19 May 2009

Toshiba Portege A605 Review

The Toshiba Portege A605 is a 12.1" ultra-portable notebook designed for business travelers who want something small and lightweight, but don’t want to make any compromises when it comes to features. The A600 series notebooks offer an on-board optical drive so users can enjoy movies or install applications on the road, eSATA to expand storage, and a power saving Intel Centrino 2 platform to squeeze out as much battery life as possible. In this review we find out how well the A605 stands up to the rigors of day-to-day use, and if it is worth purchasing this notebook over a netbook or other ultra-portable notebooks.

Toshiba Portege A605-P210 Specifications:

* Processor: 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 (800MHz FSB, 3MB Cache)
* Graphics: Intel X4500 Integrated Graphics
* Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium with SP 1 (32-bit)
* Screen: 12.1" diagonal WXGA LED-Backlit Display (1280x800)
* Memory: 3GB PC6400 DDR2 (1GB onboard, 2GB in slot, 5GB Max)
* Storage: 320GB Hitachi SATA HDD (5400rpm)
* Optical Drive: LabelFlash SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
* Intel 5100AGN WLAN with Bluetooth 2.1 w/ EDR
* Power: 6-cell Li-Ion 5800mAh battery, 45W AC adapter
* Dimensions: 11.3" x 8.8" x 1.2"
* Weight: 3lbs 1.8oz (3lbs 11.9oz travel weight)
* Warranty: 1-year
* Price as configured: $1,399.99

Build and Design
The Portege looks very classy for a business notebook, with glossy piano black keyboard bezel and screen cover along with a matte silver base. The port and button layout appears to be very well thought out with effort put into things as simple as the power and activity indicators. The silver keyboard contrasts the black finish, with a nice matte finish with black lettering that is easy to read.

Build quality is hit or miss depending on what part of the notebook you are looking at. The quality of the finish is excellent, with a thick layer of glossy black paint that appears to be scratch resistant. On the flip side, the plastic used to construct the notebook suffers from abnormal amounts of flex--a side effect of its lightweight construction. The palm rest and lower half of the case flex inward when you grip the notebook to carry it around, and even resting your palms on the palm rest makes them bend in slightly. The screen cover shows similar flex and when gripped firmly makes the display show signs of color distortion around the edges and center. The screen itself also has some issues in how it is mounted, showing a pressure spot in the bottom corner that "flashes" when the screen jiggles on your lap or desk surface.

The Toshiba Portege A605 offers good looks and a small form factor, but compromises build quality to achieve its very low weight. The palm rest, keyboard, and screen all exhibit a good amount of flex, which doesn’t bode well for thoughts of durability. Looking past the flexible chassis, the notebook does offer a built-in optical drive, and still keeps the overall weight to just above 3lbs. For a business traveler who only cares about that, this notebook falls right in the weight range of most netbooks. With the current list price of $1,399 it is priced against the Lenovo ThinkPad X200 or about double the price of an HP Pavilion dv2. Overall I think the Portege A605 offers a lot potential for a customer interested in a good looking business notebook, but it has a few areas that could see some improvement.


* Weighs in at 3lbs, even with built-in optical drive
* Good battery life
* Cool operation
* Very small power adapter


* Slow charging rate while the notebook is powered on and charging at the same time
* Flexible chassis

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