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Review Toshiba Portégé Z930-105 Ultrabook

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 01/08/2013

Ultra-slim business. Striking looks, low weight, long runtimes and first-rate connections. Sounds like the perfect business qualities. However, there are shortcomings in details. Why is the premium claim not met?

Toshiba Portégé Z930-105: Premium ultrabook with slimmed business ambitions
Toshiba Portégé Z930-105: Premium ultrabook with slimmed business ambitions

For the original German review, see here.

Customers inevitably think of the Portégé range when Toshiba is mentioned in conjunction with high-end 13-inch business laptops. Here, a difference between the Portégé Z930 (ultrabook, 1.12 kg) and R930 (subnotebook, 1.5 kg, DVD drive) is made. The latter features almost all the interfaces that would be missed on the extremely thin Z range (e.g. eSATA, ExpressCard 54). Up to here, everything is clear – we are dealing with two different barebones.

The Portégé Z930 has a hard time in standing out from the Satellite Z930. The Satellite range encompasses Toshiba's consumer ranges, but the 13-incher is based on exactly the same barebone. We will examine whether there are any differences, inside or out, between the Z930 as a Satellite or Portégé in this review. This is relevant to the buyer because the price difference adds up to 380 Euros (~$505) for the same configuration (i5, 128 GB SSD).

There are only a few 13-inch business laptops in ultrabook style. Thus, we include consumer devices featuring very good workmanship and premium qualities as contenders. The following models for below 1500 Euros (~$1993) meet the criteria:

·        Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon (1450 Euros /~$1926)

·        ThinkPad T430u (950 Euros /~$1262)

·        Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A (1050 Euros /~$1395)

·        Samsung Series 9 900X3C-A04DE (1470 Euros /~$1953)

·        Apple MacBook Air 13 Mid 2012 (1100 Euros /~$1461) 

·        Acer Aspire S7 391 (1380 Euros /~$1833)

Toshiba Portégé Z930
Toshiba Portégé Z930
Toshiba Satellite Z930
Toshiba Satellite Z930
Toshiba Portégé R930
Toshiba Portégé R930

Case

The height of 16 millimeters (0.63 inches) is still a figurehead, even if Acer's S7 has now topped this value with 12-13.5 mm (0.47-0.53 inches). We weighed 1091 grams (~2.41 pounds), which is even below the manufacturer's specification of 1120 grams (~2.47 pounds). The base's rigid build, considering its low height, already filled high demands on feel and workmanship in the Satellite Z930. We refer to this review for more details.

Connectivity

Some ultrabooks do not feature VGA or an Ethernet port (RJ-45) in order to keep the base units slim. Toshiba simply moves these ports to the back, over the feet. The interfaces create a small bulge on which the rubber feet are mounted. Thus the Z930 is elevated by almost three millimeters (~0.12 inches) from the surface, which it needs for air intake.

Front: No interfaces (loudspeaker openings)
Front: No interfaces (loudspeaker openings)
Left: Microphone, headphone, card reader (SDHC / SDXC compatible)
Left: Microphone, headphone, card reader (SDHC / SDXC compatible)
Rear: Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, HDMI, AC, VGA
Rear: Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, HDMI, AC, VGA
Right: SIM card slot, USB 3.0, HDMI, Kensington lock
Right: SIM card slot, USB 3.0, HDMI, Kensington lock

Communication

The latest Wi-Fi N standard and GB LAN belong to the basic configuration. Toshiba installs a premium product with Intel's Centrino Advanced-N 6235 (a/b/g/n), which supports the less frequently used 5 GHz band (dual stream) in addition to Wireless Display. This is particularly beneficial when several WLANs are running in one area and interfere with each other. This does not have any effect on the range; the Z930 loses the router's signal in a 40 meter (131 feet) setting. This is not the case in the identically equipped LifeBook P702 (signal strength @40 m two bars), which is likely due to the superior antennas.

