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CNET First Look
Toshiba Portege Z835-P330With a full 128GB SSD at a great price and a thin, light design, the Toshiba Portege Z835 is one of the best deals in ultrabook-style laptops to date.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the Toshiba Portege Z835. That is the latest in the current generation of what they call ultrabook laptops which is kind of a marketing term turned category which means a really slim Windows-based laptop that kinda looks and feels a lot like Apple's MacBook Air. Now if this guy looks familiar beyond that, that's because it looks and feels a lot like the Toshiba R835 which is a slightly thicker 13-inch laptop that has an optical drive and that was one of our favorite laptops to date so far of 2011. What this version-- the Z version does is it makes the whole thing much slimmer, gets rid of the optical drive and adds a 128-gig solid-state hard drive which is especially important as you consider that this system, this particular configuration is only $899. Whereas a lot of the ultrabooks we've seen with solid-state hard drives are more expensive, the one 1 or 2 that we've seen that are less expensive like this have let's say a hybrid drive like a 20-gig solid-state drive and then the rest of the hard drive's made is just a traditional platter drive. Now there were a couple of corners that had to be cut for this. One, the construction is a little bit flimsy. You get a little flex on the screen there. You got that on the other Toshiba Portege we liked a lot as well. And they knocked this guy down to an Intel Core i3 processor rather than the Core i5 or Core i7 you see in a lot of the other ultrabooks. The other big knock I have about this Z system is the keyboard. The keys are especially small compared to some of the other super slim 13-inch laptops we've seen recently. They're very shallow while you're typing which a lot of people including myself don't like. And the spacebar is especially small I had a lot of trouble typing and hitting the spacebar consistently. Still, you get a lot with the Z835 especially compared to the more expensive MacBook Air. You've got an HDMI output and you've got a USB 3.0 port; both of which Apple does not have in the MacBook Air. And it's even got an Ethernet jack which a lot of the other slim ultrabook-style laptops are lacking. Usually, you have to get an external dongle for that. In this case, they managed to fit it right in. It's very thin. It's about as thin as the other ultrabooks but it's very light. It's a little bit lighter than the rest of them. And if you pick it up, you go "Wow, that's a really light laptop." On paper, the Z835 looks like a fantastic deal. You get the big solid-state hard drive. You get a decent processor. You get a lot of ports and connections; all for well under $1000. In person, it's a little bit more of a compromise with the slower Core i3 performance compared to some of the faster ultrabooks and with the keyboard which I'm simply not a fan of. But if you're looking for maximum storage space and speed with the solid-state hard drive and you don't wanna spend a lot of money, for $899, this is the best overall deal that we've seen in ultrabooks so far. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Toshiba Portege Z835.