Review: Toshiba KIRA Ultrabook

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Review: Toshiba KIRA Ultrabook

Toshiba makes a luxurious statement with its new KIRA book, but is luxury enough?

Toshiba, unlike LG, has never left the laptop market, and has been busy pushing Satellites, Qosmios, and Tecras at us for years. Its latest generation of machines includes all of those (and some all-in-ones), and a whole new product family, aimed at elegant and luxurious computing. If it feels like we’re saying luxury a lot, blame the launch event, where the word was bandied about with gay abandon.

Nonetheless, Tosh does have a point. The KIRA is undoubtedly attractive, designed with subtle metallic tones, and with simple curves adding an understated grace to the product. It also sports the full Ultrabook spec, and a reasonably grunty Core i7 processor backed up by 8GB of RAM, and a relatively roomy 256GB SSD.

However, all that does come at a seriously luxurious price point. At $2199 – that’s $800 more than the LG Z360 – you are getting more raw tech, and a screen with an amazing resolution for its size. 2560 x 1440 is nothing to sneeze at.

But why would we prefer the Z360 out of the pair? We like style as much as the next technophile, possibly even a little bit more, but at the end of the day we feel you’re just not getting $800 worth of luxury. Despite having a higher core spec across the board, the difference in performance in our benchmarks was negligible, and while the KIRA has a tonne of resolution, the IPS display on the Z360 is simply better to look at. Colours on the KIRA seem oddly muted, and the extra sharpness is simply wasted at this screen size. The larger storage is certainly welcome, and it feels very good to use day-to-day. The keyboard is well-made, the trackpad highly useable, and overall you are getting a high build quality. There’s really nothing wrong with the KIRA, it’s just that the high asking price makes it compare poorly.

Combined with how much noise the KIRA makes in operation – the whine from the Ultrabook’s fans nearly drove our designer to distraction – it becomes a hard unit to recommend. Save the money, and go with the Z360. Or ditch the constraining Ultrabook spec altogether, and go with Venom’s excellent Haswell machine.

Toshiba KIRA Ultrabook
4 6
Verdict
Too noisy, and just too expensive, to recommend.
Performance
Features & Design
Value for Money
Overall
Specs
$2199 AUD
Intel Core i7 3537U processor @ 2GHz • 8GB DDR 3 1600MHz RAM • 256GB SSD • Intel HD 4000 graphics • 13.3in LED display (2560 x 1440) • 3x USB 3, 1x SD card, 1x HDMI, 1x audio • 316mm x 207mm x 19.8mm • 1.35kg.
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