It's been a lonely month for the Zenbook and Aspire S3, but the industry's first ultrabooks are about to get some company. Toshiba's Portege Z835 will soon be available exclusively through Best Buy for $900 -- $200 less than Asus' offering and $400 cheaper than Apple's baseline 13.3-inch MacBook Air. Despite its more affordable price tag, Toshiba's ultra-thin notebook has plenty to offer. In fact, it has a leg up on Asus and Acer, according to Laptopmag.
The 13.3-incher has a sleek brushed-metal lid and makes liberal use of clean lines and greyish hues to achieve a design of "understated elegance." It carries a 1366x768 display, a 1.4GHz Intel Core i3-2367M processor, 4GB of RAM and a Toshiba-branded 128GB SSD. Unfortunately, the flash drive isn't as snappy as you might like with sequential read and write speeds (185MB/s and 49MB/s) that aren't much better than your bog standard 7200RPM hard drive.
While its SSD won't be shattering any records, the Portege fares well in the mobility department. It weighs less than its immediate competition at 2.4lbs and its battery life outperforms the Zenbook and MacBook Air, fetching nearly seven hours when browsing the Web over Wi-Fi. Like other ultrabooks, the Portege's battery is sealed inside so you can't carry a spare. Connectivity includes USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, VGA and HDMI-out, a card reader and Ethernet.
Unfortunately for Intel and its partners, ultrabooks have kicked off to an underwhelming start. Earlier this month, industry sources said that Asus and Acer expected to ship about 100,000 units each by the end of 2011 -- a third of their original target. According to the latest details from DigiTimes, Asus and Acer have since responded to the lower-than-expected demand by reducing ultrabook orders by 40%. Both companies are confident in the platform for the long-term.