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Thin, light, and filled with awesome: Toshiba’s Satellite Z830 Ultrabook reviewed

By Leigh D. Stark | 5:41 pm 21/03/2012

Every major computing brand seems to be jumping on the Ultrabook bandwagon, and next in line is Toshiba, producing a machine that manages to get almost everything right.

Features

While other manufacturers are building multiple configurations of their Ultrabooks, Toshiba has a different approach in the Z830: one spec that serves the purpose.

For its internals, Toshiba has decided on the second-generation Intel Core i5 processor clocked in at 1.6GHz matched with 4GB RAM.

A solid-state drive will add to the performance, although storage isn’t quite in abundance in this model, with a 128GB model picked with only 74GB available to you after the computer sets itself up, thanks in part to Microsoft Office and Windows Home 64-bit.

Like many Ultrabooks, this one features a 13.3 inch screen with 1366×768 resolution, as well as a webcam above the screen. Video is handled by Intel’s own HD3000 graphics, while audio is handled by stereo speakers and a microphone built into the computer.

Connectivity options are plentiful here, with WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA, HDMI, VGA, SD card slot, and a built in 1Gbps LAN port – something other Ultrabooks often bundle in via an external connector.

Three USB ports are also included here, one of which takes advantage of the high-speed USB 3.0 format.

Performance

As far as build quality is concerned, Toshiba has done a standout job in the Satellite Z830.

You’ll see it in the brushed aluminium top, the more subdued gun-metal bottom, and a thickness and weight that makes it barely noticeable. In fact, the Z830 is one of those machines that will delight you in how thin and light it is, with it’s 1.12kg weight hardly felt.

The screen frame is also very flexible, something Toshiba says adds to the durability, with a display that apparently won’t crack under pressure. Some might say that it’s a little too flexible, but provided you don’t put too much pressure on the screen, you won’t notice it.

Toshiba generally makes good keyboards in their laptops, and we weren’t disappointed here either. The keys are soft, make a light tapping sound, and you find that you don’t lose any letters as you type, something that ultra-thin notebooks like this are prone to seeing.

The trackpad is also excellent, the plastic surface and click buttons being very easy to use. Multitouch gestures aren’t as solid here, with pinch-to-zoom gestures being the only ones that worked for us. Two finger scrolling seemed to be missing for us here, though, with no easy way of scrolling in documents or webpages.

Toshiba’s inclusion of backlit keys is a welcome one, though we would have preferred if the backlighting had varying brightness levels. Here on the Z830, you’ll find settings of on, off, and timed for 15 seconds.

For this Z830, Toshiba has gone with the Intel Core i5 processor, a chip that certainly offers enough speed, complete with a 22 second start time from off and a 2-3 second return from standby.

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Price (RRP)

$1399

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Well designed; Backlit keys; USB 3.0; Lots of connection options;

Product Cons

Mouse gestures aren't fully supported; Screen could be better;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Design

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