Ultrabooks might be the products that change the face of computing in 2012. They are small, thin, light and powerful, with a lot of allure. Most ultrabooks are currently aimed at consumers, but Toshiba has added one to its Portégé range – and as you’d expect, it is aimed at the business user.
You pays your money…….
Toshiba loves offering its Portégé range and in lots of different configurations. We counted five, when we were writing this review. They range in price from £899 ex VAT to £1,489 ex VAT. The most expensive models include an Intel Core i7 processor, with a generous 8GB of RAM.
Our review sample was the more affordable £969 ex VAT Portégé Z830 10p, which comes with just 4GB of RAM and an Intel Core i3 2367M processor – one of those components has been designed specifically for ultrabooks.
The good and bad of the slim chassis
A key characteristic of ultrabooks is their slim chassis design, and of course the Toshiba Portégé Z830 follows this trend. The laptop weighs a mere 1.12Kg and measures 316 x 227 x 15.9mm. There are two key negative features of this super-slim design. People wanting optical drives will need to carry them as external devices, and the lid section is extremely thin and was too flexible for our liking.
A third irritation for us was that the base is made of a single sheet, which means that you can’t get to the battery, to slot in a spare. There are two possible consequences here. If your battery dies, the Toshiba Portégé Z830 becomes an expensive doorstop. If you need long battery life – you can’t do what most notebooks allow you to – carry a spare charged battery. So, you’ll need to find mains power.
Impressive all rounder
Looking at specs and usability, things are definitely on the positive side. The 13.3 inch screen delivers its 1,366 x 768 pixels in a sharp, bright display and while viewing angles aren’t great, they are good enough. The isolation-style keyboard is comfortable under the fingers, if a little on the spongy side for some tastes. The keys are backlit, with auto dimming after a short period of no typing, along with auto-lighting when you tap at a key, all of which is very smooth and welcome.
The Intel Core i3-2367M 1.4GHz with 4GB of RAM was fast enough for us, and frankly, a notebook of this size probably won’t be called upon for processor intensive work so it’s likely to be adequate for most needs. The range of connectors is satisfactory, if not quite what we would describe as plentiful. There are microphone and headset connectors, SD card slot, one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI and monitor connectors. Many of these connectors are on the back edge, which are made available because the battery is non-removable.
The 128GB SSD might not be large enough for every user, but this feature is standard across all the versions of the Portégé Z830. When we checked our review sample there was just over 70GB free, from its factory default settings.
There’s a 1.3 megapixel webcam above the screen, and as befits an ultrabook aimed at business users, WiDi is on board – which is a great feature for wireless presentations. We found the stereo speakers’ quality and volume to be above average, and the battery slightly better than we’d have expected. This gave us just over four hours of non-stop video playback during testing.
- Small and light to carry around; good battery life.
- Not much storage on the SSD; can’t access battery; lid feels a bit vulnerable.
The Toshiba Portégé Z830 is a very neat, slim, small ultrabook. We think the lid section should be more solid, but the battery life is good. You will need to decide though, whether the 128GB SSD offers enough storage.