Folks at Intel will be smiling today as Ultrabook revolution is almost here. We have seen quite a few Ultrabook launches in India in the last six months or so, and each of them has taken the concept a little further. Toshiba Portege Z830, the so-called world's lightest Ultrabook, is the latest one to join the mix. At Rs 96,290, it is certainly not the cheapest one, but does it justify the price with a great performance and awesome features? We will find out in this review.
Coming from Dell Vostro V131, Portege Z830 feels really light and Toshiba has certainly done a nice job in keeping it slim despite putting in all the full-size ports. It comes with two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, Kensington lock slot, SD reader, headphone & mic ports, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA and the power ports, all this in just 15.9mm thickness. As most of these ports are present on the back, they can be really hard to reach at time. It also lets down in the looks department. Available only in the lifeless graphite grey, it makes us wonder why Toshiba didn't spend a little more time on the looks or at-least should have added other colour options.
Apart from the boring grey, Portege does not disappoint in the hardware. At 1.12 kgs, it is indeed the lightest ultrabook till date (yes, even lighter than Macbook Air) and the weight difference is certainly noticeable while you carry it around. It is made up for magnesium alloy casing and comes with "enhanced honeycomb rib design", which according to the company offers great rigidity, shock absorption, but when you handle Z830, it feels very flimsy and fragile.
Keyboard/ Touchpad/ Display
Under the lid, Toshiba has included the familiar chiclet keyboard, but the keys are damp and vertically narrow, so you will have a hard time in getting used to them. Otherwise, it is backlit, spill-resistant and keyboard letters have the not-so common but nice Technica font.
Touchpad is similar to what you normally find in notebooks and supports multi-touch gestures but the glossy buttons below touchpad just love fingerprints.
Toshiba's 1366x768p display is sufficiently bright and sharp, and viewing angles are decent if not great. But in comparison with Macbook Air, the colours look a little bland and washed out. You won't have any issues till the time you are looking at this head on, but if you once you tilt the display, contrast goes haywire and colours are washed out.
The version of Protege Z830, which we are reviewing today, came with Intel Core-I5, 6GB RAM and 128GB SSD. Overall performance is quite snappy and there is no noticeable lag during the day-to-day working.
3DMark 06: 4330
First Pass: 53.49fps
Second Pass: 9.45fps
Graphics performance is decent and pretty much what you can expect with on-board integrated Intel HD 3000. It plays the full HD videos nicely without any hiccups, but don't get your hopes up to run any heavy-duty gaming titles.
The Toshiba THNSNB128GCJ SSD inside does give the required push to ultrabook and boot time is just around 19 seconds and similarly it too just over 5 seconds to resume from sleep. We also tested the SSD speed with file transfers and you can find the results below.
Transferring a 700MB file using USB 2.0 - 25secs
Transferring a 700MB file using USB 3.0 - 10secs
Battery Life and Software
One of the most important parts of any laptop/ultrabook buying decision is the battery life and Portege Z830 is pretty decent in that department. Although company claims 6+ hours backup on-paper, we were able to manage over 4.5 hours of backup with brightness set at full and using apps like Chrome, Word, Photoshop and Tweetdeck etc.
In terms of software, our review unit was running on Windows 7 Professional SP1. Toshiba has also filled up a lot of SSD space with bloatware, you will find apps like Toshiba Eco Utility, Heath Monitor, Amazon Kindle and small tools (Toshiba Assist, Disc Creator, DVD Player, Face Recognition, Fingerprint Utility, HDD/SSD Alert, HDD Protection, HW Setup Utility, Media Controller, Password Utility, PC Health Monitor, Recover Disc Creator, Service Station, Security Assist, Sleep Utility, and Webcam software), some of these might come in handy at times.
Company has also bundled Microsoft Office Professional 2010 Trial and Norton Internet Security 60 days subscription with the machine.
When you look at the Ultrabook market in India, we have quite a few options apart from Portege including HP Folio 13 (Rs 69,990 - Core I5, 4GB, 128GB SSD), Asus Zenbook (Rs 89,990 - Core I5, 4GB, 256GB SSD), Lenovo IdeaPad U300 (Rs 67,990 - Core I5, 4GB, 128GB SSD), Samsung Series 5 (Rs 48,990 - Core I5, 4GB, 500GB HDD), Acer Aspire S3 (Rs 49,990 - Core I5, 4GB, 20GB SSD+320GB HDD) and 13-inch Macbook Air (Rs 73,900 - Core I5, 4GB, 128GB SSD) (not traditionally dubbed as an Ultrabook).
Overall, Toshiba Portege Z830 is a pretty nice Ultrabook and comes with some great features like robust selection of ports, decent battery life, snappy performance and it is also the lightest of all, but the main issue with it, is its pricing. Toshiba wants you to shell out Rs 96,290 for this machine, when in the alternatives; you can have a better resolution and design with Asus Zenbook or Macbook Air in less price with just 2GB less of RAM than Portege Z830 and a little extra weight. Toshiba Portege Z830 could have been one of the best Ultrabooks in the market, but it is the pricing that lets it down.
2nd generation Intel Core I5 2557M Processor (1.7 GHz with Turbo Boost technology up to 2.7 GHz, 3MB Cache)
Integrated Intel HD Graphics GMA 3000
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Intel QM67 Express Chipset
RAM: 6 GB (2GB + 4GB) DDR3 1333 MHz SDRAM
33.8 cm (13.3) HD display with LED backlighting (1,366x768 pixels) (300 nits)
WLAN, Bluetooth 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet LAN
Built-in HD Slim Webcam with Mic
8-cell Li-ion 3200 Integrated Battery
1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, SD Card Reader, RGB, HDMI
Matt A4 tile keyboard large multitouch touch pad
Stereo speakers enhanced with Toshiba Audio Enhancement Technology
Magnesium casing with honeycomb reinforcement
3-years India 'on-site' warranty (select locations), 3-years carry-in International Limited Warranty
Robust set of ports (USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, Audio/MIC)
Keyboard is a let down
Ease of use: 4
Wow Factor: 4
Value for Money: 1.5