The Toshiba Portege Z830 is the company's first Ultrabook. Well, the Best Buy Z835 version that came out at the end of 2011 was their first, but now Best Buy's exclusive has ended and you can buy the Z835 and Z830 in a variety of configurations. That's a good thing since the laptop is now available with more powerful Intel Core i5 and i7 ULV CPUs, and the Z830 comes with a matte rather than glossy display. The Z830 has quickly become one of my favorite Ultrabooks thanks to it's extreme light weight, strong performance with faster CPUs and good port selection.
The Portege Z830 is currently the lightest 13.3" Ultrabook on the market, and it's impossibly light at 2.47 pounds. You'd think a few ounces to a half pound wouldn't be noticeable, but it makes the Lenovo IdeaPad U300 Ultrabook feel a little heavy. The machine has the usual 1366 x 768 TN LED backlit panel, leaving Asus the leader in Ultrabook resolution with their 1600 x 900 resolution Zenbook UX31. The Z830 has a matte display while the Z835 line has a glossy display. In terms of quality, they're quite similar and neither has stunning brightness, though they're fine for most indoor settings.
Our review unit is the maxed out $1,429 model with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i7 ULV CPU, 6 gigs of RAM (most Ultrabooks have 4 gigs) and a fast Toshiba 128 gig SSD. Standard for the business-oriented Z830 line are a fingerprint scanner with TPM and Windows 7 Professional instead of Home Premium.
The Toshiba Portege Z830 and Z835 models have a magnesium alloy casing with honeycomb reinforcement, and a very plain design. It's not flashy like the Asus Zenbook, nor does it mimic a journal like the Lenovo U300, but I like the clean lines. The only thing I don't like is the lid flex; the price we pay for the laptop's low weight and thin profile.
While most Ultrabooks are port constrained, Toshiba goes to town with 3 USB ports (one is USB 3.0, one has sleep-and-charge), a full size VGA port and a full size HDMI port. There's also Gigabit Ethernet and an SD card slot. Really, it's a marvel how they got all this inside a wafer-thin notebook. Most ports are on the back edge, which is handy for docking and allows the sides to be very thin.
Performance is very good and it's nearly as fast on benchmarks as the class-leading Zenbook UX31. It scores 9938 on PCMark Vantage, and that number is bolstered by an insanely fast 19,000 score for the HDD benchmark.
The Toshiba Portege Z830 is available now, and prices start at $1,199 for the Core i5 model with 4 gigs of RAM and a 128 gig SSD. All models have a backlit keyboard, an 8 cell battery and they use Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics and have Intel Wi-Fi dual band 802.11n with WiDi (Wireless Display) support.
Here's our Toshiba Portege Z830 video review where we look at the notebook in detail and compare it with the 13" MacBook Air and Lenovo IdeaPad U300 Ultrabook. Our full review will follow in the coming days.