Toshiba Portege Z935-P390 13.3-Inch Ultrabook Review

Toshiba Portege Z935-P390 13.3-Inch Ultrabook

The Toshiba Portege Z935-P390 13.3-Inch Ultrabook is exactly what an Ultrabook-class machine should be – an easily portable computer with enough processing power to get real work done on the move.

Power users and mobile professionals alike will be hard pressed to fault the ease of portability represented by it’s tiny, 8.94″ (L) x 12.44″ (W) x 0.63″ (H) Silver Magnesium Alloy case and weight of just 2.5 lbs.

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That impressively slim case houses an Intel 1.7 GHz Core i5-3317U Processor (up to 2.6 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology), a generous 6GB of DDR 3 RAM (expandable to 16GB) and a 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD).

The Core i5-3317U is an Ultra Low Voltage component designed specifically to give a good balance between performance and power consumption in laptop computers. It makes use of Intel’s Turbo Boost Technology to automatically increase speed up to 2.6GHz on an as-needed basis, bringing the full force of its processing power to bear wherever it is needed most.

With 6GB of RAM to work in, this machine should have no difficulty in handling everyday computing tasks, whether they include surfing the web, video chatting via the built-in webcam or running the productivity software most people need to get their job done.

The installed 128GB SSD is considerable faster than the conventional hard drives supplied in many laptops, and is more resilient to the knocks and bumps that can sometimes damage hard drives, sometimes leading to loss of valuable data. SSDs are, of course, much more expensive than hard drives, which explains why their capacity is so much smaller than that of the older technology. That said, 128GB is adequate for most purposes, and should be fine for the primary purpose of an Ultrabook, namely, getting work done on the move.

Pros :

  • Very small, easily portable
  • Powerful enough to get real work done
  • Fast SSD, Plenty of RAM
  • Windows 8

Cons :

  • Graphics inadequate for serious gaming
  • No optical drive

In cases where extra storage is necessary or desirable – perhaps for backup purposes, or to store lots of large video files – it is a simple matter to connect an external hard drive to the machine’s high-speed USB 3.0 port. This port can also be used to charge cellphones and other devices, even when the laptop is asleep or off, thanks to Toshiba’s Sleep and Charge technology. The machine also has two standard USB 2.0 ports, for less data-hungry wired peripherals, and Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting to a wireless mouse, headset or other devices.

This machine has a VGA port for connecting to an old-style monitor or projector, while an HDMI port allows for full HD 1080p video connections to HDTVs or monitors. It is also Intel Wireless Dispaly ready, enabling you to wirelessly stream HD video directly to a compatible display. However, ff you intend to use the HDMI port or WiDi to watch movies on your TV, you may need to invest in an external USB optical CD/DVD drive, as the Portege Z935-P390 is so slim that there isn’t room for an internal unit. Of course, with online video streaming services so readily available, this need not be a problem, but it is something to be aware of.

Wired network connectivity is provided by a Gigabit Ethernet port, while wireless access is catered for by 802.11 /b/g/n WiFi. A multi-format memory card reader and headphone / microphone jacks complete the usual array of input / output ports.

The 14-inch TruBrite LED-backlit display has a 1366 x 768 resolution for native HD 720p viewing. It is driven by  Mobile Intel HD integrated graphics with up to 1696 MB of dynamically allocated shared graphics memory, and support for Microsoft DirectX 11 games. This graphics solution should cope well with day-to-day computing, HD video and casual gaming, but, despite, being DirectX 11 compatible, it will struggle with today’s more demanding games.

A backlit keyboard makes this machine even easier to use in less than ideal lighting conditions. At first glance, this may seem like a frivolous feature, but this machine is intended to be ultraportable, to be used on the move and in more situations than the average laptop. In this case, the backlighting makes a great deal of sense.

This machine ships with Windows 8, the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system, which has been radically redesigned to focus on the user. Although the software works well with a mouse and keyboard, it is best used in a touch-capable environment, and with that in mind this machine features a mauti-touch touchpad that works well with Windows 8.

Overall, this is an impressively small and lightweight package for such a capable computer. It should easily cope with your everyday computing needs, and has sufficient power to tackle more demanding tasks as needed. It isn’t a games machine, by any stretch of the imagination, although casual games shouldn’t stretch its capabilities too much, and, like many Ultrabooks, it lacks an internal optical drive. Neither of these points should be a serious problem its intended market, however, as they will probably value portability over non-essential bulk. It in that respect, it succeeds brilliantly.

If you’re looking for a small, powerful Ultrabook that’s both easily portable and capable of running serious software, the Toshiba Portege Z935-P390 13.3-Inch Ultrabook could well be the machine for you.

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