Toshiba Portege Z830

If you saw my last post, you would have seen that I recently bought a 13” Samsung Series 9 ultrabook - I still think these machines are stunning!

The problem

There are a couple of little complaints floating around about the Samsung, like heat output, easily finger-printed chasis, but none of these really bother me, but there is one thing that does… alot… and its the wifi!

I could be using the laptop in the next room from my wireless router and it would dropout completely or go incredibly slow, if I move to the other side of the house where my bedroom is, my phone will have full reception, but this laptop will not see the wifi network at all - and this in unacceptable.

The transition

After returning the laptop (twice) I eventually asked for my money back so I could go purchase my second preference - the Macbook Air.
Unfortunately, the shop would not give me a full refund and could only offer me a credit note.
I tried to explain that no other units in store could offer me the same specs that I was after, the Samsung’s best competition is the Macbook Air, but as they couldn’t help me I asked to see what else they have in a light 13”.

The sales guy showed me an Asus Zenbook and a new product which had just arrived to their store, the Toshiba Portege Z830.
I was lucky enough to be the first to see this at their store and even got to open the display model and check it out.

The decision between the two was tough!
The Asus Zenbook had a very sturdy exterior and had a similar tapered design to the Macbook Air while the Toshiba Portege had a business feel to it, but was slightly lighter and thinner.
They were both similarly spec’ed with Core i5’s, 128GB SSD’s and 4GB of RAM, but there were a few notable differences between them.

Although the Asus Zenbook does not have a backlit keyboard and has reduced size ports, it does has a higher resolution screen than the Samsung and Toshiba, but like the Mac it’s a glossy screen. I personally prefer matte screens because even in brightly lit areas or even outside in direct sunlight, the screen is alot more visible.

The Toshiba Portege has a matte screen, backlit keyboard, has a full size HDMI port, VGA port, Ethernet port, 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 port and SD card reader and its thinner and lighter. Toshiba also give a 3 year warranty out-of-the-box with this model.
The screen is quite a bit more flimsy than the others and the system fan does tend to groan a little (compared to the Samsung at least), but this is probably all I can complain about.

The solution

I took a day to think about it and eventually made up my mind for the Portege.
In the US, there is an i7 variety with 6GB of RAM, but I don’t really want to wait for it to get here.
I took a look at a comparison between the i7 from the Samsung and the i5 from the Toshiba, and while I would have paid the extra for the i7, I don’t think I’ll really notice the difference in most scenarios.

It seems I am not the only one who ended up swapping a Samsung Series 9 for a Toshiba Portege Z830 either, I came across this blog post where the author goes into more detail and provides results of quite specific tests.

In the end I paid $1539 for the laptop with a 3 year warranty and then an extra $79 to upgrade it to 6GB of RAM.
While it’s no Samsung Series 9, its pretty nice and the cut in performance saved me a little more than $600.