Best Toshiba portable laptops in India

Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 8:49 by Tech Correspondent

Three portable laptops that offer the best features from Toshiba

One of the world’s largest personal computer vendors, Toshiba has, over the years, had a stellar track record in manufacturing best-in-class laptops–across several types of consumer profiles, be it for the average home user, or the typical business professional. Even in terms of churning out notebooks–based on diverse hardware specifications–the Japanese multinational conglomerate has delivered the goods. And that explains as to why Toshiba laptops continue to enjoy a solid reputation today in India.

So if you have been thinking of buying a portable laptop–weight of less than 2kg; a 10- to 15-inch screen; a powerful processor; at least 2GB of RAM; a 160GB hard disk drive (minimum); based on Windows Vista Professional or Windows 7 Professional, and having a mobile broadband modem–then here are three options from Toshiba in India for you to look at.

Toshiba NB250: A portable laptop below Rs 20k!

Price: Rs.19,250


nb250 photo

Photo: NB250

What you get: If looks could kill, then the NB250–Toshiba’s entry-level netbook–is as pretty an assassin as they come in the world of portable computing devices.

Weighing 1.18kg and measuring 263 x 211.5 x 25.4 / 30.75mm (W x D x H), this netbook’s shiny black lid has a mottled, rugged finish that renders an interesting look and feel. An almost full-size keyboard is one of the major highlights of this minilaptop, with typing on the buttons turning out to be a real delight. The same can be said of the mouse trackpad, too, which is pretty enjoyable to use.

Unlike many other trackpads, the one in the Toshiba NB250 is responsive and accurate–this remains the case even while using multi-touch gestures, such as zooming in or out by pressing one’s fingers together or stretching them apart, or making two-fingered swiping motions to scroll documents. All we can say is that this Toshiba portable will be a treat for those of you who need a netbook for heavy text input, or to just surf the Web.

Based on the Windows 7 Starter 32-bit OS, the device is equipped with a 10.1-inch LED screen (16:9 aspect ratio) that renders a 1024 x 600 resolution and is compatible with high-definition content. A webcam, featuring Toshiba’s Face Recognition Feature, is placed on the screen bezel.

Running on a 6-cell battery, the Toshiba NB250 portable laptop is driven by a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N455 processor, with an integrated Intel NM10 GPU taking care of the graphics applications. The processors are fast enough for your daily chores involving the Internet, routine office tasks and enjoying standard-definition movies.

The netbook comes with a 250GB SATA hard disk drive, while the system memory can be expanded to up to 2GB DDR3 with the help of a memory slot of 1GB DDR3.

Two USB ports and one RGB/VGA port are built into the laptop for you to transfer data in and out of the device. Connectivity options come in the form of Ethernet, Wireless LAN–no support for Bluetooth provided, though.

Our take: Its battery life isn’t that great and the performance it delivers is pretty much similar to that of a typical netbook–still, the Toshiba NB250, overall, is a really accomplished netbook that merits your attention. Gorgeous looks, an outstanding keyboard-trackpad combo, a bright display, as well as ultraportability–all for a price of Rs.19,250 in India –makes this one a good value-for-money purchase.

Toshiba Portege R700: Portable but not cheap

Price: Rs.69,990

portege r700 photo

Photo: Portege R700

What you get: The Portege R700 is an excellent thin-and-light laptop for those of you who want a portable that can deliver on both features and performance.

Weighing 1.39kg (1.73kg with AC adapter) and measuring 316 x 227 x 16.8/25.7mm (width x depth x height), this Toshiba notebook comes with a brushed magnesium-alloy chassis that lends a premium feel–providing far better protection against the elements than plastic. Unlike its predecessor, the R600, the R700 doesn’t suffer from chassis flexing. Why? Because, Toshiba has incorporated a honeycomb-type design into the R700, thereby ensuring that the amount of material used is reduced without compromising on the desired level of toughness for the notebook.

Plus, the typical glossy overcoat (ya, the one which tends to pick up fingerprints) found in the top lid of laptops, thankfully, is not there in the Portege R700. As far as the touchpad is concerned, it is pretty large and easy-to-use, and gives you a responsive multitouch experience.

