Initial Ultrabook prices crossed the $1,000 line Intel tried to draw in the sand, and it's only recently that we've begun to see some lower priced models. But easily the least expensive Ultrabook on the market right now is Toshiba's Portégé Z835-P330, a Best Buy exclusive currently on sale for a penny shy of $700. Compare that to Apple's least expensive 13-inch MacBook Air ($1,299) and you have to like the direction Ultrabooks are going.
Despite Ultrabooks’ lackluster debut, some analysts remain confident of a spectacular turnaround. Perhaps the upcoming Toshiba Portege Z835 Ultrabook will spark the massive change in fortune that is needed if Ultrabooks are to conquer a sizable portion of the portable PC market. The Portege Z835, which is Toshiba’s first Ultrabook, is all set to make its U.S. debut as a Best Buy exclusive.
In honor of the 25 years Toshiba has been making laptops—starting with the T1100 in 1985—Toshiba is dubbing its new R700 an “anniversary” system. The laptop is the newest addition to Toshiba’s venerable Portégé line of business ultraportables. It follows on the heels of last year’s R600, which received a 9/Kick Ass in our August 2009 issue, and the R500 before that.
But the R700 differs from those two models in some pretty significant ways—Toshiba says this represents a new direction that will be mimicked in all of its laptops going forward. For one thing, the R700 isn’t as wafer-thin as the R500/600, although it still sports a very slim profile at just a tad over one inch thick, and weighs a mere three pounds. The chassis is reinforced with an internal honeycomb design and features a magnesium-alloy top with an attractive anodized black finish. Even when held by one corner, the laptop feels sturdy and rigid.
The 4G wireless technology is currently available in 54 U.S. cities, with Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Minneapolis, New York and Pittsburgh expected to take the plunge before the end of 2010.
According to the press release: “The Portégé R700-S1332W features the Intel Core i7 processor6 and a 128GB solid state drive7, while the Portégé R700-S1322W features the Intel Core i5 processor and a 320GB high-speed 7200 RPM hard drive8. Both include 4GB of DDR3 memory.”
In our August 2009 ultraportable notebook roundup we fell hard for Toshiba’s Portégé R600—the lightest, sleekest ultraportable notebook we’d ever tested. At $2,150, however, that notebook isn’t cheap.
This month we tested Toshiba’s more affordable ultraportable, the Portégé A605, to see how this consumer-class model compares with its fancier business-class kin.
In looks, the two machines are quite different. While the R600 wowed us with its silver, svelte stylishness, the A605 looks more commonplace. Inside and out, it’s adorned with that shiny black plastic you see everywhere these days, which looks really good… until you smudge it. Its keyboard, thankfully, has the same fingerprint-proof silver coating as the R600’s, and more importantly, sports the same full-size dimensions that make typing on it easy. The A605, which measures 11.3x8.8x1.2 inches, is close in size to the R600, just not as wafer-thin, and it’s a noticeable three-quarters of a pound heavier. Like the R600, the A605 offers a generous selection of ports and expandability options, including a USB/eSATA port (in addition to two standard USB ports), an ExpressCard slot, and an SD media reader.
When we first laid eyes on Toshiba’s latest ultraportable, we were in awe of its crazy-thin, crazy-light profile. In the past, such notebooks sacrificed performance to fit into such tiny shells. To combat this performance sag, Toshiba paired its machine with Intel’s new ultra-low-voltage Core 2 Duo.