Toshiba Portege R600-108 12.1in Ultra-Portable - Toshiba Portégé R600-108

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Also included in the price is a three year international warranty, another advantage the R600 has over the likes of the Sony VAIO TT and something we'd always expect from a business orientated notebook. Mind you, one thing you will probably want to consider is buying a higher capacity 5,800mAh battery, since this version of the R600 only comes with a three-cell 2,900mAh one.

This, we imagine, is largely to help achieve the headline grabbing weight, but it doesn't deliver very good battery life. In the Productivity test the R600 ceased operation after two hours and 24 minutes, while in the Reader test the result was an equally uninspiring three hours and 32 minutes - significantly less than similar machines. Toshiba would argue these would be better were the backlight turned off, but as we've already demonstrated the transflective screen isn't good enough to make this a reliable option.

As a result you'll need the six-cell 5,800mAh battery that will cost you around £100, or less depending on where you look. This is exactly twice the capacity of the three-cell, so should deliver twice the performance and if you apply this theory to the results we obtained and the R600 would compare perfectly well to other ultra-portable notebooks. Moreover, even with the £100 added to starting price, the R600 remains pretty good value compared to the likes of the VAIO TT and ThinkPad X301, which makes it all the more galling that Toshiba doesn't just include both batteries in the box.

Given the combination of a 128GB SSD and the faster of the two ULV processors we were expecting good raw performance from the R600 and, to the greater extent, it delivered. In our CPU limited in-house tests it proved quicker than both the Samsung X360 and the Sony VAIO TT, particularly in the video rendering test where it was around 15 per cent faster than the Samsung and 20 per cent faster than the Sony.

However, PCMark Vantage did show that the SSD in the R600, which is one of Toshiba's own making, is significantly slower than that found in the Samsung X360 - producing a score of 9,324 against the Samsung's 13,650. That's a difference of just over 30 per cent and this does reflect in a slightly lower overall score. Arguably this does make the X360 slightly faster in general multi-tasking, since the Toshiba's strength lies mainly in raw number crunching, but we wouldn't say this is a definitive difference; the R600 is still responsive in general use and shouldn't grind to halt unduly.


Toshiba has made some important improvements with the R600, making it an ultra-portable you should definitely consider if you're in the market. However, the transflective screen is still disappointing and you'll need to factor in £100 for an extra battery, so it's not quite a nailed on certainty just yet.

John Ratsey

December 18, 2008, 10:30 am

The R500 has a very small and noisy fan. Did Toshiba fix this on the R600?

As for the 3-cell battery. It may help grab the headlines, but it's no use in the real world.

What size PSU did Toshiba provide? An appropriately small 40/45W unit or a relatively big 60W brick?


December 18, 2008, 3:26 pm

so exactly how wel does the screen work outdoors...?

James Morris

December 18, 2008, 5:27 pm

Watch the video. That was shot with two 800W lamps trained on it, and you will see exactly how it compares to the screen with the backlight turned on.

Andy Vandervell

December 18, 2008, 5:32 pm

@John: Power supply is your regular 65W affair and the fan, as far as I'm aware, is unchanged though without a R500 on hand it's a little difficult to compare.

@HSC: Its just about passable in good light, but only for very brief periods - using it for long periods will only strain your eyes. As James says, take a look at the video for a better idea.


December 19, 2008, 4:38 am

OEM's are still taking the mickey - look how crowded that system tray is!

John Ratsey

December 19, 2008, 12:54 pm

@Andy: So how was the R600's fan noise? Inaudible, noticeable, or irritating?

Rob 6

April 2, 2009, 3:45 pm

Toshiba Portege R600 fan noise: bad. Continuous hissing noise. You don't hear it when you lift the machine two inches above your desk but when it stands on any type of surface (I tried many kinds of foam) some inside resonance sets up. Much too loud for me. Otherwise it is a great machine. Ubuntu works well.

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