The Japanese manufacturer points out that its lightweight laptops are thinner, lighter and more capable than Steve Jobs' new machine, and they cost less as well.
The Macbook Air is a triumph of marketing and of Apple managing its fans' expectations, said Ken Chan, Toshiba's U.K. product manager.
"I think Apple made compromises for [the sake of] design," he said. "For Apple, less is more. It is in the unique position of having a strong following of people who are willing to pay a
He added: "We have an abundance of connectivity features, it makes ours less of a hassle to carry it around than the Apple."
The R500 not only has 3G connectivity, it also has three USB ports to Air's one, and it includes an internal DVD drive, removable battery, a full-size DVI video port, a PC Card slot, Gigabit Ethernet and a Firewire connector. All of the latter are missing from the Macbook Air.
Chan said that the R500 weighs just 1kg as well, to the Air's 3lb (1.35kg), and is thinner. The one area where the Air scores is screen size - it has a 13.3-inch TFT, versus the R500's 12-inch.
However, Chan argued that if Toshiba were working to the same size budget - 3lb weight and a 13.3-inch screen - it would put features in, not take them out.
He said that the key advances making such lightweight PCs possible are Intel's ultra-low power processor chips that require less cooling, and a move to high-density motherboards that take up much less space inside the case. In addition, Matsushita slimmed its optical drive down from 9.5mm to 7mm, allowing the laptop to be thinner.
This story, "Toshiba Portege Goes Up Against Macbook Air" was originally published by Techworld.com.