Matte screen, swanky keyboard highlight Toshiba ultrabook

Engadget’s minions are all over the IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany, and they’ve gotten their hands on yet another ultrabook, this time from Toshiba. The Portege Z830 is a member of Intel’s exclusive new notebook family, and it’s as svelte as you’d expect: 16 mm thick and only 2.5 lbs. You’ll have to wait until November to get your hands on one, but the price tag (at least for the base model) is slated to slip under a grand.

For the most part, the Portege looks like pretty standard ultrabook fare. Toshiba has added a dash of spice here and there, though. The 13.3″ display may sport the usual 1366×768 pixel density, but the screen itself has a matte coating rather than a layer of gloss. Then there’s the chiclet keyboard, which is both LED-backlit and spill-resistant. Engadget says the keys are satisfyingly clicky, too.

Although the metal body will no doubt invite comparisons to Apple’s design aesthetic, it’s a magnesium chassis rather than the usual aluminum. Toshiba’s official press release mentions an “enhanced Honeycomb Rib” that provides extra shock protection and rigidity—for your pleasure, presumably.

Toshiba doesn’t talk about run times, but the 47-Wh battery will hopefully push the system into the eight-hour range. We’ll know more in a few months, when the Portege will no doubt be joined by droves of slender contenders competing for the ultrabook crown.

Comments closed
    • calvindog717
    • 8 years ago

    finally! an ultrabook with full-sized arrow keys!

    • crose
    • 8 years ago

    Hope Lenovo will make a good ‘ultrabook’ Thinkpad.. with 4:3 matte screen! Several resolutions to choose from would be nice. And no funny new kind of keyboards. The old ones worked perfectly well, thank you very much.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 8 years ago

    What’s with all the flux of ultraportables? Back to school thingy?

      • DancinJack
      • 8 years ago

      They’re “ultrabooks.” New thing – higher performing Intel processors, SSD’s, and the like.

    • sircharles32
    • 8 years ago

    Wait a sec.
    I remember reading about Apple customers having problems at airports with Mg alloy laptops, awhile back. Didn’t a few of them get mistaken for bombs, and had to be destroyed?

    This could be a potential headache for travelers……

      • A_Pickle
      • 8 years ago

      This is pure and utter FUD. Even if there’s a grain of truth to it, it’s not the laptop’s fault that airport security is mind-numbingly stupid and inefficient. They’ve been making magnesium laptops for eons now, I think if this were a widespread issue we’d have heard of it.

      EDIT: I might further add that, being that they contain capacitors and lithium-ion batteries, every laptop in existence is potentially a bomb. Lithium-ion batteries can store a shitload of energy.

        • sircharles32
        • 8 years ago

        I wasn’t agreeing with the sentiment, just that I remember reading about 1 or more instances, in the past, where airport security had misidentified a magnesium alloy laptop, as a threat.

        Apple typically is the first to try something, so perhaps, they were just the guinea pigs, in the learning process for the FAA.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    It’s been a while since the Macbook Air came out. I wonder why PC makers took this long to think about putting out similarly skinny computers. Component costs? It’s not like they couldn’t come out with these earlier and position them at the high end.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      The “high end” isn’t worth the effort of a company that makes their money from Best Buy shelf space or business contracts.

        • ronch
        • 8 years ago

        Yet these Ultrabooks are practically high end and not mainstream now and will continue to be so for a while.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 8 years ago

          $800 laptops make it to Best Buy shelves. $1,200 laptops don’t.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      You realize that there were “similarly skinny” [url=http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=1915<]Toshiba Portege[/url<] [i<]years before[/i<] the Air?

        • A_Pickle
        • 8 years ago

        PSHHH. Now you’re just being crazy, Uber. Take your pills. Apple made every revolutionary technological development, don’tcha know?

      • sschaem
      • 8 years ago

      Pc done it years before Apple, and even Samsung did beat Apple with ultra thin sandy bridge in their serie 9.

      Check laptop from 2004, Sony had some really slick offering like the VGN-X505ZP. Even HP had some pretty decent ultra light laptop for the time (late 90s)
      [url<]http://www.vaio.sony.co.jp/Products/PCG-X505/Images/wallpaper_1_1.jpg[/url<] I remember having a super ultra thin sony 'netbook' 10 years ago... Apple got nothing on the Pc industry.

