Toshiba Kirabook is latest Windows laptop competitor to take on Apple MacBook Pro

Toshiba Kirabook is latest Windows laptop competitor to take on Apple MacBook Pro

Summary: The swanky and svelte notebook starts at $1,599.99 when it becomes available in May.

TOPICS: Laptops

There's lots of hand wringing about the high price of Windows 8 laptops and ultrabooks contributing to sales declines in the PC market, but that hasn't stopped manufacturers from embracing costly Windows 8 ultrabooks to compete against Apple's MacBook Pro lineup.

(Image: Toshiba)

Following on the heels of Samsung's Series 9 notebook family, Toshiba's new Kirabook lineup is a luxury bid that features premium, well, everything. From its AZ91 pressed magnesium alloy body and Corning Concore Glass display for touchscreen configurations to its 2,560x1,440, 13.3-inch screen, nothing about the Kirabook screams "budget laptop". Toshiba touts the chassis material, claiming it's 100 percent stronger than aluminum alloy and unique in the ultrabook category, as well as its AirFlow II fan cooling technology.

Like its competitors, the Kirabook is super svelte, starting at 2.66 pounds and 0.7 inches thick at its narrowest point. It also comes with a two-year warranty, in an age where a one-year warranty is usually the norm, and Toshiba's Platinum Service & Support.

None of this comes cheap, of course, no matter which of the three configurations you choose. Starting at $1,599.99, the base model includes an Intel Core i5-3337U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid state drive, and Windows 8 Pro. (Not surprisingly, given the form factor, no optical drive is included.) You can add touchscreen capabilities to this model for an additional $200, while the top-of-the-line flavor includes a touchscreen and bumps the CPU up to a Core i7-3537U for $1,999.99.

ZDNet's sister site CNET got some hands-on time with the Kirabook, and while its Retina-like display is impressive, pricing is obviously a concern for what else you get. It's going to be difficult to sell many premium Windows ultrabooks that cost more than some versions of the MacBook Pro, but maybe Toshiba will have better luck with the Kirabook.

Do you think so? Let us know in the Talkback section below.

Topic: Laptops

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • You get what you pay for...

    I can go out and buy a Dacia SUV for under 10,000€, so why would I pay over 50,000€ for a top of the line Range Rover? They both have petrol engines, 4WD and seats, do surely I would be wasting money on the Range Rover? Or how about around 30,000€ for a RAV4?

    The Range Rover and the RAV4 are much better than the Dacia.

    The same goes for laptops and ultrabooks. Why would I pay over 1,000€ for an ultrabook like the Toshibs, when I can get a 13" Acer with a Celeron processor for 300€? Because it offers more.

    It seems to be that people only look at the price today. If it is over 400€, it is too expensive, even if the components inside cost 1,000€...

    At the end of the day, it is whether the combination of components are worth the price to YOU, as to whether it is too expensive. If you just need a cheap mobile device to do some web browsing, that is going to quickly get scratched, then it isn't worth forking out over a grand on an ultrabook.

    If you need something that looks good and can do a decent bit of heavy lifting, then you won't find what you need in the sub 500€ bracket...

    I'd certainly like to look at the Toshiba, before making my mind up, although it will probably still be way over my budget, once it gets over here.
    • Laptops have become a commodity

      That's why only a few are willing to spend $1000 or more. Apple fangirls have long switched their minds off and are apparently willing to spend ridiculous amounts of money for what is a simple laptop.
      • ?

        "fangirls"? Really?
    • By the same measure

      Why pay $1600 for this Toshiba notebook, when for $1500 you get the MacBook Pro with Retina Display?

      Just like with the example of the Dacia vs an normal SUV, those who can afford it will go straight for the "real thing".

      At the end, no matter how good, cheap, or whatever those ultrabooks are, it's obvious hey are trying to compete with the MacBook. An uphill battle... no way to win. Just make something different and be done. Intel made the wrong choice here.
      • plus

        a couple of hundred bucks for Windows and Parallels, so that I can run our ERP software, A Mac isn't for everyone.
        • if we continue with the car analogy

          Any original accessory for the Land Rover is likely to be times more expensive than analogous original accessory for the Dacia (if it exists). An Land Rover owner will buy their accessory any time. Not sure about the Dacia owner...

