Toshiba Satellite Z830

Toshiba's Satellite Z830 is without question the leading ultrabook in the market today. With extra ports, backlit keyboard and stellar battery life, it stands head and shoulders above competitors.


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CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


If Intel has its way, there will come a day when we no longer use the word "ultrabook", and will just call everything laptops again.

Until then, the ultrabook portfolio has been fleshed out with a third member: Toshiba's Satellite Z830. It's immediately clear that Toshiba has leaned on its experience with its Portege R400 and R700 series of laptops; it's managed to jam in more connections than anyone else. While it still has a USB 3.0 port, USB 2.0 port, headphone jack, SD card reader and an HDMI port, it also manages to fit in an extra USB 2.0 port, dedicated microphone jack, gigabit Ethernet and VGA port. Rather than pretending to be an ultra-light computer without compromise, the Z830 actually delivers. Toshiba puts a lot of this on the back of its laptop, something that we usually chastise — however, having at least one of the USB ports on the side helps to keep day-to-day usability intact.

There's a backlit keyboard here, too, something that's always appreciated, although the keyboard does feel a little mushy, and flexes slightly when typing. It also has quite a short throw, meaning that you'll need a period of adjustment. After this point, though, we found that it didn't impact on our typing speed or accuracy.

The 13.3-inch, 1366x768 screen has the hallmarks of a wide-gamut panel, with slightly exaggerated colours. It's still TN-based, and has poor vertical viewing angles as a result, but nowhere near as bad as Asus' ZenBook UX21.

Construction is acceptably solid for something this thin, although the unit has inherited the R series' far-too-flexible screen. While it may induce some fears as to its ruggedness, we've tossed the laptop around for a few weeks without care, and it's happily withstood our abuse.

Inside is a Core i7 2467M @ 1.6GHz, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB Toshiba SSD. The SSD isn't as fast as Asus' offering, but will still dominate any mechanical drive.

Toshiba's SSD is acceptable, but Asus' eats it for breakfast.
(Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Performance

Handbrake encoding (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


In this test, we're encoding a 720p XviD file to H.264, a primarily processor-bound task. The Toshiba comfortably takes the lead, arguably as a benefit of its SSD, compared to the Acer. Strangely, the Asus lags here, despite having the more powerful processor and faster SSD.

iTunes encoding (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


Our iTunes test encodes two albums worth of AAC files to 224Kbps MP3s. It stresses both CPU and disk, allowing the SSD units to show their might against mechanical hard drive competitors.

Photoshop CS5 benchmark (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


CNET Australia's Photoshop CS5 test applies many different filters to a series of RAW files, performs common tasks such as layer creation, image rotation and resizing and then exports to the web. It hits all aspects of the system, and it's no surprise that the Zenbook comes out on top here.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


For our multimedia multitasking test, iTunes is set to encode to MP3 continuously, while a Handbrake encode is run in the background; the time taken is when the Handbrake encode stops. Designed to punish the system, every extra bit of performance here counts, with the Toshiba trailing a good 67 seconds behind Asus.

Battery life (time)

  • Heavy battery test
  • Light battery test

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


Now this is interesting. Toshiba offers considerably better battery life than its competitors, both under heavy and light loads. Its heavy-load test outdoes the other vendors' light battery tests.

Conclusion

Toshiba's Satellite Z830 is without question the leading ultrabook in the market today. With extra ports, backlit keyboard and stellar battery life, it stands head and shoulders above competitors. While there's still room for improvement on the screen and keyboard front, we have no hesitation in recommending the Z830 for those who want something thin and light, but still with enough power to perform daily tasks.

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Cat1922
2
Rating
 

"it is not the case of you get what you pay for"

Cat1922 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:lightweight. good battery life

The Bad:everything else

i love it at first. then 3 months down the track, my hard drive crashed. then the letter T fell off the keyboard. two other letters also became unstable. Toshiba were great in replacing my hard drive (took a week), but i only had 12 month warranty, and my T fell off just as the 12 months were up....

MiekeS Facebook
2
Rating
 

"Hard drive crashed"

MiekeS posted a review   

The Good:It is light and there is lots of ports

The Bad:Everything else

My Z830 was 7 months old when the hard drive crashed.