The reception performance at a distance of three and ten meters (~10 and 33 feet/upper floor) was 5 and 4 bars respectively. It dropped to two bars outside of the building (15 m/49 feet). Those are comparatively poor rates similar to that of the IdeaPad U510 (Centrino Wireless-N 2230) consumer laptop. The Fritz!Box 7270's transmission performance dropped to 50% in every test device.

The 3G module HSDPA Ericsson H5321gw corresponds to the mobility claim. While consumer devices usually connect to the Internet via a smartphone because they lack a second SIM card (laptop via tethering; mobile hot spot), many business users like to make use of a second data card. The smartphone's runtime also appreciates that.

Accessories

Toshiba installs tools on the hard disk, some of which could prove to be useful when looked at closely. Nero 11 encompasses a backup solution, burner (media files) and a recovery tool (RescueAgent for deleted files). Toshiba's known Eco Utility enables an energy preset from the manufacturer and indicates the current consumption. Cheating is not allowed: The Eco mode setting may not be changed. Otherwise the profile is immediately disabled.

Warranty

The two-year warranty applies to a pick-up & return service and a two-year European warranty (no pick-up). However, the device has to be registered via the TEMPRO tool (warranty, support, service, assistance). This does not take long because TEMPRO detects model, part and serial number. Warranty upgrades to three or four years cost 64 Euros (~$85) and 109 Euros (~$145) respectively.

Toshiba Assist: Security & maintenance
Toshiba Assist: Security & maintenance
Toshiba Assist: e.g. setting passwords
Toshiba Assist: e.g. setting passwords
Eco Utility (power consumption and performance profiles)
Eco Utility (power consumption and performance profiles)
Toshiba GPS Utility for localization
Toshiba GPS Utility for localization

Input Devices

The backlit keys with a weak feedback and the touchpad with the extremely short drop are identical to those in the Satellite Z930 consumer laptop. Therefore, we refer to this review.

Display

The 13.3-inch, non-glare screen features a standard resolution of 1366x768 pixels and a very good average brightness of 290 cd/m². That is more than we measured in the Satellite Z930 (257 cd/m²). According to the part number TPS5091 read out, the screens are identical. The manufacturer tuned the brightness but the TN screen's other characteristics are equally poor. 

The low contrast of 171:1 (Satellite 131:1) is still disappointing. That results in pale colors lacking substance and contours. It is very remote from the vivid colors of an IPS screen (Zenbook Prime UX31ASamsung 900X3CAspire S7 391). The customer can expect more for 1300 Euros (~$1727) nowadays. 

284
cd/m²
273
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
321
cd/m²
293
cd/m²
324
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
269
cd/m²
260
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 324 cd/m²
Average: 290.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Center on Battery: 293 cd/m²
Black: 1.718 cd/m²
Contrast: 171:1

The Z930's old-new screen fails in sophisticated qualities, such as the sRGB color gamut. sRGB and AdobeRGB are clearly missed (pictures 1 and 2). The comparison with the Aspire S7 391 (IPS) shows how much better this can look. The color spectrum should not be confused with the contrast. The Aspire can boast with 497:1 at a brightness of 361 cd/m² here. However, a wide spectrum of reproducible colors is not as crucial for business users as for professional image editors.

ICC Toshiba Port. Z930-105 vs. AdobeRGB(t)
ICC Toshiba Port. Z930-105 vs. AdobeRGB(t)
ICC Toshiba Port. Z930-105 vs. sRGB(t)
ICC Toshiba Port. Z930-105 vs. sRGB(t)
ICC Toshiba Port. Z930-105 vs. Aspire S7 FHD(t)
ICC Toshiba Port. Z930-105 vs. Aspire S7 FHD(t)

Consequently, the Z930's only advantage is that its high brightness remains stable on battery power. The illumination of 80% is still homogeneous enough to prevent spots caused by poorly illuminated areas (white LED backlight).

