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    Toshiba's Portege Z830 Series: the lightest ultrabook starts at under $1,000 (hands-on)

    Toshiba's Portege Z830 Series: the lightest ultrabook starts at under $1,000 (hands-on)

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    Toshiba Portege Z830
    Toshiba Portege Z830

    Intel promised more ultrabooks come the fall and, well, they're about to arrive in droves at IFA. First up is Toshiba's 13.3-inch Portege Z830 Series. Meeting the Intel ultrabook standards through and through, the Portege not only measures .63 inches thick but claims to be the "world's lightest 13-inch platform" at 2.45 pounds. (By the way, a quick spec check does seem to prove Toshiba's claims, though ever so slightly -- the 13-inch Air tips the scales at 2.96 pounds, the Series 9 weighs 2.88, and the VAIO Z a scant 2.57.) Still what's more impressive is that the primarily aluminum and magnesium alloy case been designed to house more ports than any ultrathin laptop out there -- it's got Ethernet, HDMI, and VGA ports, an SD card reader, a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as two USB 2.0 jacks and a single USB 3.0 socket. On top of that, it has a backlit keyboard.

    So, what has Toshiba been able to pack inside that rail thin base? Naturally you're looking at Sandy Bridge Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, integrated graphics, and a range of solid state drive options. (Toshiba isn't sharing exact model spec details yet, though says that the starting config will hit at just under $1,000). However, like Samsung, Toshiba is focusing on fast boot / resume times and long battery life. According to Toshiba, the enclosed 8-cell, 47Wh battery should last over eight hours on a charge. We'll have to wait and see if the Z830 can live up to all those claims come November when it launches for under a grand, but in the meantime hit the break for some more press shots and stay tuned for some hands-on impressions from the show floor.

    Update: Paul Miller, on the ground at IFA, just got some time with the ultrabook. Check out his impressions after the break.

    It was a fleeting interaction, but my first impression was a good one. The exterior shell is very high quality and sturdy. It seems like it'll do a good job of avoiding scratches and dents, and it's a leap ahead from the flimsy "thin and light" category of yore. Toshiba was talking up the hinge design, and it is indeed rather magical: it takes a feather touch to lift the lid, meaning you don't have to brace the rest of the laptop when you're folding out the screen, but in no way does the hinge feel flimsy or cheap as a result.

    The trackpad is massive and felt very good, possibly one of the best PC trackpads I've used. It responds to a light touch for mousing and tap-to-click. It remains to be seen if it can dodge the false-positive problems of other large PC trackpads. Size-wise the keyboard is great -- Toshiba even made room for home, delete, page up, page down, and end keys along the right side. Unfortunately the key travel is very shallow, and there was some flex to the entire board. It didn't feel like it was going to break or anything, but we like a good solid keyboard, and it's clear Toshiba used this tray as a chance to cut down on thickness and weight.

    Speaking of weight, the laptop didn't seen spectacularly light. It's also a little large for a 13.3-inch, thanks to large bezels on the top and bottom of the screen.

    Toshiba Portege Z830 press photos


    Toshiba Portege Z830 hands-on photos