It's easy to jump to conclusions when you hear a spec like "2.4 pounds" -- things like no disc drive, minuscule screen and a complete lack of horsepower quickly spring to mind -- but Toshiba
is really taking things next-gen with its new Portege R500. The new bestest buddy to Tosh's flagship R400
tablet, the R500 packs a first ever 7mm optical drive, 12.1-inch transflective (outdoor readable) LED-backlit screen, and does it all with a mere 0.77-inches of thickness, which Toshiba claims is the thinnest ever to include a disc drive, and that aforementioned 2.4 pound weight. The R500 isn't spec shy either, with a Core 2 duo U7600 1.2GHz processor, Intel GMA 950 graphics, up to 2GB of RAM, a 120GB HDD and a 1280 x 800 screen res. There's even a PCMCIA slot, gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth and VGA out, just to make the other ultraportables look bad. To top it all off, Toshiba is boasting of the "world's longest" battery life for a 12.1-inch widescreen notebook, but doesn't have any hard numbers other than that. The laptop starts at $2,000 with XP Pro, or $2,150 with Vista Business, but the real fun starts later this year when Toshiba starts shipping 64GB SSD configurations, which once specced to a 3 cell battery and no optical drive will weigh a paltry 1.72 pounds.