Our daylight pictures were made in overcast conditions, which is an advantage for the Z930 and its maximum brightness. 290 cd/m² is the ideal brightness in this outdoor scenario (frontal view) when we do not look at the desktop from too slanted an angle, at which point the matte screen dims quite severely.

Lateral view, max brightness (cloudy)
Lateral view, max brightness (cloudy)
Lateral view, cloudy, indirect light (cloudy)
Lateral view, cloudy, indirect light (cloudy)
Frontal view, cloudy
Frontal view, cloudy

Viewing angles are a precarious issue for the Z930. The following screenshot shows the screen in different positions. Simple TN screens, like built into the majority of notebooks as well as the Z930, only offer tight viewing angles of about 45 degrees horizontally. Larger angles cause so-called ghosting. Everyone who has ever watched a movie or looked at pictures knows this phenomenon. And this is also the case in the Z930. We have to reckon with even stronger restrictions vertically. Deviations of only a few degrees up or down let colors distort and the brightness decrease.

Viewing angles: Toshiba Portégé Z930-105
Viewing angles: Toshiba Portégé Z930-105

Performance

Intel's Core i5-3427U (1.80 GHz) is an economic low-voltage processor (TDP: 17 Watts) for subnotebooks. The clock is marginally higher than in the frequently used i5-3317U (Turbo up to 2.6 GHz). The CPU can clock up to 2.8 GHz in Turbo (single-core, theoretical rate). Until now, the CPU featuring the integrated HD Graphics 4000 (single-channel memory bus) is exclusively used in premium ultrabooks, e.g. Apple's MacBook Air 13 or Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon. The frequently mentioned Satellite Z930 is available as both an i7 and i5 but only the 3317U version. Except for the clock difference, the 3317U and 3427U feature absolutely identical properties.

Moreover, Toshiba installs 2x 2048 MB of DDR3 RAM in the two banks (dual-channel mode). A maximum of 2x 4 GB are possible should an upgrade be wanted. A 128 GB SSD from Toshiba is used as the storage device in the Z930 (Toshiba THNSNS128MCP, mSATA) There is no 2.5-inch slot; the SSD solution via mSATA is standard for this slim ultrabook.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ RAM
System info GPUZ HD 4000
DPC Latency: Idle OK
DPC Latency: Wi-Fi off/on latencies
System information: Toshiba Portégé Z930-105

Processor

Does the i5-3427U offer enough performance or should the buyer invest around  200 Euros (~$266) for the i7 version (3667U Portégé & Satellite)? This gets interesting for the consumer device because Toshiba's Satellite Z930-125 is available with this i7 and a 256 GB SSD for just under 1200 Euros (~$1594). An i5 Satellite version is not available alongside this SSD. 

The i7 achieved a higher performance of only 4% with 2.47 points in Cinebench R11.5 multi-core test (X1 Carbon). Although the i7-3667U calculated 13% faster than an i5-3317U in this test, the installed 3427U could keep pace quite well. Even performance geeks would have to use very specialized multi-core tools to convert the additional 200 Euros (~$266) in time-saving. The clock was at 2.6 GHz during the test, which is clearly within the Turbo range of up to 2.8 GHz.

The integrated graphics lag behind other HD 4000 units although it is connected to the working memory in dual-channel mode. Other identical GPUs are up to 23% faster in the OpenGL test (MacBook Air 13). This is unlikely due to the clock frequency because it is around 1100 MHz in AC mode and around 950 MHz on battery. We again have to assume an inaccurate MHz recording (GPUZ) because the OpenGL score is always identical with and without the power supply. However, this 12 to 23% difference should not be a decisive argument for buying because the graphics performance is at a very low level compared with dedicated GPUs.

