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Long-lasting power on the go

SINGAPORE — Toshiba’s new business-oriented ultrabook, the Portege Z30, is one of the latest additions to an already overcrowded market, but its great battery life, lightweight design and durability could help it stand out from the competition.

SINGAPORE — Toshiba’s new business-oriented ultrabook, the Portege Z30, is one of the latest additions to an already overcrowded market, but its great battery life, lightweight design and durability could help it stand out from the competition.

Weighing just 1.2kg and barely 1.8cm thick, the Z30 is lighter and almost as thin as the MacBook Air. But despite its lightweight frame, it is one tough machine thanks to the magnesium alloy body reinforced with Toshiba’s safeguard technologies.

The Z30 might be sleek, but could look rather drab. In a crowded market where aesthetically-attractive ultrabooks stand out, the monochromic Z30 falls short of the competition. It also inherited the rather disappointing screen quality inherent in the Portege and Tecra families. The 1,366 x 768 pixel-resolution is slightly washed out and does not produce the vibrant colours seen on other ultrabooks in the same price range.

Another enticing quality of the consumer-centric Portege and Tecra range is its easy customising and swapping-out of internal components to better suit users’ needs and preferences. With multiple versions sporting varying specs, the Z30 will generally be powered by a 4th generation Intel Haswell processor, ranging between an i3 to i7 chip. This contributes to excellent battery life, which clocked an impressive 11 hours and 47 minutes on a single charge.

Taking only about 14 seconds to start up, the Z30 is an appreciatively speedy machine. Its Intel HD 4400 GPU is evidently not meant to deliver the ultimate gaming experience or handle intense churning, but is sufficient for daily productivity tasks.

The small ultrabook manages to pack in a keyboard that facilitates comfortable typing. However, it could do with slightly more travel. Its white backlight allows work to continue, even in dim settings. A generously-large area is dedicated to the trackpad, with nicely-integrated functional buttons that act as mouse buttons near the bottom.

Placed in between a triangle of the G, H and B keys, the small blue Accupoint button has a gritty, sandy texture that provides friction meant for ease of use. However, it is rough and abrasive on the fingers. Using it efficiently also requires a certain level of skill — it either goes too slow or dives into the other end of the screen in one movement. Click buttons are placed just above the touchpad in close distance for use with the Accupoint, but the positioning felt awkward and uncomfortable.

The Portege Z30 is an ultrabook with a focus different from the competition. Compromising on looks, the Z30 is bent on practicality — providing users with all-day usage, friendly usability and shock-absorbing rigidity. If looks are not a priority, its solid components, paper-like dimensions and unprecedented battery life should win you over.

The Toshiba Portege Z30 is now avaiable and the i5 and i7 versions retail for S$2,299 and S$2,599 respectively.

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