Toshiba Portege Z830 release date in November, priced under $1000

Toshiba today unveiled the Portege Z830 Series, the company’s first Ultrabook using 2nd Generation Intel Core processors. Weighing less than 2.5 pounds and featuring a 0.63-inch (15.9 mm) profile, the Portege Z830 Series is about 20 percent lighter and 40 percent thinner than the award-winning ultraportable Portege R830 Series. These new systems offer unprecedented portability, durability and essential features with visibly smart style and responsiveness — and start at under $1,000 MSRP.

The keyboard is a little short on travel in comparison to larger machines – no surprise given the relatively shallow key tray on offer – but we’ll forgive Toshiba since they used the space to add an 8-cell 47Wh battery. The keys themselves are backlit, too, and water resistant, while above the 13.3-inch display looked bright despite the strong show lighting and the necessarily compact backlighting.

As an ultrabook, the Z830 uses SSD memory, in this case a 128GB drive and a selection of second-gen Intel Core i-series processors. The keyboard is both backlit and spill-resistant and, like most of Toshiba’s other laptops, some of the USB ports support sleep-and-charge technology, which allows them to be used for charging phones, media players, and other devices, even when the laptop is turned off or sleeping.

The trackpad is massive and felt very good, possibly one of the best PC trackpads I’ve used. It responds to a light touch for mousing and tap-to-click. It remains to be seen if it can dodge the false-positive problems of other large PC trackpads. Size-wise the keyboard is great — Toshiba even made room for home, delete, page up, page down, and end keys along the right side. Unfortunately the key travel is very shallow, and there was some flex to the entire board. It didn’t feel like it was going to break or anything, but we like a good solid keyboard, and it’s clear Toshiba used this tray as a chance to cut down on thickness and weight.

The external design is as interesting as the inside components. The magnesium chassis is very thin, (especially the LED display) and the back-lit keyboard is also spill-resistant, which is a rare combination. Surprisingly, the audio is very respectable. In a quiet environment the volume is largely sufficient and we did not hear any sound distortion, even at maximum volume.

Portege Z830 Series Ultrabook systems will be available in November 2011 at select retail stores as well as through select Toshiba Preferred Partner Program resellers and directly at Toshiba isn’t talking pricing yet, but if it can bring the Portege Z830 in at under the $1,000 mark.