Toshiba's Portégé R705 13.3" Ultraportable Notebook

Introduction and Specifications

The ultraportable notebook marketplace is hotter than ever before. In years past, buying a sub-14" machine generally meant a couple of things: low power and high price. Today, it's still fair to say that ultraportables are generally less powerful and more expensive than the standard-sized 15" machines that sit above them, but the gap is closing fast. Intel's Core i3 and i5 line of processors has ushered in an entirely new segment of thin-and-light machines, and we're getting to the point where 13.3" machines can finally be taken seriously from a performance standpoint.

Toshiba's 13.3" Portégé R705 is one of the sleeker, more potent ultraportables on the market today, and in general, we have always admired the Portégé design scheme. The R705 keeps a good thing going, with its 3.2lb. chassis and its rigid, high quality construction ensuring a solid feel throughout. Toshiba has also gone their own way on a number of design cues, but they've ensured that the internal build sheet wasn't neglected while the designers were having their fun on the outside. 

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Our review unit is the Portégé R705-P40, though there are a number of R705 configurations available through Toshiba's website, with this particular model striking a nice balance between power and performance. There are higher-end versions available with Intel's WiDi (Wireless Display) technology for those that would take advantage of it, as well as lower-end models with smaller hard drives and a Core i3 CPU instead of a Core i5. Let's take a more detailed look at the hardware here:

Toshiba Portégé R705 13.3" Notebook
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • Intel Core i5-460M CPU (2.53GHz; dual-core with 3MB L2 cache)
  • 4GB of 1066-DDR3 RAM 
  • 13.3" LED-backlit LCD (1366x768 resolution)
  • Integrated Intel HD Graphics
  • 500GB (5400RPM) Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B HDD
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • DVD SuperMulti Burner (+/- Double Layer)
  • 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
  • VGA and HDMI Outputs
  • USB 2.0 x 2
  • USB 2.0 / eSATA Combo Port
  • RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000)
  • Headphone / Mic Input Jacks
  • SD / MMC / SDHC Multimedia Card Reader
  • Stereo Speakers
  • Spill-Resistant 'Tile' Keyboard
  • Gesture-Enabled Synaptics Multi-Touch Trackpad
  • 3.2 Pounds (with 6-cell battery installed)
  • Removable 6-Cell (66Wh) Li-ion Battery
  • "Up To 8 Hours" Claimed Battery Life
  • 12.44" (W) x 8.94" (D) x 0.72-1.01" (H) (Dimensions)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • Price (MSRP): $929.99

As you can see, the only real weak point in the system is the integrated GPU. The CPU, memory amount / speed and just about everything else screams quality. We're interested to see if the 5400RPM HDD slows things down, particularly after testing a Flash storage-equipped MacBook Air a few weeks back. There's obviously a ~$300 price gap between this machine and that one, but Toshiba's CPU is certainly mightier. How will the R705 stack up against mounds of competition in the ultraportable space? Let's dig in and find out.

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