Toshiba today launched its new ultra-light Portege R500 notebook, claiming it's the "world's lightest" single-spindle notebook.

Weighing in at just 779g and measuring 19.5mm thick, the Toshiba Portege R500 is the first Toshiba notebook to come with a Flash-based 64GB Solid State Disc.

This type of drive is more resilient to shock and vibration, as well as being quieter and less power-hungry. Battery life for the Toshiba Portege R500 is up to 12.5 hours, said Ken Chan, Toshiba's product manager for the UK, at today's launch in London.

The dual-spindle version features the world's first 7mm optical disc drive, and a 120GB hard drive. It's 19.5mm thick and weighs in at 979g.

Transflective backlit display

Both R500 models have a transflective 12.1-inch LED backlit display, ensuring that you'll be able to see the screen at its best, regardless of lighting conditions.

The Toshiba Portege comes with either Windows Vista Business or Windows XP Pro pre-installed and is available from July. The ultralight 779g model is priced at £1,879, while the 979g version will sell at £1,291.

Toshiba also announced that the new Toshiba Portege R500 will play a key role in explorer David Hempleman-Adams' attempt to break the world record for a transatlantic flight by using a helium balloon. Hempleman-Adams will use the notebook to access weather reports, track his location and blog about his experiences whilst mid-air, when he sets off from Newfoundland in early July.