The Toshiba Portege Z835 is Toshiba’s first ultraportable. The test unit Portege Z835, complete with 128GB SSD, retails for $899, although Best Buy is currently offering it for $799. However, the lower price comes at the expense of a drop in processor spec to a Core-i3 processor.
Design-wise Z835 is exceptionally thin and light tapering slightly towards its front edge. Yet Toshiba might have taken the slim-factor a step too far – the lid felt a bit too flexible, and the plastic hinges and touchpad buttons look and feel cheap. Overall it follows the no-nonsense lean-and-mean appearance of the ultrabook format.
The keyboard for us was the weakest link for the Portege Z835 – the letter keys are bevelled top and bottom, which cuts down on available surface area, and the space bar is suspiciously small. On the plus side, the keyboard is backlit, adding to the aesthetic appeal and making typing in dim light far easier. Toshiba hasn’t succumbed to the ultrabook fad of Apple-style clickpads – the Z835 features a traditional touchpad with separate left and right mouse buttons. The clickpads on the Acer S3 and the Asus Zenbook were both poor attempts to reproduce the Appple Macbook Air’s market-leading touch pad, in any case. This means though that the available trackpad area on the Portege Z835 is somewhat smaller than on the other ultraportables, though it responds rapidly and accurately. Toshiba has done well to include an on-off button immediately above the mouse pad, to avoid accidental cursor movements when typing or using an external mouse.
The 13.3″ 1366 x 768 pixel resolution display is bright with good contrast, and viewing angles are excellent. The glossy surface helps add to perceived vibrancy.
Audio lacks bass, but volume is good and distortion-free. One area where the Portege Z835 does well is connectivity – as well as a USB-3 socket there is an Ethernet jack for landline connectivity, which is lacking on a few other ultrabooks. Toshiba has opted to exclude Bluetooth, as is often the case with its higher-end notebooks.
Enjoy these Portege Z835 pictures:
Toshiba intends to produce higher-specced (and more expensive) versions of its Portege ultrabook, so a Core i5 processor will eventually become an option, but for now the Toshiba Portege Z835 must make do with a 1.4GHz i3-2367M CPU, paired with 4GB RAM. Surfing, email, basic office suites, even streaming HD video are all within the capabilities of this rig, but it’s noticeably slower in benchmarks than the ultraportable solutions from Acer, Asus and Lenovo, and needless to say than the Apple Macbook Air, all of which sport snappier i5 or i7 processors. In fact we thought we might have seen the last of i3 processors on anything other than budget notebooks. For anyone who likes to have a lot of demanding programs open at once or who will use their ultrabook for intensive tasks such as video editing, an i5 is a must. Yet we had no problems booting up or resuming from sleep mode. One area where the Portege did excel was battery life, notching up a very impressive 5 hours 16 minutes in our video-looping test. A good half hour longer than the Asus Zenbook. Not that anything can match the Macbook Air of course, which delivers a monumental 6 hours 45 on the same test.
We can’t recommend the Toshiba Portege Z835 as an ultrabook – with an i5 processor it might well be a different story, but together lagging in benchmarks, together with the poor keyboard and a few shabby touches, we were distinctly unimpressed. Poor show, Toshiba.
cnet has this review video of Toshiba Portege Z835:
Update: I realize I am being a bit critical here, and I still think this ultrabook should not be offered at $900 range. BestBuy however, lowered its price to $699. Now, this is a whole other cookie jar.
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