Toshiba Portégé Z830-104 review

Ultrabooks are certainly desirable, but they aren't designed for the workplace – a point that Toshiba aims to correct with the Portégé Z830, an ultra-thin laptop aimed at businesses. Tom Morgan takes a closer look to see if it succeeds.

IT Pro Verdict

Although it has several unique features that are sorely missing in Ultrabooks from other manufacturers, the Z830 isn’t head and shoulders above its competition. No other manufacturer has managed to perfect the formula so far, but they all have selling points that make them more desirable than the Toshiba. If you're not beholden to Windows, the 13in MacBook Air, which is available with a similar specification to the Z830 at a similar price, is still our preferred ultra-portable laptop, but Ultrabooks are slowly catching up.

With their incredibly slim dimensions and light weight, Ultrabooks seem perfect for workers on the go. They are amazingly portable, yet still squeeze in a full-size keyboard, and performance is quick without sacrificing battery life. It's a shame that this normally comes at the expense of connectivity, which can create a problem when it comes to getting work done.

Toshiba's Portg Z830 is an Ultrabook designed with the workplace firmly in mind. With a matt display coating, backlit keyboard and full-size connectivity ports, it resembles bigger, more feature-packed laptops than any other Ultrabook we've seen so far. It also looks the part the gunmetal grey magnesium alloy chassis looks quite distinct from the iconic MacBook Air. It's a featherweight 1.12kg so you won't notice it in a briefcase or laptop bag, and at 83mm it's barely any thicker than a magazine. Even with its charging cable, this is one laptop you won't mind keeping with you at all times.

The Z830's gunmetal grey magnesium alloy chassis looks quite distinct from the iconic MacBook Air.

The Z830's gunmetal grey magnesium alloy chassis looks quite distinct from the iconic MacBook Air.

Despite its small dimensions, there's still plenty of room inside the Z830 for a host of high-performance components. The Intel Core i5-2557 processor runs at 1.7GHz, but can Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz for some extra grunt in certain tasks. Paired with 4GB of RAM and a super-fast 128GB SSD, the Z830 sped to a very respectable 46 overall in our multimedia benchmarks. This isn't quite as fast as the Core i7-powered Asus Zenbook, but it's still powerful enough for most tasks. If you want to upgrade the 4GB of RAM to the maximum 6GB, then this need to be done by a reseller as it's not designed to be user-serviceable.

The SSD also helps Windows boot in less than 15 seconds, and resume from sleep in a lightning-fast 2 seconds. The battery lasted a respectable six hours and 48 minutes in our light-use test, but we've seen other ultra-portables last even longer.

Intel's processor also supplies the Z830's graphics, courtesy of its integrated chip. It's powerful enough to play high definition video, either at 720p on the laptop or at 1080p on an external display, but it won't be strong enough for graphically intensive work such as CAD.