This year has been pretty big as far as Intel goes. There’s the Ultrabooks movement and also the big Windows 8 launch that has been the centre of attention, apart from smartphones and tablets, of course. Following this trend, there have been several launches through the year. Toshiba’s Portege Z830 was one of the Ultrabooks to be launched, and we had reviewed it earlier this year. We rated it a 7/10, which is actually quite decent for the Ultrabook. Now, there’s a new one and it’s based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture. The model we’re reviewing is the Portege Z930-X3430.
Design and build quality
The Toshiba Portege Z830 was pretty impressive weight-wise, and the Z930 isn’t much different. It’s very thin and also very light, just like the Z830. The base of the Z930 is very smooth and flat, as is the top. The lid of the Portege Z930 is very thin and is prone to flexing. The hinge also isn’t very sturdy. It’s not something that could stand a massive jolt if the notebook lid was left open, so you have to be careful. Of course, that’s the price for the low weight. On the inside, you also notice some flex when you press down on the panels.
Not the best keyboard or trackpad in the market
Things don’t look so good when it comes to the keyboard and the trackpad. The keyboard is quite odd in some ways. Firstly, there’s very little travel, so you really have to put some effort while typing and you can’t feel really confident while punching down the keys. The keys are small and a bit wide, so you need to get used to it before you can get your typing speed up. It’s not just the functionality, the keyboard looks odd in other ways too. For example, the keys are marked in uppercase and Backspace is written as ‘BACK SPACE’. The directional keys are also quite warped – thin and wide. The spacebar doesn’t register key presses easily unless you put pressure at the centre of the key.
Very, very sleek no doubt
The trackpad size itself is fine, but it’s the mouse buttons at the bottom that can be a little annoying. They’re small, glossy and there’s a fingerprint scanner placed right in the middle of it. Even the status indicators are present there. Personally, we would’ve preferred if the fingerprint scanner was placed to one side, with that space being used for larger buttons.
The Toshiba Portege Z930 runs on an Intel Core i5 3427U and 6GB of RAM. There’s only the Intel HD4000 graphics solution, which is sufficient for most tasks and basic gaming. For storage, there’s a Toshiba 128GB SSD onboard, which is a little too less when you consider it’s the only space you have to store everything from the OS, software, games, music and movies. Toshiba bundles a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate with the OS. Surprisingly, there’s only a 32-bit version of the operating system bundled with it, which means only some 3-odd gigabytes of RAM are usable instead of the total 6GB. This is another odd thing about the Z930.
Connectivity ports at the rear, including the large D-sub one
There’s one USB 3.0 port on the right side and two USB 2.0 ports on the rear of the notebook. There is, however, a D-Sub port as well, which is something you tend to find missing on Ultrabooks. You also get an HDMI port.
There are no physical multimedia buttons. However, there are plenty of Function-key shortcuts that one can use. One interesting thing about these shortcuts is that you can enable them by simply holding down the Function key; an overlay appears, which can be clicked on using the mouse pointer.
The performance of the Toshiba Z930 is almost identical to most of the Ultrabooks using this exact processor. Apart from the memory and storage solution, most of the other solutions are more or less identical. PC Mark 7, which is a good gauge to check overall system performance, throws up a pretty good score of 5360. The solid-state drive onboard the Z930 helps too, with read speeds reaching 448.7MB/s and write speeds touching 369.7MB/s. File compression and video compression tests also show scores very similar to other Ultrabooks. 3D performance is decent because of just the Intel integrated graphics solution onboard the Z930.
USB 3.0 port on the side
In terms of screen and audio quality, the Toshiba Portege Z930 isn’t as impressive. The screen has a matte finish, which is alright but colours don’t seem very vibrant as such. The screen gets really bright, but it also loses detail immediately. For a product that’s priced this high, the viewing angles are pretty bad too. A slight bit of tilt really deteriorates the image quality.
Memory card reader and audio connects on the other side
Battery performance is decent and with heavy load applications such as 3D rendering, the battery will last two hours. With general browsing and multimedia playback, you can easily stretch this number to a few more hours. We didn't really notice any kind of heating issues either.
Verdict and Price in India
Very sleek, very light, but also very expensive
The Toshiba Portege Z930 is priced at Rs. 96,000 here in India. It’s not necessarily the sturdiest of Ultrabooks, but it is one of the lighest. So if you’re travelling a lot and need something light and reasonably powerful, then this has to be it. Of course, you sacrifice some of the other things like a sturdy frame and a bit of ergonomics and aesthetics.
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