Toshiba Portégé R500-125 review

A tiny lightweight machine that offers excellent usability and battery life

The Toshiba betters many rivals for mobility. During the daily commute, it's easy to forget you're even carrying it

TechRadar Verdict

A highly portable laptop, this machine is best suited to those on the move who aren't too fussed about the lack of power


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    Good battery life

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    Generous connectivity

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    Great feature set


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    Doesn't feel very robust

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    Low performance

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    Screen won't be to everyone's taste

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The Toshiba Portégé R500-125 (£1350 inc. VAT) is one of the most portable laptops we've seen to date, weighing in at just 1.1kg, yet boasting a usable 12.1-inch display.

The screen is one of the most unusual things about this laptop, as it's a transflective LCD panel. As such, it absorbs sunlight rather than reflecting it, so you'll be able to turn the brightness settings down when out and about to save on battery life.

Although a major benefit out of the office, it's not so good indoors, where limited viewing angles result in uneven colour tones.

Low power

It's not just the screen that's geared towards power saving – the Toshiba uses an ultra-low voltage Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

As a result, we managed to run this laptop for an impressive 343 minutes between charges, with even longer running times achievable when carrying out word processing only.

Multi-tasking is possible, thanks to 2048MB of memory, but this isn't a machine for running intense programs on.

Lightweight laptop

The Toshiba betters many rivals for mobility. During the daily commute, it's easy to forget you're even carrying it, the light weight proving a massive bonus over longer periods of time.

When it comes to comfort, the Toshiba is faultless despite its tiny dimensions. The keyboard is responsive with near full-sized keys. Touchpad is also large enough to offer accurate and comfortable navigation.

Build quality suffers in the bid to keep the weight to a minimum, however. The plastics used in the body feel flimsy to the touch, and the lid bows under the slightest pressure. With such a large degree of flex, however, there's no chance of the display cracking when in your bag, although the fragile panel may rub against the keys.

Excellent connectivity

Toshiba has crammed a fair amount of ports into the R500, with three USB ports, mini FireWire, a PC card slot, VGA-out and an SD media card reader all lining the sides of the chassis, as well as an optical drive.

Other features include a fingerprint scanner nestled between the mouse buttons, letting you log on and keep your files secure with ease. Business users will appreciate the integrated 3G/ HSDPA modem, letting you connect to the internet when out and about. The SIM card is located behind the battery, so you'll have to turn the machine off to access it.

With occasionally poor colour reproduction, the R500's transflective display is bound to polarise opinion.

The impressive battery life and ability to work outdoors is likely to appeal to just as many users, however, and if you fall into the latter camp the R500-125 is an excellent laptop.