Cineb. R11.5 Single @2,6 GHz
Cineb. R11.5 Single @2,6 GHz
Cineb. R11.5 Multi @2,6 GHz
Cineb. R11.5 Multi @2,6 GHz
Cineb. R11.5 OpenGL @1100 MHz
Cineb. R11.5 OpenGL @1100 MHz
Battery: R11.5 OpenGL @~950 MHz
Battery: R11.5 OpenGL @~950 MHz
Cinebench R11.5
OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z930-105
13.86 fps ∼11%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
14.3 fps ∼12% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
14.21 fps ∼12% +3%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
15.54 fps ∼13% +12%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2012-06 MD231LL/A
17.09 fps ∼14% +23%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
16.01 fps ∼13% +16%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
15.69 fps ∼13% +13%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z930-105
2.47 Points ∼14%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
2.38 Points ∼14% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
2.39 Points ∼14% -3%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
2.57 Points ∼15% +4%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2012-06 MD231LL/A
2.61 Points ∼15% +6%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
2.64 Points ∼15% +7%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
2.8 Points ∼16% +13%

Legend

 
Toshiba Portege Z930-105 Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Toshiba THNSNS128GMCP
 
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, ADATA XM11
 
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u Intel Core i5-3317U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 620M, Toshiba THNSNF128GCSS
 
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SB2128G
 
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2012-06 MD231LL/A Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Apple SSD TS128E (Toshiba)
 
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE Intel Core i7-3517U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Lite-On LMT-256M3M
 
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws Intel Core i7-3517U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 2x Lite-On CMT-128L3M (RAID 0)
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3667
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
7848
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
3845
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4590 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
9600 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
3995 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.11 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.47 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
13.86 fps
Help

System Performance

PCMark 7 scores
PCMark 7 scores

PCMark 7 examines the total application performance (PCMark Vantage score was incorrect). The score of 5307 points surpasses all ultrabooks used for comparison. This is also true for the expensive Zenbook Prime UX31A (i5) and Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon (i5). The graph shows that an i7 processor (Samsung 900X3C / Aspire S7) is hardly significant in this discipline anymore. More important is a swift SSD, which is why we depict the PCMark 7 System Storage score. The S7 reaps in the top score with its two RAID 0 SSDs, but +2% are not significant for a purchase decision. Will the pure storage device tests differentiate this issue better?

PCMark 7
Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z930-105
5307 Points ∼80%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
4202 Points ∼63% -21%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2012-06 MD231LL/A
4179 Points ∼63% -21%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
4549 Points ∼69% -14%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
5020 Points ∼76% -5%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
5155 Points ∼78% -3%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
5129 Points ∼77% -3%
System Storage (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z930-105
5301 Points ∼74%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
5390 Points ∼76% +2%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2012-06 MD231LL/A
4159 Points ∼58% -22%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
5323 Points ∼75% 0%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
5428 Points ∼76% +2%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
5245 Points ∼74% -1%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
4978 Points ∼70% -6%
5.9
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
6.9
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
5.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
6.5
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.5
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
7.9
PC Mark
PCMark 75307 points
Help

Storage Devices

The 128 GB Toshiba THNSNS128GMCP SSD (mSATA) is connected to the 6 GB/s SATA port. It is not the same model as in the Satellite Z830-10J. Our Satellite Z930 test device sported the 256 GB version THNSNS256GMCP.

The read rate of 471 MB/s can keep up perfectly with the depicted ultrabook SSDs (CDM & AS SSD). The Aspire S7's RAID 0 systems steps out of line a bit (+96%). The Aspire could not score quite as well as our Portégé Z930 in the 4K test of reading out small dispersed blocks. Our test device reigns supreme before the gathered contenders. Toshiba had the right instinct regarding this SSD.  

More data about SSDs can be found in the corresponding benchmark chart in the FAQ section.

