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Thanks to the R700's Core i3 processor, the R700 is a more than competent day-to-day productivity machine. Its nippy 2.26GHz processor means it can cope with more taxing tasks, such as video editing, as well HD video playback of all kinds. It's a genuine, all-purpose work laptop.
It also runs comfortably cool, but when pushed it does become a little noisy. This shouldn't be a problem for productivity, watching videos, or surfing the Web, but particularly heavy multi-tasking and processor intensive tasks do result in some audible fan noise.
Unsurprisingly, considering it uses Intel's HD Graphics, the R700 isn't much of a gaming machine. It just about manages playable frame-rates in our undemanding TrackMania test, but throw it anything remotely challenging and things will quickly degenerate into a slideshow.
Where the R700 earns its crust is with its battery life. It's not quite as long-lasting as the Asus UL30A, which used a low-voltage processor anyway, but it does a fine job nonetheless. In the semi-intensive productivity test it lasted a comfortable 392 minutes (6hrs, 32mins), which - taking downtime into account - is more than enough for most working days. Even the longest DVDs will pose no problems, as even at full screen brightness the R700 ran nearly four hours.
These are impressive figures, and the R700 has most of the ingredients to make an outstanding ultra-portable laptop. It would be nice to see a few more premium features, such as keyboard backlighting and a high resolution screen, thrown in - at least at the top-end of the range - but for portability and performance the R700 scores well.
It is let down by its keyboard, though. It may not be a disaster, but we've used better keyboards on many cheaper machines and it could prove a deal breaker for many buyers. This ultimately robs the R700 of our unqualified recommendation, but it's still an excellent laptop that represents very good value for money.
Toshiba has produced an excellent update in the Portégé R700, giving it a long overdue visual refresh and offering up a good balance between price, performance and features. It's just a shame the keyboard isn't a little better.
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