Photos: Toshiba launches world's lightest laptop
Toshiba has launched what it claims is the world's lightest notebook. The Portégé R500 weighs in at just 779 grams and is the company's first laptop to feature a flash-based 64GB solid-state disk (SSD). Toshiba claims that SSDs are more resilient to shock and vibration, more power efficient, and have faster boot-up times than conventional hard drives. The SSD-equipped R500 will retail for around £1,599 but won't be available until August. An R500 with a conventional hard drive is available now for £1,099 or with 3G capability for around £1,399.
The PC maker has teamed up with explorer David Hempleman-Adams to promote the Portégé R500. The UK-born adventurer is planning to take one of the devices on a transatlantic ballooning challenge in July. During the four-day crossing, which should cover some 3,425km, the R500 will be Hempleman-Adams' communications centre and provide weather and route information via an Iridium satellite phone to his base in the UK.
"We don't know where I am going to land — it could be northern Norway or the coast of Africa. I could fill the balloon basket with manuals of navigation data but I can store all that on this computer, which is fantastic," said Hempleman-Adams.
The R500 has a 12.5-hour battery life, so Hempleman-Adams will be carrying spare batteries for the journey. As his R500 will have to integrate with the Iridium satellite phone, Hempleman-Adams' machine will have to run Microsoft Vista rather than Windows XP. However, Toshiba claims that XP could give up to an hour-and-a-half of extra battery life compared to a machine running Vista with the Aero graphical interface.
To illustrate how light and portable the R500 is, Toshiba wheeled out one of its oldest portable PCs, the T3100/20, released in 1986, which weighed around 8kg.