The Z Series has more external ports than any othe Ultrabook we have seen and Toshiba has found a way to include things such as the SD card slot which you will find beside the headphone and microphone plugins on the left side of the unit. This might not sound so incredible until you examine competitors who have conveniently excluded it in their design. On the back, we find a VGA port, power, HDMI, two USB and an Ethernet port with an additional USB 3 port on the right side. Toshiba must be thinking, Match that! because nobody else has.
Truth be told, I am not a lover of such ports on the back of my laptops and have cursed a number of times regarding this in the past. In considering this, however, this strategy by Toshiba can only be thought of as unique as it provides options that simply aren’t available in competitor models.
The two bottom inside edges of the port itself are rather sharp and will catch on your clothing if you happen to be typing with the Z830 resting in your lap.
Some initial estimates identified the Toshiba as having a low battery life which confused us as promotional material quotes it being as high as eleven hours. Having received the Z830 just before a trip where I found myself typing away for over five hours in the passenger seat of the truck, I was in a good position to get an accurate indication of exactly how the battery would hold up. I am happy to report that it exceeded the eight hour mark at its first time at bat.
In all fairness though, we should be clear in indicating that nobody is going to get premium battery life while the internet is on with your e-mail being checked as well as other activities. Our first result was really a mix as there was internet and e-mail use on both ends with the internet and bluetooth shut down during the trip and the power options on Power Saver.
Like all other pre-configured systems, the Toshiba Z series comes pre-configured with its share of bloat ware and trial programs that we just don’t need. We can’t fault a company that uses such to keep prices low as these software packages will be of benefit to some. We even found one or two (ie the Startup Optimizer) that we thought to be rather useful. Such pre-configurations are ideal for the typical consumer but if you are looking for performance, a fresh install, followed by our SSD Optimization Guide is in order.
The Z830 is relatively simple to open with 13 screws around the outside bottom and one torx security screw under the center rubber pad. Once opened, the SSD can easily be switched off for those that just have to have SATA 3 and can be seen in the picture below on the left with RAM to its right. Clicking on any of our review photos brings up larger and better images. It is worth noting that the maximum allowed memory configuration for the Z830 is 6GB as 2GB of memory is integrated leaving only one slot that accepts a module to a maximum of 4GB. This is a very tight and well constructed chassis and, quite frankly, there would be no room for the additional memory slot without increasing its dimensions and weight.