This year’s Kirabook 13 i7s Touch comes with a number of improvements over its predecessor. With its premium design and hardware that packs a punch, it is Toshiba’s top of the line Ultrabook that can compete with Apple’s MacBook Air. At $1699, the new Kirabook is one of the best machines money can buy and one of the top contenders for the title of best high-end Ultrabook.
Design and Features
On the outside the Toshiba’s new Kirabook 13 i7s Touch is similar to the last gen Kirabook. The body is made from a magnesium alloy, which is claimed to be 100 times stronger than the aluminum used in MacBook Air. The body feels solid in hand with no flexing and thanks to the honeycomb pattern finish, it is easy to handle. At 0.7 inches thick, it has a very ultraportable design and weighs only 2.76 pounds. It is even lighter and thinner than Apple’s MacBook Air and similar in size and weight to the Dell XPS 13. Even with its slim chassis, Kirabook 13 i7s Touch comes with a variety of I/O ports. On the left side, there is an HDMI port and two USB 3.0 ports, while on the right side there is another USB 3.0, SD card slot and a microphone jack. For wireless connectivity it features Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band 802.11a/b/g/b Wi-Fi with WiDi support but lacks an Ethernet port and Optical Drive.
The new Kirabook comes with an impressive 13.3-inch display, with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and Concore Glass. The display is very sharp and has a pixel density of 226 pixels per inch. Not only does the display produces accurate colors, it is one of the brightest displays with average brightness of 281 lux. One drawback is that most of the apps are not optimized for higher than 1080p display and their UI becomes almost impossible to use. The touch screen is very responsive and easy to use with the touch optimized Windows 8.1. Kirabook 13 i7s Touch comes equipped with stereo speakers which produce crystal clear sound and are loud enough to fill a small room.
The new Kirabook 13 features a large LED Backlit keyboard with slightly concave keys which are comfortable to use. The function keys on top are designed primarily for multimedia use and for their actual function, users have to press and hold the Fn key along with the function key. The keys are properly spaced and provide plenty of key travel and tactile feedback. Below the keyboard is a large multi touch trackpad with gesture support. The new Kirabook 13 comes with original Windows 8.1 Pro preinstalled with many apps including Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 and Premiere Elements 11, Amazon, Dragon Assistant, NetFlix and Microsoft Office Trial. Toshiba also offers a two-year license of Norton Internet Security updates and Norton Anti-Theft. It covered under two-year warranty from Toshiba including specialized tech support line.
The new Kirabook 13 is powered by an Intel Core i7-4500U processor with 4MB L4 cache and Intel HD Graphics 4400. The processor belongs to Intel’s latest Haswell series of processors which are famous for their superior performance. It is equipped with 8GB of 1600MHZ DDR3 RAM and a 256GB Solid State Drive for blazing fast performance. During PCMark 8 Work Conventional test, it scored 2581 points while Surface Pro 3 scored 2704. It completed the Handbrake test in 3 minutes 12 seconds, while the Surface Pro 3 completed it in 2 minutes 59 seconds.
The new Kirabook completed the Photoshop CS6 test in 4 minutes 37 seconds, while the Surface Pro 3 completed it in 4 minutes 48 seconds. During CineBench R15 Kirabook scored 235 points while the Surface Pro 3 scored 255 points. The new Kirabook comes with a non-removable 4-cell battery which lasted 8 hours 44 minutes during a battery test. It lasted 3 hours more than the previous Kirabook which lasted 5 hours 50 minutes during the same test. This improvement is mostly due to Intel’s new Haswell series processor, which are famous for their low power consumption. The battery life is impressive and lasts longer than most rivals, including ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch which lasted 4 hours 36 minutes during the same test.
The new Kirabook 13 i7s Touch is Toshiba’s top of the line Ultrabook that comes with a gorgeous WQHD touchscreen display and performance that leaves most of the competition behind. With its slim design and premium components, it competes with the likes of MacBook Air and Ativ Book 9 Plus. The price might be a little steep, but it is worth every penny and it has the hardware to smoke all its rivals. All this makes the Kirabook 13 i7s Touch one of the best high-end ultrabooks.