The Toshiba Portege Z835 is No Sliver Queen

Ignoring my godawful joke of a headline, the Toshiba Portege Z835 is initially fairly impressive to behold. Toshiba uses a brushed aluminum aesthetic for almost the entire notebook, with a matching gray plastic bottom cover. Physically, the main body of the notebook doesn't flex at all; good news given the stunningly thin 0.63" profile. It really does look like a sliver, with only a bit of tapering around the top of the lid and the front of the body to keep it from looking boxy.

Unfortunately, while the body feels pretty firm, the Z835 absolutely gives up the ghost with the screen, lid, and hinges. The screen and lid are extremely thin, and the hinges are pretty wobbly. There's a tremendous amount of flex with the screen, enough to give me real pause. Screens on laptops are always a little flexy, but on the Z835 I feel like even my dire tyrannosaurus rex arms could snap it in half. The bezel also seems unusually wide on all sides, which is a bit of a disappointment after seeing the incredibly slender one used on Dell's XPS 14z.

Other reviews have complained about the keyboard quality, but this isn't the worst keyboard I've seen from Toshiba, much less the industry. Toshiba's chiclet layout is usually pretty smart, but the one on the Z835 and its cousin, the R830, is literally an inch from greatness. Seriously, an inch on the y-axis: the keys are simply too short. When I look at the shell of the Z835, I can't help but feel like the keys could've been lengthened just a little bit. Travel also for the most part feels fine, but the keys are also fairly mushy. I don't think the keyboard is a lost cause, but it definitely needs to be revised. Layout is fine, just fix the overall size and quality. The chassis has room for both.

Thankfully the touchpad is extremely smooth and easy to use, and at least has a dedicated surface as opposed to being just part of the shell. The buttons feel a bit mushy and are made of the same cheap looking silver plastic as on the hinges, but they're definitely usable and this is far from the worst touchpad I've used. I have no problem navigating with it.

Finally, the bottom panel is held on by an embarassment of screws, and it bows a bit if you push on it. Even after removing all the screws I still couldn't remove the panel for fear of damaging the Z835, so if you're going to buy it, you'd better buy the configuration you want. There's a single vent for a fan that bubbles out a bit, but honestly I found the Z835 ran extremely cool anyhow.

Ultimately the Z835 looks pretty good and I'd dispute other reviews that call it out as looking too chintzy or cheap. The problem is that in places it does feel cheaper than you'd like, and I just don't like how much the top and bottom panels flex, especially the lid. Intel's $1,000 price point for ultrabooks is pretty pie-in-the-sky, and the sacrifices Toshiba had to make to beat it are evidence of that.

Introducing the Toshiba Portege Z835 Application and Futuremark Performance
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  • jigglywiggly - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Why are all ultrabook makers idiots?
    Really all you have to do to make them sell like hotcakes is:
    1600x900 screen for 13.3 in model
    Super good contrast and good brightness
    Offer matte and glossy

    Seriously, if they had this then they'd be great.
    Reply
  • tzhu07 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Also, get rid of the fucking stickers to the left of the trackpad. Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    The stickers are out of control these days. Please bring the AOL desktop icon back instead. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    While I don't like the stickers either....Toshiba most likely gets discounts for adding those stickers. I'm Certain INTEL marketing department would have a problem if the stickers were not displayed. Intel is ALL about marketing its brand and does a very good job of it.

    Any low-tech consumer is dazzled by these stickers and assume the system is a good purchase. General consumers are mostly dumb and buy primarily on visual information instead of factual research. How else could Apple charge the prices it does for its computers and its crazy upgrade prices. If consumers checked how much 8 gigs of memory cost on NewEgg (40.00) ...they'd tell Apple to go screw themselves and then purchase the memory to install themselves.

    General consumers are typically lazy....they are PROGRAMMED to want things NOW and screw the cost or lack of real features. I don't think Toshiba is marketing to AnandTech users. I believe they are marketing to Apple fashionistias, Because their price point is less than Apple and they are most likely targeting those buyers who want something like an Apple airbook, but for less and with windows OS. Most of those users only check email and FaceBook.

    Regarding stickers......Simple solution is to remove the stickers after your purchase.
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    "Regarding stickers......Simple solution is to remove the stickers after your purchase."

    Easier said than done. I tried removing one sticker from my Toshiba Portege r700, but it was practically burned on. No amount of scratching with my fingernails gets it off, water doesn't help, it's like a hard plastic film that just won't come off. A heatgun is probably required, and I don't have one.
    Reply
  • tzhu07 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    True. Any time I have to Google how to remove something, I know that the original intention was for it not to be removed. Reply
  • Ushio01 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Use WD40 just a little bit sprayed on a paper towl and gently rubbed over the stickers removes them easily. Reply
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    They don't make it easy, but it's not impossible if it really bothers you.

    I know the GOOP adhesive remover is really good for getting the adhesive off once you remove the sticker. I've heard that cooking oil as well as well. I'd think twice before using anything that containes a chemical, but you can try WD-40 (suggested by Ushio01) at your own risk.

    You may want to try using a straight razor blade on the edge of the sticker to start the lifting process. Fingernails are just not thin enough. Patience is the key to accomplishing the removal without scaring your product.

    Best wishes.
    Reply
  • KineticHummus - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    I have the toshiba portege r835, the stickers came off NO problem. and ive heard its the same chassis too Reply
  • nubie - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    Goo-gone is available at the "dollar tree" store locally. The hardware store has much larger bottles for under $4.

    There is also a felt tip pen version, which would probably be perfect for the laptop stickers.

    I didn't know about this product for years, but it will soften sticky things like magic.
    Reply

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