Toshiba has built a good reputation for its Portege range of notebooks, with the R series doing very well in the thin and light market arena. The latest update to the R830 model includes modern specifications, while retaining a look and feel from older models.
The Toshiba Portege R830 looks every inch like its predecessor, the Portege R700. The chassis is identical, with the same black magnesium-alloy build materials, the same thin but solid lid, the same keyboard and touchpad design. We do like some aspects of this. There’s a button sitting beneath the space bar that can be used to disable the touchpad, which is a very nice feature, as an example. We do wonder if Toshiba hasn’t done itself a disservice, by failing to innovate in the hardware design.
We do wonder if Toshiba could have pushed the boat out here and delivered some models with a higher screen resolution, as the device only arrives with a 13.3 inch screen, which has a resolution of 1,366 x 768.
All change under the hood
Inside the chassis, the R830 is very different from its predecessor, with plenty of updated specifications. There are lots of models available too. We were sent the Portege R830 1DX who has a retail price of £1,049 ex VAT. This buys an Intel Core i3 2330M processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB 7200rpm hard drive. If you want the top specs in the range then £1,599 ex VAT gets you a Core i7 2640M, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
Not every model includes an optical drive, so choose carefully, if you need one. The range of ports and connectors offer nothing out of the ordinary, or anything particularly special, but it has a serviceable set. There is a single USB 3.0 port and two more USB 2.0 port, in addition to more USB support in the shape of an eSATA/USB combo. Also on board is HDMI and external monitor connectors, an Ethernet port and an SD card slot.
An all-day workhorse?
The light and tidy chassis of 316.0 x 227.0 x 18.3 – 26.6 mm and 1.48kg of weight means this is a laptop that’ll drop into most bags, with ease. Battery life is rated at eight hours 55 minutes. What you get in the real world will depend on your usage pattern of course, but we reckon if you are actually using the R830 for less than two thirds of the day, you might manage to avoid the need for mains power.
This slim and light notebook format may start to suffer as ultrabooks take hold. There is a strong case for saying this model could lose out to the new Toshiba Portege Z830 Ultrabook; only time will tell.
- Small, light and portable; lots of different models, with a variety of specifications.
- Chassis not updated from previous model; this class of notebook may suffer as ultrabooks become more popular.
The Toshiba Portege R830 is small and portable, with a good quality keyboard and a nice, matte screen. Toshiba could have done more with the design, but there are models to keep those who do, and don’t need optical drives, happy.