Tag: Toshiba Portege

Product Review–Toshiba Satellite Z830 Ultrabook


I have previously reviewed the Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook in order to assess what an Ultrabook was capable of as a secondary content-creating ultraportable computer. Now I have the chance to review the Toshiba Z830 Series Ultrabooks. The representative unit that I am reviewing is the Satellite Z830 which is a model that is available through consumer-retail outlets.

But there is the Portege Z830 variants which are sold to the business market through value-added resellers and independent computer dealers targeting business users and is similar to this unit except for having different specification options like fingerprint scanners and higher-performance processors. I will be putting these specific options in the specifications table as “Portege options”.

Compared to the Acer Aspire S3 Series, these units offer some more functionality in the form of extra connections not normally seen on the typical Ultrabook.

Toshiba Satellite Z830 Ultrabook

– this configuration
Processor Intel Sandy Bridge – Core i5-2467M Portege variants: Intel Sandy Bridge – Core i3, i5 or i7
Portege option:
6Gb in some packages
shared with graphics
Secondary Storage 128Gb solid-state drive SD card reader
Display Subsystem Intel HD
Screen 13” widescreen (1366×768) LED-backlit LCD
Audio Subsystem Intel HD audio
Audio Improvement N/A
Network Wi-Fi 802.11g/n
Portege variants:
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Bluetooth 3.0 + HS
Connectors USB 2 x USB 2.0 (1 with Sleep and Charge), 1 x USB 3.0
Audio 3.5mm stereo audio-out, 3.5mm audio in, digital output via HDMI
Operating System on supplied unit Microsoft Windows 7  Home Premium Portege variants:
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Windows Experience Index – this configuration Overall 5.8 Graphics 5.8
Advanced Graphics 6.3

The computer itself

Aesthetics and Build quality

The Toshiba Satellite Z80 is finished in an all-plastic gunmetal-grey case which could benefit from a metal finish around the palmrest. Here, the plastic can feel very sweaty especially after a long period of use.

I had not noticed any overheating with this Ultrabook through my use of this machine. This is although it has a similar cooling arrangement to the Acer Aspire S3 that I previously reviewed.

User interface

The Toshiba Satellite Z830 is equipped with an illuminated chiclet keyboard which allows for full touch-typing. It could benefit from having the home keys with a more distinct feel so you can discover your home position by feel or could be equipped with a rubberised keyboard.

It has the same very-sensitive Toshiba trackpad which can be defeated using a button located under the spacebar when you are doing a lot of typing. The trackpad is easy to discover by touch as are the chrome-effect selection buttons.

The status lights are located below the selection keys but could be located above the keyboard or on the screen bezel. This is compared to where the power switch is located above the keyboard.

Audio and Video

The video display on the Toshiba Satellite Z830 Ultrabook was responsive even with video playback content as I watched some “catch-up TV” off one of the TV channels’ Websites. This would be adequate for basic multimedia tasks such as video playback or photo management as well as non-demanding gameplay.

Of course, like a lot of laptops, the sound through the internal speakers leaves a lot to be desired. This is due to the small speakers packed in to the computer and I would recommend use of headphones or an external speaker setup if you want more volume or better sound quality out of this laptop.

Connectivity and Expansion

Toshiba Z830 Ultrabook rear view with connectors

Rear view exemplifying extra connections – Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 2.0 with Sleep & Charge, HDMI, power input and VGA output

One area where the Toshiba Z830 Ultrabooks, both the Satellite and Portege variants, excels in is the connectivity options that are beyond what is available for this laptop product class.

The video outputs come in the form of VGA as well as HDMI. This would please those of us who have to use most affordable data projectors that have the VGA connections as their only video input for computer equipment. As well, there are three USB ports – 2 USB 2.0 connections with one supporting Sleep & Charge as well as a USB 3.0 port for those external hard disks. The audio connections have been augmented with an audio-input jack for a microphone.

Toshiba Z830 Ultrabook Left-hand-side detail

Left-hand side with more connections – 3.5mm audio-in jack, 3.5mm headphone jack, SDHC card reader

Unlike most Ultrabooks, the Toshiba Z830 Series also comes with a Gigabit Ethernet socket so you can connect it directly to a network where there is no Wi-Fi connectivity available. This also means that you could even use this Ultrabook with a HomePlug network using the typical HomePlug-Ethernet bridge adaptor.

It also is equipped with a Kensington-compliant locking slot so you can use one of those laptop locking cables to stop thieves taking advantage of this notebook’s lightweight design to make off with it; and is a feature that must be part of any Ultrabook. But this is located too close to the USB 3.0 socket on the right had side therefore you wouldn’t be able to connect anything to it if you have the laptop locked down.

