Toshiba Portege Z30-B1320

Updated 13-inch Ultrabook that Did Not Fix It's Major Flaw

Toshiba Portege Z30-A
Toshiba Portege Z30-A. ©Toshiba

Buy Direct

The Bottom Line

Jun 5 2015 - The Toshiba Portege Z30 system even with updates is a hard recommendation. There are a few good points to the ultraportable 13-inch laptop such as the wide range of peripheral ports, some strong performance and the Windows 7 operating system. The problem is that the very high price tag and terrible display for this price point just take away too much from what the system could have been.

Pros

  • Strong Performance
  • Lots of Peripheral Ports
  • Windows 7 Software

Cons

  • Below Average, Low Resolution Display
  • High Price Tag

Description

  • Intel Core i7-5600U Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 256GB mSATA Solid State Drive
  • 13.3" WXGA (1366x768) Display with 720p Webcam
  • Intel HD Graphics 5500 Integrated Graphics
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Three USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, SD Card Slot
  • 12.44" x 8.94" x .7" @ 3.0 lbs.
  • Windows 7 Pro

Review - Toshiba Portege Z30-B1320

Jun 5 2015 - Toshiba's Portege Z30-B1320 is essentially an update to the same ultrabook that I previewed last year with a few updates. This means it still has the same .7-inches thick profile that used to be extremely thin but now is fairly bulky compared to newer systems like the Apple MacBook or the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Blade. Of course this system is a bit more focused on performance rather than extreme portability.

The Portege Z30-B1320 increases the performance over the past version by using an Intel Core i7-5500U dual core processor. This provides it with very strong performance that makes it suited as a highly portable platform for tasks like desktop video editing. It still is not going to be as fast as a dedicated laptop such as say a MacBook Pro 13 but it is still capable.

The processor is matched up with 8GB of DDR3 memory to provide it with a smooth overall experience with Windows.

Storage for the Portege Z30-B1320 has also been increased from the 128GB solid state drive of the original to 256GB. This provides it with twice the storage space and on more even footing for storage space as its competitors. The only downside here is that it still uses an mSATA interface for the drive which means that it does not have as high of performance as newer PCI-Express based systems. One major advantage the extra size of the Portege Z30 over new ultra-thin designs is the peripheral ports. It features a total of three USB 3.0 ports which means that it is easy to hook it up to high speed external storage if you need additional space.

The one glaring flaw with the Portege Z30 series is still the display. It still uses a very low 1366x768 display resolution for its 13.3-inch panel. This provides it with lower resolution than even the MacBook Air 13 that many people complained about having such a low resolution on. It does not help that the color, brightness and viewing angles are also below average making this is a flawed system overall. The system is not even a touchscreen which means it sufers against slightly larger and heavier systems like the HP Spectre x360.

The keyboard for the Portege Z30 is still unique because of the included J-key trackpoint stick. Many users of the old Lenovo laptops pine for the older stick pointing device over the newer trackpads. In order for the pointing stick to be functional, it also required dedicated mouse buttons above the trackpad for use with the pointer. Of course, there is still the trackpad for those that prefer it. The keyboard itself is decent with a standard isolated layout found on most laptops now. It does feature a backlight which is becoming less commmon on the ultrathin designs that have to conserve space and power.

The battery pack remains the same 52Whr capacity that was found in the original. Even with the faster Core i7 processor, battery life does not suffer much. In digital video playback tests, the system was able to run for eight and a quarter hours. This puts it roughly on par with most of the other similarly equipped laptops of its size. It is still less than the popular MacBook Air 13 that is able to achieve over ten hours in similar tests.

Pricing is a major concern for the Portege Z30-B1320. List price is $1499 with street pricing being not much less than this. This puts it significantly higher than the MacBook Air 13 that offers longer running times and a better display. The other problem is that the Dell XPS 13 update was released since the Portege Z30 was originally designed. It offers similar performance with better features for less making the Portege and even harder recommendation to purchase.

Buy Direct