Toshiba Mini Laptop – Portege Z835-P330
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Today we take a look at a 13-inch laptop launched by Toshiba last year. It is the Portege Z835-P330 model that costs about $900 which makes it considerably more affordable than other ultrabooks of this type. Although the more expensive alternatives feature more powerful Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, the Core i3 in this model is mostly just as good in everyday use.
It isn’t as beautiful as a MacBook Air but it still manages to be very light and packs some features that the Apple model doesn’t have, like an HDMI port or USB 3.0. Another nice feature of this Toshiba would have to be its great battery life which is better than the one in the Lenovo U300, an ultraportable known for its excellent battery performance. The bad news is that there are several downsides, like the small keyboard which is rather difficult to use.
For the money you’re paying you get a second generation Intel Core i3-2367M processor clocked at 1.40 GHz and 4GB of DDR3 memory running at 1,333 MHz. In the storage department it has a 128GB SSD while the graphics power is handled by the Intel HD 3000. The chipset in this ultrabook is an Intel HM65 while the OS is Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit edition).
The Toshiba Portege Z835-P330 measures 12.4 x 8.9 x 0.63 inches and it weighs only 2.4 pounds (0.7 pounds more if we consider its AC adapter). You probably know that Toshiba’s laptops are known to be rather heavy and thick but this one is exactly the opposite of that, being extremely thin and light. Regarding the design of this ultrabook, it looks just about the same as the R835 model since it borrows the brushed metal lid and the slight taper toward the front. What we don’t like about this model are those shiny silver plastic hinges as they look very cheap, much like the buttons of the touchpad which are made from cheap plastic.
The keyboard doesn’t do any good to fix that cheap feel as it’s actually the worst aspect of this ultrabook from Toshiba. The letter keys are more rectangular than square due to the reason that these have been shaved down on both the bottom and the top so as a consequence these have a smaller surface area. What’s even worse is that the space bar is very small and it has serious issues registering your command. All of the keys are shallow so the typing experience is rather awkward and unnatural. The only thing that we appreciate about the keyboard is the fact that it is backlit.
This Toshiba Portege Z835-P330 features a traditional touchpad, unlike most of the other ultrabooks that imitate the button-less click-pad design seen originally in Apple’s laptops. The surface area on the Z835’s touchpad is rather small, while the mouse buttons are separate. Even though the surface is rather small, you will probably like using the touchpad as it manages to be quite responsive, but those shiny plastic mouse buttons are just awful. A good feature which we should see more often in all kinds of laptops would have to be the on/off button for the touchpad.
It has a 13-inch display with a native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, just like most of the laptops up to a size of 15 inches. One exception to this rule would have to be the more expensive 13-inch Asus Zenbook that has a 1,600 x 900-pixel resolution display. The one in this Toshiba is very bright and clear, while the colors aren’t as vibrant as the ones that you can observe on the pricier MacBook Air from Apple. Since this is a glossy display, it’s no wonder that it attracts a lot of glare. The wide viewing angles are good, while the screen bezels are quite small. The speakers in this model are firing from the front edge and they manage to sound quite well even at high volumes, without any signs of distortions, but don’t expect to get a decent amount of bass.
Let’s talk ports and connectivity and mention that it comes with VGA out and an HDMI port, while for audio you get headphone and microphone jacks. Data transferring is done through two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port and an SD card reader. For networking you get an Ethernet port and 802.11n Wi-Fi. As you can see, we haven’t mentioned Bluetooth or an optical drive so if you need these you’d better look for another ultrabook.
We should mention that this model is a Best Buy-exclusive retail model. For making the ultrabook more affordable they had to make some compromises, which is why there’s no Bluetooth and you only get an Intel Core i3 processor. Even so, the i3-2367M CPU is powerful enough for day-to-day computing like basic office productivity, e-mail, web surfing and streaming high definition content. However, it’s no match to those expensive ultrabooks that are powered with Intel Core i5 or i7 processors.
What we like about the Toshiba Portege Z835-P330 is its excellent battery performance. During a demanding test consisting of video playback, this ultraportable can survive for about 5 hours and 15 minutes, which is a few minutes more than the aforementioned Lenovo U330 and also about half an hour more than the beautiful Zenbook from Asus. Even so, the Apple MacBook Air is still the king in this department, managing to last for almost 7 hours during the same testing conditions.
The manufacturer is offering a one-year parts & labor warranty for this model which is the standard nowadays in this industry. You can get support for your product via the toll-free phone line which is available 24 hours / day. Also available is a customized support search page which is able to direct you to the driver downloads and documents for the Z835-P330 from Toshiba’s Portege lineup. Additional protection like an extended warranty for this model is available from Toshiba, although not many people are willing to spend more for this kind of service.