The Bottom Line
Dec 5 2011 - Toshiba's Portege Z835-P330 is an amazing entry into the ultrabook market with a very lightweight design and some extremely long running times. It is one of the most affordable of the new laptops with its $900 price tag yet includes a full range of features including a solid state drive and an amazing number of peripheral ports that puts the competition to shame. There are a number of annoyances that make it a less than perfect offering though including a subpar display and some annoying software installed. Still, it is hard to say that this doesn't top just about any other ultrabook design to date.
- Very Affordable Price
- Long Running Times
- Large Number Of Ports For Such Small Size
- Display Colors And Viewing Angles Below Average
- Annoying Preloaded Software
- Doesn't Feel As Sturdy As Competition
- Intel Core i3-2367M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 128GB Solid State Drive
- 13.3" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- One USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 3-in-1 Card Reader
- 12.4" x 8.9" x .63" @ 2.5 lbs.
- Windowns 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - Toshiba Portege Z835-P330
Dec 5 2011 - Toshiba's entry into the ultrabook market probably won't win any marks for its appearance. The gray, chrome and black color scheme is a bit jumbled and the boxy design is certainly not going to be compared in design terms to the svelte MacBook Air. What it does have over all the competition is an amazing low two and a half pound weight that is roughly half a pound lighter than most of the competition. While the exterior feels nice and scratch resistant with its magnesium exterior, it just doesn't have that same sturdy feel.
One of the big problems that most of the new ultrathin laptops has is the peripheral ports. Toshiba has done some amazing engineering with the Portege Z835 and managed to put more on it than any of the competition. This includes a new high speed USB 3.0 port in addition to two USB 2.0 ports. It features a VGA port in addition to the typical HDMI port. Most amazing is the inclusion of a standard size gigabit Ethernet port that allows for wired network connectivity if there is no wireless available.
As with the standard ultrabook specifications, the Portege Z835-P330 comes equipped with a 128GB solid state drive. This allowed for very fast boot times and snappy access to programs. There is a bit of an issue with the SSD drive that Toshiba is using though. For some reason, it has extremely slow write speeds. In fact, it is slower at write tests compared to the hybrid drive setup of the Acer Aspire S3. This is going to be a minor issue for most people though as the price difference here compared to other SSD equipped ultrabooks more than makes up for this small performance hit.
Keyboards and trackpads have seemed to be a major problem for many ultrabooks. The tight spaces have caused issues typically with one of the other. Toshiba was smart to try and use the full width of the laptop for its keyboard. This gives it some sizable keys for its isolated key designed keyboard. In fact, the keyboard even offers backlighting and is splash resistant. The trackpad is functional if a bit on the smaller side. It uses traditional right and left buttons instead of integrated ones which is a welcome relief. Overall, they are quite functional but not exceptional by any means.
The biggest disappointment with the Toshiba Portege Z835 is the display. It uses the all too typical 13.3-inch display with a base 1366x768 resolution. The problem is that the color and viewing angles of this display are just subpar. In particular, the viewing angles are extremely narrow and will lead to washed out or darkening colors on the vertical and horizontal angles quite quickly. This certainly won't be a laptop that one will want to share watching a movie on compared to the competition.
Toshiba claims that the Portege Z835 should be able to achieve eight hours of running time. It certainly has a fairly high capacity battery pack thanks to the eight cell internal pack with a 47WHr capacity rating. In video streaming tests, the laptop was able to run a surprising five and a quarter hours. This is actually longer than the Apple MacBook Air 13 with its 50WHr capacity battery pack giving it some of the best running times available. With more typical usages and using Toshiba's eco utility, it should be able to pull off over eight hours of running time as Toshiba claims.
The other big annoyance with the Portege Z835-P330 is the software. Toshiba has been gradually adding more and more installed software features such as toolbars and applications to their systems over the past couple of years. The worst part though is the this version of the laptop also comes with the Best Buy application store that comes up when the system is booted. It can be removed from the start meny but it is probably best to just completely remove it.