Battery life

Toshiba Z830 Ultrabook Right Hand Side detail

Right-hand side detail with USB 3.0 socket and Kensington-compatible lock slot

The Toshiba Z830 Series can complete at least a day of mixed tasks on battery power without it needing to be charged. The only problem is that after a few days of disuse which will often happen with this class of computers when you are at home, using the primary computer, the battery loses its charge completely and you have to charge the Ultrabook up.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

One major area where Toshiba could improve the Z830 Series would be to provide higher-capacity hard disks or solid-state drives as options in the Satellite and Portege model lineups. This could then please those users who want to use these Ultrabooks to store a quantity of photos or video footage they have taken themselves or to store a handful of movies to view on the long air trip.


Toshiba Z830 Ultrabook in cafe

This is perfectly at home on a coffee bar in a cafe

I would recommend any of the Toshiba Z830 Series Ultrabooks as a lightweight secondary computer for those of us who value connectivity. This is more so if  the areas one is using are not likely to have Wi-Fi or there is an intent to show video material and PowerPoint presentations through those economy data projectors. The USB 3.0 socket can allow to use a high-capacity external hard disk  without losing on data throughput and is what I would recommend if you do a lot of digital photography and review your work on these Ultrabooks.

But I would specifically recommend the Portege variants if you are doing high-risk or high-value business work with these Ultrabooks. This also encompasses journalists who are working on highly-controversial content.

Product Review–Toshiba Portege R830 ultraportable notebook computer (Part No: PT321A-01L002)


I am reviewing the Toshiba Portege R830 series of ultraportable notebook computers which is targeted at business users, primarily the “big end of town” but there are models in this series that can appeal to most users who are after a notebook that can be stuffed in to that bike bag or shoulder bag.

This is the first ultraportable notebook based on Intel Sandy Bridge technology that I have reviewed for HomeNetworking01.info.This class of notebook is infact a proving ground for the technology because it has requirements for long battery life, ability to play video content at a moment’s notice as well as be light and suitable for use on the road. The Toshiba Portege R830 Series is so well positioned with this respect due to it being equipped with an optical drive which would come in handy with playing DVDs that you buy or rent before that long bus or train trip.

Toshiba Portege R830 ultraportable notebook

– this configuration
Processor Intel Sandy Bridge i5-2520M Other vairants – all Sandy Bridge
cheaper –
more expensive
RAM 4Gb RAM shared with graphics
Secondary Storage 128Gb solid-state storage
cheaper 500Gb hard disk
extra cost 512Gb solid-state storage
optical drive, SDHC card reader
Display Subsystem Intel HD Graphics up to 2G RAM for graphics
Screen 13.3” widescreen (1366×768) LED-backlit LCD
Network Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/n
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Bluetooth 3.0 + HS
Connectors USB 3 x USB 2.0
SATA 1 x eSATA in combo USB socket
Audio 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
3.5mm stereo microphone jack
Digital audio via HDMI
Operating System on supplied unit Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Windows Experience Index – this configuration Overall 4.7
Graphics 4.7
Gaming (Advanced) Graphics 6.1

The computer itself

I have noticed negligible extra weight when I have packed in my day bag to take it on an “on-road” test drive. It is large enough for the lid to lean back while in crowded buses or economy-class airline seats, even if the seat ahead is suddenly reclined.

Toshiba Portege R830 ultraportable's optical drive

One of the few ultraportables that is equipped with an optical drive

All the models in this series come with a DVD burner but this review model and the model above are equipped with a solid-state drive rather than a hard disk for the main secondary storage. The two less-expensive models come with a 500Gb hard disk and the most expensive model has a 512Gb solid-state drive while this model has the 128Gb SSD.

Aesthetics and Build quality

The Portege R830 Series is finished in an all-black finish with chrome highlights on the lid hinges. This avoids the tendency to use a fingermark-attracting gloss finish, which allows for a more durable finish.

As well, for an ultralight computer, it is very well-built and has a good-quality finish about it. It was also able to handle the rough usage that may occur as it is taken out and about when you travel or go “hotspot surfing”.

User interface

The Toshiba ultraportable notebook is equipped with a chiclet keyboard which supports accurate touch-typing for long perionds, even while travelling on public transport. It could benefit from rubber-capped keys so you know where you are actually typing.

There is an easily-discoverable trackpad that has a generous area for working with; as well as easily-discoverable buttons. As well, this ultraportable does use a fingerprint scanner between the buttons as part of a secure-login option.

