Thanks to its magnesium alloy body and slim frame, the KIRAbook will surely get mistaken for a MacBook Air
from time to time. The system measures 12.44 inches wide by 8.15 inches deep, and is only 0.7 inches thick. And at under three pounds, the KIRAbook is easy to balance on one hand. Toshiba went for a clean look here – the logo on the lid is faint and doesn’t attract notice, and the only area that has a different color is the keyboard. It’s not a bad look, but with so many computer makers using metal (or plastic made to look like metal), the KIRAbook isn’t an aesthetic standout.
The display is certainly eye-catching, though. At 2560 x 1440, the resolution is higher than HD. Video looks great on the display and although some users have complained of fuzzy text, we didn’t find that to be the case with our review unit. Text showed up crisp. The screen is glossy, so we ran into glare issues outdoors, but glare was muted indoors near windows. The KIRAbook doesn’t use an in-plane switching (IPS
) panel, which is a feature that improves viewing angles on displays. However, viewing angles on the KIRAbook are probably OK for most situations, and certainly better than some of the laptops we’ve looked at recently, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400
Touch. And speaking of touch, the display is a 10-point touchscreen that handled our swipes and taps without incident.
One thing to keep in mind is that the display is surprisingly flexible, despite that magnesium alloy lid. In fact, we felt the display flex even when we simply moved the screen backward or forward by gripping the top corner.
As for ports, the KIRAbook features three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI
port, and an SD card reader. One of the USB ports is a sleep-and-charge port, meaning you can power another USB device (like a smartphone, for example) while the system is off. The fan is placed at the bottom of the KIRAbook. Noise aside, we like that the fan is out of the way and we dig Toshiba's creative fan grille.
The keyboard is necessarily flat. The keys are reasonably far apart and feel a little less responsive than keys for other laptops and ultrabooks we’ve reviewed recently. That said, the keyboard didn’t slow us down noticeably. In our typing test, our average words-per-minute rate dropped by only 1 WPM from Lenovo’s Z400 Touch to the KIRAbook. Some things we like about the keyboard: The arrow keys are designed so you can easily find them by touch, rather than by looking down, and the right-hand Shift and Back Space keys are nice and big. Another plus is a Wi-Fi key for quickly toggling wireless functionality. The Delete key is tiny, but that’s a minor quibble.
The keyboard backlight is strong and the key labels light up well in the dark, which is god news for travelers. We like the touchpad. It’s responsive and handled multi-touch input with few hiccups over the course of the review.
We can also report that the Kirabook includes a nice long power adapter cord. The cord is 11.5 feet in length, giving you more room to move around than many other laptops. Speaking of little perks, the KIRAbook includes some interesting software too; we'll check it out next...