ASSSD: 470 MB/s (sequential read)
ASSSD: 470 MB/s (sequential read)
Crystal Disk Mark: 471 MB/s (seq. read).
Crystal Disk Mark: 471 MB/s (seq. read).
HDTune: 260 MB/s (seq. read)
HDTune: 260 MB/s (seq. read)
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
Read Seq (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z930-105
471.1 MB/s ∼32%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
486.3 MB/s ∼33% +3%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2012-06 MD231LL/A
450.2 MB/s ∼31% -4%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
922.5 MB/s ∼63% +96%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
479.2 MB/s ∼33% +2%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
444.6 MB/s ∼30% -6%
Toshiba Satellite Z930-119
489.5 MB/s ∼33% +4%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
476.3 MB/s ∼32% +1%
Read 4k (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z930-105
28.46 MB/s ∼66%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
13.83 MB/s ∼32% -51%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2012-06 MD231LL/A
18.62 MB/s ∼43% -35%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
18.64 MB/s ∼43% -35%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
21.56 MB/s ∼50% -24%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
24.57 MB/s ∼57% -14%
Toshiba Satellite Z930-119
27.59 MB/s ∼64% -3%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
28.31 MB/s ∼65% -1%
Toshiba THNSNS128GMCP
Transfer Rate Minimum: 196 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 349.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 259.7 MB/s
Access Time: 0.2 ms
Burst Rate: 168.3 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

Graphics Card

We already discovered that the HD 4000 lags a bit behind its potential. This acknowledgment is put into perspective in the 3D benchmarks, such as 3DMark 2006, which load both the processor as well as the graphics card. Although the MacBook Air 13 is still in the lead (+19%), Samsung's 900X3C and the Aspire S7 391 only lag behind by slim +4 and +1%. These results are confirmed in the following games.

3DMark 06 - 1280x1024 Standard AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z930-105
4895 Points ∼13%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
4077 Points ∼11% -17%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
4916 Points ∼13% 0%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
4953 Points ∼13% +1%
Toshiba Satellite Z930-119
4948 Points ∼13% +1%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
5096 Points ∼13% +4%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2012-06 MD231LL/A
5819 Points ∼15% +19%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
6892 Points ∼18% +41%
3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
4895 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Even if gaming is not a primary task of a business laptop, we tested three up-to-date games in different settings. The HD 4000 generally ranges on a very low level. The user will certainly have to accept reduced resolutions and low details. No ultrabook featuring an integrated Intel graphics is better in this regard. One exception is the ThinkPad T430u (14-inch) alongside its dedicated GeForce GT 620M aimed at the same target group. It even allows playing Dishonored in high details with 38 fps.

low med.high ultra
Borderlands 2 (2012) 27.221.715.8fps
World of Tanks v8 (2012) 5526.221.6fps
Dishonored (2012) 35.220.520.2fps

Emissions

System Noise

The fan's behavior very much appealed to us. It simply remained disabled over longer idle periods. We only measured 31.4 dB (A) even when it was enabled in basic office load (web browser, etc.). The fan increased up to 44 dB (A) within a short time when we performed our stress test comprised of simultaneous Prime95 and FurMark. This audible noise level however only occurred when the CPU and GPU were stressed at the same time. Prime95, i.e. CPU multi-core stress test, performed alone only produced 38 dB (A). Important: The fan spins steadily and gently switches between the speeds. We measured 36 dB (A) during 3DMark 2006.

Noise Level

Idle 29.4 / 29.8 / 31.4 dB(A)
Load 37.7 / 43.9 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test Prime95 + Furmark: @1.8 GHz, no throttling
Stress test Prime95 + Furmark: @1.8 GHz, no throttling
GPU: OpenGL test alongside Prime95 - @800-900 MHz
GPU: OpenGL test alongside Prime95 - @800-900 MHz

The Portégé's keyboard and wrist rest stayed cool at idle. The bottom and the area around the keys only warmed up slightly more. The temperatures increased very quickly during constant load; the hot spots above and below the air intake and output were particularly affected. Nevertheless, it was still possible to use the Z930 on the lap because the heat source is located in the casing's center

The Z930 survived the multi-hour extreme test without CPU throttling. Although the Turbo rate of 2.6 GHz could not be permanently maintained like in the pure CPU tests, the nominal clock of 1.8 GHz is not within a throttling range. The Turbo shutdown is a protective function of Intel's Core. It occurs when the cooling cannot maintain a specific temperature limit. This result should not worry users because the Turbo shutdown only occurred during simultaneous Prime95 and FurMark load. As soon as the graphics stress test was finished, the clock frequency again climbed to 2.6 GHz quite fast. The subsequently performed 3DMark 2006 finished with the same score as after a cold start.

