Until recently choosing a notebook always involved compromise. You bought for performance or battery life but never both. If you wanted performance (or big screen size) you got poor battery life. If you wanted long battery life you got feeble processors and slow-motion computing. But when Intel announced its Intel 2nd generation core processors earlier this year the world changed. It made it possible for Toshiba to create notebooks like this black and chrome 13.3in Toshiba Portege R830. The 2nd gen Core i5 2410M (aka Sandy Bridge) chip inside this business ultraportable can handle any seriously intensive programs while the onboard Intel HD Graphics 3000 graphics make the Portege the equivalent of an old-style notebook with a discrete graphics card.
The real breakthrough is the battery life. The R830 lasts all day when being used on and off or for at least 7-8 hours of non-stop use. Made sceptical by a lifetime of spurious claims about battery-life by notebook vendors this reviewer was genuinely shocked that a notebook with a real CPU (instead of some lame ULV chip) could function for so long away from a power source. As a true ultraportable the Portege comes with plenty of connection and port options including a 3G SIM and a fast USB 3.0 port. There’s a 500GB hard drive and useful security features such as a fingerprint reader.
Weighing just 1.46kg and with slim dimensions (18.3 x 316 x 227mm) the R830 also has an HDMI port and could be considered an alternative to a MacBook Air or Samsung Series 9. But it still comes with business features such as its sharing recovery disks with other models in the Portege range. In short one of the best business notebooks yet. The only negative we could find was that the fan got a bit noisy when we were editing some HD video.
Available from Toshiba retailing for $1782.
APC rating: 9/10 (Editor’s Choice)