Toshiba Portege Z830 13.3″ Ultrabook Laptop Review – Toshiba Creates One Amazing SSD Ultrabook!

Our report today is going to take a close look at the newly released Toshiba Portege 13.3″ Ultrabook, one of the smallest and lightest SSD contained laptop solutions to be released this year.

We had previously reviewed the Samsung Series 9 Ultrabook in our search for the ultimate website laptop, however as stunning as the Series 9 was, it had an Achilles heel by way of a very weak wifi signal and we haven’t received any notice of repair to date.


Our search for the ultimate laptop first became evident at CES Las Vegas this past January as I was met with the sneers and chuckles from the packs of Mac lovers in the CES Press Lounge.  It seemed that someone forgot to tell me that Macs were mandatory at this predominantly PC event.  In any case, I made it through and swore that I would have the best PC available for my needs next year and so enters the Toshiba Z830.


The Toshiba Z830 series laptop is a 13.3 form factor and its exterior shell is of dark silver aluminum construction with a smooth brushed finish. Our website system contains an Intel i7-2667m processor, 6GB of Toshiba RAM and a Toshiba 128GB solid state drive. I mention it as our ‘website system’ simply because this is not a manufacturer sample which must be returned.  It is our choice in purchase after a very thorough examination of ‘new gen’ ultrabook releases in order to find the ideal system for our travelling needs.  If you happen to bump into me at any of the Technology events in 2012, chances are that the Z830 will be hidden in the portfolio on my side.  It is just that compact.


This Toshiba ultraportable is available as the Portege Z830 or Satellite Z830 in Canada with the Satellite being the Portege Z835 in the USA.  The Satellite Z830/Portege Z835 is the most value conscious version and contains an Intel i3-2367m processor, 4GB of memory, a 128GB Toshiba SSD, has a Trubrite TFT glossy display, Windows 7 Premium, and can be found for as little as $899. The Z830 has several options to include an Intel i5-2557m or Intel  i7-2667m processor, 4 or 6GB RAM, a 128GB Toshiba SSD, Windows 7 Professional and  only the Portege business line contains a matte screen display.  The Z830 configurations are considered business versions and are available at Toshiba from $1199 to $1499.


Unlike the rest of the new Ultrabook crowd, the Toshiba Z Series seems to have avoided that wedge shaped design and we feel that they are the better for it.  It weights in at 2.47 lbs and is .33″ thick without and .63″ thick with its rubber feet.  In checking other ultras, the Z830 is not only the smallest and lightest of the pack, but also, has a weight 1/2 lb lighter than the competition in a few cases.


The Z Series contains Intel mobile HD graphics and the maximum screen resolution is 1366 x 768 which we would have liked to see bumped up one more notch.  It is LED backlit, has a 16:9 aspect ratio, native support for 720p content, and is plenty bright.  Specs don’t list the technical numbers but when exploring the system and discovering that its brightness is only at 40%, get yourself some sunglasses before pushing it full tilt.


Backlit keyboards seem to be a rarity with first gen Ultrabooks and we were happy to see a keyboard that is not only backlit, but also, spill proof.  The Z Series keyboard is constructed of raised silent tiling and if I could change anything at all,  it would be a quick trade off to the standard US version from the bilingual Canadian layout.


The trackpad is large, contains two buttons at its base with a fingerprint reader in between them.  Did we mention that the Z Series has both Facial Recognition software and a fingerprint reader for security?  Notification lights such as plug, power, battery, hard disk activity, wifi and Bluetooth are found just under the buttons as the below picture depicts.


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    Can you try to boot with a Ubuntu Live CD and test the hardware? 😉

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    Looks really nice. Did you notice while sliding it into your portfolio it appears the screen or the partwhere it meets, is cracked, based on looking at the first picture. Also how does a 13.3 laptop fit into a 11″ portfolio?

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    I finally bought this ultrabook and installed Linux Mint 12. Works fantastic!

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    Just bought this ultrabook (Portege Z830) 3 days ago. I’m truly satisfied with the overall performance, but what really dissapoint me is that the running battery life is only 3 hours, as opposed to what they claimed 5-7 hours. If I just ON the notebook without doing anything then i can get 6 hours. AND this is running with eco-mode being switch on.

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    Is this laptop cover come in the box?

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    I have been researching this and can’t find information regarding the warranty beyond it being 1-yr. Is it an international warranty? I live between Canada and Greece.

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    Matte or Glossy screen?

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    Beware the fan noise issue:

    The fan noise issue appears not to affect all machines, so possibly a quality control issue. It’s barely noticeable in a room with lots of background noise (e.g. a busy computer store), but can be an irritating buzz that you don’t want or expect to hear if you’re in an otherwise quiet room.

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      I too have a loud fan, nice system except for the fan noise. The only thing really missing is built in broadband. All the ports are present so you do not have to carry several dongles, but now you have to carry a Mi-Fi and power for the Mi-fi since they do not last as long as the z830 does on battery. Otherwise GREAT System.

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        I dont know if it is the system configuration but I have very little fan noise and am starting to wonder if it could be the fact that I am running an i7 unlike most who are running different configurations. Is it possible they have to work harder and heat up quicker?

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        Just received the z830-s8302 with the i7, and the fan is loud. With music on, not a problem, but it is nice to work quietly at times, and the fan sound is more than just the air coming out – it has a sort of humming that is quite intrusive.