Audio and Video

The Intel HD video is responsive for most multimedia tasks especially video playback. It may be able to cope with basic editing but there may be problems when you use the video-editing tools to make anything beyond “rushes-quality” video. I even noticed that the Toshiba had performed very well even when it was playing “Munich: from the integrated DVD burner whil;e running on batteries.

Unlike most laptops, the Toshiba Portege R830’s screen on this unit isn’t a reflective glossy screen, which makes it suitable for bright operating environments.

The sound-reproduction for these laptops is typical for many of the laptops in that it has the tinny speakers that don’t provide depth to the sound. I would recommend that you use this laptop with a pair of good headphones or a good speaker setup when you want the best out of the sound.

Battery life

I have run this computer on a variety of activities and it has run longer than expected for the typical laptop. For example, I was able to have a DVD playing for four hours after a full charge and fhen find that there is 25% of power left, with an estimated 4 hours worth of use left.

Other experience notes

Toshiba Portege R830 ultraportable's USB Sleep N Charge socket

USB socket for Sleep N Charge feature

The Toshiba Portege R830 has a Sleep And Charge feature for one of the USB ports. Here, it means that the notebook can be set to supply power to 1 USB port while it is off so that smartphones and other gadgets can be charged off that port. This may benefit travellers who want to cut the number of chargers and AC adaptors they carry for their devices while on the road. For overseas travellers, this may avoid the need to carry extra plug converters for mobile phone chargers while they travel. The function has worked as stated on the tin when it came to charging my Samsung Galaxy S Android smartphone as illustrated below.

Toshiba Portege R830 Sleep N Charge in action

Sleep N Charge in action - charging my mobile phone while closed up and off

I had shown this computer to some friends whom I live with when I was talking about laptops and they thought it was similar to a netbook that they considered as a “traveller” computer. This is although they were used to seeing the larger laptop computers and didn’t really pick up on this class of ultraportable notebooks that filled the gulf between the netbook and the regular laptop.


The Toshiba Portege computers do work well as a current-spec traveller’s computer where you value creating content or need the ability to work with DVDs. It does the Sandy Bridge CPU/GPU platform justice as far as “traveller-friendly” portable computing goes.

I would recommend this configuration for use as a secondary traveller computer where only current data is kept on the system and quick performance is a priority. If you do need to have a larger data collection like digital photos or videos that are being “proofed”, you may have to use an external hard disk or invest in the more-expensive model of the series.

Toshiba Portege R830 ultraportable on coffee bar at a cafe

This ultraportable looks the part on the coffee bar that is part of the smart "second office" cafes

There is a variant of this model that is equipped with the same processor, RAM and other specifications but has a regular 500Gb hard disk for AUD$1980 which may suit most people who want the same power but more storage.

But whatever, I would place the Toshiba Portege R830 series of ultraportables as contenders for a notebook computer that you intend to use “on the go” especially if you cycle or use public transport. It also would be an appropriate notebook to use if you do a lot of work at Wi-Fi-equipped cafes.

Toshiba’s latest “portable-typewriter” laptop to beat according to CNET


Toshiba Portege R835-P56X Review – Laptops – CNET Reviews

My Comments

There is now a “race for the best” going on with the 13” “traveller / hotspot-user friendly” class of laptop at the moment thanks to the new Sandy Bridge technology. This is even though the netbook is appealing as a The gauntlet had been laid down by Apple with their latest MacBook Pro laptop for the MacOS X platform and everyone is trying to match this goal in an affordable way.

Examples of the improvements we will see with these computers will be improved video performance as well as an increase in the runtime available for the computer on its own battery. Some of these machines could allow for a hot-footed workday without the need to look for power outlets so you can charge up that laptop.

An example of this is Toshiba’s Portege R835-P56X laptop which uses this technology. The CNET review posted improvements in battery life by 3 hours over the previous model as well as video performance. This battery runtime period that was quoted for the Toshiba when running a video clip was nearly 8 hours, which would cover a typical workday of hotspot-surfing or public-transport working. It also is ready for USB 3.0 and can work with Wi-Fi N wireless networks.

Yet this machine still comes with an integrated DVD burner as well as 4Gb RAM and 640Gb on the hard disk. This capacity may be important when you take those digital pictures and you want to “dump” them to the computer for editing and uploading while on the go. But users may have to check their configuration comes with integrated Bluetooth when they “spec” the unit they want if they do want this function. This would be more important if you do want to pass audio to an amplifier using a Bluetooth A2DP audio module, use your favourite Bluetooth headset to Skype with or use this technology to “tether” your mobile phone to the computer.

At least the new Sandy Bridge technology could allow for this class of laptop computer to improve and become more appealing to those of us who create content while “on the go”.