Max. Load
 37.3 °C43 °C41 °C 
 30.5 °C34.6 °C31.8 °C 
 26.2 °C27.6 °C27.1 °C 
Maximum: 43 °C
Average: 33.2 °C
32.4 °C44.8 °C38.8 °C
29.7 °C33 °C31 °C
28 °C28.1 °C28.2 °C
Maximum: 44.8 °C
Average: 32.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  48 °C | Room Temperature 21.3 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

Both speakers are located on the front below the wrist rest. They produce a midrange-focused sound that lacks low ranges. The small membranes start to hiss and distort at high volumes. This is still acceptable for presentations. External speakers or high-quality headphones would be recommended for enjoyment. 

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The consumption measurements from the outlet (battery charge: 100%) show a modest ultrabook. At first glance, the low idle consumption of 5 to 10 Watts is surprising considering the screen's high brightness. Most contenders offer the same: X1 Carbon (282 cd/m²), UX31A (375), Samsung 900X3C (378) and Air 13 Mid 2012 (279). The Z930 is not as extremely energy-efficient compared with the 13.3-inch contenders as Toshiba's Eco Utility would want to make us believe.

Apart from the exception (the T430u features a dedicated GPU), almost all premium ultrabooks of this category have a similar load consumption (last rate in brackets): Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon (3-10; 39); ThinkPad T430U (7-11; 42; GT 620M); Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A (4-10; 36); Samsung Series 9 900X3C-A04DE (5-11; 38); Apple MacBook Air 13 Mid 2012 (5-10; 30); Acer Aspire S7 391 (7-12; 35).

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.05 / 0.3 Watt
Idle 5.3 / 9 / 10 Watt
Load 35.8 / 39 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 960

Battery Runtime

The Z930 cannot fulfill Intel's specification of an ultrabook runtime of at least five hours. The 13-inch laptop achieved a runtime of 249 minutes in the Wi-Fi test, which equals 4:09 hours. In this test, a script opens websites every 40 seconds, partly with video playback. The brightness during the Wi-Fi test was 116 cd/m² (dimmed 3 levels). A better approximation to our standard brightness of 150 cd/m² was not possible because of the coarse brightness level settings, or it would have been much higher than the target value, which would have been a disadvantage for the Z930 in the runtime test.

Apart from two exceptions, the contenders did a better job in the Wi-Fi testThinkPad X1 Carbon (367, 45 Wh); ThinkPad T430U (205, 47 Wh); Zenbook Prime UX31A (282, 50 Wh); Samsung 900X3C (407, 44 Wh); MacBook Air 13 Mid 2012 (363, 50 Wh); Acer Aspire S7 391 (209, 35 Wh).

The 8-cell, 42 Wh lithium-ion battery is again non-removable (like in Satellite Z930/Z830). As shown in the list, the 13-inch devices with a high-capacity battery do not always have the best runtimes (T430u). The Z930 needed 3:12 hours for recharging the battery.

Wi-Fi runtime: 249 min
Wi-Fi runtime: 249 min
Maximum runtime: 461 min
Maximum runtime: 461 min
Minimum runtime: 98 min
Minimum runtime: 98 min
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
7h 41min
WiFi Surfing
4h 9min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 38min

Verdict

Toshiba's Portégé Z930-105 (1280 Euros /~$1700) is aimed at demanding ultrabook customers who need an everyday suitable office subnotebook; Matte surfaces, solid build within the scope of what's possible, viable runtimes and an AR-coated screen. The swift work speed via the 128 GB SSD and Core i5 (no throttling) is just as enticing. The slim chassis also scores in ergonomics.

