Toshiba Portégé Z830-10N 13.3in Ultrabook
Five and a half hours on the road
Review The last time I tested a Toshiba laptop, it had a glowing orange screen and the keyboard rattled like a box of Lego. Come to think of it, newspapers at the time were scaring readers about ‘house parties’, so it was quite a while ago. So perhaps you can imagine how utterly charming the pretentiously named Portégé Z830-10N appeared to me when it arrived.
Toshiba's Portégé Z830-10N – call me a fashion victim but charcoal grey is soooo Nineties.
It’s skinny – 10mm thick on average – and light – weighs less than two iPads – but in classic Toshiba form, it means business too. I don’t mean in terms of performance, though: business doesn’t need processing power, it needs connectivity, and the Z830 is a rare Ultrabook in letting you plug stuff into it directly. You won’t need to buy, carry and invariably lose pocketfuls of port adapters.
First, a quick tour. The case is largely built from a dark-grey magnesium alloy, the only apparent seams being around the display, the keyboard and the trackpad. Although tougher and more resistant than plastic, this material is not rigid, so it is still possible to tweak and bend the screen.
The keyboard has a bouncy rather than clattery feel, but those vertical cursor keys are too close
A sticker on the base warns: ‘PC base and palm rest can become hot! Avoid prolonged contact to prevent heat injury to skin.’ I can assure readers that the Z830 did not become hot or even lukewarm during testing. It runs cool and quiet.
Opening the clamshell is a bit tricky if you have cold hands, since the front finger recess to help you separate the screen from the body is barely a millimetre wide. Resisting the temptation to use a bread knife from the kitchen, I found the best technique was to rest the computer flat on one open palm and slowly tease up the lid with the fingernails of my other hand.
Separate audio in and out ports for those of us with standard headset mics
Frankly, I’m baffled as to why increasing numbers of manufacturers seem to be designing their notebooks to be difficult to open, but there you go.
Next page: Seeing the light
£1080, and you get a lovely glossy 1366x768 screen powered by wonderful integrated intel graphics...
Err, no thanks.. You're paying about £700 for the form factor of this machine..
Re: "Seriously, who the hell would buy this laptop?"
Someone that needs a laptop for actual work, and not just for posing / dicking around?
You thought right.
Add approx £200 to equip the Air with the same ports the reviewer bigs up. Plus no USB 3 on the mac. Thats already the price of another shiny gadget to bring it up to spec.
Apple might have the better software, but who cares when this whole market is aimed at fashion victims and show offs. Home computing never used to be like this. I'll stick to hackingtoshing a £400 old school laptop and put up with this flexing of cases mystery that seems to have everybody concerned all of a sudden.
I thought Apple was supposed to be the company selling "overpriced" kit?
Seriously, who the hell would buy this laptop?
Apple's cheapest 13" MacBook Air comes with a much better display, with a higher 1440 x 900 resolution, a proper unibody case that doesn't flex, a lid you can open easily with your fingers without the need for additional tools, longer battery life, a Thunderbolt connector that lets you connect to both an external display and a number of data connectors with just one cable (Apple's 27" display also includes a bunch of other ports, acting like a docking station), and Apple bundles software people might actually want to use, and which has a refreshing lack of endless, annoying, pop-ups.
Oh yes: you also get a 1.7GHz mobile Core i5, instead of the i3 in this pile of Tosh.
All for a whopping... £19 more.
Why LEDs on the front edge?
"Why not put the LED status icons there [above the keyboard] instead?"
Because it's nice not to have to open my laptop in order to see whether it's awake or if I need to see why the disk is going nuts. Opening the lid is a bit tricky, fair enough -- on the other hand, given how light these things are, if it were easy to open you'd be complaining about the loose hinges.