The Portege R500 weighs just 2.4 pounds, including its 2.5-inch, 120GB (5400 rpm) hard drive and its optical drive. The notebook carries an estimated street price of $2150 for the R500-S5002 (with Windows Vista Business), and $2000 for the Windows XP Professional flavors, the R500-S5001X/S5002X. According to Toshiba, the R500 is the first notebook PC with a 12.1-inch wide-screen WXGA transreflective LED backlit display. A button below the screen lets you turn off the display's backlight--useful if you're outdoors, where the ambient light can go into the screen and be reflected back.
The R500 is slim and compact: It measures about the size of a sheet of paper--11.1 by 8.5 inches--and stands at just 0.77 inches deep (not including the feet). In its chassis, Toshiba fits a small motherboard with components on both sides. The guts of the R500 include an ultralow-voltage processor, Intel's 1.2-GHz Core 2 Duo U7600 processor (64-bit), 1GB of memory (1.5GB maximum supported), a 120GB SATA hard drive, and the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 graphics core (the R500-S5002 adds dynamically allocated shared graphics memory).
No Ports at Back
Since the R500 has a drop-hinge design for its display, the unit has a clean presentation from the rear; it has no ports on its back. Instead, all of the notebook's ports are distributed along its sides. The chassis is made of what Toshiba describes as an advanced magnesium alloy that helps dissipate heat away from the notebook's components.
Like the Portege R200 before it, the R500 features a drop-hinge mechanism for the notebook's screen. The hinge is an extension of the back left and back right of the chassis; this design let Toshiba reduce the thickness of the notebook (it is 0.77 inches thick).
Toshiba paid attention to subtle design points, too: Here, you can see that the touchpad has the same matte silver finish as the rest of the notebook's chassis.
Ports and Slots at Right, Part I
At the right rear of the R500, a slider switch lets you enable or disable the wireless radio. The R500 offers Bluetooth 2.0, as well as 802.11 a/g/draft-n wireless connectivity. Also seen here: one of the notebook's three USB 2.0 ports, a gigabit ethernet port, and, cleverly tucked away beneath these ports, a PC Card slot.
Ports and Slots at Right, Part II
The R500 crams an optical drive into its superslim, superlight form factor. The unit is the first with Matsushita's 0.7mm DVD Super-Multi drive; the drive supports a slew of disc write formats, including 24X CD-R, 10X CD-RW, 8X DVD-/+R, 4X DVD-/+RW, and 3X DVD-RAM. Unfortunately, the drive handles writing only to single-layer DVD media.
Ports and Slots at Left
The R500's complement of ports runs along both sides of the notebook. The left side of the notebook, toward the back, is shown here: (from left to right) power, VGA, USB 2.0, and a mini FireWire 400 port.
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