Luckily for me I purchased insurance and had no worries just getting a new one, as I didn't need to go through Toshiba.

It is funny that this is the third hard drive crash complaint on here!

I would not recommend getting one of these.

CalO Facebook
1
Rating
 

"Hopless"

CalO posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything

This machine goes from bad to worse, after the hard drive crashed (oh yeah they are not supposed to do that are they ??) the keys stick now the touch pad mouse has packed in.

This machine is a disaster, it is only 9 months old but is so useless I will have to replace it, I expected it to last at least 3 years - basically have lost $2,500.

I have asked Toshiba to replace the machine - I will let you know if they get back to me.

CalO Facebook
2
Rating
 

"Should have lasted more than 6 months ..."

CalO posted a review   

The Good:Quick start up.

The Bad:Crashed harddrive, Toshiba show no concern for the customer.

Purchased Z830 6 months ago because my existing Toshiba was 2 1/2 years old and starting to give me problems, I find I have to replace my notebook every 2-3 years.

Because I am self-employed, and very dependent, on my computer I asked a friend to suggest a high-specification machine.

The new machine was OK, especially the quick start up but the keyboard soon started to give problems, the 'H' is in a bad way.

One morning I turned the machine on as usual and the screen just showed an error message - panic.

Returned machine to Harvey Norman who returned it to Toshiba under warranty, picked it up two weeks later.

Turned out the hard drive had crashed (apparently this is not supposed to happen with these new machines - a bit of research suggests these new hard drives crash with alarming regularity) so machine is returned with nothing.

OK I accept this happens but surely Toshiba should offer something as compensation. I feel if a machine is whipped and looks like a lemon it should be replaced with a new machine (my 'H' is still a total pain) or they could send a Harvey Norman gift voucher buy way of apology ??? it’s called customer service, something to acknowledge the failure of their product and the problems this creates for the innocent consumer.

I had to get someone in to re-install all my software, had to re-purchase new keys for some items so the breakdown has cost me money as well as extreme inconvenience of documents permanently lost.

Obviously I do not recommend this machine or Toshiba (although I suspect most companies don't make any more effort).

On a bright note this experience has taught me a lesson and has focused my mind of updating how I back everything up.

(The ‘H’ on my keyboard is driving me nuts but sending the machine back again is more trouble than its worth.)

RaduC Facebook
10
Rating
 

"Fantastic notebook, this one is a keeper."

RaduC posted a review   

The Good:the battery life, the looks, weight and operating speed.

The Bad:None discovered yet.

It's been a wonderful experience having this laptop. It's so light, it was weird having it on my lap the first few days. The keyboard is beautiful and is the trackpad. Before buying I did some research and there was so bad feedback about fan noise, but mine doesn't come on that often, I dont find it annoying at all. So if you like the notebook I recommend it highly! Great performance with I5 processor, no need for anything stronger with my use, its beautifully light and looks awesome too. I love the square edges, looks professional and different from all the other Macbook air wannabes. Great stuff Toshiba!

 

tbnelson posted a comment   
Australia

You mention that its a Intel i7 in the review yet in the spec's it says Intel i5...which one is correct?
Thanks

TerryG1 Facebook
8
Rating
 

"Love it"

TerryG1 posted a review   

The Good:Light weight, useability

The Bad:None yet

Brought a Z830/001 yesterday - Harvey Norman - $1,300.00 - used it all day today and love it - weighs less than a text book - I love it. Will post an update in a week or so.




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User Reviews / Comments  Toshiba Satellite Z830

  • Cat1922

    Cat1922

    Rating2

    "i love it at first. then 3 months down the track, my hard drive crashed. then the letter T fell off the keyboard. two other letters also became unstable. Toshiba were great in replacing my hard dr..."

  • MiekeS

    MiekeS

    Rating2

    "My Z830 was 7 months old when the hard drive crashed.

    Luckily for me I purchased insurance and had no worries just getting a new one, as I didn't need to go through Toshiba.

  • CalO

    CalO

    Rating1

    "This machine goes from bad to worse, after the hard drive crashed (oh yeah they are not supposed to do that are they ??) the keys stick now the touch pad mouse has packed in.

    This mach..."

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