The R600's wireless capabilities are very good. All versions except the entry-level model include an integrated mobile-broadband modem, so users can access the Internet in any location covered by a 3G mobile-phone signal. All flavours of the R600 come with high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi support, as well as Bluetooth.
Those who do attempt to go online outdoors should find the R600's 12.1-inch transflexive screen easy on the eye. The image quality isn't very good -- there's considerable backlight bleeding from the bottom and top edges of the panel, and the viewing angle is very limited -- but its matte finish is well-suited to outdoor use.
In addition, because the screen is of the transflexive variety, it can use ambient light instead of the built-in backlight to prolong battery life. A button on the top left of the keyboard enables or disables this feature. It's not a perfect solution, though -- there's often insufficient ambient light to see the screen properly, so you end up using the internal backlight anyway.
Like the R500 before it, the R600 comes with a three-year international warranty. Software includes Windows Vista Business, InterVideo WinDVD, Norton Internet Security 2009 (with 90 days of free updates), Ulead DVD MovieWriter and a variety of Toshiba's own software.
Our £1,300 R600-11B review sample incorporates an SU9400 CPU running at 1.4GHz and 3GB of RAM. That this is a pretty solid foundation for an ultra-portable, business-orientated laptop is borne out by the PCMark05 benchmark score of 3,843. It's noticeably quicker than the R500.
Toshiba says the R600's battery will last for just short of 8.5 hours. That's an advance on the 7.5 hours claimed for the R500, but, in our tests, it failed to get anywhere near either mark. It lasted 2 hours and 14 minutes in the intensive Battery Eater Classic test -- an improvement on the 1 hour and 37 minutes achieved by the R500. Bearing in mind that netbooks like the Asus Eee PC 1000HE lasted nearly 6 hours in the same test, it's hardly that impressive.
The Toshiba Portege R600 has plenty to offer. It's tremendously light, has a good keyboard, and offers a screen you can use in most lighting conditions. The battery life isn't as impressive as we'd hoped, but, alongside the Sony Vaio TZ series, it's among the best ultra-portables currently available.
Edited by Charles Kloet