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8/96 Reviews Systems: Toshiba Portégé 650CT Listing of August 1996 Reviews

Sub Emerges with Full Array of Features

By Jim Forbes

Aabout the time "subnotebook" worked its way into the industry's lingo, most notebook makers abandoned the form factor in favor of larger units with more, and higher-end, features. Toshiba, on the other hand, came out with its diminutive Portégé and stuck with it.

The result is the Portégé 650CT. I tested a preproduction model of the notebook, which is essentially identical to the unit that will ship about the time you read this.

The 650CT's standard configuration includes a 133MHz Pentium processor with 256KB of burst cache, 16MB of EDO RAM and a fast 1.26-gigabyte hard disk. Despite the notebook's small case, it has a bright 11.3-inch active-matrix screen. The screen works with a 64-bit Chips and Technology controller with 2MB of VRAM to deliver an image of 800x600 pixels, up to 1024x768 on an external monitor. The 650CT has a PCI-bus architecture and supports hot and "warm" docking.

This small portable's wide variety of external connectors makes it as powerful and versatile as a full-sized notebook. In addition to parallel and serial ports, it has a docking station connector (for either Toshiba's DeskStation V Plus or NoteDock II Enhanced Port Replicator). With these docking stations, you can connect the notebook to peripherals such as a full-sized keyboard, monitor, printer and so forth. You also get two more PCMCIA slots to complement the 650CT's built-in slots, which accept two Type II cards or one Type III.

The Portégé 650CT has a built-in V.34 modem and a Zoomed Video port. Used with a Zoomed Video card, this port allows you to play video at full-screen size. The system contains a 16-bit stereo sound system with internal speakers.

Toshiba provides a new keyboard for the 650CT. It includes Windows 95 keys and is 1 millimeter longer than the keyboard on previous Portégé models. While the keyboard may seem a little cramped at first, it's easy to get used to.

The 650CT incorporates an AccuPoint pointing device with two cursor control buttons located in the middle of the notebook's intergrated palm rest.

The Toshiba Portégé 650CT handled our Wintune benchmarks with ease. It registered 243.67MIPs for the CPU test, and a quick 3.07MB-per-second uncached hard disk throughput. Its score of 5.47Mpixels per second on the video test was also exemplary. On our application tests, the 650CT completed the Word macro in 31.3 seconds and the Excel macro in 21.0 seconds.

With its battery pack, the 650CT is gentle on the scales, weighing 4.8 pounds. And, at 1.8 by 10.3 by 8.2 inches, it'll fit into just about any briefcase or book bag.

The bottom line on the new Toshiba Portégé 650CT: two thumbs up.

Info File
Toshiba Portégé 650CT
About $5,000
Pros: Modem; processor; MPEG
Cons: Keyboard
Toshiba America Information Systems
800-334-3445, 714-583-3000
WinMag Box Score: 4.0
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