We’ve watched over the last year or two as mainstay business laptops gradually inch closer in design to their ultrabook competitors—as we saw when Lenovo bolstered the ThinkPad T430 with the thinner, lighter T430u and T431s. Now Toshiba is doing the reverse, making its ultrabook more businesslike.
Compared to its Portege Z835/Z935 predecessor, the Portege Z30 delivers more of the security and office-friendly features you’d expect to find on a business machine, such as a SmartCard slot and a docking connector for a $199 desktop port replicator shared with Toshiba’s Tecra enterprise laptops. However, since it’s an ultrabook, you also get an extra-slim profile and light body (albeit a fractionally heavier one—the Z835 was 2.4 pounds and bordered on feeling flimsy, the Z30 is 2.6 pounds and feels solid). Unlike some ultrabooks such as the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus that aspire to elegance and high-end looks, though, the Portege focuses more on practicality than glamour.
The Z30’s optional port replicator provides Ethernet, USB 3.0, and assorted video (VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI) ports.
You can buy the Portege Z30 in several different hardware configurations with your choice of processors, memory, and storage options. Our $1,279 review unit, the Z30-A1301, was built around a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 CPU, along with 8GB of system memory and a 128GB solid-state drive. Build-to-order options include a Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to a 512GB SSD, as well as the Windows 8-suitable touch screen which our Windows 7 Professional test unit lacked.
One component you can’t change is this laptop’s mediocre, low-resolution 13.3-inch, 1,366×768 display, which frankly we found disappointing, especially considering that we liked nearly everything else about the Z30, right down to its relatively strong performance in our benchmarks and its exceptional showing in our demanding battery-rundown test.
Thinner, lighter, and faster than most competitors, the Portege Z30 is a well-built ultrabook with some nice extras numberswiki.com
and stellar battery life. Aside from its lackluster screen, we think it makes a great road companion.
Unlike high-end, consumer-grade ultrabooks, the 0.7-inch-thick Toshiba is not made of chic brushed aluminum. Instead, the Z30’s chassis is made from a very light and durable magnesium alloy that looks and feels like plastic, but it’s much lighter and tougher than that.
Furthermore, as you can see in the image at left, the new Portege appears, compared to several other ultrabooks we’ve reviewed, a little boxy, devoid of the sculptured bodies and sleek lines we see on so many consumer models. Instead of style and sex appeal, though, we say again that this laptop offers durability and business-friendly features, such as a fingerprint reader to help keep out intruders.
Any office-oriented laptop needs lots of connectivity and expansion options, and the Portege Z30 won’t let you down there. For example, it supports two types of video output, both VGA (RGB) and HDMI. You’ll find these two ports, along with the AC power jack and a USB 3.0 port with Sleep and Charge for recharging handheld gadgets, on the left edge. Meanwhile, on the right edge you’ll find an SD Card reader, another two USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a security lock slot.
The Z30’s left and right profiles and ports.
On the underside of the chassis, up near the front edge, are two stereo speakers. The pair, with the help of DTS Studio Sound software enhancement, played back with decent tonal quality and stereo delineation, but we weren’t able to get enough volume out of them.
A supplied software utility offers hi-fi fine tuning.
As you can see in the image above, the DTS utility provides extensive control over audio playback. When we turned DTS on, our test videos and music samples sounded full and rich.
Read the entire article at Computer Shopper.