System Performance

The Toshiba KIRAbook may be using the current "entry level" low voltage Intel Core i7, but it's still an extremely fast processor. The Ivy Bridge-based i7-3537U features a nominal 2GHz clock speed and is able to turbo up to 2.9GHz on both cores or even 3.1GHz on a single core, power and thermals depending. The HD 4000 graphics are also able to jump to 1.2GHz, but that advantage is likely to be much more modest. Finally, the SSD in the KIRAbook is a very capable one and should help it out in PCMark.

PCMark 7 (2013)

PCMark 7's leanings towards SSDs are essentially correct; as a whole, the i7-3537U in the KIRAbook is faster than any of the other ultrabooks tested, and the SSD is definitely snappy. It's remarkable that the vastly more powerful CyberPower Fangbook (which includes a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro) doesn't bludgeon the KIRAbook harder.

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x


CPU-centric benchmarks are also mostly in the KIRAbook's favor, but the first pass in x264 isn't as strong as it ought to be. The entry KIRAbook will be equipped with the same CPU as the Dell XPS 13 in these charts, so you're looking at a measurable decrease in CPU performance going that route. If the extra $400 for the upgrade to our review unit meant more than just Windows 8 Pro, a touchscreen, and the i7-3537U it might be easier to justify, but the i5-3337U is still a totally serviceable CPU.

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark 11

3DMark performance of the KIRAbook is pretty much par for the course; any differences between the ultrabooks listed can probably be chalked up to thermal design differences between individual chassis rather than differences in the CPUs themselves.

In and Around the Toshiba KIRAbook Display, Battery, Noise, and Heat
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  • robinthakur - Monday, May 13, 2013 - link

    I couldn't agree more, having prepared to disagree with you over your opening salvo! On paper, Windows has many more applications available, and perhaps in a business context this would be important. I thought I would have to compromise a little when I went over to Mac but have not found I have to so far. He only thing is visual studio for SharePoint development and I run this environment in a VM with no issues. The touchpad and gestures on a MBP are so fantastic I could never go back to a PC laptop ever again, regardless of whether it is running Microsoft's latest attempt at an OS. I am used to the admiring oohs and aahs when I show them the natural momentum scrolling and the gestures , Exposé etc. and several have purchased Mac's since I got one in the team.

    I can't fault MS's advertising trying to make Windows 8 seem less threatening to consumers, they are blanketing adverts across all media I consume. They must be one of the few companies that this strategy does not work for, which leads me to think that there is something wrong in between users deciding to take a look at the Windows 8 machines available and the final decision to buy. Perhaps bad feedback from friends and trusted sources, bad battery life, lack of apps or unfamiliarity are causing this to not translate into sales, or even the fact that MS have been so absent from the tablet market that all they remember is their previous attempts at convertible tablets which failed, as did their smartphones.
  • 8steve8 - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    I don't agree with the conclusion that a better laptop must be cheaper if it runs windows... the problem is more that none of the non-apple laptops are better (with the possible exception of the chromebook pixel)... they all seem to miss something here or there... usually touchpad, often keyboard or screen.. For example the power connector on apple laptops are amazing, so much better than any non-apple power connector i've seen... and actually it's pretty important since we are all constantly plugging and unplugging the device.

    I would pay the same amount for an apple quality laptop running windows, maybe more.

    but 5Ghz wifi is pretty important to me, and I cirtainly wouldn't consider a high end laptop that couldn't use it.
  • ananduser - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    The Zenbook and the Sammy Series 9 are both better than the MBA in every aspect. In fact the only excellent mac Apple sells is the 15" rmbp(and even that is pretty closely matched in all areas except panel). All others are surpassed by PC laptops.
  • repoman27 - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    I get that you're just trolling, but with the 13-inch MBA, for the same or less money you can get a faster processor (Core i7 3667U), larger SSD option (512 GB), more RAM (8 GB), DisplayPort, Thunderbolt (can drive two 2560x1600 external displays), better trackpad, etc. The only specs where the MBA loses are the number of horizontal pixels (1600 vs. 1440) and the number of MP for the camera (where Asus bothers to mention a number). And then of course there's all the usual places where OEMs try to hide the crap in the spec sheet and save a few pennies: does the SDXC card reader support UHS-I, what type of controller does the SSD use, how well is the display calibrated at the factory, does the WiFi solution support 3x3:3 MIMO on both 2.4 and 5 Ghz?
  • ananduser - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    The devil is in the details and I admit I haven't researched all aspects that you demand. Can't answer and won't bother searching. But off the bat I will say that(to me at least) TB and Displayport mean jack. I'd rather have ethernet instead of TB and spare myself the adapter cost. I'd also demand a W8 pro license included with the MBA for the same price... oh and a touchscreen just because.
  • mhampton - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    Wow, that's not even close to true. I've bought both, and the Zenbook is a nightmare to configure right (mainly the trackpad) compared to a mac laptop.
  • sweenish - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    It's a statement driven by sales numbers. It's stupid consumer logic. Consumers buy cheap Windows laptops that suck, get frustrated, and then spend three times as much on a macbook. They never consider spending more on a windows laptop, because in their heads, all windows laptops are the same, regardless of price.

    My wife is a rockstar at work with her Zenbook Touch. It just never enters peoples' heads that they could also spend more money on a Windows laptop.
  • Jon Tseng - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    Nice, but somewhat familiar design... KIRFabook? lol
  • heelo - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    When a product has a certain amount of success it can get to the point where it defines the category, and that's what's happened to Apple with the Macbooks and the iPhone (pre-Galaxy S3).

    Apple spent a lot of time and money selling people on the idea that glass clickpads and island-style back-lit keyboards are the best, and that aluminum unibody construction was the strongest, most attractive housing available. But they did such a good job of convincing everybody, that the natural result is that their competitors were forced to adopt those features in order to compete at/near the high end. That's just the price of success.

    And while I'm somewhat sympathetic to the idea that Apple should get to "own" the look that it invented, I simply can't overlook the fact that their notebooks haven't undergone a significant design change in more than half a decade.
  • Mikhail - Thursday, May 9, 2013 - link

    Stop. Where is DisplayPort here? Premium laptop'2013 without DP? I'm dissapointed.

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