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Round Up: Five Powerful, Light Ultraportables

Toshiba R500-S5006V: Price, Battery, Performance


Toshiba sells the R500-S5006V directly from its Web site for $1,699, which is the lowest price in this roundup. I venture to speculate that the materials used in the building of this product, while extremely light weight, are on the cheaper side. With respect to the R500’s price for performance, its graphics processing abilities were the worst of this group, but performance was above average in all other areas.

With the R500 you get acceptable performance at an acceptable price—a very good example of "getting what you pay for." As an extra benefit, with this machine you get 40 more gigabytes of storage (160 GB versus 120 GB) than any other machine in this roundup, at no extra "weight" cost.

If your eyes would like a closer-to-normal sized screen, and your briefcase would like the lightest machine in this roundup with the ability to watch DVDs on an airplane, this machine will look like it has been priced reasonably. It feels like a spiral paper notebook. But for rough and tumble road warriors, maybe choosing a more rugged machine is more important than choosing the lightest one.

Price score: 4.5

Battery Life

Like Sony’s VAIO VGN-TZ298N, Toshiba’s Portege R500-S5006V sports a 5800 mAh battery at 10.8 V. However, the battery would only charge to a level of around 5200 mAh. With the same 1.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7700 as the Sony VAIO, and considering the its charged capacity, the Toshiba achieved a decent battery life of 168 minutes compared to the Sony’s 207 minutes.

Battery Life score: 4.06


The Toshiba R500-S5006V turned in a relatively poor performance score, given that its processor matches the Sony’s. The latter unit’s solid state disk drive clearly gave it a serious advantage over the Toshiba.

Performance score: 2.85

  • Thanks for writing this article; I have been interested in how these things perform.
  • these are all at the high-end of the price spectrum, have you considered the asus eee pc or acer aspire one? i have one of these, and while it's not exactly a gaming powerhouse it does all you need in a small laptop... mind you the linux distros these things come with can be a real pain
  • JJeng1
    A possible reason for the fingerprint reader placement. Look into the options of the fingerprint software, as sometimes the reader doubles as a scroll wheel.
  • Regulas
    Rubbish, get the the new Macbook, 13" screen plenty of power no viruses and no bloated Vista for the low end of cash stated in this review.
  • bjornlo
    Rubbish, get the the new Macbook, 13" screen plenty of power no viruses and no bloated Vista for the low end of cash stated in this review.
    Typical ignorant fanboi BS.
    Get your facts straight. Nothing wrong with a Mac other than total cost of ownership and slightly reduced software choices... although the default browser is very unsecure (but fixable, DL any other). But, there is nothing special about them except their style and slightly better ease of use for the "technologically challenged".
  • Placebo
    First of, Macs are rubbish. Buying one is alright for the creative crowd, whose fav. software is exclusive for OSX. Other than that, the company would have already closed up, if not saved by the mighty (LOL) Ipod-brand.

    Regarding the otherwise brilliant review, how come the Dell M1330 isn't mentioned, or even tested, its not even on the site?!?!

    Best selling product in the category for almost two years. Anyone buying should look into it. Had one for around a year, can honestly say its the best electronic device i ever owned.

    Its cheap, lightwight and with supurb spec! for notebooks :-)Sry... they jus do a better job.

  • cruiseoveride
    Linux > OSX >> Windows

    I wish the IBM one was cheaper.
  • boostercorp
    i guess i never understood why you'd need such a small underpowered laptop and also never knew who would buy such a thing.
    But if you're on the road alot like me it would be more handy then dragging around a 8 pound 17" laptop like i 'm currently doing.

    i only hoped they'd be a little less expensive cause i bought my 17" for € 899 and got a shedload of stuff i didn't need like that fingerprint scanner ,bluetooth ,ir , ...
  • Can we post a review of ultraportables with eSATA and Express Card ? I think the ASUS U6V (not sure) has one, the Dell E4200 and E4300 have eSATA but no Express Card. The Lenovo X200 and X300 series have some great features. I really hope manufacturers start making machines with eSATA and Express Card and not one or the other. Oh and How about the Toshiba dynabook R6 ?
  • enforcer22
    "Rubbish, get the the new Macbook, 13" screen plenty of power no viruses and no bloated Vista for the low end of cash stated in this review."

    O your right and look i cant do anything i want to do with it either.. I also cant get it to look like a computer instead of a over priced pos paperweight. Linux is as usless to me as that over priced thing keeping my desk up to.