A slim and powerful portable laptop
The Toshiba Satellite R630-141 (there's more than one R630 model available but this is the most powerful) borrows its design from a business-minded cousin, the Portege R700. It is slim and sleek, with a black finish that makes it rather pleasant to the eye.
An Intel Core i5-460M processor and 4GB of memory form the basis of the computer. Our lab DVD test is a realistic examination of how long the computer would take to copy and compress a DVD movie disc, and this computer managed it in 42 minutes, only a minute slower than the fastest laptop we have seen this year.
So it's going to be quick whether it's being used for internet and office tasks or for more complicated work such as video editing, but it's not so good for games. It doesn't have a graphics card – instead the Intel processor does most of the work that a graphics card would. It's not as good as a dedicated graphics card, though, so new games will have to be played with the detail level turned right down.
It has a 320GB hard disk for storing programs, documents and more, and has a drive that will read and create all common CD and DVD formats, though not the newer Blu-ray discs. The screen is a 13.3in widescreen display that lacks anti-glare coating, so using it in the office it reflected rather more of the ceiling lighting than we would have liked – the same will occur in bright sunshine. However, it's a great-quality display, with good deep contrast levels that are excellent for films.
One disappointment is that there are only two USB ports but the one on the left of the case is a ‘sleep and charge' port which means that you can plug a device into it while the computer is in sleep mode or even switched off.
It also has VGA and HDMI sockets for connecting to monitors or flat-panel TVs, an eSata port for attaching an external eSata hard disk, and an SD memory card slot. It connects to wired and wireless networks as well as Bluetooth devices.
The case design is impressive – it's under 3cm tall when closed and light at 1.43kg, which made it easy to carry around. Its battery life of over five hours was also impressive.
The screen section is slim but was sturdy, and the hinge on one side also houses a Kensington lock slot for securing the R630 using a suitable lock. It is well designed, too – the keyboard and touchpad were comfortable to use and a discreet row of lights below the touchpad shows activity and status.
A small button above the touchpad turns it on or off, which is handy if you are using an external mouse. Other small buttons above the keyboard change the display settings and switch the computer into ‘Eco mode' to cut power consumption and boosts battery life – plugging in an external device can also enable this feature.
As well as the 64-bit version of the Windows 7 Home Premium operating system it includes Microsoft Office 2010 Starter edition and some handy utilities, including one that shuts down the hard disk to prevent damage if it detects that the computer has been dropped.
Overall, the Satellite R630-141 is a well-made laptop that works well and is powerful but portable.
Read more reviews
A high-class, well-made computer that's also powerful
'Sleep and charge' USB socket is useful; powerful; very slim and light; good software included
Screen glare was a problem; only two USB sockets
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