Toshiba KIRAbook 13 PSU7FU-00H00N 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Laptop Review

Toshiba KIRAbook 13 PSU7FU-00H00N 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Laptop

The Toshiba KIRAbook 13 PSU7FU-00H00N 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Laptop is a small, lightweight, yet sturdy and powerful ultrabook-class machine for those who demand both slick looks and impressive performance from their portable computers.

Housed in a tough, AZ91, pressed magnesium alloy case that is reportedly much stronger than the MacBook Air’s A6063 aluminum alloy shell, the KIRAbook has an excellent chance of safely withstanding the shocks and knocks that bring so many other laptops to grief.

This machine is powered by an Intel Core i7-3517UM processor, running at 3.1 GHz. This is an Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) component, specifically designed to provide a good balance between performance and power consumption in small laptops and ultrbooks. It is a dual core processor, and supports Intel’s Hyperthreading technology, which allows each core to handle up to two threads simultaneous, for improved performance. It also supports Turbo Boost, which enables the processor to adjust its speed automatically on as needed, ensuring that demanding applications get as much processing power as possible.

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The processor is supported by 8GB of DDR3 RAM. This should be more than adequate for most purposes, and is easily enough for the supplied copy of Windows 8 Professional to show off its new features and multi-task your favourite applications.

Permanent storage is provided by a 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD) instead of a more conventional Hard Disk Drive (HDD). SSDs are much faster and far more robust that HDDs, but are also far more expensive, particularly for units with large storage capacities. The 256GB unit supplied with this machine represents a sensible compromise between performance, durability and price while still offering enough storage capacity for most purposes.

This KIRAbook, unlike some in the range, is supplied with a 13.3 inch, Gorilla Glass, touch screen that makes it easy to take full advantage of the touch-centric features of Windws 8. The PixelPure display offers an impressive resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels – 90% better than standard HD displays. It is driven by integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 hardware, which should be more than capable of handling day-to-day computing tasks. Surfing the web, updating social status, standard productivity software and video chat via the built in webcam are all well within its capabilities, nor should it struggle with HD video and casual gaming.

Pros :

  • Powerful, lightweight, touchscreen Ultrabook
  • Intel Core i7-3517UM 3.1 GHz Processor
  • 256GB Solid State Drive
  • 8GB RAM
  • Windows 8

Cons :

  • Graphics are underpowered for serious gaming
  • No optical drive

More demanding games are, however, beyond its reach. That said, this is not, and does not claim to be a gaming machine. It is a general purpose workhorse designed for people who need to get real work done on the move – a task for which it should be very well suited.

As with most Ultrabooks, this machine does not have a built-in CD / DVD drive. This is an understandable omission in view of the need to make machines in this class as small and lightweight as possible. Nevertheless, it is something to keep in mind, as, if you feel you will need an optical drive, you will have to invest in an external USB unit.

Fortunately, the KIRAbook has three high speed USB 3.0 ports, giving you plenty of room to connect external devices, be they external optical drives, printers or other peripherals. The machine also offers an HDMI port, for connecting to an external monitor or HDTV, a card reader for importing images from your camera or cellphone, and a combined headphone and microphone jack. Network connectivity is provided by built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi – it is worth noting that there does not appear to be an Ethernet port, so if wired networking is important to you, you may want to consider an external USB to Ethernet solution.

This machine is equipped with a backlit keyboard. Although that may, at first, seem to be something of a trivial feature, it is something that quickly becomes indispensable if the machine is to be used in less than ideal lighting conditions, as is often the case with laptops that are frequently used for real work in the real world.

Equally important in those circumstances are the machines size, weight and expected battery life. In each of these categories, the KIRAbook shouldn’t disappoint. Measuring 8.15 x 12.44 x 0.78 (L x W x H) inches and weighing just 3 pounds, there should be no difficulty in carrying this machine around with you. And, with an expected batter life of up to 6.16 hours, that’s very good news indeed, as you could well be carrying this machine around for almost the whole working day.

Overall, the Toshiba KIRAbook 13 PSU7FU-00H00N 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Laptop is a very impressive machine. It is clearly designed to offer easily portable computing power in a durable yet stylish case, and meets that goal admirably. If you’re looking for a lightweight workhorse machine with good battery life that you can use to do real work on the move, this could well be the machine for you.

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