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Notebook of the Year: Toshiba Portege R400
The Toshiba Portege R400 got our attention earlier this year and held it, winning our nod for Notebook of the Year. Lightweight and flexible, it's a laptop built to suit the needs of mobile business users.
Its design weighs in at a breezy 3.75 pounds, and measures 14.2 inches x 10.6 inches x1.2 inches. It is covered with an eye-catching glossy white case. The LCD screen is built so the device can be converted to tablet form via special peg-and-guide hinge pivots and a latch-free lid. The display itself, a 12.1 inch widescreen, maintains native 1,280 x 800 WXGA resolution with LED backlighting for efficiency. And it's easy on the eyes, indoors or out.
But we're not easily won over on looks alone.
The R400 also sports an integrated fingerprint reader, intuitive volume controls, built-in EVDO Verizon Wireless, 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth connectivity. It offers push e-mail functionality and a Personal Information Assistant that provides a new e-mail alert without even logging on. It also gives solution providers opportunities to add layers of service, connectivity and security outside the box.
With the R400, Toshiba managed to do what other vendors could not universally do: integrate Microsoft Vista seamlessly into a device with enough hardware to run smoothly, yet still maintain decent battery life (about four hours on standard battery use) and thermals. The notebook uses an Intel Core Duo U2500 processor that runs at 1.2 GHz, so it's not exactly a device for gamers or designers. But it's a solid business notebook that is easy to drag around on the road and a delight to use. And that's not something we said too often this year about Vista-based systems.
By year's end, Toshiba was getting ready to start shipping a next-generation version of this notebook design in the Portege brand. We can't wait to see what they come up with next.