Top Mini Laptop – Toshiba Portege Z835-P370
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A 13-inch laptop launched by Toshiba earlier this year is this Portege Z835-P370 which can be defined as an ultrabook. This would have to be the successor of the Portege Z835-P330 which was one of the first ultrabooks to hit the market and now it has already received its first revision. The previous model was more affordable in comparison to other similar models from Asus and Lenovo, and for only $799 it came with a 128GB SSD whereas in other models this feature cost a few hundred dollars more. However, the trade-off was a tricky keyboard and touchpad, a flimsy-feeling chassis and a less powerful Intel Core i3 processor.
The following configuration is for the Z835-P370 which packs a more powerful processor, more RAM and it also comes with Bluetooth. From Toshiba you can get it for $1,149 but at some of the retailers you can find it for only $949. This still remains a perfectly good example of a slim laptop but there are other similar models that do a better job, such as the Dell XPS 13 ($999) or the HP Folio 13 ($899), with both having a better design, as well as better keyboards and touchpads.
Under the hood of the Toshiba Portege Z835-P370 is a second generation Intel Core i5-2467M processor running at 1.60 GHz with 6GB of DDR3 memory clocked at 1,333 MHz. For storage you get that 128GB SSD we’ve mentioned earlier, while in the graphics department it only has an integrated Intel HD 3000 with shared system memory. This 13-inch laptop is running on Windows 7 Home Premium, the 64-bit edition of Microsoft’s operating system.
This ultraportable measures 12.4 x 8.9 x 0.63 inches and has a curb weight of 2.5 pounds, not taking into consideration the AC adapter which weighs an additional 0.6 pounds. Design-wise, it looks virtually the same as the aforementioned Portege Z835-P330. Like all ultrabooks, this is a very thin laptop and it is also a little bit lighter than other models due to its magnesium alloy casing. It features a brushed-metal lid and a slight taper toward its front. We don’t like at all the silver plastic hinges as these are very shiny and they look quite cheap, just like the plastic buttons of the touchpad. In addition, the lid of the ultrabook shows a lot of signs of flex which gives the laptop a rather budget feel but this isn’t really a big surprise since it is one of the most affordable models in the ultrabook segment.
Perhaps the most annoying feature of the laptop is the keyboard which is just as bad as it was in the P330 model. We’re saying this because the letters have been squeezed on the bottom and on the top of the keyboard, which makes them more rectangular than square, plus they also have a smaller surface area. In addition, the space bar is very small and from time to time it fails to register. We should also mention that all of the keys are shallow, but we do like that Toshiba decided to backlit this keyboard so you will be able to type more efficiently in a low-light room.
This Toshiba Portege Z835-P370 adopts a traditional touchpad that comes with a rather small surface area and with independent left and right mouse buttons, whereas most ultrabooks imitate the butonless clickpad design implemented by Apple. The pad on this Toshiba is surprisingly responsive but its mouse buttons are awful, being made of a very cheap and shiny plastic. Right above the touchpad is an on/off button which is very useful whenever you want to use a mouse.
Just like most of the display’s you’ll find on a laptop with a screen between 11 and 15 inches, the 13.3-inch screen of this model has a native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels. It offers good horizontal viewing angles, while the vertical ones are rather disappointing. The front-firing speakers are sitting in the front edge of the laptop and they get quite loud without distorting but obviously they don’t provide any bass at all.
The Toshiba Portege Z835-P370 comes with VGA and HDMI ports for video connectivity while in the audio department you get headphone and microphone jacks. As for data, Toshiba has installed one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports and an SD card reader. For networking you get 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an Ethernet port. There is no optical drive on board, although other 13-inch ultraportables feature at least a DVD burner.
It manages to offer a more than decent amount of connections and ports, including here an Ethernet jack and one USB 3.0 port. We should mention that you won’t find that often an Ethernet port in the ultrabook segment. The predecessor of this model, the aforementioned Z835-P330 was available exclusively at Best Buy and had a slower Intel Core i3 CPU and it carried a retail price tag of $799 which made it a very attractive solution for those who were on the look for an affordable ultraportable. The P370 comes with a faster Intel Core i5-2467M processor clocked at 1.60 GHz and it is the same CPU that we’ve seen in a bunch of other ultrabooks that have been launched recently. Obviously, the performance is just about the same as other systems with this CPU, like the HP Folio 13.
The battery of the P330 was able to last in a demanding video playback test for about 5 hours and 15 minutes which was a little bit better than some of the other more expensive models in this segment. This newer Core i5-powered P370 offers just about the same battery performance, lasting under the same testing conditions for approximately 5 hours and 10 minutes which is an extremely reasonable trade-off for such a significant power boost in comparison to its older i3-powered sibling. However, we should mention that the Folio 13 from HP can last for about 60 minutes more, while the Apple MacBook Air (13-inch version) is also a better performer when it comes down to the battery life.