Toshiba Portege R830 (PT321A-01L002) ultraportable laptop
Toshiba Portege R830 review: A 13.3in ultraportable with great features, strong build quality and excellent battery life
- Excellent performance and battery life
- Good build quality
- Plenty of built-in features
- Keyboard not backlit
- Screen not great
- Long charging time
Toshiba's Portege R830 is a great choice for business users who want something that's easily mobile, yet fully-featured and fast. It's not perfect -- it could use a better screen, a backlit keyboard and a quicker charging time -- but it's very well built and it looks good, too.
Price$ 2,667.50 (AUD)
The Toshiba Portege was one of the first ultraportable laptops on the market to still offer a full feature-set despite its small dimensions and light weight. With the Portege R830 (PT321A-01L002), that tradition of fitting lots of stuff into a small frame continues, and not only that, it also features a full-voltage, Second Generation Intel Core i5 CPU. Indeed, there are many positives about this 13.3in, 1.4kg laptop, chief among them being exceptional performance, but there are also some negatives, such as the screen, which isn't the most vibrant we've seen.
Design and specifications
Between the Toshiba Portege R830, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 and the Samsung Notebook Series 9, the Toshiba looks most like a run-of-the-mill laptop. It doesn't have a distinct shape or Gorilla Glass like the Lenovo; it doesn't have the slim frame and svelte look of the Samsung. Nevertheless, it's still a good looking laptop and it has many features that cover the needs of both business and home users.
A matte screen is present on the R830, but it's not great. It looks very dull and can be harsh on the eyes if you leave it too bright while using the notebook in the dark. Its viewing angles are also narrow and this means you'll regularly be adjusting its angles or your seating position to view it properly. Unlike the older, 12.1in Portege R600, the screen is not of the transreflective type, which could harness sunlight instead of using the backlight to make the screen brighter. It's just a regular LED-backlit LCD screen, albeit a very thin one (only around 7mm thick) — the move away from transreflective screens started with the Portege R700.
Also starting with the R700 was the move to full-voltage CPUs rather than ultra-low voltage models. One thing that was immediately noticeable in the R700 model we reviewed was how hot the unit's base got after being under load. Part of that was also due to the use of a 7200rpm hard drive. In the Portege R830, the heat is not as bad, and in fact it only gets slightly warm after running under a full load for a couple of hours. This is due to the use of a Second Generation (Sandy Bridge) Intel Core i5-2520M CPU and a solid state drive (a 128GB Toshiba THNSNC128GMLJ). Like most laptops though, if you use the R830 on your lap and block its vents, it will warm up a lot more (and a lot quicker) than it would if used it on a flat surface.
A fan is present to extract warm air from the chassis, and it's the only noise that emanates from the laptop. It runs very fast when the system is under a full load; it makes a whirring sound that is fairly loud and it can get annoying in a quiet room. It's louder than the ThinkPad X1, although the X1 does have a slightly wider chassis. The fan doesn't run loudly when the Portege is used to just type up documents or watch movies, and it's practically silent when the system is idle. It kicks in when you use Web pages that have Flash elements, run any games or encode media files.
Along with the Core i5-2520M CPU and solid state drive, the R830's configuration includes 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM and integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics. This configuration produced wonderful speed in our tests: in the Blender 3D rendering test is recorded a time of 40sec; in the iTunes MP3 encoding test it produced a time of 46sec; in the AutoGordianKnot test, in which we turn a DVD file into a 1.5GB Xvid file, it recorded a time of 48min. Its Blender 3D and iTunes times are exactly the same as the times recorded by the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, which also uses the Core i5-2520M CPU, but the Toshiba was one minute faster in the AutoGordianKnot test.
The Toshiba also proved to be faster in 3Dmark06, where it produced a score of 3792 — the Lenovo, using the same integrated graphics, scored 2549 in this test. The Toshiba's solid state drive did produce a slightly slower result than the solid state drive in the Lenovo, recording a transfer rate of 66.25 megabytes per second (MBps) in our tests, compared to 73.10MBps for the Lenovo. The drive is not easily replaceable as the chassis doesn't have a regular 2.5in bay with a typical SATA connection. Instead, the solid state drive has a 1.8in form factor and is connected to the motherboard via a ribbon cable.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
- Lenovo's Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has futuristic touch panel keyboard
- In PC comeback, ARM will battle Intel in Chromebooks and Windows 10
- Dell: Mainstream laptops with wireless charging are still years away
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPAnalyst Workplace SupportVIC
- FTSenior Full Stack .Net Developer - Internet of ThingsNSW
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- CCFullstack .Net DeveloperNSW
- FTJava Developer/IntegratorACT
- CCNetwork Engineer (cisco)NSW
- FTFront End DeveloperQLD
- TPICT Contracts Compliance ManagerWA
- CCNetwork ArchitectWA
- FTSenior .Net Developer with Silverlight proficiencyVIC
- FTDigital Sales Account Manager - Global BrandNSW
- FTFront End DeveloperQLD
- CCSenior System AdministratorVIC
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)WA
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Technical ArchitectACT
- CCPMO Analyst - Financial ServicesNSW
- FTSenior Java Developers (Several positions available)QLD
- CCDevops Consultant - 12 month contractVIC
- CCInfrastructure Solution Designer - Azure/AWSVIC
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- CCData Centre Design Engineer - Data Centre - TelcoVIC
- TPIT Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTHead of ApplicationsVIC
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- TPTechnical Report EditorQLD