        • A_Pickle
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]I remember having a super ultra thin sony 'netbook' back 10 years ago... Apple got nothing on the Pc industry.[/quote<] Well, [i<]thaaaaat's[/i<] not true. They [i<]do[/i<] have a much better marketing department, hence why ignorance such as "they made ____ first!" is consistently perpetuated.

          • demani
          • 8 years ago

          Well, Apple did figure out how to bring the price down. What was the cost of Sony’s and Toshiba’s machines back then? Not cheap. Apple refined the hell out their manufacturing to make it more affordable. That is something (and something that many people believe wouldn’t be Apple’s role). And now it seems to be taking Intel’s cash to make the other manufacturers go for the market since Apple wasn’t doing anything particularly out of the ordinary methodology wise.

            • A_Pickle
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]What was the cost of Sony's and Toshiba's machines back then? Not cheap.[/quote<] If memory serves, neither were Apple machines back then. Nor were they particularly fast, because Apple was still rigidly adhering to it's "PowerPC kpwnz0rz x86!" mantra, which relegated them to G4 processors in their notebooks. Yes, Apple [i<]did[/i<] eventually make a cheap, wafer-thin notebook in the form of the MacBook Air... but they weren't exactly competitive about it. I'm sure if PC manufacturers had gotten the same special treatment that Apple had (in terms of having access to that small-die Intel CPU), they too would've made thin notebooks. In fact, as soon as PC manufacturers were allowed into the club, [i<]they did[/i<] start making MacBook Air competitors -- more cheaply. Any of the PC MacBook Air knockoffs today are pretty damn good, in my personal opinion, far more worth having than the Air.

            • Corrado
            • 8 years ago

            Back in 2002ish, I wanted a small/light laptop. My choices were a $2300 Vaio or a 12″ iBook for $1100. I got the iBook. There wasn’t a whole lot going on in the 12-13″ sector back then.

            • Ricardo Dawkins
            • 8 years ago

            No magic formula. They just keep using 2006 tech-based Core 2 Duo until this year refresh.

      • Ricardo Dawkins
      • 8 years ago

      Before this year all Airs were Core 2 Duo.

      They were not waiting for anything, Apple was ripping off their fanbase.

        • Corrado
        • 8 years ago

        And yet, people still bought them and loved them. Funny, huh? Ripped off is in the eye of the beholder. I can say you got ripped off on your Zune because a litany of reasons, but you are 100% satisfied with it. Hence, you don’t feel you got ripped of, so therefore you didn’t.

          • Ricardo Dawkins
          • 8 years ago

          are you kidding?
          Zune same tech as an iPod. Same price.
          Airs with 2006 C2D tech until this year. Priced like the a workstation.

          and people still bought Zune and loved them. 😉

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            i like my zune. mostly because of the superior pc software, which i liked enough, and hated itunes enough to get a wp7 device. tbh, i got the zune for 5$, with a 3 year warranty….

            • Corrado
            • 8 years ago

            You prove my point explicitly. Lots of people think you got ripped off. You do not. Lots of people think MBA owners got ripped of. Lots of others do not. Ripped off is in the eye of the beholder. Pray tell, prior to these ultrabooks, what should someone who wants a thin and light buy thats better than an MBA. Last I checked, until recently, all the thin and lights had 1.3-1.6ghz C2D or worse (Acer Timeline, MSI X series). Compared to the 1.8-2.2ghz C2D’s in an MBA, that seems slow and anemic, espcially considering those machines still cost $600-800 at launch. So yeah, its cheaper. But its also poorer build quality (I had a Timeline and I LOVED it, but the build quality wasn’t great and the paint on the palm rests started wearing off after about 3-4 months of use). The trackpad was good, but the MBA blew it away in that respect. Keyboards were on par as well. So yeah… tell me again how an MBA owner got ‘ripped off’ when all the competition was 25% cheaper, but had slower CPUs, and worse build quality and a worse warranty/support structure?

    • crazybus
    • 8 years ago

    So which manufacturer is going to step up and offer a high pixel density sRGB gamut IPS display in an ultrabook?

      • Vulk
      • 8 years ago

      When the rest of the components are cheap enough that they can squeeze it in on top of the SSD and all metal construction, and still keep the base price under $1000 to qualify for Intels bribe… err rebate money.

    • Decelerate
    • 8 years ago

    Definitely a step in the right direction, though I would’ve wished that the resolution was better (1440×960 at least).

    Edit: Meant 1440×900 (I have a Lenovo X200s)

      • Dashak
      • 8 years ago

      I’ve never heard of 1440×960 resolution on a monitor. What aspect ratio is that?

