Toshiba lays claim to 'world's lightest' laptop

Device weighs 2.4 lbs., with one 128GB solid-state drive

Toshiba Corp. today launched an ultraportable laptop that it claims is the world's lightest, putting it in competition with vendors like Apple Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd.

The company said the full-featured Portégé R500-S5007V weighs just 2.4 pounds. In contrast, Apple Inc.'s MacBook Air weighs 3 pounds and Lenovo's Thinkpad X300 weighs around 2.93 pounds. The laptop measures 0.77 inches at its thinnest point, according to Toshiba.

The company also claimed that the new laptop was the first to include a 128GB solid-state drive rather than a hard drive. Laptops to date have had 64GB of storage, though both Lenovo and Apple provide 128GB of storage through two 64GB modules.

The new laptop will only be available with one 128GB solid-state drive for now, a Toshiba representative said.

Solid-state drives have no moving parts like hard drives do, so they consume less power, potentially increasing battery life. Toshiba said its new laptop can run for eight hours on a single battery charge. The laptop runs on a lithium-ion battery.

Battery life is also preserved by the laptop's transreflective 12.1-inch screen, which can shut down the LED backlighting by reflecting the sun's rays to illuminate the screen, according to Toshiba.

At $2,999, the laptop comes with a 1.33-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7700 processor, 2MB of cache and 2GB of RAM. It will have the Windows Vista Business operating system, which can be downgraded to Windows XP Professional. The laptop includes a SuperMulti optical drive that can read and rewrite DVD and CD media. It also features wired and wireless 802.11 a/g/n networking, Bluetooth 2.0 support and built-in safety features to protect data during falls.

The Portégé R500-S5007V with the solid-state drive is the standard configuration, however Toshiba offers similar configurations with a hard drive option, a company representative said.

Toshiba said the Portégé is one-third the size of 15.4-in. laptops but it includes a specially built motherboard that can provide the same functionality as boards found in 15.4-inch models.

The laptop will start shipping in the third quarter of this year, according to the company. Toshiba didn't comment on worldwide availability.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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