Set below the touchpad is a mirrored silver insert which houses the left and right mouse buttons. The buttons are large enough to be easily accessed and have a solid click to them when pressed. Set between the two buttons is a fingerprint scanner, allowing you to secure the R500 biometrically. I’ve always liked the idea of fingerprint security on a notebook – I know that it’s far form unbreakable, but at least it stops people from taking a quick peek at sensitive data on your machine while you’re away from your desk.
Despite the R500 being so ludicrously light (sorry, I really can’t stress that enough), there’s actually quite a lot going on inside. For a start, this machine has a dual core processor inside it – an Ultra Low Voltage Intel Core 2 U7600, running at 1.2GHz to be precise. Toshiba has also supported the CPU with 2GB of memory, which should keep even Windows Vista ticking along nicely.
Connectivity is also very well catered for with Gigabit Ethernet getting you connected to a suitably equipped network at lightning fast speeds. The R500’s wireless connection is no slouch either, with Intel Draft-N Wi-Fi in evidence, while the integrated Bluetooth will let you transfer files and photos from your phone, as well as use a wireless headset. Conspicuous by its absence is a modem socket, but I can’t even remember the last time I’ve used an analogue modem, so I won’t lament its passing.
The jewel in the crown of the internal components has to be the hard disk. Toshiba isn’t the first manufacturer to send us a notebook with a solid state hard disk inside, both the Sony TZ12VN and the Dell D430 came equipped with such drives in fact. But both those notebooks shipped with 32GB SSDs, while the R500 has an altogether more impressive 64GB solid state drive inside it. Although I feel that 32GB is more than adequate in an ultra-portable notebook, I also know many people who feel that 32GB is simply not enough. Toshiba has addressed those concerns by shipping the R500 with twice the solid state storage as the competition.
Capacity aside, a solid state drive has a significant number of advantages over a standard Winchester hard disk. For a start, there are no moving parts, so there is far less chance of failure. An SSD also isn’t susceptible to shock or vibration, while problems such as disk fragmentation that affect standard hard drives, simply don’t exist on solid state media. As if that wasn’t enough, an SSD is also lighter and less power hungry than a conventional hard disk – both factors that are extremely desirable in an ultra-portable machine.