The Toshiba Portégé Z930 shares the same chassis as its predecessor, the Z830. The Toshiba Z830 was the company’s first ultrabook, an attempt to clone the look and specification of the Apple MacBook Air. But as a development of the Z830, it means the Z930 is still not going to win any awards for good looks.
The Toshiba Portégé Z930 laptop doesn't look so bad closed-up but when open it's far too square and somewhat dated looking with its oversized bezel above and below the screen.
However, this 13in laptop is extremely thin and light, putting a tick by the ‘mobile’ element of Toshiba's claim. The Z930-108 is a little lighter than Apple's 13in MacBook Air, at just over 1kg against 1.35kg. You can barely feel its impact in a bag.
The Toshiba Portégé Z930 is also thin, ranging from 15.5mm at the front to 16.9mm at the back, although not nearly as thin as the 8.3mm which Toshiba touts. The power adaptor is also very small and light.
The keyboard is backlit and the glossy black Scrabble-style keys are easy and fast to type on, but don't offer much travel when pressed.
The relatively small trackpad is responsive and the security conscious user might welcome the fingerprint scanner situated between the mouse buttons.
We found the trackpad could get in the way when typing occasionally but you can always disable it with the dedicated button below the keyboard, and plug in a regular mouse.
One downside to the Portégé Z930-108 is its hefty £1,479 price tag. Your money is going towards a very well made product, though. The chassis is entirely made from magnesium alloy which is strong but very light. However the screen is thin and rather bendy.
An ultimate business laptop needs to offer good application performance. Toshiba has fitted the Z930-108 with a third-generation (Ivy Bridge) Intel Core i7 processor. In this case it’s the Core i7-3667U, which is the speedier of the two ‘low-power’ 17W chips, and is clocked at 2.0GHz, rising to 3.2GHz for Turbo bursts.
Aiding performance is 8GB of fast 1600MHz RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive which carries Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Storage space could be improved.
In our WorldBench 6 real-world test the Z930-108 scored well with 153 points, outdoing Acer's rival business laptop, the TravelMate P6, by eight points.
A business laptop clearly isn't made for gaming but we found that the Intel HD Graphics 4000 on the new Ivy Bridge chip can run FEAR at 29fps – a decent result.
Many ultrabooks fall short of the 13in MacBook Air's decent 1440 x 900 resolution. Toshiba’s Z930-108 is no exception, with its lower but still usable 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. The bonus here, and what makes the Toshiba stand out, is its non-reflective matt finish. Brightness is good but viewing angles much less so.
With a laptop this size it's impressive that Toshiba has managed to squeeze in full-size VGA, HDMI and ethernet ports. Therefore, you can avoid having to carry around annoying adaptors. There are other ports included too, namely one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, headphones, mic input and an SDXC card reader.
To vindicate Toshiba's ultimate mobile business laptop claim the Z930-108 needed to provide ultimate battery life too.
Toshiba specifies eight hours of battery life from the non-removable 46Wh lithium-ion cell.
We actually recorded 14 minutes over that eight-hour mark in our tests (494 minutes in MobileMark 2007 Productivity).
This is good, if not as long-lasting as the Acer TravelMate P6 which lasted 50% longer with its 12+ hours runtime. However the Acer does weight almost twice as much as the Toshiba, at 1.94kg.
Toshiba's Z930-108 could make a good choice as a portable business laptop. It's thin, extremely light and has good build quality. Features are abundant and it’s a fast performer too. But the Z930-108 doesn't quite deserve the ultimate business laptop title, so long as the Acer TravelMate P6 can run half as long again from its internal battery.