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An interesting new niche in the PC laptop market, is the “MacBook Air Killer“. The latest, in a recent rash of these computers, is the Toshiba Portégé, R500. The top of the line model boasts a 128GB solid state hard drive, 2GB of RAM and a dual core Intel processor. Really driving home the value, the Toshiba also features a built in DVD Burner (the DVD SuperMulti Drive), fingerprint scanner and Transflective 1280×800 wide screen.

Toshiba Portege

For comparison, we’ve lined up the top-of-the-line MacBook Air and Portégé side by side:

Feature MacBook Air Portégé R500
Processor 1.8Ghz Dual Core 1.33Ghz Dual Core
Optical Drive Optional External DVD SuperMulti Drive Included
RAM 2GB 2GB
Screen 13.3″ 1280×800 glossy 12.1″ 1280×800 transflective
Graphics Intel GMA X3100 Intel Media Aceclarator 950
Hard Drive 64GB Solid State Drive 128GB Solid State Drive
Weight 3 lbs 1.72 lbs
Price $3,098 $2,999

As you can see, you’re getting a smaller package, both lighter and smaller, but giving a bit of processing power. For many the on-board DVD drive will be a big selling point, as it can be really inconvenient to either carry around an optical drive, or go without.

Voodoo Envy

HP, not wanting to be left out of this race, has acquired performance computing company Voodoo. Due out this summer is the Voodoo Envy 133, which was debuted along with the Voodoo Omen in Berlin (watch video coverage below). It will feature an all carbon-fibre 0.7″ thick body, Splashtop Instant-On environment (which allows surfing the web and making Skype calls within 10 seconds of booting), and a removable battery. The non-removable battery is one of the most-often heard complaints about the Air, making it an interesting feature. The price is expected to be $2099.

If you’re in the market for a new laptop, and the ultra-portable form factor suits you, 2008 is going to be an interesting year!