        • UberGerbil
        • 8 years ago

        Hey, the more vertical pixels the better! I assume he was intending to write 1440×900 (16:10)

          • Decelerate
          • 8 years ago

          Ah indeed, 1440×900

      • A_Pickle
      • 8 years ago

      Agreed. Have a +1.

    • puppetworx
    • 8 years ago

    Netbook weight and laptop performance. This could be a really good Apple Air alternative if they get that magnesium body right – if.

      • A_Pickle
      • 8 years ago

      Minus the Intel graphics performance, sure.

        • mczak
        • 8 years ago

        Not sure what you’re hinting at? The hw is all the same, including the (integrated) gpu.

          • A_Pickle
          • 8 years ago

          You are correct, I forgot the MacBook Air eschewed Nvidia graphics this time around.

          Poor judgement, I’d argue, but I’m still completely uninterested in [i<]anything[/i<] which only uses Intel graphics to push pixels. That stuff is worthless.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        i’d be happy with a E-450

          • A_Pickle
          • 8 years ago

          Eh… I’ve been looking at those with awe and hesitation. Part of me loves the low-power, in-order, dual-core aspect of the E-series… and part of me hates the [i<]just barely[/i<] gaming performance. My metric is League of Legends -- if I can play League of Legends [i<]smoothly[/i<] (I don't mind turning settings down) on my portable, I will be happy. It looks to me like the E-series chips are right on the precipice of that metric, and thus... they're a little hard for me to stomach. I'd like to see some improved mobile variants before I make the plunge.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Just wait for next year’s 28nm variants. Then you’ll get to be happyhappy

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            Hon runs great on my sisters dm1z. I can’t stand lol, too easy, so i haven’t tried it, but hon runs like a dream.

            • A_Pickle
            • 8 years ago

            I enjoy LoL. I haven’t played HoN, but… that’s probably because LoL got to me first. Oh, and it’s free.

            As much as I like LoL though, it runs like a dog. There’s no reason that a game of that graphical fidelity should need anything more than a single-core processor, maybe 2 GB of RAM and an HD 3200 to run, but [i<]man[/i<]. It [i<]definitely[/i<] needs more than that, and it is a [i<]dog[/i<]. I'll bet DotA 2, what with it's reflective water and normal-mapped textures will run better than LoL on the same hardware -- and if that happens, I'm probably going to switch from LoL. I love LoL. It's a great gameplay experience... buuut... [rant] ...only when the servers aren't busy lagging and/or going down, or when PVP.Net doesn't crash, etc. Their servers are abysmal, to the point where in-game lag is not infrequently on Riot's end. This doesn't happen too often, so it's not too big of a deal to me... but almost [i<]every day[/i<] I have to deal with a login queue which tends to make me wait between 5 and 15 minutes just to be allowed to play -- but sometimes as absurd a wait time as 2 to 3 [i<]hours[/i<]. I'd like to meet the idiot at Riot who decided that the PVP.Net out-of-game client should be coded with Adobe Air, which is (in my opinion) one of the greatest wastes of human talent and effort since Scientology. I get that they used Adobe Air to be cross-platform, but having used PVP.Net, I can say without hesitation that I would've taken and liked a Java-based client instead. It takes [i<]F O R E V E R[/i<] for interface elements to load in PVP.Net, there is [i<]always[/i<] a perceivable lag time between when you click on an element and when its action is completed. Seriously, there are websites where you can customize your masteries, runes, and item builds that are more responsive THAN THE ACTUAL GAME CLIENT. The in-game store (where you buy your runes, skins, and champions), which is little more than a webpage, is similarly slow and non-responsive. Sometimes it doesn't even load -- you click the "Store" button and you're greeted with a black screen, with nothing (not even a meaningless loading animation) to indicate that it's even trying to actually display anything still. DotA 2 is Valve. Now, Valve is a company comprised of human beings, so I suppose that yes, [i<]it is possible for them to screw up[/i<] -- however, they have delivered such a consistently solid gaming experience for me nearly every time... so I trust them. I trust them to make a stable client that's able to survive a computer doing something as trivial as [i<]resuming from sleep mode[/i<] (PVP.Net cannot, Steam can) or, I dunno, being open for two hours (PVP.Net cannot survive that. Seriously, it crashes with a "Session Closed" error). I trust them to make a game that runs well on older hardware, something that we [i<]know[/i<] that Source (upon which Dota 2 runs) is good at. I trust them to provide a balance of content, adding simultaneously new game modes, new maps, and new champions (unlike just new champions every other week FOR TWO YEARS). I like the gameplay of LoL. I like the style of LoL. But there's soooo much else about it that really detracts from the gaming experience. The trouble I have is, for me and for literally [i<]millions[/i<] of people like me, Riot has already delivered on the most important part: The gameplay. They have just abysmally dropped the ball on everything else, and if they lose a bunch of customers because of their own complacency, I won't feel sorry for them. I've probably paid more money to Riot than I've paid towards any single game since [i<]EverQuest[/i<] -- but I'll happily switch to Dota 2 if it's a more solid experience throughout. ^ It'd be nice if a Riot employee could read this. I don't think I'm alone in these opinions. [/rant]

