There's a new ultrabook in town. Toshiba's Portege Z835 will be available at Best Buy, and it'll cost just $900, making this one of the cheapest examples of the breed. Of course, the Portege isn't quite as fancy as the Zenbook we recently reviewed. The CPU is a Turbo-less Core i3-2367M that tops out at 1.4GHz, and the 13.3" display is stuck with a pedestrian 1366x768 resolution. Toshiba did spring for 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, though.
The solid-state drive is a Toshiba-branded unit, and according to Laptop Magazine, it's not very fast. The site also calls out the keyboard for its stiff feel and shallow key travel. Unlike much of the competition, however, the keyboard is both spill resistant and LED backlit.
The Portege tips the scales at only 2.4 lbs, so it's lighter than a few of its rival ultrabooks. The system also scored better in Laptop Mag's battery life tests than the Zenbook and the MacBook Air, offering nearly seven hours of Wi-Fi web surfing time. Toshiba hasn't skimped on the ports, either. In addition to a USB 3.0 port, there are dual USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet jack, VGA and HDMI outputs, and a pair of 3.5-mm audio jacks. An SD card reader is included, as well.
If you're looking of more upscale hardware, the Portege will reportedly be available with faster Core i5 and i7 CPUs, more RAM, and a bigger SSD. Those options will push the price well over a grand, though, and it appears there's no high-res upgrade for the display.