text and photos by Gadjo C. Sevilla
Few companies have been making notebooks longer than Toshiba and have managed to retain their identity and unique style. With its Satellite Z830, Toshiba meets the Ultrabook challenge head on with a 2.47 pound and 0.63-inch sliverbook that's well rounded and impressively outfitted and that doesn't rip off the MacBook Air's look and feel.
Yes, you heard right. The Satellite Z830 is incredibly thin and light and offers many of the conveniences of that the Ultrabook category hopes to offer such as long battery life, a great keyboard, ample ports and fast SSD drives ideal for serious mobile warriors. Yet, no one can accuse it of being a copycat because the design, fit and finish is it's own and it is a look that is both serious and supremely functional.
The video above gives a nice walkthrough of the Satellite's Z830's features.
There's no doubt that the Satellite Z830 is a Toshiba, it has a lot of the winning design elements and touches of the Satellite line that business users have grown fond of except in this case they are extremely thin and pared down to accommodate the Ultrabook form factor.
While clearly not a unibody design etched out of a single slab of metal, the Toshiba Z830 Ultrabook is well put together with its flimsiest part being the super thin screen enclosure which just felt too easy to move around and delicate. We can't see notebooks getting any thinner than this unless they print out the components and laminate them together.
The Toshiba Z830 doesn't feel like a cheap Ultrabook with a lot of compromises. Starting at a very competitive (for this segment, at least) $899 for the second generation Intel Core i3 processor running at 1.4Ghz, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, this is a 13.3 HD capable Ultrabook that's surprisingly cheaper than the similarly sized (but higher specced) MacBook Air 13 inch. In terms of build and all around refinement, the Toshiba Z830 isn't too far from the high bar Apple has set in this sliverbook segment.
Users who need more oomph can opt for the $1029.99 1.6GHz Core i5 model with 6GB of RAM and similar SSD capacity and the power users can check out the Core i7 version running at 1.8GHz for $1200 but for our money, we think that the $899 model hits the sweet spot and will satisfy most users/
Look! There's an empty 13.3-inch space under our Christmas tree!
we also like that Toshiba didn't just churn out an Ultrabook without any thought or consideration on how it would be used.
There are clever and thoughtful features all around such as a fingerprint scanner, an HDMI out port, Ethernet (we still need it, apparently), and a backlit keyboard that's also spillproof, an industry first in the Kate Moss notebook category.
The Z830 also trumps the competition by including a cable lock (these are the easiest notebooks to steal so this is good), USB 3.0 support and boasts an 8-hour battery which we have yet to test.
Aside from all the hardware amenities, Toshiba's added a few software goodies as well like face detection as well as a bevy of screen technologies derived from their expertise in HDTVs.
All in all the Toshiba Satellite Z830 Ultrabook is the perfect storm of price, superb features and thoughtful design that stands on its own and brings many interesting and useful touches to the burgeoning Ultrabook segment.
We think this is the model that the competition will look at and try to emulate in 2012.
Rating: 5 out of 5