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Toshiba KIRAbook review

Toshiba KIRAbook

We go hands on with Toshiba's latest premium Ultrabook

Toshiba is finally bringing its premium KIRAbook ultraportable laptop to the UK, it announced today. Having previously launched KIRAbooks only in the US, Toshiba’s latest model looks set to be the best yet, with a new 4th-generation Intel Core processor. As with previous models it has a 13.3in touchscreen display with a gorgeous 2,560×1,440 resolution and a beautifully slim design.

Toshiba KIRAbook

Measuring just 9.5mm at its thinnest point, its magnesium alloy chassis and brushed metal finish is both stylish and understated. At 1.35kg, it’s also lighter than Apple’s 13in Macbook Air, making it easy to carry around in a bag when you’re on the move.

The laptop doesn’t suffer from a lack of ports either, as it comes with three full-sized USB3 ports, one of which supports Sleep and Charge, an HDMI output, an SD card reader and a combined headphone and microphone jack.

Toshiba KIRAbook

The screen is the real star of Toshiba’s KIRAbook, as its huge 2,560×1,440 resolution looked superb on its 13.3in display. It’s not the highest resolution we’ve seen on a ultraportable, as Samsung’s Ativ Book 9 Plus and Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro both come with even larger 3,200×1,800 resolutions, but even though Toshiba didn’t seem to have included any extra software to help with resolution scaling, everything looked clean and crisp onscreen. We didn’t have any problems reading text or tapping icons at all, and native 4K video looked particularly impressive.

The KIRAbook’s Harmon Kardon speakers also caught our attention with their superior sound quality. It’s rare to find good speakers on such a small laptop, and in our brief time with them appeared a cut above other Ultrabook speakers we’ve tested.

Toshiba KIRAbook

Unlike some of Toshiba’s previous Ultrabooks, the KIRAbook will have just one specification. With 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD for storing your files and one of Intel’s latest Core i7 Haswell processors (as yet unspecified), it’s firmly aimed toward the high-end of the Ultrabook pool, but it’s RRP of £1,299 is surprisingly competitive compared to other similarly-specified ultra-portables such as the £1530 Asus Zenbook Prime Touch UX31A and the £1610 Sony VAIO Duo 13.

The KIRAbook’s wide touchpad was a joy to use as well. Its backlit keys, on the other hand, felt a little small for our liking, but they gave lots of positive feedback while we were typing.

Toshiba KIRAbook

Toshiba claims the KIRAbook will last up to 9 hours away from the mains. This is a little conservative from what we’d normally expect to see from a Haswell laptop, but we’ll be able to bring you a more accurate figure in our full review.

Toshiba KIRAbook

There’s no shortage of high-end Ultrabooks, but Toshiba’s KIRAbook stands out as one to watch for 2014. With an ultra-high resolution screen at a very competitive price, the KIRAbook could be one of Toshiba’s best laptops yet. Due to launch mid-February, we’ll bring you our full review as soon as possible.

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First Look