May 7, 2013
- Stylish, portable design
- Well-designed keyboard
- Beautiful Retina-like display
- Good all-around performance
- Edges are sharp
- Large resolution display makes small text/icons hard to read
The Toshiba Kirabook is an attempt to conquer the Apple laptop. It is an upscale Ultrabook laptop that has a sleek, thin design and a Retina-like 13.3-inch touch screen display. With the Kirabook, you also get excellent battery life and a speedy solid-state drive.
Apple seems to always set the mark that other PC manufacturers look to catch and the Kirabook is Toshiba's latest attempt. It looks to surpass both the MacBook Air in terms of portability and the MacBook Pro's beautiful Retina display.
The chassis of the Kirabook is made of a magnesium alloy that, according to Toshiba, is 100 percent stronger than the MacBook Air's aluminum exterior. The lid and keyboard deck have a brushed metal finish that really makes it look expensive. The edges of the laptop are rather sharp and seem a little too sharp sometimes when carrying it.
The dimensions of the Kirabook are 12.4 x 8.2 x 0.7-inches and it weighs just shy of 3-pounds, making the MacBook Air both a little larger and heavier than this laptop. This Ultrabook is definitely one to buy if you want a stylish, portable laptop.
Keyboard & Touchpad
For a keyboard, Toshiba gives you a backlit, island-style keyboard with well-spaced keys and good feedback while typing. From previous Toshiba laptops that we've reviewed (like the Toshiba Satellite U845T), this keyboard seems to be an improvement. The touchpad is large in size and has stylish chrome trim around the edges. The pad had good responsiveness and more than enough room for Windows 8's multitouch gestures.
One of the big selling points that Toshiba uses for this laptop is the 13.3-inch display. It has a resolution of 2560 x 1440-pixels, which comes out to 221 pixels per inch. By comparison, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has a 2560 x 1600-pixel display with 226 pixels per inch. We think for most users, this Toshiba display is fairly equal in terms of pixel density. With the MacBook Pro, you do get a little larger resolution (and more screen real estate), which is an added benefit to that laptop.
However in terms of quality, the Kirabook's display looks fantastic. In our subjective testing, we found it to be equal in quality to the Retina display. Colors were extremely vibrant and images and text were very sharp.
Because of the extremely large resolution, some applications with small text or icons are hard to see (and touch using the touch screen!). The same also applies to on-screen icons and text within Windows 8, but Toshiba provides a display utility to increase the size of the Windows 8 interface, but not installed applications.
Ports & Connectivity
For ports, the Toshiba Kirabook offers three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, a headphone jack and an SD memory card. Wireless connectivity includes both 802.11n and Bluetooth.
Specifications & Performance
The internal specifications include an Intel Core i7-3537U (2.0GHz) CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state hard drive and Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. In a PCMark 7 benchmark, the Kirabook earned a score of 5,190, which is a full 1,800 points ahead of the Windows 8 Ultrabook category average.
Because of the solid-state hard drive, booting into Windows 8 takes only 10 seconds, which is extremely fast. You also get very fast file-transfers and all-around general performance.
Battery life clocked in at 6 hours and 35 minutes, which is about an hour longer than the category average.
For more Windows 8 Ultrabook reviews, visit our Notebook & Ultrabook Reviews page.