Toshiba Kira review

All's well that's Haswell for Toshiba's updated Ultrabook

Toshiba Kira
The Kira comes back into orbit

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We liked

The Toshiba Kira's appearance remains unchanged from last year's model, which is certainly no bad thing. It has a slim bezel and feels decidedly more compact than competing models of the same size. It has a comfortable keyboard once you adjust to its rectangular keys, and despite being on the dim side, its display is incredibly sharp. While it only offers an integrated graphics setup, it's fine for playing lesser demanding games and the speedy SSD makes sure you're never waiting for applications to respond on the desktop, and boot times are fast too.

We disliked

It's a shame that Toshiba couldn't notch the Kira's display brightness up by 10-15%, something that would better positioned it for use in brightly-lit conditions. The flex in the Kira's lid is also cause for concern for a laptop in this price bracket. Set to its native resolution, the Kira's desktop provides a huge working area that can be used to lay out multiple documents or apps, but it's at the expense of unpredictable scaling in Windows 8.1 that can frustrate at the best of times.

Final Verdict

The Kira's longer battery life, compact stylings and attractive looks (with the lid open) are all plus points for Toshiba's second Ultrabook, but some of the flaws are real deal-breakers. The most glaring one is the display's lackluster backlight, which is an unfortunate one considering the highly reflective nature of the display and its average viewing angles.

However, it's still a highly portable machine that would suit professionals seeking an Ultrabook with good battery life, competent performance and perhaps a little more in the way of style than substance. If the Kira was a bit cheaper it would be easier to look over its misgivings, but when the competition is this strong, it makes it something of a hard sell in 2014.

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.