Toshiba Portégé R830-138 review

This has to be a world-beating laptop for that price, right?

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Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

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  • Good office performance
  • Decent battery life
  • Very thin and light


  • Very high price
  • Some flex in chassis
  • Pre-loaded software

We had to pick up our jaws up from off the floor too. It's going to take a damn sight more than a sophisticated-sounding French moniker to distract you from this laptop's gargantuan price. But the Toshiba Portege R830 must be an astonishing piece of kit, right?

Designed for the busy executive who wants a laptop that doesn't interfere with the shape of a soft Italian leather briefcase, Toshiba's wafer thin Portégé R series has long been one of the standards to beat when it comes to building a thin and light laptop.

Weighing less than 1.5kg, this Toshiba still packs a high clockspeed CPU beneath its demure black casing, and promises much in the way of business enhancements for the busy traveller. Thanks to that quick Core i5, it beats all but the quad core in the Acer 8951G in productivity benchmarks, and weighs well under half of that monster's tonnage.

How does it compare to the Core i7 in the Zenbook? That chip has a lower overall power draw and an extra megabyte of memory, which shows up best in the gaming benchmarks – but for general use the Core i5 here is oddly a little bit better.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 271 minutes
Cinebench: 10747
3DMark 2006: 3752

Battery life is more impressive. Running for just over four-and-a-half hours in our stock test, which includes a looping HD video, you can eke out up to eight hours of run time with a bit of care – that's a full day at the office, which you could spend at the coffee shop instead.

How much?

Toshiba r830

The problem that Toshiba faces is the arrival of the Ultrabook, in this case a role played by Asus' Zenbook UX31. Where once 'thin' and 'light' commanded a premium in the market for their cleverly engineered heatsinks, the UX31 is an even lighter and – in some respects, like instant start up – more capable machine for a third less cash.

To make matters worse, the magnesium alloy with which Toshiba coats the Portégé R580-138 may help to keep the weight down, but you'd be forgiven it's a cheap plastic rather than a metallic shell. It's soft, it flexes to the touch and it doesn't feel like it offers much protection next to the deadly corners of the Zenbook.

There are some advantages to the Portégé. It has a better screen, for example – there's a slight blue colour cast and an overly bright backlight, but these are both easy to tune out in the settings. You also have easier access to the underside for upgrades and changing the battery.

But despite its future-friendly Sandy Bridge CPU, the Toshiba leaves the distinct impression of being very 'last-gen' thin and light. Yes, you can carry it in one hand, but there's very little on offer that an Ultrabook doesn't do better.

Unless you count the incredible amount of pre-installed software, most of which simply raises the question: why? There are peculiar application choices. Like the games market, Amazon and eBay apps – they have no business on what is ostensibly a very sensible corporate machine, and give the Portege a slightly confused identity. You can remove them, of course, but they shouldn't have been there in the first place.

What we're really looking for is a reason to buy this over the cheaper, faster Zenbook. So far we have larger hard drive and a built-in DVD player, and Toshiba's support options are good if you want a business critical device and service. But it isn't enough any more; not at this colossal price.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time8.91 Hour
Finger Print ReaderYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyUMTS, HSPA, GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSDPA
Product FamilyPortege R830
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Cellular Network SupportedGSM
Processor Modeli5-2520M
ColourMagnesium Black
Operating SystemWindows 7 Professional
Brand NameToshiba
Processor Speed2.50 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.48 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelQM67 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1.65 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTruBrite
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height26.6 mm
Width316 mm
Depth227 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesR830
Product ModelR830-138
Product NamePortege R830-138 Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LinePortege
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberPT321E-01F00YEN
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Designed to offer the very latest in lightweight, mobile computing, these portable laptops are stylish, but pack all the power and features of products twice their size. The Portégé series demonstrates a perfect balance between function, style, weight and ultra-portability. All come equipped with Toshiba EasyGuard technologies, so they're tough and secure too.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Portege R830-138 Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty3 Year