The Portégé Z930 does not seem overpriced for less than 1300 Euros (~$1727) in the vicinity of its contenders. However, when we consider the only satisfactory input devices (weak feedback) and the screen's low-contrast and poor viewing angle stability, we find superior premium ultrabooks among the contenders that are even less expensive. First to be mentioned would be Asus' Zenbook Prime UX31A with good inputs and a perfect (IPS) screen. The same applies to Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon (1450 Euros/~$1926, TN LED) and Samsung's Series 9 900X3C-A04DE (PLS screen), which are however more expensive. Apple's MacBook Air 13 Mid 2012 seems almost a bargain in this comparison, but it sports the fewest interfaces of all devices. Acer's Aspire S7 391 with a regrettably dark IPS screen first becomes relevant when a touchscreen is desired.

The bargain in view of business qualities is doubtlessly the ThinkPad T430u (900 Euros /~$1196). Its very good input devices outshine our Z930, but then again, its TFT's low brightness and short runtime curb our enthusiasm.

If you have taken a liking to the Z930, you should remember the enormous price difference to the identical Satellite Z930. The consumer laptop, featuring a Core i5-3317U and a 128 GB SSD (similar configuration) only costs 900 Euros (~$1196). Or in different words: Toshiba demands a surcharge of 380 Euros (~$505) for the added value given by the integrated HDSPA modem in the Portégé. There are otherwise no differences in build, interfaces, screen or input devices. If you can accept the comparatively poor input devices and you connect to the Internet via tethering (using a smartphone) anyway, you can get the Satellite Z930 for an attractive price.

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In Review: Toshiba Portégé Z930-105
In Review: Toshiba Portégé Z930-105

