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Photos: Toshiba launches world's lightest laptop

Toshiba has tied the launch of its latest ultra-portable laptop with a planned world-record-breaking transatlantic ballooning flight
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By Andrew Donoghue on
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1 of 4 Andrew Donoghue/ZDNet

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.

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2 of 4 Andrew Donoghue/ZDNet

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.

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3 of 4 Andrew Donoghue/ZDNet

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.

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4 of 4 Andrew Donoghue/ZDNet

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.

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