Toshiba Breaks New Tablet PC Ground

Review: The Portégé R400 offers an impressive 12-inch widescreen display, as well as innovative features such as wireless docking, but it's pricey and performs relatively poorly.

With Apple MacBook-like looks, a fantastic widescreen display and the kind of portability usually found in Lenovo ThinkPads, Toshibas Portégé R400 is the most groundbreaking Tablet PC eWEEK Labs has tested. Unfortunately, users will pay for the innovation—in terms of both price and performance.

Announced at the International CES and set to begin shipping Jan. 30, the Portégé R400 is a 12.1-inch Tablet PC running Microsofts Windows Vista Ultimate operating system. The Portégé R400 weighs 3.7 pounds and features a 12-inch widescreen backlit LED display—one of the nicest screens weve seen.

Running the Ultimate version of Vista, the Portégé R400 has the functionality found in both Windows Media Center and in Windows Tablet PC. The Portégé R400 will be the first notebook to take advantage of Microsofts Active Notifications capability, which enables real-time e-mail and calendaring notifications via a digital display on the front edge of the unit. This secondary display, which Toshiba calls the Personal Information Assistant, can display notifications even when the notebook is off, via Wi-Fi or an EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) wireless broadband connection.

However, armed with Intels 1.2GHz U2500 Core Duo processor, the Portégé R400 barely has enough oomph to run Windows Vista Ultimate. You can try to boost performance with 2GB of RAM, but the Portégé R400 is best-suited for office productivity suite applications and Web surfing.


That said, the Portégé R400 is the first laptop that can be wirelessly docked via UWB (Ultra-Wideband) technology. Toshibas optional Wireless Dock, which also supports Wireless Digital Video, will be available in the second quarter of 2007.

eWEEK Labs evaluation unit was configured with the 1.2GHz U2500 Core Duo processor, 2GB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive. Our unit also included the Personal Information Assistant, as well as the optional external USB-DVD-SuperMulti drive, Intel Wireless a/b/g and integrated EvDO. This configuration is priced at $3,499—making it one of the most expensive convertible notebooks on the market. The Portégé R400 has a starting price of $2,599.

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at


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