Toshiba Portege R835-P88 Review

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Call it an ultraportable, a mini laptop, a 13-inch laptop, or whatever you prefer; this is the Toshiba Portege R835-P88 that came out earlier this year. It follows the footsteps of its predecessors which were very good laptops with a lightweight and slim chassis, solid performance and an affordable price tag, as good as a web hosting solution.

However, in the meantime the ultrabook market exploded and this model doesn’t look as slim and as lightweight as it were a few years ago. Now, the Portege R835-P88 looks kind of bulky and big in comparison to several 13-inch laptops that have a thickness of less than 20mm, laptops coming from manufacturers like HP and Dell, or even Toshiba’s own Z835. All of these models cost somewhere around $899 – $999 and feature just about the same Intel Core i5 configuration, but with a faster 128GB SSD instead of this model’s HDD.

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

Even though it’s not the sexiest or newest 13-inch laptop on the market, the Toshiba Portege R835-P88 still manages to be a great 13-inch, full-featured laptop. This configuration of the R835 comes with several features that you won’t find on most ultrabooks, such as the Intel Wireless Display technology and an optical drive. The following configuration of this model will set you back $849.

At the heart of the Toshiba Portege R35-P88 is a second generation Intel Core i5-2450M processor clocked at 1.50 GHz. It comes with 6GB of DDR3 memory rated at 1,333 MHz, while for storage packs a spacious 640GB SATA hard drive spinning at a speed of 5,400 rpm. There’s also an Intel HM65 chipset and an integrated GPU in the form of the usual Intel HD 3000 with shared system memory. The laptop runs on the 64 bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium.

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

It measures 12.4 x 8.9 x 0.7 – 1.1 inches and weighs 3.2 pounds, while AC adapter weighs an additional 0.8 pounds. Design-wise, it looks pretty much the same like its predecessors. Its brushed-aluminum magnesium alloy chassis is wearing a subtle dark blue tint while the bottom half of its body feels rock solid even though we’re dealing with a lightweight laptop. We do have to mention that you’ll probably notice some flex in the lid but nothing to worry about. We also don’t like that the screen hinges are chromed which makes the system look a little bit on the cheap side.

As far as the keyboard is concerned, it consists of island-style keys that are flat and widely spaced from one another. It has that Toshiba-specific vertical row where you can find the Page Up, Page Down, Home and End buttons sitting on the right side of the keyboard. Although it makes these keys easier to find, the bad thing is that it pushes the Right Shift and Enter keys in from where they usually are installed. Keep in mind that this is not a backlit keyboard, which is a downside since more and more ultrabooks have this feature.

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

Sitting below the keyboard is a touchpad that has a decent size and luckily it has independent left and right mouse buttons instead of that annoying and hard to use clickpad. Even though the mouse buttons are kind of on the small side, you won’t have any issues using them. Just keep in mind that these buttons are a little bit clacky.

The Toshiba Portege R835-P88 comes with a 13.3-inch display that has a maximum resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, which is the resolution that you’ll find on most ultrabooks. The screen gets quite bright but the viewing angles are rather disappointing. As for the speakers, these are on the average side and lack luster, which is a shame since a lot of Toshiba’s laptops come with great speakers, even some of the budget models.

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

Regarding ports and the available connectivity features, the R835-P88 comes with VGA and HDMI ports, headphone and microphone jacks, along with data transfer ports such as one USB 2.0 port, one USB 2.0/eSATA combo port, one USB 3.0 port and an SD card reader. For networking you get the usual Ethernet port and 802.11n Wi-Fi. As we said earlier in the article, it comes with an optical drive in the form of a DVD burner, a feature which you won’t find that often among ultrabooks.

If we were to compare this model to a regular MacBook Air from Apple, the R835 has a serious selection of ports and connections. However, we notice that Bluetooth is not available, but on the other hand we appreciate the inclusion of an eSATA port, which is a rarity among 13-inch laptops.

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

This configuration of the R835, called P88 is a little bit better than the 2011 versions which had Core i5-2410 processors and 4GB of RAM, while this model has a slightly better Intel Core i5-2450 processor and 6GB of RAM, while the 640GB hard drive is the same as last year. It isn’t a significant difference but having 2GB more RAM is always nice to find.

You probably know that the R835 has always been a top performer when it comes down to the battery life. The good news is that the 2012 model is just as good as previous models, managing to last for approximately 6 hours and 40 minutes in one of those demanding video playback tests, making it probably the best Windows-running performer and just about the same as the 13-inch version of the MacBook Pro from Apple.

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

Toshiba Portege R835-P88 (Source: us.toshiba.com)

The company sells this model with a one year warranty for parts and labor which is the standard nowadays in the industry. For support you have a 24/7 toll-free phone line that you can access, and there’s also a support page which will lead you to the relevant documents for your model, along with the drivers that you need.

All things considered, even though the Toshiba Portege R835 might not be what it used to be in the last few years, it still remains a solid option for you to consider if you are in the market for a decent 13-inch laptop.