Toshiba Portege Z830 - Flexi Thin

7/18/2012 11:43:46 AM

I have always been in awe of Japanese engineering. One of the bigger IT investments it made was into a Toshiba Satellite some years ago, that I never regretted. But besides the Satellite range which was purported to be the mid-range work machine range, there was also the thin and light premium line up called Portege that is not unlike the ultrabook form factor we have today. I could never afford a Portege unit. But with ultrabooks being the norm these days, what will Toshiba bring to the table, especially after its many years of experience making ultra-light notebooks?

Light, with a bit of flex

Description: Light with a bit of flex

Maybe this will speak to how many ultrabooks I have handled, but the Portege Z830 was astonishingly light. Is there anything out there as light as this? It was like holding a manila cardboard in one hand, and I was pleased that Toshiba opted for magnesium alloy as it is a solid, good-looking material that doesn't attract smudges. There were some concerns expressed that the ultra book shouldn't flex because it would compromise the components within it. I think that is a valid concern. Screens that can flex are better than being rigid, because rigidity makes it prone to breaking. But what about the ultrabook overall? Toshiba claims to have moulded a unique honeycomb structure within the magnesium alloy chassis to give this PC increased durability, rigidity and thinness. We wish we could put this to test, but needless to say, we couldn't. However, the end result is a very thin and the lightest ultrabook there Is out there, at the moment.

Real world usage

Description: Toshiba Portege Z830

How does this machine fare under real world stress? Not bad. It can handle work admirably, although there always seems to be a bit of lag during browsing, as though there was a tiny bottleneck somewhere that didn't allow all that Intel processor power and awesome graphics power to just flow through and do its thing. I was also quite upset about the battery power management. All I could squeeze out was about five hours, and this with minimal usage - document processing, casual browsing - no, music playing yet, or even movie playback.

Final thoughts

It can be unpleasant surprise to stow away the ultrabook, and then to take it out some time later to discover that battery life has dwindled down to 10-percent. That shouldn't have to happen. Especially when there are so many, many other good things going for this Toshiba Portege - real mobility, a good multi-gesture touchpad, a HD web camera, ample connection ports in the form of three USB ports, HDMI, RGB, speedy Bluetooth, memory card reader with support for even microSD of all formats, a multitude of proprietary software for maintenance, multimedia, recovery and above all, a solid state drive.

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