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Toshiba Portege Z830
Toshiba's Portege Z830 is cheaper, lighter, and better equipped than Apple's 13" MacBook Air

Manufacturers are still trying to work out final details on pricing for Intel-based Ultrabooks, but the devices are on the way. For those that like the form-factor and weight on Apple's highly popular MacBook Air range, but can't be bothered with Apple’s pricing or OS X, Toshiba is serving up a fine alternative with the Portege Z830. 

Toshiba has worked some serious magic on the Portege Z830 as it manages to incorporate a 13.3" display (1366x768) and second generation Intel Core processors into a frame weighing in at under 2.5 pounds. Part of the low weight can be attributed to the Portege Z830's magnesium alloy body.

Although Toshiba won't tell us how fast the processors are in the Portege Z830, the specs are quite amazing. It will come with a 128GB SSD, backlit and spill-resistant keyboard, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, GbE port, Secure Digital reader, HDMI-out, and stereo speakers.

According to Engadget, the notebook features an 8-cell battery, can be equipped with up to 6GB of DDR3 memory, and will have an optional Core i7 processor upgrade available.

"The Portégé Z830 Series sets a new standard for thin and light systems, not just in portability, but also in affordability for such cutting-edge designs," said Carl Pinto, vice president of product development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "Toshiba's engineering achievements and expert craftsmanship have resulted in a brilliant and fully thought-through innovation that exceeds expectations, perfect for both mobile business professionals and consumers." 

And keeping with Intel's mandate, the 0.63"-thin Portege Z830 will start at under $1,000 (we're guessing $999) when it launches later this year. That would make the lighter, better-spec'd Toshiba Ultrabook $300 cheaper than the entry-level 13" MacBook Air.

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Really, a knock-out blow?
By name99 on 9/1/2011 3:26:43 PM , Rating: 4
Brandon, do you even know what a "knock-out blow" is?

What's your mental model here? That this Portege is so damn compelling that mac users are going to stop buying MacBook Airs, and so Apple is going to give up in disgust and stop making them? Now ask yourself: does any part of that sentence make sense?

What may happen here? Some fence sitters, people who've considered buying a MacBook Air to run Windows, will buy this rather than the Air. That's what, .1% of Mac buyers. For everyone else, their choice is driven primarily by the OS, and unless this Portege either runs OSX, or runs some magic new OS we've never heard of, the beauty of its hardware is very relevant to competing against Dell and Lenovo, and absolutely IRRELEVANT to competing against Apple.

RE: Really, a knock-out blow?
By Reclaimer77 on 9/1/2011 4:19:01 PM , Rating: 2
Some fence sitters, people who've considered buying a MacBook Air to run Windows, will buy this rather than the Air. That's what, .1% of Mac buyers.

Source please? I know made up numbers are fun and all, but come on. Apple's PC market share went from 5% to 14% in 2008 after Boot Camp was released. Coincidence not. That's a HUGE swing! You're telling me only .1% of people buy Macs to run Windows? I call BS sir.

Now you can have your elitist snazzy notebook, spend less, and run the OS you wanted in the first place. Your argument has failed. If OSX is the big draw, explain to me how Mac sales more than doubled when the potential to run Windows came into the mix.

RE: Really, a knock-out blow?
By Master Kenobi on 9/1/2011 5:02:46 PM , Rating: 1
The 5% to 14% is in the US Only. Internationally Apple still resides in the 3% bracket. The correlation being that Americans have a larger quantity of people that buy based on trends regardless of reality. The international community doesn't seem to have adopted that level of RDF at this point in time.

RE: Really, a knock-out blow?
By robinthakur on 9/2/2011 9:15:25 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously? Have you been to the UK recently? I rarely see anything other than iPhone4's on my commute to work, and this morning I counted 5 iPad2's on my tube carriage alone.

RE: Really, a knock-out blow?
By semo on 9/2/2011 9:36:56 AM , Rating: 2
The UK really is mad about i stuff right now. I know people that bash Apple, yet have an iphone. I used to work for a college that bought tons of Apple stuff for "educational purposes" and even switched mobile operators so that some staff can get an iphone (back when it was more exclusive). Banks and newspapers have iphone apps only (no android)...

Back on topic and this Toshiba has no chance of knocking anyone out (maybe Sony's overpriced thing and lights).

RE: Really, a knock-out blow?
By chemist1 on 9/2/2011 10:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
Well, without additional information, we don't know if the increase in Apple's 2008 PC market share was caused by the 2007 official release of Boot Camp (with Leopard; prior to that it was a beta), or instead due to some other change that was contemporaenous with the Boot Camp release. Nevertheless, the notion that Boot Camp had a something do with it, as you suggest, is plausible, so let's assume that for the sake of discussion.

Here, then, my answer to your question, "If OSX is the big draw, explain to me how Mac sales more than doubled when the potential to run Windows came into the mix." It requires just one additional premise, which I hope you find reasonable -- that most of the increased market share came from Windows users switching over to Mac. The fact that Boot Camp would enable them to still run Windows provides two key benefits that are not in any way inconsistent with the motivation for the switch being a desire to switch to OSX: First, they may have had some legacy programs they paid for that were Windows-only. Bootcamp enabled them to still be able to use those programs when they wanted. Second, and more importantly, switching over to a new system is probably a bit scary for many users (e.g., what if you find you don't like it?). Thus Boot Camp provided a key safety net: if they didn't like OSX, they could revert to Windows; without Boot Camp, they would be stuck. And it may have been this piece of reassurance that enabled them to make the leap from one OS to another. Therefore, even if the availability of Boot Camp drove much of the increase in Mac computer sales, this is not in any way inconsistent with the increase being due to people who wanted to switch to OSX.

Further, it's unlikely that someone would switch to a Mac computer for a reason other than a desire to run OSX. Yes, Mac hardware is quite nice--consider, for the laptops, the combination of screen quality, keyboard feel, battery life, form factor, case rigidity, and mulit-gesture touchpad. Nevertheless (assuming such could be found elsewhere), you pay a more for a Mac than for equivalent PC hardware. And it doesn't make sense to do so unless you can get the one thing that a PC doesn't offer: OSX. So the fundamental reason people buy Mac computers is for the OS.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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