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.
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.
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