Toshiba's Kira offers Windows users a stylish lightweight ultrabook with an excellent high resolution screen and design reminiscent of the MacBook Air. On the downside, it has an internal battery, no docking station, and no mobile broadband.
Compact but sturdy, impressive display, stylish
Non-removable battery, no vPro, no mobile broadband
Display: 13.3in PixelPure display (2560x1440) touchscreen with Corning Concore glass
Processor: Intel 1.8GHz Core i7-4500U dual-core
RAM: 8GB DDR3L
Storage: 256GB mSata
Wireless connections: 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth
Ports: 3x USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card, headset jack
Camera: 0.9MP webcam
Battery: 4-cell 52Whr lithium polymer
Toshiba's Kira ultrabook is a slimline system offering an excellent high resolution display and an Intel Core i7 processor in a lightweight yet sturdy chassis. It is clearly aimed at those wanting something a cut above the standard laptop.
Available in the UK since the first quarter of this year, the Kira is a 13.3in ultrabook that seems to have drawn its inspiration from Apple's much sought-after MacBook Air portable, from its thin wedge shape to its brushed metal finish. It even has a screen similar in resolution and pixel density to Apple's Retina display technology.
On the downside, the Kira also follows Apple's lead in offering a minimal selection of I/O ports, and also in having a non-removable internal battery. Sadly, it cannot match the battery life of the MacBook Air, even if it comes close on style.
For enterprise buyers, the system also lacks Intel's vPro security and management features, and does not appear to have support for a desktop dock. However, if the Kira has similar appeal to Apple's MacBook Air, IT managers are likely to find these coming through into the workplace as bring your own device purchases.
The Kira was fêted by Toshiba at launch as its ultimate ultrabook and, with its thin, tapering magnesium alloy casing, certainly looks the part. With a footprint of 316x207x19.8mm, the device is almost exactly the same dimensions as the 13in MacBook Air, but just a couple of millimetres thicker. Like Apple's product, it also narrows to less than a centimetre thick at the front, when closed.
At 1.35kg, it exactly matches the weight of its Apple rival, making it nicely portable, but not the lightest laptop we have seen by a long chalk. However, that magnesium alloy casing feels reassuringly solid for a system of this weight, and the hinge - often a weak spot - seems sturdy enough to stand up to a certain amount of punishment.
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