It’s taken long enough, but it seems that with Intel’s Ultrabook spec, PC laptop makers are actually starting to put together a few notebooks that are competitive with the svelte and successful MacBook Air. The first out of the gate were a bit pricey, but Toshiba has just announced a sub-$1000 unit that doesn’t compromise too much on power. And it’s sure thin enough.
Let’s just get the specs stated:
0.63″ (15.9mm) thick
13.3″ LED-backlit display (1366×768)
Intel Core i3, i5, i7 processors
Onboard Intel HD 3000 graphics
Magnesium alloy chassis with “honeycomb structure” for rigidity
Backlit, spill-resistant keyboard
2xUSB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0 (right side), HDMI and VGA out
Fingerprint reader (optional, on B2B model)
RAM wasn’t specified. I asked Toshiba for clarification on specs and pricing, but “under $1000″ was all they were willing to disclose. They also claim the sound system is enhanced, but compared to what is not clear. Small laptops like this one generally have pretty awful sound due simply to the limitations placed on the size, depth, and placement of the speaker drivers. Presumably Toshiba is proud to have approached those limitations as closely as possible, which is as much as anyone can do.
Whether it’s actually competitive depends on what you actually get for that low, low price. Could be a bargain, could be a hard bargain. We’ll have to wait for Toshiba to spill.
As for the design, it’s thin, angular, and efficient, but I wouldn’t say it sets itself apart much. You certainly can’t fault it on thickness or weight, though it lacks the unified single-shape design of the Air (I’m not sure how I feel about seeing through the sides there). Here’s a little gallery of the most representative shots: