Toshiba Portégé Z830 – First Impressions (Retail version) by GottaBeMobile Shows Slow SSD

Posted on 04 November 2011 by

I’ve been watching GBM like a hawk today because I knew they were getting in a Toshiba Z830 for testing. At last we’ve got a final, retail version in the hands of someone that knows what they’re doing. Josh Smith is the man and his First Impressions are here.

The model being reviewed is the Toshiba Portege z830-P330 with  1.4GHz Intel Core i3 (2nd gen), 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD.


The SSD is confirmed as the Toshiba THNSNB128GMCJ and it’s bad news.

As I thought yesterday when I saw the BAPCO tests, it’s the ‘standard performance’ SSD from Toshiba with a very non-ultrabook-like 50MB/s max write speed. Yes that’s 1/10th of the write speed of the SSD on the ASUS UX21 and it’s a potential showstopper. Small block write speeds are nothing exciting either at 4MB/s. Why oh why did Toshiba put a low-performance SSD on what is supposed to be a high-performance device, under their premium ‘showcase of technology’ Portégé brand? Head on over for a CrystalDiskMark test to see the proof.

I feel like I should stop here and cancel my Z830 order. I was planning on using it for video editing and I don’t want any hold-ups on moving around large file chunks. A fast SSD is critical to remove as many bottlenecks as possible. Maybe the UX31 is a better choice.

[Update: Based on this SSD information I have cancelled my Z830 order. If it launches in Europe with a faster SSD I may re-order. The UX31 just rose to the top of my list although i’m waiting for confirmation on touchpad fixes before ordering.]

Interestingly, the device being tested has a glossy screen. I was assured that the final models (OK, it was an EU rep. that told me) would have a matt screen.  On checking my order I see that the one I have ordered also has a glossy display. (I’ve ordered the Satellite Z830 10j  in Germany.)

OK, I don’t want to get too negative here. Josh has some good things to say and this is just his first impression. Let’s keep a close eye on GottaBeMobile over the next week.

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  • FredrikAug

    To bad since you looked forward to this UB, I’ll put my money on the UX31!

    • Chippy

      Yeah FredrikAug. The UX31 remains the most popular Ultrabook in terms of searches and views as far as I can see. One assumes that it’s the top seller at the moment too.

      I’ll be waiting for the trackpad issue to be addressed and then it’s probably at #1 for me. I need something before Christmas and unless HP launch something in the next week or two, there’s little choice for me, someone that needs a fill size SD card slot.

      • Mads

        Is it likely that Asus will fix the touchpad problems in the nearest future, or is it just wishful thinking from our side?
        I reeallyy need a new laptop before my exams, and I’m considering buying it the day of release in Norway(17. November). Should i buy it asap, or should i wait untill the fix is annouced? :)

  • Zan

    I would cancel your order. I know u are eager to get an ultrabook what with this new dedicated portal blog, but glossy screen alone would be a fail, and u are right about toshiba having their head up their ass regarding the ssd.

    Shame how so many laptops are let down because the manufacturer wants to nickel and dime the final specs, so they don’t include bluetooth, backlit keyboards, decent trackpads, sd slots….. It is always something, even with Apple.

  • Thanks for sharing. I will be checking out the battery life and doing some more testing this coming week.

    I know there was talk of a professional model with a fingerprint reader, perhaps it has the matte screen as well.

  • abr

    Has it got wi-di

    • Chippy

      Possibly. We’re waiting to find out what wifi module is inside.

  • Leon Slater

    The US websites just detail it as having an LED backlit display, but the UK site states that it (the portege one at least) has a “Toshiba HD non-reflective” display – so is presumably not glossy.
    Here’s the link if you fancy a look:

  • Visigoth

    Cancel your order! And either wait for Lenovo’s U300s, or go ahead and buy the UX31, like everyone else said. Toshiba is the worse in reliability, in my experience!

    • Chippy

      I cancelled my order.
      U300S has no SD card slot (a requirement for my video and photo work) and the only other device that has a full SD card slot, the UX31, has questions over keyboard and trackpad right now. I’m in a holding pattern now!

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  • This is killing me. This is the first time I have ever watched product launches to see what I would buy, and not they all keep coming in as mixed bags. Arrgghh! I haven’t spent more then $300 for a laptop for the last four years, and now I am ready to shell out $1200 plus…but the right beast is not around! Help Help!

  • rellZ


    welcome in my world none of these have it all together, not a single one packs it all..

    its really just a half half, ive spend 4 weeks now in awaiting new reviews and daily researches and still ended up on the macbook now its really pathetic!!

    • Michael

      Silly to buy something so new with all sorts of claims. Better to get a MacBook Air. One can justify all sorts of things in favour of ultrabooks, we don’t know how true it is. One thing for sure, MacBook Air is tried and tested. Tons of reviews online and you can make an INFORMED decision.

      • Judd

        Why on earth do you keep posting about the MacBook Air???
        We want to run WINDOWS — we don’t want OS X — why can’t you understand that very simple fact?

        • michael

          You can run Windows on a MacBook. How simple do you want me to explain this?

        • Chippy

          Don’t forget to factor-in the license cost and set it up but yes, MBA+bootcamp a decent solution.

  • Adam

    So the UX31 and, ironically, the Macbook Air are the only two machines worthy of the “Ultrabook” moniker currently?

    Sad, but easy enough to fix in a hardware revision.
    (Sorry, Judd but you can run Windows on a Macbook Air and get better over all productivity perf numbers than with any ultrabook released so far except for the UX31 so it’s a very fair comparison.)


  • rellZ

    Adam :
    So the UX31 and, ironically, the Macbook Air are the only two machines worthy of the “Ultrabook” moniker currently?
    Sad, but easy enough to fix in a hardware revision.
    (Sorry, Judd but you can run Windows on a Macbook Air and get better over all productivity perf numbers than with any ultrabook released so far except for the UX31 so it’s a very fair comparison.)

    it is sad isnt it…

    ive spend 4 weeks of waiting and research to come to the conclusion i still “have to go” for the macbook air…

    the UX31 is a good piece looks like, good screen + fast SSD …

    i didnt always hear the best from keyboard here and there, no drama i bet, but its all these small parts that somehow throw you off in the end..

  • Lyill

    Apple’s drivers for Windows are definitely gimped, they don’t give an optimized Windows experience. Direct PC manufactures drivers are far far more sophisticated.

    • michael

      Well, premium products like ultrabooks move in super small volumes. When they move in such low volumes, manufacturers won’t bother investing R & D to come out with updates for their respective drivers as opposed to ther fast moving lines.

      Seriously, the high prices are such a hinderance to volume sales. At least the Toshiba is not so bad, have you seen the Sony Z? Its like nearly $2700. Definitely a very very small niche market.

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