Australia’s first Kirabook review: Toshiba makes an amazeballs screen

What’s interesting about the screen on the Kirabook is that it corrects a problem that so many Toshiba laptops have had in the past couple of years: poor quality screen technology.

Up until recently, Toshiba’s display selection on notebooks has been pretty lacklustre in all but the Qosmio range, with 13, 14, and 15 inch computers mostly arriving with reasonably low-grade LCDs.

If it wasn’t the poor 720p HD resolutions in big screens, it was the weaker Twisted Nematic (TN) panels that many of them had, with weak viewing angles that required you to set yourself up and never move lest you deal with washed out colours.

The screens were generally a shame, especially when you realised that the computers were otherwise decent, and customers were getting let down by a choice in display that didn’t match the rest of the equipment.

In the Kirabook, however, Toshiba appears to be attempting to undo that damage with an offering that not only is excellent, but outclasses much of the competition with its display technology and viewable quality.

System performance is also fairly impressive, and with a third-generation Core i7 processor working alongside 8GB RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive, this certainly has the specs to be an impressive little beast.

Only around 175GB of that SSD is available to you, though Toshiba has left Adobe’s Elements software for you, offering cut down copies of Photoshop and Premiere if you need them.

Start-up time certainly worked well for us, with merely a second on from standby and roughly seven seconds on from being off and cold, excellent times for a laptop, though not unusual for an Ultrabook, especially one with solid-state storage.

Toshiba’s inclusion of Harman/Kardon speakers is a key feature too, and working alongside a DTS driver, the audio is loud and bright, which should excite anyone watching movies or online videos here.

You can always plug a pair of headphones in, but being able to share quality sound is a nice bonus.

Our second attempt had better battery life than the first.

The battery could do with some a little, though, and despite the high specs and awesome screen, you’ll find a pretty mediocre battery and a rough maximum runtime of five-ish hours here. That’s with WiFi switched on, surfing the web, writing documents (this review, in fact), and being a general office worker.

On one battery cycle – using the laptop – our battery metre showed around four hours, while a second attempt with the laptop revealed just under six hours. With that in mind, it feels like the more you use the high-resolution touchscreen and WiFi, the more the battery will sit below the five hour mark, so think four to five-ish as a maximum.

Those without the touchscreen – or customers who just prefer a trackpad to a touch-friendly display – will probably want to dig into the driver as fast as they can to switch off inverted scrolling, though it’s an absolute hassle to find.

Also known as “natural scrolling” by Apple, the trackpad on our touchscreen Kirabook (and we therefore assume on the touch-less model) uses a Synaptics driver that defaults to the inverted scrolling, which is only able to be switched off once you push deep into the mouse driver.

How do you switch off Australian scrolling? Find the Synaptics icon in the taskbar, double click it, go to the last tab "Device Settings," click the settings box, select "Two-Finger Scrolling" and make sure it's checked, and then select the cogs icon to set it up. From there, uncheck "enable reverse scrolling direction." See how ridiculous that was?


Customers looking for a “best in show” notebook can certainly put the Toshiba Kirabook on their list, even if it does come with its fair share of quibbles.

We’d very much like to see an updated mouse driver and a stronger battery, as well as some fixes for the screen re-rendering, though this is a very new concept for the PC space, and offers some of the best display quality seen in a small computer.

If an amazeballs notebook screen is what you desire with specs to boot, this is the machine to get right now.


Value for money
Reader Rating0 Votes
Beautiful screen that is crazy sharp; Insanely light; Sturdy and very well built; Fast enough for most; Comes with a premium support service adding two years and dedicated support line;
Trackpad driver needs work; Not everything is optimised for the high-resolution screen; Mediocre battery life;