Text and photos by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Toshiba's Tecra R700 is an uncompromising thin and light notebook that packs the power of Intel's i7 Core processor, a bright 13-inch LED screen and includes a DVD-burning optical drive that makes it a true power-focused ultraportable for the executive class.
Thin and light notebooks have traditionally been designed around long battery life and portability. As a result of this, many manufacturers discard the optical drive to slim down the chassis, go for 11-12' inch screens and often use cramped keyboards that are 80% the size of actual notebook keyboards. Notebooks in this segment will have slower processors that sip battery but at the expense of speed and performance.
Bucking the trend, Toshiba's Tecra R700 (SRT $1,749) uses a powerful 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 processor which is a top-tier chip found on desktop replacements and mobile powerhouses. The Tecra R700 also has a very usable 13-inch TruBright display (1366x768, LED backlit) screen which we found to be suitably bright as well as a lavish and well layed out chiclet style keyboard.
Maintaining solid build quality on thin and light notebooks is very tricky. Bringing down the weight and dimensions always takes a toll on structural rigidity and as a result thin notebooks feel flimsier and have more flex than their thicker, heavier counterparts.
While the Tecra R700 feels light, it doesn't feel as fragile as say a Sony Vaio X or a Dell Adamo would. Still, if this were our notebook, we would get a good padded case for it.
This really is one of the most powerful notebooks on the market out today which happens to be one of the most lightweight and portable. You can easily carry the Tecra R700 with one hand thanks to the magnesium alloy and plastic case design. You also get two USB ports, an expansion slot that looks like it could attach to a docking station and HDMI out which can server traveling businessmen who want to watch DVDs in their hotel room TVs.
Our test unit had an 1208GB SSD drive which coupled with the Core i7 processor provided tremendous speed and performance for most tasks. With Windows 7 and Toshiba's software installed the user is left with 80GB which should be a lot for most users. Waking the computer from sleep by opening the lid is almost instantaneous and a true- You get 4GB of RAM which definitely helps speed things along.
You also get an ExpressCard slot but the SIM card slot, which is common with thin and light ultraportables, appears to be missing. All notebooks in this class should have the ability to pop a SIM and access data out of the box, a glaring omission specially at this premium price point.
The Tecra R700 may be thin and very light (at 3.2lbs ) but it isn't quiet. The fans on this notebook are constantly on and we imagine that they need to be to cool the processor and push the heat away from the tiny enclosure. The battery is a 6-cell Li-ion battery (66Wh); rated for up to 8.66 hours battery life. We found this to be accurate provided you turn down the screen's backlight and avoid using the DVD drive.
On-the-go executives who don't want to compromise between portability and functionality will love the feature set of the Toshiba Tecra R700 which is impressive in terms of performance and design. Most users may be put off by the premium price but frequent fliers, road warriors and jet-setting techies will jump on the R700.
Rating 4 out of 5