Unfortunately, the screen on the Z930 is also still the same 1,366 x 768 TN affair as on the Toshiba Satellite Z830. While we love its matt finish and even backlighting, viewing angles are severely compromised by contrast shift and it’s not overly bright.
For business use it’s just fine, but trying to share a movie might be problematic. If you’re after a super-light Ultrabook with a quality screen, the Samsung Series 9 900X3B is still the one to go for.
Toshiba has a tradition of providing its laptops with some of the best speakers going but, like its predecessor, the Z930 doesn’t hold up here. Though they do go louder than those of most Ultrabooks and sport Dolby Advanced Audio processing, these examples lack bass and distort even at medium volumes.
We’re seeing ever more Ultrabooks that come in various configurations, but Toshiba’s Portege and Satellite models are still some of the most flexible. Our Portege Z930-108 came with a Core i7 backed by 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
The Intel i7-3667U is a dual-core CPU that runs at 2GHz by default but can clock up to 3.2GHz. It will happily tear through any workload you would care to throw at it, and is generally as much power as you can expect to see on a slim 13-inch ultraportable like the Toshiba Portege Z930. Power users will also appreciate a whopping (for an Ultrabook) 8GB of RAM.
TrackMania Nations Forever (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)
Where gaming is concerned, Intel’s integrated HD4000 graphics as found in its Ivy Bridge generation actually let you play undemanding titles in the laptop’s native resolution at reasonable frame rates, though feeding it a remotely demanding game like Crysis will still result in a slideshow. This is the only area where performance is significantly better than the Satellite/Portege Z830
(40 percent screen brightness, wireless radios disabled, mixed productivity)
It’s no surprise to see battery life yet again follow in the footsteps of the Z930’s predecessor, giving us just three minutes more in the same test. This puts Toshiba’s Portege Z930 at a grand total of seven hours and 23 minutes, which is impressive by Ultrabook standards – though the new HP Sleekbook based on AMD’s low voltage platform beats it with a full hour more.
Our specific Toshiba Portege Z930-108 will set you back a rather stiff £1,400, which seems hideously overpriced until you take into account its integrated 3G. However, you can get the ‘regular’ Core i5/4GB version sans 3G for under £980.
Unless 3G is essential or you need that zippier CPU and extra memory, we would consider a different business Ultrabook, maybe from Lenovo, HP or Dell. They might not be as light or last quite as long, but a model like the TPM-equipped previous-gen Folio 13 can be had for a mere £650…
Meanwhile if you’re a consumer, the latest Samsung Series 9 NP900X4 (essentially the Samsung Series 9 900X3B updated with Ivy Bridge and better specs) can be had for £1,080 with a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a far superior screen. It’s also a far prettier and more sturdy machine with better usability and connectivity placement.
The Toshiba Portege Z930 might be the lightest 13in laptop in the world - which is undeniably impressive - but it’s not the prettiest or the best. Admittedly there’s not an awful lot of choice when it comes to business-capable Ultrabooks, especially ones also equipped with 3G. But too much about this model has stayed the same as its predecessor, including somewhat awkward connectivity, a mediocre typing experience, and its average screen… Ultrabooks have moved on.
Meanwhile for consumers, there would appear to be little reason to pick the virtually identical Toshiba Satellite Z930 unless the price is significantly lower than, for example, the latest Samsung Series 9.