.

Apart from being one of the world’s thinnest and lightest full-size notebooks on the market — only 9.9mm thick and weighing a mere 1.29kg — the R200 is also a sexy little number, eliciting envious looks from fellow travellers every time I pulled it out.

In celebration of Toshiba’s 20th anniversary in the notebook business, the R200 is styled in shiny Special Edition satin silver. Even the keyboard buttons are silver, which makes a welcome change from the ordinary black.

But of course, looks are not everything and I really enjoyed the R200’s light weight. Once I’d slipped it into my backpack, it was easy to forget it was there.

Obviously, this ultraportability requires some sacrifices and the R200 has no optical drive. An external drive is available, but this is an optional accessory.

Nevertheless, the R200 is a well-featured machine delivering solid performance, powered by a 1.2GHz Intel Pentium M 753 processor. It also contains 512MB of DDR400 memory, expandable to 1GB, and a 60GB hard drive — the same compact drive Toshiba uses in its new F60 Gigabeat digital music player.

One of the special features of the R200 is its hard drive protection mechanism, which is sensitive to motions across three axes and is able to unload the drive head before it moves, in the event of the notebook receiving a knock. The default setting is a tad overzealous, however, and locks the hard drive down with the slightest movement. This can be adjusted, which is recommended when working on anything other than a hard surface. The machine comes with the standard connectivity options, including integrated Bluetooth and 802.11b/g wireless.

The 12.1-inch TFT display does the job — especially since without the built-in optical drive, you are not going to watch many DVDs on this unit. Toshiba says the R200 runs for 4 hours 40 minutes on its lithium ion battery, and although I did not test this, my unit never ran dry. Overall, the Portégé R200 is a well-rounded, solid, yet lightweight little machine. Its elegant 20th Anniversary Special Edition design reminds us how far notebook techno-logy has come.

This is a great option to present to style-conscious customers whose computers are a constant companion.

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