Toshiba Portege Ultra In Many Ways, Not All
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- The Toshiba Portege Z830 (price as tested: $1,430) Ultrabooks might just be ultra-tough enough for business prime time.
It turns out 2012 isn't the Chinese year of the dragon. It's really the Chinese year of the ultrabook -- slimmed-down notebook PCs that usually weigh less than 3 pounds, have screens of 14 inches diagonal or less and no drives for disc media such as CDs and DVDs. And every PC maker of note, mostly with production in Asia, I might add, makes one.
|The economics are not 'ultra,' but overall it's impressive how robust an ultrabook such as the Toshiba Portege Z830 can be.|
But my inner business cynic wondered whether these thin, light, elegant PCs would turn out to be flimsy, brittle and dainty in a real business setting.
To figure out the true business grit of ultrabooks, I took a leading model from Toshiba, the Portege Z830, for a six-week -- how shall I say -- "business joy ride" of meetings, presentations, security scans, bashing and overall real business life.
How did it stand up? Let's find out.
What you get
At least for the first month or so, this is one ultra-durable portable business tool.
The Portege held right up. It is svelte enough to have on hand for most any business need. Honestly, I often forgot I was carrying the thing. And the i7 processor, RAM and solid state storage offered all the business performance I needed. Microsoft(MSFT) Office documents, Web files and search all worked.
Toshiba gets credit for jamming plenty of business goodies into a small package: Three USB connectors, a handy video output, a very handy HDMI output for sales demonstrations. Even a clever SD memory card drive. Not bad.
And while this device is not anything close to a true "ruggedized" laptop -- trust me, don't drop this thing -- its magnesium alloy case, top-quality hinges and overall fit and finish gave me a sense it would stand up to real life on the business road.
I really hammered this box for weeks on end and I can count exactly two scratches on it. My iPad had two scratches on it in an hour.
What you don't get
Ultrabooks will never be your only work computer.
It's also terribly clear that for all its lightness, ease-of-use and features of the Z830, over time Ultrabooks can't be the single PC in an office. The no-built-in DVD drive eventually becomes a problem; even in this age of the Web, too much business data still comes as discs. You will max out the storage on the smaller hard drives on Ultrabooks. And the screens do get cramped after hours of use.