Looking for a laptop for movies on the go but don't want to pay the whopping price for an ultrabook? Fear not, weary traveller, for there are compact, budget-minded options that hope to make the only thing weighing you down on your journey your bulging wallet.
One such new addition is the Toshiba L830-10X. Its 13-inch size makes it great for chucking in a rucksack and its wide screen lets you play DVD movies without those unsightly black bars. It's packing an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and can be yours for £500.
Design and build quality
While many laptops are wrapped in an all-black coat, Toshiba clearly thinks that this world needs brightening up. It offers the L830 in a white shell that makes a refreshing change from the plethora of black and silver computers that come through CNET UK Towers -- although it's also available in black if you're feeling glum.
The whole upper chassis has been given this white treatment, with the lid sporting a subtle grid pattern. The base has been kept black, which is probably for the best, seeing as that will be in constant contact with grubby train tables and office desks with dangerous pools of spilled coffee.
If you're not at all keen on all-white electronics and wouldn't previously have been seen dead carryingaround, then it probably won't be the laptop for you. I personally find it rather appealing and wouldn't be ashamed to whip it out in a meeting or a cafe when waiting for a train.
It's an entirely plastic construction, which is pretty standard on a lower-mid range machine such as this. It feels generally quite firm, with only a bit of flex being offered by the lid and on the wrist rest. The black bottom feels particularly sturdy so you needn't worry about laying down some cotton wool before placing it onto a table.
The body itself measures 329mm wide and 221mm deep, which makes it a good size for chucking in a bag and carting off on your journeys. At 30mm thick, it's hardly challenging the ultrabooks orto a 'who's skinnier' competition. It's about standard for the price range and isn't likely to stretch out your messenger bag too much.
Around the sides you'll spy a VGA-out socket, an Ethernet port, HDMI-out, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, headphone and microphone jacks and a DVD drive.
Keyboard and trackpad
Under the lid, things aren't quite as attractive. The keyboard and tray are made from a different plastic that has more of an off-white beige-ish hue, which makes it look a little dowdy compared to the brilliant white surround. It gives the impression that Toshiba has cut corners by using cheaper materials.
The keys themselves are square, isolated little things that don't look particularly classy, but that's nitpicking. Although they're quite easy to press, they don't offer the most comfortable of typing experiences, due in no small part to the large amount of flex offered by the keyboard tray. It's very off-putting feeling it flex beneath your fingers when you're trying to type out a long document.
The trackpad is more pleasant to use. It offers a rough texture that's pretty easy to slide your finger over and it's reasonably responsive too, making it well suited to flicking around your web browser of choice. It also has a rather attractive chrome-effect edging. It doesn't add anything to your browsing experience, but it's always nice to see something shiny on the tray.
Above the keyboard is a white speaker grille. The speakers are reasonably clear but they lack proper bass response and aren't particularly loud. They'll do the job if you just want to play some video clips but if music and movies are on your agenda then you'll want to pair the L830 with a set of headphones.
The screen is a 13.3-inch affair with a rather standard resolution of 1,366x768 pixels. Crucially though, it has an aspect ratio of 16:9, meaning you can play widescreen videos with fewer of those black bars creeping in.