By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Toshiba today rolled out its flagship Portege R500 ultraportable notebook first previewed in April, which stakes claim to no less than five world firsts in the notebook category.

According to Toshiba, the Portege R500 is the world’s lightest and thinnest notebook computer with an optical disc drive, has the longest lasting battery life at about 12.5 hours and is the first notebook to use a transreflective LCD backlit screen for better visibility outdoors.

At basic specifications the 12.1-inch Portege 500 weighs well under a kilogram and measures at 19.5mm. Configured with a six-cell battery, it weighs just shy of a kilogram.

Toshiba claims its proprietary high density mounting technology is responsible for the small dimensions and weight, allowing engineers to shrink the size of the motherboard by 35 per cent, innovate a super-thin LCD screen and 7mm DVD SuperMulti drive, and reduce the weight of the notebook hinges.

Toshiba also claims the R500 is the world’s first notebook to use a 64GB flash memory solid state drive (SSD) in place of a conventional mechanical hard disk drive (HDD), although Sony has also unveiled a Vaio notebook with a 32GB SSD.
SSD drives are faster, more durable and use less power than standard HDDs for longer battery life.

Prices range from $3,300 to $4,125 depending on configuration, with the SSD demanding a price premium.

Toshiba also launched the newest Qosmio multimedia powerhouse notebook range today – the G40, available in 17-inch (RRP $4,999).

The Qosmio G40 is the world’s first notebook with an integrated Hybrid TV tuner and also boasts a HD DVD recordable drive.

Other features include full HD screen for 1080p video, twin-400GB HDDs, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics, HDMI and optical digital audio output.

Style and design are key trends Toshiba highlighted across its new range today at the launch.

“We are seeing a shift in computing – fashion and technology are increasingly working hand-in-hand,” said Whittard.

“Mobile computing is an extension of our lifestyle and our living environment. The aesthetic design and industrial design elements are becoming as important as the technology in the products, and those two things are working together."