How does the keyboard fare in this one? Well, the typing experience isn’t outstanding, but it’s fairly competent. Also, typing on the Portege R700 can be a rather noisy affair, something that might not go down that well with others if you are using the laptop during meetings or seminars. We would also love Toshiba to bring in the backlit functionality for the R700’s keyboard, a feature that’s unfortunately lacking presently.

The trackpad buttons have apparently been shortened vertically to make room for the large-size touchpad, while the chiclet-style keys are spaced adequately so that users’ fingers aren’t cramped during touch typing.

Now, on to the hardware specifications. Don’t be misled by the weight and look of the Portege R700, folks. Toshiba has packed in a full-power CPU and an optical drive under the hood of the seemingly ultrathin R700. The device is powered by a 2.66GHz Intel Core i5-450M processor. To optimize the performance of its 6-cell battery, the notebook is equipped with an integrated Intel HM55 graphics chipset–able enough for productivity applications but less so for graphics-intensive tasks.

The Toshiba Portege R700 portable laptop sports a 13.3-inch LED screen (16:9 aspect ratio) that renders a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. There is a web camera for you to indulge in video chatting; the webcam is integrated with Toshiba’s SmartFace technology which allows a user to log in merely by authenticating his face.

Running on the Windows 7 Professional operating system, the laptop offers two memory slots of 2GB DDR3 capacity each, with the system memory expandable to up to 8GB DDR3. Expect a 500GB SATA hard disk drive and a DVD writer. Preloaded stereo speakers should make the audio experience livelier.

Coming to data interfaces, those of you looking for a USB 3.0 socket will be disappointed. But, the Portege R700 has enough ports–2 USB ports, 1x USB/eSATA combo port, card reader (compatible with SD), RGB/VGA port, HDMI port–to deliver the goods. Connectivity options include Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

From a security point of view, the Portege R700 fares well, providing jacks for Kensington cable lock, and offering Toshiba’s proprietary EasyGuard technology which is a user-friendly one-point interface for accessing security, maintenance, backup and restore tools.

Our take: While its keyboard can definitely be improved upon, the Toshiba Portege R700 is a top-notch all-in-one portable laptop–for enterprise users in particular–combining its robust and sleek metal chassis with a high-performance-yielding processor in a thin and light package. Well worth its Rs.69,990 price tag!

Toshiba Libretto W100: Portability at a price!

Price: Rs.70,000

libretto w100 photo

Photo: Libretto W100

What you get: The Toshiba Libretto W100 is not exactly a traditional clamshell laptop, neither is it a tablet–instead, this tiny 0.819kg instrument is a mini laptop. Designed by Toshiba to mark the 25th anniversary of its foray into portable computing business, this device, running on Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit OS, is the world’s first dual-screen laptop.

Measuring 202 x 123 x 30.7mm (W x D x H), the clamshell minilaptop comes two capacitive 7-inch multitouch LED-backlit screens, each rendering a resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels. While one display is for viewing purpose, the other serves as a virtual keyboard–similar to the one on the Apple iPad. The virtual multi-mode software keyboard has different layouts and the screen gives haptic feedback with each virtual-key click.

When you press a button on the side of the chassis, the bottom screen is replaced by a virtual keyboard that springs up to take its rightful place. And on tapping the same button twice, users will find a virtual onscreen touch pad!

Powered by a not-too-powerful 1.20GHz Intel Pentium dual-core U5400 CPU and featuring an Intel HD graphics card (with up to 729MB total available graphics memory), the Libretto W100–surprisingly–performs pretty decently, in fact faring excellently when it comes to general Internet browsing and specific types of media playback. Expect the same system speed, overall, as in the case of any other Windows laptop from this Toshiba device–vis-à-vis executing tasks lie viewing Adobe Flash, running Word and Excel, or printing.

Running on an 8-cell Lithium-Ion battery, the portable minilaptop offers on-board RAM of 2GB and a 62GB Solid State Drive. A single USB port and a microSD slot are all that is there as far as ports are concerned (to be fair to Toshiba, though, this limitation applies to other ultra-mobile PCs as well). A 1-megapixel webcam is situated next to the top screen. Connectivity options include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (no Ethernet).

Our take: At a price of Rs.70,000 in India, the Libretto W100 definitely won’t come cheap–but if the idea of having a dual-touch-screen minilaptop that can deliver pretty decent performance sounds appealing to you, then this portable from Toshiba is worth considering.

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