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Design and Keyboard
As we've already seen with its AT200 Android tablet, Toshiba has a thing about having the slimmest and lightest products at the moment and another of its roster to claim such a crown is the Toshiba Portege Z830, the world's slimmest ultrabook and lightest 13in notebook.
First impressions of this machine are very good. Its magnesium/aluminium alloy body looks sublime with its matte grey finish. It's a design full of subtlety too with no garish elements tripping things up. Only the slightly wide bezel round the screen and the whole ridden bottom and look awry, and these are very minor points. The squareness of the design design quite have the sexiness of the MacBook Air or such like but it has an appeal of its own.
Picking the thing up and its low weight is striking; it really does feel peculiarly light. It, somewhat inevitably, doesn't feel all that tough, though, as the slimness has made it flexible - particularly the screen. Only the MacBook Air, with its solid milled aluminium chassis, has managed to maintain a ridged design and remain thin, though. Nonetheless, whereas some previous ultra light Toshibas we've seen have felt markedly flimsy, this one hasn't fallen into this trap. In fact its apparently quite rugged. A toshiba representative informed us it can survive drops of up to 30in, though he couldn't clarify if that was with the lid open.
Talking of lids, another nice touch is that the lid opens easily with one finger, without having to hold the base down - a maneouvre that's become known as the Ed test in our office, so much do i value this small usability consideration.
The keyboard, which is backlit, is excellent with a surprising lack of flex and a decent spring and break to the key action. It is of course shallow in its action but nonetheless we were up to full typing speed in an instant.
One area that is a bit of a let down is the touchpad, simply because it isn't of the single piece variety, as seen on Apple's laptops and the Samsung 9 and 7 Series laptops, that we've grown to like. Nonetheless, it does support multi-touch and the buttons are easy to locate and very responsive - there's no mushiness here.