Toshiba Portege Z835 join the Ultrabook market with a $899 Price

Toshiba Portege Z835The machine must have nothing inside! When you lift it, you will not believe it is a functioning notebook. This is the lightest Ultrabook to date. The boot time is lightening fast and the battery lasts a long time.

This is a final breakthrough in the Ultrabook assault on Apple’s MacBook Air. Toshiba has corrected some problems plaguing other Ultrabooks on the market. Their trackpad is precise, not jerky, the keyboard is backlit, and the battery lasts much longer. The price is an easy competitive point, at $899 against Apple’s $1,299, or even $1,199 for the ASUS Zenbook UX31.

This is not a flashy notebook, by any means. Rather, Toshiba has opted for the subtle elegance that makes it feel like something noteworthy. The color is a unified gunmetal gray, brushed down for that chiseled look. The single, lengthy hinge is a step up from the double, fragile hinges often found on notebooks.

The Z835 is a light 2.4 pounds, though the chassis is a magnesium alloy. This gives it the solid feeling when you handle it. The size beats the competition as well, at 12.4×8.9 and tapering slightly from 0.6 inches down to 0.3.

There are large enough keys, but the travel is quite shallow for quick and accurate typing. However, the wrist rest stays cool. Throughout use, the whole machine remains comfortably cool. While the trackpad is definitely small, it is also highly accurate.

When you are looking at the screen, the colors are not unrealistic, but the images are bright and crisp, at 1366×768. You might notices oranges and reds a bit understated, though. In a side-by-side comparison the MacBook Air will appear far more brilliant, but at an additional $400. The lux measurements, at 260, fall right between the squeamish 162 for Lenvo IdeaPad U300s and the robust 330 for the MacBook Air 13-inch.

The audio is sufficient, though not very impressive. It was clear and sharp, but the separation of right and left speakers was weak.

All the normal, full-sized ports found on laptops are included on the Z835, contrary to what is lacking on other Ultrabooks. You will find a USB 3.0, a Kensington Lock slot, Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI out, a VGA port, audio in/out, and an SD card reader.Toshiba Portege Z835 BackThe webcam is only 1.3MP and holds up well under normal lighting conditions, but when the light drops, the quality plummets! Do not expect sharp colors, though the details are sufficiently defined.

The boot time is phenomenal. 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium gets in within 26 seconds, thanks to the 128G SSD disk. This still does not beat the fastest: MacBook Air at 17 seconds into Mac OS X. On the Z835, the lid does cause some problems with resuming from sleep.

Perhaps the weakest point in this system is the 1.4GHz Intel Core i302367M CPU. All of its competitors outperformed it. The second weakest point is the graphics. Although 1080p movies play without problems, it could not manage anything more graphic intensive. The battery was slightly stronger than most other Ultrabooks, but was sealed, as is usual for Ultrabooks. A spare battery is not an option.

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