Toshiba Portégé R500 Ultraportable Laptop
At a Glance
Toshiba Portege R500-S5008X Notebook
The R500 is one of the lightest notebooks with its screen size that we've tested, but its overly flexible screen worries us.
It's a feature, not a flaw: You can twist the Toshiba Port
The plastic bezel framing the 1280-by-800-pixel, 12.1-inch screen doesn't exactly come apart at the seams under such twisting, but it is a little loose-fitting. Though I kept waiting to hear the sickening snap of plastic breaking, the display still returned to its original shape and worked fine.
The ultraportable R500 (it weighs 2.4 pounds without an adapter) looks a little bit like
The keyboard has ample key spacing, so large-handed typists won't bumble over it, but the tactile response of the keys feels hollow and unsubstantial. The mousepad is better suited for small hands; however, I give credit to Toshiba for metallic mouse buttons that can definitely take a beating. Don't try beating too hard, though, because you don't want to accidentally damage the fingerprint reader that rests between the buttons. Also, all the indicator lights for everything from Wi-Fi to hard-drive activity shine through the silver panel that houses the mouse buttons.
Toshiba also smartly loads on all the outputs one expects from an ultraportable these days: FireWire, VGA-out, an SDHC card slot, and a PC Card slot--heck,
Other uniquely Toshiba features are a couple of shortcut buttons adorning the top-right of the keyboard, including one that
The second button controls the screen's backlighting. It kills the lights in a hurry, letting you operate the notebook in broad daylight without totally burning the battery. (In my case, I use it as a panic button when I don't want passersby knowing that I'm watching The Goonies again for the millionth time.)
Toshiba does many things right with the Port