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        Appreciated. As much as the noise is null for me I did wonder about other i7 users.

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    Do the come up with different colours and if so which colours are available

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    Hey guys
    Lightroom software is one of the most mysterious about the performance from the hardware, I was wondering if you had the opportunity to test lightroom on this Toshiba Z830 Runcore T50 6gb sata3 combination?

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    Where did you get the sleeve for the laptop?

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    How does one compare 128GB SDD memory with old standard of XXXGB HDD memory?

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      I don’t quite understand but it wasn’t so long ago that the typical laptop came with 160GB HDD. The true comparison lies, however, in the incredible performance leap from the hard drive to the SSD as well as the significant start time reduction.

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    The Asia model of this Z830 is kind of a let down where there is NO backlit keyboard. This clearly shows Japanese products are no longer competitive.

    Just compare Samsung LCD and Sony LCD. I will choose a Samsung anytime with their quality, price and features !

    They tell me it’s only available in the US ! Is the Sun in Asia brighter ?

    Toshiba can be sometimes very confusing, they can have more than two model number for the exactly the same product e.g. with the difference of just only the backlit keyboard !

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    hi, I got my Z830 last week. also T50 120G. but I have problem to install the windows 7 on the SSD under AHCI mode. always give me BSOD. make me wonder the SSD you test here have problem free of BSOD? my T50 have the firmware of 3.3.4, what you got in there. need your help to find out the problem here. thanks.

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    I am having problem with the WiFi in my Z830. Even if I place it near the access point, the signal strength is very weak and if i need to connect it to and external monitor and I close the lid, there wont be any internet connection at all. I have done all the methods Toshiba support has asked me and also gave for servicing. Still no help…
    Other than this issue, the unit is really a great one

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    what’s your overall opinion on Toshiba Portégé Z835-P370 – Core i5 1.6 GHz – 6 GB Ram?

    its seems like the solved the load fan issue with a bio’s update.

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      Personally, I am not a fan of the bios update and wish I could undo it. I NEVER had a fan issue prior to the update and hardly EVER heard the fan, even while playing video. Now, it is on and much much louder when video is playing and it is very bothersome as the fan is full bore.

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    Great review guys. I’m having a major video lag issue with this notebook when trying to edit video. I think it may be this sata 2 causing the problem, where can I buy the sata 3 upgrade you guys put on yours? Do I just need the drive?

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      Unfortunately no. Apparently our testing was somewhat unique in that neither Toshiba or Runcore can duplicate we we pulled off as well as us at this point in time. WE are all aware that getting SATA 3 to function correctly on the Z830 is simply a software upgrade but unfortunately Toshiba has yet to approve and put an update in to do this.

      Now, even we cannot get SATA 3 to work through other mSATA SSDs nor can we repeat what was originally received

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    Can a Samsung 830 Series 256 ssd SATA III, devoid of its case, be used as a replacement drive for this Toshiba Ultrabook? Is the 7mm case too thick to work as it is..? Are there any currently available high speed 256 GB SSD solutions on the market? For this Toshiba Ultrabook?

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    Another question and comment. Will the i7 version of this Ultrabook recognize an 8GB SoDimm in lieu of the 4 GB that comes in the slot? I know that the i3 version will recognize the full 10 GB (2 GB soldered on board + 8GB SoDimm) but I am not certain if the i7 version will do the same, or top out at 8GB). According to Intel’s site, the i3 that comes on the Z835 will recognize up tov16 Gbs, and the i5 and i7 will recognize up to 8GBs. Has anyone tried putting in an 8GB SoDimm in either the i5 or the i7 versions yet? I will be getting my i7 version of the Z835 tomorrow, and I am curious as to whether or not the 8GB SoSoDimm upgrade would workbwith

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    There are differences in the speed of SSDs. Some are actually much slower than others. Also, don’t buy the cheap 64GB drives, as you will run out of room fairly quickly. At the minimum, I’d go for 120GB. I personally have two 240 GB SSDs that will be going into my new build, and plan on getting another.

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    At home, I hook my current laptop to the TV with HDMI and watch stuff that way. This would be wonderful though for a lighter solution.

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    Is it possible to open the Z830 and upgrade the 128 GB SSD drive to a 256 GB? It is said in this article that they are using a different kind of SSD drive. So if you can upgrade to a bigger SSD drive, what kind do we need to get??


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    Can you upgrade the Z830 from a 128 GB SSD to 256? If so, what type of drive if its not a standard SSD?

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    I own one and it is a great laptop except for two key weaknesses: easily broken display (due to being so thin) and extremely weak wireless capability. I dropped mine from only 6 inches–while in a Targus sleeve within a Targus laptop bag–and the screen split. Luckily I had bought an extended warranty and it has been repaired.

    The wireless is very weak. I have my daughter’s $400 Toshiba sitting here and it is getting four bars while I consistently get two. Spend the money on a wireless adapter.

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    what kind of leather case is that on the first page? Looks great!!

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    hello there
    Does the Ultra z830 works fine with a 512gb SATA 2 SSD?

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    I am having Toshiba Portege Z830-A256 it has 128GB SSD I wan to upgrade it to 512Gb SSD. Will it support ? Need reply

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