What is really impressive is that Toshiba has used a 1.8in hard drive in the Portégé and still managed to squeeze in an amazing 40GB of storage space. This makes this unit the largest capacity 1.8in drive currently available. Sadly Toshiba doesn’t supply an optical drive with the Portégé R100 which makes it nigh on impossible to install any applications on it. Toshiba does offer a PC Card 24-speed CD-ROM drive as well as a PC Card eight-speed DVD-ROM drive as an option. You’ll need deep pockets for these options though as the DVD-ROM drive, for example, will set you back £276 which is very steep, especially as it won’t write discs. Unless you need a portable drive, you might be better of buying an external USB 2.0 CD-RW or even DVD writer which will cost you far less.
In terms of battery life the Portégé R100 is amazing. With the standard battery, which fits internally in the R100 you get one hour 49 minutes of constant use. This might not sound amazing, but when you consider that this is a laptop that’s only 2cm thick, it puts things in a different perspective. Toshiba also supplies a second battery that attaches to the bottom of the R100 which is quoted to add in the region of four and a half hours of battery life.
Unfortunately MobileMark 2002 didn’t seem to like the extended battery and decided to fall over repeatedly which means that we don’t have an exact figure of how long the combination of power packs will last. The somewhat unreliable battery meter in Windows XP did however report a good six hours total battery life from a full charge. This means that the Portégé R100 is ideal for the road warrior or the long haul air traveller that needs a small compact laptop with great battery life.
Toshiba does, as always provide some of its own utilities, which provide easy wireless network setup, improved battery management and some other useful features such as a quick hardware configuration utility and a utility for configuring the two quick launch buttons. The left one of these is used in conjunction with the D-SUB connector for quickly changing the resolution of a connected monitor or projector. The right one is programmable to suit your needs, but is set up to launch the Toshiba console as the default application.
There is one major drawback with the R100 that will put most of us mortals off buying one and that is the high price tag of £1,603.01, which is very expensive for something so small. But if you want something so small that you’ll hardly notice it’s in your bag, you have to expect to pay a higher price.
Toshiba has done an excellent job putting the Portégé R100 together and there are very few laptops out there that can contest it in weight and size, even though many beat it in terms of raw performance. Of course we ran our standard benchmarks, but the numbers have little relevance other than verifying that the R100 is more than capable of running everyday office tasks and presentations, which is exactly where the R100’s target market is.
The big question is whether it’s worth paying this much for a machine without an integrated optical drive just to save half a kilo? Well, that’s down to you to decide, but no matter how much I like the R100 the lack of an optical drive and high price ultimately put me off.
If you’re looking for the slimmest, lightest and arguably most stylish notebook around, the Portégé R100 is for you. For everyone else there are several alternatives that would offer more power or cost less or both.