Review: Toshiba Portege R400 – shiny white tablet

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toshiba_r400.jpgThe propaganda

With its combination of shiny white and black plastic, the Toshiba Portege R400 looks a bit like the offspring of two different laptop breeds. It’s certainly striking to look at.

It’s a tablet PC too – but unlike many of its competitors, it feels as sturdy as a normal laptop and the screen attachment doesn’t feel flimsy or fragile.

The good

Toshiba has managed to get around a problem exhibited by many tablet PCs by adding additional attachments to hold the screen steady. It’s hinged in the middle as normal, but it also has two additional supports at the edges that stop it wobbling around. When you want to put it into tablet mode, providing the screen is completely vertical it will snap out of the two supports, spin round and then lock back in again. It makes huge difference to how sturdy it feels.

There’s a top of the range copy of Windows Vista Ultimate edition thrown in and there’s a fingerprint reader which can take the place of passwords.

The bad

Like many pen devices, the R400 has a very reflective screen. If you’re sat in front of a window during daytime, for example, then it can be quite hard to make out items onscreen.

Toshiba has also been a bit stingy on the connector front, there are only 2 USB ports, for example, and no modem – useful as a last resort if there’s no broadband connection available. This would be forgivable on an ultra portable, where space is a premium, but on a machine this big it seems a bit of a waste.

Geek Sheet

Processor: 1.2GHz Intel Core Duo U2500

RAM: 1GB DDR2

Graphics: up to 224MB (shared) integrated Intel 945GM

Display: 12.1in, 1,280×800

Drives: 80GB hard drive

Ports and connections: 2 x USB, network, VGA, headphone, microphone, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi

Dimensions and weight: 304x240x32mm, 1.72kg

Overview

Toshiba has managed to successfully solve one problem with tablet PCs – the flimsy screen – but not others such as the overly reflective screen.

It’s a stylish design, but it comes at a price. At £1,573 it’s expensive for what you get and it’s a little short on the connectivity front.

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Related sites: Toshiba Portege R400

Will Head