Toshiba Portégé R830 review

Ultraportable laptop with a big price
Photo of Toshiba Portégé R830
From £949 ex. VAT

Ultraportable laptops have a big job to do. They have to be small and light, but pack a good screen and quality features. And it would be good if they weren’t too expensive. Toshiba’s Portégé R830 doesn’t tick all the boxes, but then what ultraportable does?

The price is high
When you look at the top end of the four currently available versions of the Toshiba Portégé R830, the price will see you drawing in your breath. With a 120GB SSD and Intel Core i7 processor on board you’re getting top notch specs – but at £1,599 ex VAT, the price is high.

Come down the price range to the model Toshiba sent us, and you’re looking at a Core i5-2520 (a second-generation i5, one of the so-called ‘Sandy Bridge’ processors), and a 500GB hard drive. That should be enough for most people, but at £1,199 ex VAT the price is still pretty steep.

Small and neat, but lacks sparkle
There is no denying that the Toshiba Portégé R830 is a small and manageable notebook. At 316x227x18.3-26.6mm (wdh) it will fit into smaller backpacks and bags, and it’s light too at 1.48kg. Still, we’re concerned that the lid section is a little too flexible for comfort, and with this and the absence of a clasp keeping lid and base together, you’ll need a carry case.

We’re happy to see a USB 3.0 connector – though the other two USB ports are USB 2.0, and one of them is an eSATA combi. An SD card slot, HDMI connector, monitor connector, headphones and microphone jacks and Ethernet ports join the optical drive in pretty much filling up the left and right edges of the chassis. We’re slightly non-plussed that Toshiba doesn’t seem to have altered the chassis design from this model’s predecessor, the Portégé R700. Surely there’s been some inspiration to apply in the intervening months?

Easy typing, easy viewing
We really like the chiclet-style keyboard, though some may find it a little too soft under the fingers for their tastes. The touchpad has scroll zones and ‘pinch-to-zoom’ multitouch integrated, which come into their own particularly when you are web browsing.

The screen measures 13.3 inches and its 1366×760-pixel resolution is par for the course. Its matt, non-reflective finish – a rarity these days – makes working in most conditions easy. It isn’t hugely vibrant, but viewing angles are good.

And when you want to leave the screen and use an external display, you’ve got Intel Wireless Display on hand – so that you don’t need to cable an external display to the Toshiba Portégé R830. You may well need to buy an adaptor though.

Company: Toshiba

Website: http://www.toshiba.co.uk/

Contact: Toshiba on 0844 847 8944

Positives
  • Very small and light; integrated optical drive.
Negative
  • Flex in lid; expensive.

Verdict

Small, light, neat, but lacking the kind of sparkle that would really justify its high price, the Toshiba Portégé R830 certainly has a market, but could have garnered a larger one with a little more attention to detail.