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Toshiba Portege Z830 Ultrabook Review
Ultrabooks are a fun little accessory if you’re rich and have money to throw around. In fact they are more than just something you flaunt around, but sadly, not everyone can afford it right now as they still have a long way to go before they can reach the masses. In the meantime, every notebook manufacturer worth their salt have released their own version of it. So far, we’ve seen some from the likes of Lenovo, Asus and Dell and although they were all good in their own right, they all had some feature or the other that was missing which prevented them from being the complete package. Toshiba on the other hand is here to show them how it’s done. Apart from being one of the world’s lightest Ultrabooks, this model also packs in every connectivity option one would typically find in a notebook, sans the optical drive. Could this be the ultimate Ultrabook we’ve been waiting for? Let’s find out.
Design and Build
The Portege Z830 is nothing short of amazing that’s noticeable as soon you lift it up. It’s incredibly light weight and definitely one of the lightest Ultrabooks we’ve encountered. Besides that, it’s incredibly slim as well when you consider it has all the typical ports one would expect from a notebook. Toshiba is using a magnesium alloy for the chassis which is why it weighs just 1.12kg. While the main body is sturdy, the screen does exhibit some flex but since it’s not plastic, we don’t think you should worry too much about it since even applying pressure from the back of the lid causes no visual distortion to the pixels on the screen. The lid flips back to about 160 degrees thereby giving you ample room to adjust the angle no matter what your seating position.
A handsome looking notebook
Like we mentioned before, the Z830 features all the connectivity options one would typically expect in a notebook. We have three USB ports, out of which, one is USB 3.0, There’s a microphone and headphone jack, SD card reader, HDMI, VGA, Gigabit LAN and finally, the charging port. There’s a single intake fan at the bottom while the exhaust vents sit at the back and under the hinge. There is no easy-remove flap underneath to swap out the RAM as you you’ll have to remove the entire bottom portion.
Poor key feedback is this notebooks biggest flaw
Toshiba have gone with a spill-resistant chiclet keyboard that’s also backlit. While the keys are well spaced out, the feedback of the keys are quite terrible. It’s like typing on a lumpy mattress. You don’t have the confidence whether you’ve actually pressed a key or not since there’s barely any tactile feedback from the keys. Aside from the power button, there are two shortcut buttons for ‘Eco mode’ and the other to switch screens. There are plenty of shortcut ‘Fn’ keys mapped and pressing the function button brings up a nice overlay on the screen, telling you what shortcuts you can use. There's even a physical button to disable the trackpad. Speaking of which, Toshiba have placed it correctly and it doesn’t get in the way while typing.
LAN and HDMI are included as well
The trackpad is very comfortable to use, however the same cannot be said about the mouse buttons which again, are quite stiff. We even have a fingerprint scanner here along with status LEDs. Overall, the Portege Z830 is by far the most complete Ultrabook we’ve come across and it just so happens to be one of the slimmest and lightest as well.
This is one of the few Ultrabooks to be powered by Intel’s Core i5 CPU with vPro technology. Toshiba is targeting enterprise users and professionals who’ll make use of Intel’s vPro technology. The i5-2557M is a dual-core CPU running at 1.7GHz and a Turbo frequency of 2.7GHz. Along, with this, you also get 6GB of RAM, Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and a 128GB SSD. The 13.3-inch screen sports a decent resolution of 1366 x 768 and is capable of displaying sharp and clear images and video, with a very good brightness level.
Good connectivity options
Toshiba also pack in plenty of extra utilities to get you started. Norton Internet Security comes pre-bundled along with a bunch of games from WildTangent. Toshiba also bundle along their own set of utilities like a web cam application, Bulletin Board for the latest updates, a bunch of diagnostic and hard drive utilities, battery manager, face recognition program, etc. The notebook also features their EasyGuard technology which is designed to protect the hard drive from accidental drops and bumps.
The Portege Z830 is a solid performer, whether it is handling Windows 7 or any applications. Boot up time is also a lot quicker than most of the other Ultrabooks we’ve tested. Compared to the Core i5-2467M CPUs we see on most Ultrabooks, the Core i5-2557M is slightly more powerful that’s clearly visible in our video encoding test.
The Portege is also incredibly silent for the most part, except for when there’s high CPU usage and the intake fan is audible but not too audible to be annoying. The notebook also runs cool which is quite commendable given the slim profile of the Z830. The backlit keyboard keeps you going even under low lighting conditions but the keys themselves aren’t particularly great. Toshiba has ensured that the screen has ample brightness so you can easily use it outdoors. The speakers are placed on the outside and are surprisingly loud.
Superb build and finish
With our handy Battery Eater Pro application, we clocked around 2hrs before the notebook shutdown. This translates to about 4-5hrs of normal usage time, which again is not too bad considering the size of the notebook.
Holding the ‘world’s lightest’ Ultrabook title does come at a price. The Z830 will set you back a whopping Rs.96,290, which makes it expensive. More so, because you can easily get an Ultrabook at this price with a Core i7 CPU and a larger SSD, but, you will have to sacrifice on some of the features like full connectivity options and the weight. It’s a tough choice and ultimately, you have to decide if you can live with trading in performance for a slim design and full connectivity options. The Z830 is a brilliant little Ultrabook from Toshiba and is what we all expect an Ultrabook to deliver, all the connectivity options of a notebook but the speed and portability of a tablet. A day will come when tablets, similar to the Asus Transformer, running Windows 8 will make Ultrabooks obsolete but until that happens, Toshiba’s Z830 is currently one of the best offerings in the market.