Toshiba’s 2015 Kira is a beast of a laptop in a light and slim form factor that should appeal to Windows power users who don’t mind shelling out big money — R26 999 including VAT — for top-drawer performance.
The Kira has a beautiful, all-metal design that immediately grabs attention. But it’s the stunning high-resolution screen with 10-point multi-touch that really steals the show here. The 2 560×1 440-pixel resolution of the Kira Ultrabook’s 13,3-inch screen is gorgeous to the eye.
As anyone who has used a “Retina” MacBook Pro will attest, there’s no going back to 1080p or lower-resolution screens once you’ve seen the crisp text and eye-popping images that are produced on screens with higher pixel densities.
The machine ships with Windows 8.1, which doesn’t do a perfect job of scaling, so the first thing you’ll want to do if you buy this beast is to download the free Windows 10 upgrade.
But it’s not only the screen where the Kira excels. It’s also super snappy thanks to its Intel Core i7 processor (4510U variant) and 512GB solid state drive. There’s also 8GB of 1 600MHz DDR3 RAM, which is more than enough to power Windows and most apps, but we’d have preferred to see 16GB on an Ultrabook retailing at this price point.
Battery life is more than decent, too, provided the screen isn’t kept at maximum brightness. Expect to be able to work for the majority of a long-haul flight to Europe before you need to recharge.
The machine’s keyboard is mostly well designed, with full-sized keys that feel comfortable, even after hours of typing. One criticism, however, is that both the Ctrl and Shift keys are too small, especially on the left side — but this is something one might get used to over time. The trackpad, meanwhile, is a decent size and is responsive.
The Kira even boasts Harman/Kardon speakers, which produce remarkably good stereo audio for a laptop this size. It’s not the sort of immersive experience you’d get from good desktop speakers, but they by no means produce the sort of tinny audio common in laptop computers.
Toshiba has included a generous set of ports on the Kira, too. The left side houses the power port and two USB 3.0 ports, along with an HDMI port for connecting a TV or external monitor. The right side has a third USB 3.0 port, a 3,5mm audio jack and a multi-card reader.
Connectivity is provided using 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The Kira does not, however, include an integrated Sim slot, so you’ll need to carry a MiFi-type device on the road or tether the laptop to your smartphone.
That said, the only real downside of the Kira is its price tag. No doubt the plummeting rand has had an impact there, but at R26 999, there are other options available, from vendors such as Apple (its machines run Windows very nicely these days), Lenovo, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, which could provide equal if not better bang for the buck. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media
- Review unit supplied by Mustek