          The Mac is not for everyone, correct. Perhaps, this is the secret sauce that makes Apple so successful -- they do not try to sell to anyone, at any price.
          • I love it!

            When people seem to be arguing how Apples so good because they charge top dollar for iProducts. To steal a line for Toddbottom3
            "You can't make this stuff up!"
          • Apple will ultimately fail

            And therefore, Apple is elitist, snobish, bourgeois nonsense and utterly overpriced junk. Like buying a Rolex...the most hyped, stupid watch on the planet. They all tell time.
  • On what comparison?

    > The Range Rover and the RAV4 are much better than the Dacia.

    On what reasoning do you base that statement? According to Neil Lyndon the Duster is a fabulously capable SUV, brilliant off-road and he was seriously considering getting one himself (he lives in a farm house in the Scottish Highlands so NEEDS an SUV, unlike most Range Rover and RAV4 drivers). See link (external)

    Same goes for the laptops. There are very, VERY few people who require more than a basic core i3 and 4GB of RAM. And most of those use-cases (Video editing, graphic design etc) also require a much bigger screen than 13.3". Yes, there will be a few people who can actually justify the cost (though I can't actually think of any) but, in the vast majority of cases, these machines will be bought by people who can write them off as a business expense "heavy lifting" just doesn't come into it.
    • The same...

      as with the Range Rover. ;-) With the new Range Rovers, it is harder to justify, although the earlier versions were really a class above most off roaders that you could buy.

      But the Dacia and RAV4 and RR comparison, the equipment, especially electronic assists and 4WD technology in the RR is vastly superior to the Dacia Duster and the power and outright handling. That doesn't make the Dacia a bad car or incapable of going off-road, but if you loaded it up with more comfortable seats, the same sort of electronically assisted off-road systems, Sat-Nav and so on that the Range Rover has, you certainly won't be able to stay under 10K.

      The question is, do you need all of the extra? If yes, then the RR is still relatively good value for money, if you just need something to stick hay bales in the back of and plug around the farm, then the Dacia is the more economical purchase. If you just need to inspect your farm, before rolling up to Claridges for lunch, then a Dacia just won't cut it. ;-)

      TBH, I think Range Rover lost the plot about a decade ago, where you used to see Range Rovers plugging through tropical forests, up to the windows in swamp water and mud, I don't see the Evoque doing that, or at least I don't see the groups of people who do those expeditions forking out for a luxury carriage like that, they'll stick with a reliable second hand RR from a few years ago.
    • not to sound crude

      But the typical Dacia car, including the SUV is only good in the looks. They all use typically outdated engines and equipment and in no way survive as long as "real" SUVs.

      Having said that, in my personal classification RAV4 is more on the Dacia side, than on the Land Rover's. :)

      Very similar to cheap and more expensive laptops, by the way. Either will take from A to B, some will break in the process, some will not.

      It's all according to the user's preferences and priorities.
  • So when the resolutions gets good.

    The prices go insane, no matter if it's a mac, a pixel or a toshiba.

    I will make a sarcastic question: why get this when you can get a $300 laptop that do the same? :D
  • I-talian Sportscar!

    Built for those that envy the great looks of an Apple, but can't get the hang of replacing the "Alt" key with the "Option" key.

    I personally bought a blonde, Personal Secretary and she can use whatever she wants.
    • Alt vs. Option key

      LoL! Thanks so much for the laugh ;)~
  • retina like???

    Why must it be retina like?? How about a detail like 331 ppi. Oh wait that is the Nokia 920. Usually using a phrase x-like means it is not as good as the cited item. Give us the numbers and we can decide if the difference is important.
    • Nokia Lumia 920

      Last time I looked at Nokia Lumia 920 it was still an mobile phone, not ultraportable notebook.