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Hands on: Toshiba Z830 is world’s slimmest and lightest Ultrabook

Toshiba comes out fighting with its first Ultrabook, taking an early lead in both size and weight categories

There’s been a lot of talk about Intel’s Ultrabook platform, even if it simply boils down to a series of specifications designed to encourage laptop manufacturers to compete with Apple’s MacBook Air and Pro models.

Today we saw Toshiba launch its first Ultrabook design. Ultrabooks have to be less than 20mm thick, but Toshiba has gone well beyond that with the 15.9mm Portege Z830. That makes it the thinnest Ultrabook to date, though we doubt it’ll keep that title for long.

Toshiba Z830 thin

Undercutting the Z830 will come with its drawbacks though. The latest Portege is just thick enough to provide full sized USB ports, three of them, along its edges (two USB and one USB3). There’s also ethernet, HDMI, VGA and a card reader.

Toshiba Z830 ports

Any thinner design will have to resort to clever design such as hinged ports behind flaps. The design then gives this very compact laptop a sturdy and practical feel.

And make no mistake, this is a very portable design, especially given its 13.3in display size. It weighs just 1.12kg, making it the lightest Ultrabook to date, and one of lightest laptops we can think of. Full dimesions weren’t supplied, and we weren’t carrying a tape measure unfortunately, but it certainly sits somewhere between Apple’s 13in MacBook Air and Pro designs.

Toshiba Z830 front

The screen lid does have a lot of flex, but that’s no surprise at these dimensions. The backlit keyboard felt good with positive feedback despite its minimal travel. The chassis is made of a magnesium alloy, much like Panasonic’s Toughbook line.

Toshiba was very circumspect on the actual specification. Apart from featuring an Intel processor and either 128GB or 256GB SSD. Battery capacity and life was unavailable.

It all adds up to a very attractive package, we particularly like that Toshiba hasn’t made compromises for the sake of a slender design, and if the pricing is right this could be a very strong contender for our favourite Ultrabook – though it’s still early days of course.

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