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            hon is free. the servers are better. the gameplay is faster, and the community is full of rage. the gameplay is similar, but faster, and a little harsher, eg denying ally creeps, losing money when you die, etc. the game runs great on a older computer, or even intel gpu’s, and it runs natively on linux and osx. take a gander at it. check it out, and ignore the community. i’m just sweatshop on there, as sweatshopking was too long. give it the ol DL, and try it out. its’ MUCH faster than lol, and the gameplay is tighter.

            as for dota 2, i’ll probably not go back to dota, as it’s too slow, and the metagame is a little weak. in a hon game, by the end you’re looking at 40+ kills a team. dota doesn’t have as much pvp as hon, and lol is even less. idk, as much as i think the source engine will bring some improvements, i think hon has improved the genre as a whole in ways i don’t think dota 2 is looking to emulate. anyway, check it out, and let me know what you think. look me up on steam, as sweatshopking, and let’s get a game going.

            • BlackStar
            • 8 years ago

            AFAIK the E-series uses out-of-order cores. Only the Atom is in-order.

            • A_Pickle
            • 8 years ago

            Ah! It does. I totally mixed that up — I’m on a fucking roll in this thread, ain’t I?

    • UberGerbil
    • 8 years ago

    Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, and the tide of glossy screens and crappy keyboards is turning. Now can we work on those pixel densities, please?

      • mno
      • 8 years ago

      Chiclet keyboards are still crappy, especially when they have perfectly flat keys instead of contoured ones. The arrow keys appear to be fullsize in the picture at least.

        • Ethyriel
        • 8 years ago

        Agreed on the flat key front, but they can also be quite nice if they have a proper contour and nice beefy scissors to keep them stable.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      The Samsung Series 7s are matte, too, and with full power dual or quad-cores and graphics cards. Hopefully that new Acer TravelMate 8481T is matte, though I haven’t been able to find anything saying so. That one looks particularly interesting since it comes stock with an 8 cell battery that still fits into the ridiculously small chassis.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    much better. Magnesium is stronger and lighter than aluminium! Plus it looks better. Toshiba’s support sucks major balls, but this laptop looks at least a little different from a mac.

      • anotherengineer
      • 8 years ago

      Well, actually magnesium is flammable at high temperatures. And aluminum especially depending on the grade is stronger than magnesium.

      If you comparing pure Al and Mg you could say Mg is lighter and may have a better strength to weight ratio.

      I want to see someone put a propane torch to it and see it burn!!

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        “better strength to weight ratio.” thanks for the clarification! that’s good to know!

        • A_Pickle
        • 8 years ago

        I’d be surprised if the MacBook Air is composed of aircraft-grade aluminum. I knew that magnesium was flammable, but I’m not terribly concerned about this regarding my laptop — unless it has a Sony battery in it.

        That said, it makes sense that they don’t make spacecraft out of magnesium, despite it’s superior strength-to-weight ratio.

        • mczak
        • 8 years ago

        Don’t see the difference to aluminium there which burns quite nicely too.
        I’m sure you could figure out which one burns better, but we’re talking some magnesium-alloy mixture probably anyway and the properties of that will be different.

          • Meadows
          • 8 years ago

          I bet it burns “quite nicely”, good luck igniting it, though.

      • yogibbear
      • 8 years ago

      Sell me a duplex laptop and we might start talking. Sure it might weigh 20 kilo’s, but that’s the novelty factor you have to take for indestructibility. Pity that they probably won’t be able to etch out a keyboard space….

      • A_Pickle
      • 8 years ago

      Their support doesn’t suck any more than your run-of-the-mill PC brand, but their computers are quite often a good deal higher quality. Meaning, I don’t have to deal with their terrible support as often as, say, HP’s.

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