Toshiba Satellite Z930 review
13.3 in 1,366x768 display, 1.2kg, 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5-3317U, 6.00GB RAM, 128GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
The Toshiba Satellite Z930 has a sleek ultra-thin chassis, with most of the ports relegated to the back. There’s one USB3 port on the right, as well as two 3.5mm audio jacks and a multi-format card reader on the left, but you’ll need to reach around to the back for the HDMI and VGA video outputs, full-size Gigabit Ethernet and two regular USB ports.
Despite the svelte dimensions, there’s still room inside for an Intel Core i5-3317U processor, 6GB of RAM and a 120GB SSD. The Z930 is one of few sub-£1,000 machines to include a full SSD, rather than a small caching disk paired with a mechanical hard disk, and although it didn’t boost performance in our multimedia benchmarks where it scored 51 overall, it still boots up and resumes from sleep very quickly.
No moving parts also helps keep power consumption down, so it should come as no surprised that the Z930 managed to last over seven hours in our light-use battery test. It’s not the best result we’ve seen from an Ultrabook, but it’s still more than enough to get you through the working day without having to worry about finding a mains socket.
Another reason for the great battery life is that Toshiba has opted for integrated graphics. Unfortunately, Intel’s HD 4000 GPU will only take you so far, and in this regard the Z930 is unsurprising. Only managing 19.7fps in our Dirt 3 test proves you won’t be playing the latest titles, and even older games will struggle at maximum detail settings.
The downside with having such a thin laptop is that there’s very little room for a keyboard with a comfortable amount of travel. The Z930 has a full-size keyboard, but the keys themselves have almost no travel – it can feel a little like typing directly onto a desk, although some keys fare better than others. It is at least backlit, making it easier to work in dark environments, but it’s still not the best experience.
We had a better time with the touchpad, which has separate physical buttons rather than an all-in-one design. Again, button travel is limited, but they feel much more responsive in use. The touchpad is a decent size, using the same 16:9 aspect ratio as the 13in screen, although it’s not quite sensitive enough to cover the entire desktop in a single swipe.