While the outward appearance of the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U might not stray far from the ultrabook mould, that's no bad thing. Ultrabooks look sexy, and you can tell one just by looking at it.
At 16mm wide, it's only slightly thicker than the Acer Aspire S3 and the Asus Zenbook, but it weighs a light and airy 1.1kg. Toshiba has opted for a muted silver brushed aluminium finish and a solid black isolation-style keyboard.
Unfortunately, the chassis isn't anywhere near as firm as the Asus Zenbook UX31 or the Lenovo Ideapad U400, and we found there was some pretty obvious flex on the screen and around the keyboard. While this adversely affects the build quality in our opinion, it's difficult to fault the machine's build too much when it weighs so much less than the other ultrabooks.
Toshiba has shunned any kind of reflective coating for the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U's 13.3-inch screen. The trade-off is a slight lack of richness when watching a movie or looking at pictures. It's not a major cause for concern, though, as the 1366 x 768 pixel resolution is still detailed enough to play 720p high definition movies.
The keyboard fares much better, however, and feels both strong and spacious. It was also reassuring to find function and arrow keys that haven't been squashed into the corners of the chassis. But special mention must go to the touchpad, which has a slightly tougher texture than the rest of the chassis and is extremely responsive. You also have two solid click buttons beneath that are firm and expertly weighted.
Where the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U can also lay some serious kudos down is on the speaker side. Twin vents at the front of the laptop give stereo sound, backed up with a subwoofer underneath the chassis. This produces a rounded sound which is bolstered by the impressive volume you can get from this laptop if you push the dial up.
One of the big selling points of the Asus Zenbook was the integrated speakers, and we feel the Toshiba is certainly able to keep up here.
Connectivity on the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U is a real highlight, and Toshiba has included several ports on the back of the laptop - a distribution choice that has fallen out of favour recently. This gives you three USB ports, one of which is the newer USB 3.0 connection.
If you want to extend the display, you can use the VGA or HDMI ports to hook the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U up to an HD TV or external monitor.