Friday, 17 May 2013 13:23

Toshiba Kira prestige Ultrabook review

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The new Kira is Toshiba’s bastion in the prestige end of the Windows 8 Ultrabook market so you would expect that this is about the best there is.

It comes in a nice black box – almost something you could stick a bow on and put under the well to do’s Christmas tree.

The case is made from AZ91 pressed magnesium alloy and its honeycomb base construction makes it stronger and lighter than most.

The Corning Concore, 13.3”, 2560x1440 LED back-lit touch screen is a little more finger print resistant than most (I hate fingerprints on a screen) and the ultra-high resolution display is crisp, sharp and excellent, complimented by the dual harman/kardon DTS studio sound speakers and a back-lit keyboard.

Being an Ultrabook design it is also slim and small – 207mm deep, 316mm wide and 19.8mm thick and it weights from 1.21kg.

Under the magnesium hood is an Intel i5 or i7 processor, 8GB ram, 256GB SSD and 3 x USB3.0 ports, HDMI, SD slot, Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth 4.

Like all prestige things it has ‘roadside assist’ - Platinum Service & Support includes a two year manufacturer’s express warranty service with on-site metro, courier pickup/return in regional locations and two year Hot-line support service.

Priced from $1,700 (non-touch) to $1,999 (touch) for the i5 model and $2,199 for the i7 model.

So what did I think of it?

Good looking, clean minimalist design, GREAT screen and nicely made. I think 13.3” is the perfect size for a touch enabled yet still portable notebook. I would not knock it back if it was under my Xmas tree.

The only four small concerns:

  1. The battery is rated for seven hours – I got four of normal office use but that is good for an i7 processor
  2. The lack of an Ethernet port but you can use an optional USB dongle for that
  3. Fan noise was occasionally noticeable
  4. The high resolution screen makes fonts smaller but there is Desktop Assist software to adjust that. The resolution actually gives you more “real estate” than 1080p screens and I could snap two A4 documents side by side with reasonable clarity.

But to be really honest I found it hard to get excited (no rude ageist comments please) over another Intel Ultrabook design where all a manufacturer can do is vary the screen or case material. That means there are some very good Ultrabooks out there starting at less than half the price. Yes I know there is a difference between say a Hyundai and BMW and the Kira is definitely at the upper end of the market.

And in reviewing Ultrabooks you really need to look at the Toshiba Satellite 12.5” U920t or the Sony SVD – both hybrid sliding hinge models that double as a tablet or notebook.

So if I was after an upmarket, magnesium body, GREAT screen Ultrabook I guess this is it.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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