For notebook shoppers who are weighing their options — literally — Toshiba has delivered an ultrabook that offers the perfect mix of portability and functionality: the Portégé Z830. The device weighs less than 2.5 pounds but sports a powerful Intel Core i7 Pro processor, 6 gigabytes of RAM and an ample number of ports.
The Portégé Z830 measures a scant half-inch thick, though it's a bit thicker at the back. The manufacturer adds two features not often found in ultrabooks: a 15-pin VGA connector and a RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet network connection. These ports will be handy for connecting external displays such as projectors or linking to the enterprise network.
Boasting a 13.3-inch LED backlit screen, the Portégé's 1366x768 pixel resolution (with native support for 720p) is adequate for creating content or watching movies. Just above it sits a 1.3 megapixel webcam and microphone for video conferencing. Connectivity options include Ethernet, Intel Centrino 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi or onboard Bluetooth 3.0. Users will find two USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI port on the back, while a USB 3.0 port sits within easy reach on the right side of the unit.
The spill-resistant, raised-tile backlit keyboard is kind to large fingers. Pressing and holding the function key yields a display of all the keys with special functions (such as wireless on/off and brightness), which is handy in dimly lit areas.
Toshiba somehow managed to cram in an 8-cell battery, which lasted about five hours with the Wi-Fi enabled. In normal use with Wi-Fi turned off, tests showed the ultrabook could achieve the 8-hour battery life Toshiba touts in its specifications.
IT managers will treasure the Toshiba Z830's network port. There are many times when one needs to connect to the network for initial setup, troubleshooting or installing large files. This feature alone may be worth a price premium.
A magnesium alloy case offers sturdiness and flexibility. A honeycomb-structured cover provides resiliency, and the base and cover bend without damage. The base is held together with 14 screws, and an 8-inch hinge binds it to the cover. The Z830 also comes with a standard three-year warranty that can be extended for less-than-careful users.
1.8 gigahertz Clock speed of the Portégé's Intel processor, which bumps to 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost technology
In terms of performance, the Z830 shines where other ultraportables fall short. A 128GB Serial ATA solid-state drive offers all the onboard storage one would reasonably need, especially in this era of cloud storage. If IT managers desire more power and space, future Portégé models will offer 8GB of RAM and a 256GB drive.
Those who prefer a pointing stylus over a touchpad may be disappointed because the Toshiba Z830 doesn't include one. There's an on/off button for disabling the standard touchpad, however.
Like many portable devices today, the 8-cell battery is not user-replaceable. Organizations will need to send the ultrabook to an authorized Toshiba repair shop to replace the battery. Also, the half-pound power adapter slips a little too easily out of the back of the computer.l