Introducing the Toshiba Portege Z835

Intel's Ultrabook initiative is a curious one, one that's very gradually picking up interest among vendors. We've already had a chance to take a look at the smaller of the two units from the typically early-out-of-the-gate ASUS, and we know there are other ultrabooks out there from Lenovo and Acer, with only Dell opting to sit out of this round, unconvinced of the viability of Intel's plan. Today, in true Toshiba fashion, we get a chance to look at a more budget-oriented (or at least as budget-oriented as an ultrabook can be) unit: Toshiba's entry-level Portege Z835-P330.

Honestly the impressions start before it even gets out of the box, just because the box itself is so unusually small that you wonder how it could possibly hold a computer. But sure enough, once you open it up you'll see Toshiba's sliver of a notebook. Even if you're used to the MacBook Air, getting an ultrabook in your hands is an interesting experience. It barely weighs anything, and the profile is slim to be sure. It's a testament to how technology has evolved that a notebook like this is even possible, but there were definitely sacrifices made.

Toshiba Portege Z835-P330 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i3-2367M
(2x1.4GHz + HTT, 32nm, 3MB L3, 17W)
Chipset Intel HM65
Memory 2x2GB Samsung DDR3-1333 (Max 6GB)
Graphics Intel HD 3000 Graphics
(12 EUs, up to 1GHz)
Display 13.3" LED Glossy 16:9 768p
TOS5091
Hard Drive(s) 128GB Toshiba SG2 mSATA 3Gbps SSD
(rated 180MB/sec read, 70MB/sec write)
Optical Drive -
Networking Intel 82579V Gigabit Ethernet
Intel WiFi Link 1000 802.11b/g/n
Audio Realtek ALC269 HD Audio
Stereo speakers
Mic and headphone jacks
Battery 8-Cell, 14.8V, 47Wh
Front Side N/A (Speaker grilles)
Right Side USB 3.0
Kensington lock
Left Side Mic and headphone jacks
SD card reader
Back Side Ethernet jack
Exhaust vent
2x USB 2.0 (one USB charge)
HDMI
AC adaptor
VGA
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
Dimensions 12.4" x 8.9" x 0.63" (WxDxH)
Weight 2.4 lbs
Extras Webcam
Backlit keyboard
SD card reader
USB 3.0
Warranty 1-year standard warranty
Pricing Starting at $799

Starting at the top of the Toshiba Portege Z830, we have arguably its weakest link: the Intel Core i3-2367M. This processor may be Sandy Bridge hardware, but the anemic 1.4GHz clock speed on the two cores is pretty brutal, and the lack of Turbo Boost (a feature reserved for i5 and i7 processors) only exacerbates things. For basic netbook-style tasks it should still be perfectly fine, but I'll say it right now: anyone interested in the Portege Z830 would do well to wait and upgrade to an i5-equipped unit at least.

Toshiba includes 2GB of DDR3 soldered to the motherboard as well as an expandable 2GB of DDR3-1333. The problem is the Portege Z830 is difficult to get inside of without feeling like you're going to damage it, but on the flipside a cumulative 4GB of DDR3 should be more than adequate for the tasks this notebook is intended for, and this model will likely be throttled by CPU performance long before that memory becomes an issue.

As part of Intel's ultrabook initiative, Toshiba includes a generous 128GB mSATA SSD. Unfortunately, it's not a particularly fast one, rated for just a peak 180MB/sec on reads and 70MB/sec on writes, and using Toshiba's own controller and MLC NAND. So if you were concerned about that 3Gbps interface, rest assured this drive will never saturate it. On the flipside, 128GB of flash (even a comparatively slow SSD) is still a big improvement on a mechanical drive of the same capacity, and the Portege Z830 definitely feels snappier for it.

The one place ultrabooks seem to be succeeding where Apple keeps dropping the ball is connectivity. Apple's willing to sacrifice connectivity by tapering the MacBook Air, making the notebook look slimmer than it really is as a result of the wedge shape. Meanwhile, Toshiba outfits the Z830 with a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, headphone and microphone jacks, and HDMI and VGA output; Toshiba even keeps a dedicated Ethernet port in the mix. Thunderbolt may have potential, but USB 3.0 is here right now, and it's a lot cheaper to boot.

The Toshiba Portege Z835 is No Sliver Queen
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  • r3loaded - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Amen to that. I also find it difficult to understand why it's so hard for them to put an IPS screen on them either. Practically every tablet that wants to be taken seriously has such a screen, yet it's a rarity outside of Lenovo/HP's top-end models. They shouldn't moan about cost either - it's a premium product, it deserves premium components and hence should have a premium price (which I and many others are ready to pay for).

    Tablets have 1280x800 IPS screens in a 10-inch form factor. We shouldn't have to put up with 1366x768 TN in a premium 13-inch ultra portable in 2011/2012.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    IPS costs more money and users more power. On a 7" or 10" display that isn't too bad, especially when you powering it off ARM, but consider a proper notebook with a 13", 15," or 17" IPS panel. Thing gets a lot tricker.

    This will eventually change just as HiDPI resolutions on notebooks will eventually change, but that time just isn't hear yet. You can look at Apple's limited product line for examples: iPHone and iPad are iPS, iMacs and Cinema Displays are IPS, notebooks are all TN.
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    15" HP's with IPS-panels uses panels specced to 15W for example. You can't really use something that aren't manufactured. Reply
  • Narrlok - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    ASUS UX31 Zenbook

    1600*900 on 13.3"
    - check

    Super good contrast and good brightness
    - super high brightness like the MBA according to Anand's review of the UX21, contrast suffers though

    Offer matte and glossy
    - nope, no other alternatives either currently :( Sony does offer Vaios with a matte 13.1" screen with a 1600*900 resolution
    Reply
  • medi01 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    16:9 and 16:10 screens suck badly. Bring good old 4:3 back and I'm sold. Reply
  • tzhu07 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Are you 65 years old or something? Reply
  • HMTK - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    No, he probably wants to do other things than watch movies. Like... work. Reply
  • JoeMcJoe - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Exactly.

    16:9 display ratios even on desktop monitors aren't the best for working on.
    Reply
  • tzhu07 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Oh really? I think my 2560 X 1440 desktop monitor suits me just fine for poductivity work. But then again, once you get up to the 2560 spec, 1440 or 1600 is plenty. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    My 1920x1200 IPS at work is also very nice for work. And with enough vertical space you can actually start to use the horizontal space by not running everything full screen.

    MrS
    Reply

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