Specifications

Toshiba Portege Z930-105
Processor
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
, dual channel 2x 2048MB
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, Toshiba TOS5091, TN LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel QM77 (Panther Point)
Harddisk
Toshiba THNSNS128GMCP, 128 GB 
mSATA
Soundcard
HD Audio
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Card Reader: SD card slot (SDHC compatible), 1 Fingerprint Reader, USB w/ sleep-and-charge
Networking
Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth, HSDPA Ericsson H5321gw
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 16 x 316 x 227 ( = 0.63 x 12.44 x 8.94 in)
Weight
1.091 kg ( = 38.48 oz) Power Supply: 264 g ( = 9.31 oz)
Battery
42 Wh Lithium-Ion, 8 cell
Price
1300 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
Additional features
Webcam: 1.3 MP bis 1280 x 720, Speakers: 2 x stereo front, Keyboard: chiclet keyboard, 87 keys, Keyboard Light: yes, tools: recovery, network, media controller, webcam, diagnosis, fan test, SSD Alert, Eco Utility, HWSetup, password, BatteryManager, etc., 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
Portégé Z930 - we have heard this name before?
Portégé Z930 - we have heard this name before?
and Satellite Z930-12Z (EUR 900, in picture)
and Satellite Z930-12Z (EUR 900, in picture)
is allegedly solely due to the 3G modem (HSDPA).
is allegedly solely due to the 3G modem (HSDPA).
The SIM card is inserted here. The tray is pulled out with a paperclip.
The SIM card is inserted here. The tray is pulled out with a paperclip.
The Satellite models do not feature 3G.
The Satellite models do not feature 3G.
Accessories cannot be the distinctive feature - there isn't any in the box.
Accessories cannot be the distinctive feature - there isn't any in the box.
The user will voluntarily discard the textile cover after a few weeks.
The user will voluntarily discard the textile cover after a few weeks.
The power supply unit is also 100% identical.
The power supply unit is also 100% identical.
A small highlight of the Z930 is still the ports on the rear.
A small highlight of the Z930 is still the ports on the rear.
Moreover, it features a quiet fan behavior during low load.
Moreover, it features a quiet fan behavior during low load.
Toshiba Portégé Z930-105: Renamed consumer laptop without striking business features.
Toshiba Portégé Z930-105: Renamed consumer laptop without striking business features.
Toshiba Portégé Z930-105: The thin and lightweight device hardly makes a sound - but only as long as we don't stress it.
Toshiba Portégé Z930-105: The thin and lightweight device hardly makes a sound - but only as long as we don't stress it.
The steep price difference (with the same SSD / CPU) between Toshiba's Portégé Z930-105 (EUR 1280)
The steep price difference (with the same SSD / CPU) between Toshiba's Portégé Z930-105 (EUR 1280)
The Satellite also features a backlit keyboard.
The Satellite also features a backlit keyboard.
Right, Toshiba sells its consumer ultrabook as the Satellite Z930.
Right, Toshiba sells its consumer ultrabook as the Satellite Z930.
But not only the name seems to be unchanged. The barebone has not undergone any modifications.
But not only the name seems to be unchanged. The barebone has not undergone any modifications.
Interfaces (except for 3G), material, weight, screen and hardware
Interfaces (except for 3G), material, weight, screen and hardware
appear to be the same as in the consumer device (picture: Satellite Z930).
appear to be the same as in the consumer device (picture: Satellite Z930).
The season has changed, the weak contrast hasn't (Portégé Z930).
The season has changed, the weak contrast hasn't (Portégé Z930).
Was the Satellite sticker simply replaced with Portégé?
Was the Satellite sticker simply replaced with Portégé?
Regrettably, yes. The business customer (still) has to waive on a docking port in the just under EUR 1300 investment.
Regrettably, yes. The business customer (still) has to waive on a docking port in the just under EUR 1300 investment.
The lightweight chassis was already good before,
The lightweight chassis was already good before,
the poor input devices of the Satellites R830 / R930 models
the poor input devices of the Satellites R830 / R930 models
were unfortunately not improved (picture Portégé Z930).
were unfortunately not improved (picture Portégé Z930).
They are like two peas in a pod: Here, the Satellite Z930 input devices.
They are like two peas in a pod: Here, the Satellite Z930 input devices.
Toshiba Portégé Z930-105: Not as solid as the ZenBook, but nevertheless a showcase product in terms of quality at the lowest weight.
Toshiba Portégé Z930-105: Not as solid as the ZenBook, but nevertheless a showcase product in terms of quality at the lowest weight.

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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pro

+Very lightweight
+Solid base unit
+Matte surfaces
+Rear-sided ports
+High application performance
+Very swift SSD
+100% performance on battery power
+Usually quiet fan
+Low heat dissipation
+Bright, matte screen
 

Cons

-Tight viewing angle
-Non-removable battery
-Weak typing feedback
-Virtually inexistent mouse key drop
-No docking port

Shortcut

What we like

The low weight and the base unit's stiffness. The pliable lid is not distracting in routine use, but its flexibility is a kind of crumple zone.

What we'd like to see

Input devices are the most crucial elements in business. However, the build prevents a longer key drop for better feedback. The virtually unusable mouse buttons (almost no drop) is however an impertinence in this price range.

What surprises us

The steep surcharge between the Satellite and Portégé. Do business customers simply not look as close as the tightfisted consumer?

The competition

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (EUR 1450), ThinkPad T430u (EUR 950), Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A (EUR 1050), Samsung Series 9 900X3C-A04DE (EUR 1470), Apple MacBook Air 13 Mid 2012 (EUR 1100), Acer Aspire S7 391 (EUR 1380)

Rating

Toshiba Portege Z930-105
12/19/2012 v3
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
85%
Keyboard
74%
Pointing Device
76%
Connectivity
68%
Weight
94%
Battery
86%
Display
70%
Games Performance
67%
Application Performance
98%
Temperature
83%
Noise
88%
Add Points
86%
Average
81%
83%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Toshiba Portégé Z930-105 Ultrabook
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2013-01- 8 (Update: 2013-06- 6)