Not too long ago, a laptop was the only true option for portable computing. Nowadays we see smartphones take center stage and tablets become the new laptop. That being said, nothing can replace the laptop in terms of usability, the true all-in-one portable computer .
The KIRAbook from Toshiba offers a sleek profile with some pretty solid specs. The laptop is available in different ranges, but the unit we’re taking a look at is the KIRAbook 109. This offers a full 1080p display, Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. We also have the usual bells and whistles with WiFI and Bluetooth, although sadly not Ethernet connection. The laptop comes in a very sleek, thin profile that clearly stems from a MacBook design, which seems to be the most common ultrabook design profile we have seen lately.
Before we take a look at the laptop itself, let’s check out the specs for the KIRAbook 109.
Windows 8.1 64-bit (pre-installed)
- 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-5200U Processor for Ultrabook™ with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
- 33.8cm (13.3″) , Full HD display
- 128 GB SSD
- 8GB of DDR3L RAM@1,600 MHz
- Intel® HD Graphics 5500
- W x D x H : 316.0 x 207.0 x 19.8 (not including the rubber foot) mm
- weight : 1.10 kg
We have a very thin, and fairly lightweight laptop here. The specs show it’s not going to shy away from tasks, and it’s nice to see more than 32/64GB storage, which for some reason has become more typical as of late.
The KIRABook 109
Toshiba have no problem going with the famous MacBook design. The laptop includes a thin profile, brushed-aluminum style; albeit plastic body, with back-lit keyboard and large touch-pad. The display is 13.3-inches and has a slim bezel.
On the right we have an SD card reader, 3.5m headphone jack, and USB port. On the left we have the power jack, full size HDMI out, and 2 x USB ports.
The entire touch-pad has a tactile left click, along with the normal left/right click areas on the bottom. This takes some getting using too, as when aiming for the right click, you can easily cause a left click instead, if your not directly on the right click button itself. Again, a slight issue that takes a while to get use too.
The back-lit keyboard is a great aspect of the Toshiba KIRABook. It looks great and works great, Simple.
The entire laptop is under 20mm, making it an extremely thin laptop. It’s lightweight as well at just 1.10 kg.
Performance is an important factor for laptops. We cracked out PCMark 8, which gives us a fantastic idea of real world performance through their benchmarks. This test includes, web browsing, word processing, video chat, photo editing, gaming, and more. The different benchmarks we ran are Home, Work, and Creativity, and finally Storage. Each test is aimed at determining the performance levels of their individual aspects.
Typical tasks like web browsing, video chat, and even photo editing are not an issue for the Core i5 CPU. We see solid performance mostly across the board with some casual gaming also not to bad on the KIRAbook 109.
Mainstream gaming is big no no, but some casual gaming shouldn’t have any issues. This is common with small/ultrabooks, which don’t carry dedicated graphics cards. Nothing unexpected here, it’s clear this laptop isn’t aimed at any mainstream games, but some low-level games will run grand.
Another benchmark from Futuremark, Powermark runs through a set of typical benchmarks like the ones above, but this is done continuously on battery power until the laptop reaches 15-percent battery – from there we get an idea of how long the device will last on full load. The PowerMark benchmark is done with 50-percent brightness.
Okay, so it must be noted here that gaming for 55 minutes alone took 43-percent of the battery, with word processing, video playback, and web browsing taking 13-15 respectively. So as we have said before, this laptop isn’t really aimed at gaming, but none the less, even at load the laptop would give you 4 hours of battery.
Swapping out the gaming for web browsing or word processing would give you at almost another 2 hours of battery life. So very good battery life for such a thin/light laptop.
It’s time to wrap up our review of the Toshiba KIRABook 109 from Toshiba.
The from factor of Laptops haven’t change in a long time, and the main principle now seems users want lightweight, thin, and powerful. The KIRAbook mostly fills that category. The lightweight/thin form factor making it a breeze for portability, but we also get a decent size 1080p display.
It’s not the most powerful unit on the market, but the Core i5 and Intel HD graphics aren’t holding the unit back, and we felt it could easily handle every task we did, from browsing the web with over 10 tabs open, video chat, and even some adobe programs like Photoshop and Audition. Nothing fell short or slowed down and Everything ran smoothly.
The included back lit keyboard is one area this laptop shines. It just seems to work very well, and typing was a complete pleasure. Full speed typing wasn’t an issue and as it’s a laptop, it’s important to get the keyboard as best as possible, and Toshiba did exactly that. The only drawback is the slight issue with the touch-pad that requires a little getting use to and making sure not to hit above the right click if that’s what you want to do.
To sum up, were very fond of the Toshiba KIRAbook, after spending few weeks with it, it’s a solid laptop that offers a great design, performance, and portability. It ticks the right boxes and was a pleasure to use.The price is on the high side of things with the KIRAbook coming in at €1,099. However, the full HD display, Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD inside a thin and lightweight laptop all justify the price tag, and if your looking a solid ultrabook, then the KIRAbook is definitely something that should be on your list.
The KIRAbook is awarded Gold, and we gladly recommend it for anyone looking for a slim, lightweight ultrabook that aims to please.
A big thanks to Ruairi and John at the Keogh Partnership and Toshiba for sending out the KIRAbook for review.