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 newsletter!
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Sport AT
Apple iMac Pro
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Toys for Boys
ESET Smart Security Premium
Tivoli PAL BT
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
ESET Internet Security
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Although they have their pros and cons, cartridge-based printers can sometimes be more troublesome and frustrating to use than you’d like.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Tab S4 review: Freestyle
- 2 Sony WF-SP900 review: One step forward, two steps back
- 3 Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 review: Safety first
- 4 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 5 Lenovo Smart Display review: The bigger, better buy
Latest News Articles
- CES 2019: Dell refresh the XPS 13 and more
- CES 2019: MSI expand Prestige series laptops with PS63 Modern
- CES 2019: MSI ready their MSI GS75 Stealth laptop for the RTX era
- CES 2019: Gigabyte ready a revamped AERO 15 with RTX graphics
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards Nominees Announced
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- CES 2019 Round-Up:
- Samsung’s Galaxy S10 will launch on Feb 20, and we only have one question
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?