Toshiba LX830 review
A capable all-in-one with a screen that’s perfect for movies, but stuttering menus and inconsistencies spoil the show
Review Date: 20 Nov 2012
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £665 (£798 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Laptops and tablets have dominated the launch period of Windows 8, but the desktop PC hasn’t been entirely neglected. Touchscreen all-in-ones naturally benefit most from the Windows 8 approach, and Toshiba has delivered one at a keen price.
Toshiba’s LX830 matches Dell’s Inspiron One 23 with a 23in, 1,920 x 1,080 screen, but the display quality far exceeds that of the Inspiron. The Toshiba’s measured brightness of 233cd/m2 outshines the Dell’s 189cd/m2, and its contrast ratio of 1,244:1 far outstrips the Dell’s abject 305:1 result. Colours have plenty of punch but aren’t oversaturated, and there are no problems with viewing angles. There’s no backlight bleed, and our only complaint with the display is the extremely glossy finish.
However, the screen does falter when you start navigating Windows 8’s apps and menus. It suffers intermittent stuttering as you attempt to scroll either vertically or horizontally, especially when you attempt a quick-flick gesture to move rapidly from left to right or vice versa. Given that there are no problems with swift scrolling with a mouse, we can only hope this is a touchscreen driver issue that may be remedied with a driver update. As it stands, it’s a juddery, inconsistent experience.
Indeed, the LX830 is riddled with inconsistencies. The PC ships with a remote control geared towards Windows Media Center, but is pre-loaded with only the standard version of Windows 8. To upgrade to Media Center, users will need to pay another £49 for the Windows 8 Pro Pack. In its defence, Toshiba does ship its own media player and ArcSoft TV 5 for use with the integrated DVB-T Freeview TV tuner, but they’re both lacklustre and don’t work perfectly with the supplied remote.
Toshiba’s bundled a selection of other own-brand and third-party apps with the LX830. The Toshiba Places app, for example, includes stores from which you can download movies, music and (curiously for a desktop PC) ebooks. Yet, while these apps are touch-friendly on the surface, you’re thrust inelegantly into the web browser whenever you attempt to buy your media.
The Toshiba can’t compete with Dell on raw power. The Inspiron uses an Ivy Bridge Core i5 desktop chip alongside 8GB of RAM, but the Toshiba makes do with a lesser part. The Core i3-3110M is a mobile chip that runs at 2.4GHz, and it’s partnered with 4GB of RAM. The Toshiba scored 0.64 in our benchmarks: while it’s enough to make Windows 8 feel lively, it can’t compete with the 0.93 scored by the Dell.
The Intel HD Graphics 4000 core can’t hold a candle to the AMD Radeon HD 7650A GPU inside the Dell, either, lagging 15fps behind the Dell with a score of 32fps in our Low quality Crysis benchmark. The rest of the specification is pretty standard with a 1TB hard disk, single-band 802.11n wireless, and Gigabit Ethernet.
The low-power processor didn’t put undue demands on the Toshiba’s cramped internals. The processor’s top temperature of 73°C is fine, and there was hardly any noise from the vents at the top of the machine when it was stress-tested. The peak power draw of 74W is modest, too.
The Onkyo speakers deliver plenty of volume and a punchy mid-range that masks the slight lack of bass, and they’re fine for watching movies in a bedroom. You won’t be watching them on Blu-ray, though, as the drive is only DVD, although there is an HDMI input to connect third-party players and consoles if desired.
The LX830’s chassis isn’t as flashy as the Dell’s exterior. The case pairs gunmetal-grey plastic with a black, glossy screen surround, and there’s a 1-megapixel webcam above the panel. The stand affords a very slight variation in viewing angle. Ports on offer include two USB 3 sockets, four USB 2 ports, an SD card reader and a headphone output – but no optical S/PDIF, which Dell included – and only one audio output rather than three.
The bundled wireless keyboard and mouse won’t trouble the fashion mavens at Vogue with their workmanlike appearance. The keyboard is compact and well spaced, but unpleasantly spongy to type on, while the mouse is nothing more than perfunctory.
The Dell costs £878, but a poor screen hampers its good looks and power. Toshiba’s £799 system includes a much better screen and decent speakers, and its internals are perfectly capable for media and run-of-the-mill computing. It’s just a shame that the lack of Media Center and patchy bundled apps mar the experience. Both have their faults, but if you’re after a Windows 8 all-in-one, we’d give the nod to the Toshiba until something better appears.
Author: Mike Jennings
I'm amazed no one at Microsoft, Toshiba or indeed PC Pro has heard of Gorilla Arm.
"The side-effect that destroyed touch-screens as a mainstream input technology despite a promising start in the early 1980s. It seems the designers of all those spiffy touch-menu systems failed to notice that humans aren't designed to hold their arms in front of their faces making small motions. After more than a very few selections, the arm begins to feel sore, cramped, and oversized — the operator looks like a gorilla while using the touch screen and feels like one afterwards. This is now considered a classic cautionary tale to human-factors designers; “Remember the gorilla arm!” is shorthand for “How is this going to fly in real use?”.
By cyberindie on 20 Nov 2012
Never mind Gorilla arm
What about all the finger marks, yuck.
We already have keyboards for spreading germs, we don't need the screen to get in on the act.
By Ulfarus on 20 Nov 2012
Desktop touch is a daft gimmick
Touchscreens work for things like museum information terminals and ATMs because you're only selecting a few options, and not switching backwards and forwards from a keyboard.
Even with a touch optimised OS, they're just a stupid gimmicky idea on a desktop monitor. They simply don't hold up to real world desktop PC usage. The larger the monitor the less practical it is to slide around it with your finger.
Add the annoyance of smearing it with finger grease and this is just a fundamentally stupid idea.
By davek99 on 20 Nov 2012
have to agree with you on that davek. i can't stand finger marks on any type of screen including my smartphone. they ruin the image and can actually increase eye strain just the same as dirty lenses on glasses if you have to wear them.
By mr_chips on 20 Nov 2012
"It suffers intermittent stuttering as you attempt to scroll either vertically or horizontally"
You mean like the Recommended Mac Book Pro 13 Retina..........
By TigerUnleashed on 20 Nov 2012
Now try one of these with a kinect camera for the PC instead.No touching of the screen, just wave your arms in front of it to get it to work..or would that result in monkey arms instead...?
By Jaberwocky on 20 Nov 2012
I hear from a MS insider that the plan for Windows 9 is to abandon the old fashioned keyboard and mouse for desktops and instead use a Kinetic interface.
So to shut down the computer its very easy - simply:
1. Leap up high and to the right to touch the right corner of your ceiling to open the charms menu
2. Immediately crouch down to the left corner and punch hard right so your fist is within 1 mm of the right wall to open the settings menu. More than 1mm and you'll either not activate it or punch the wall
3. Simultaneously head-butt forward to open the power settings
4. Finally triple summersault backwards to activate the power off button.
By cyberindie on 21 Nov 2012
Sounds like a plan...they could then call it Wii fit.....err I mean Win9 fit.. ;-)
By Jaberwocky on 21 Nov 2012
No thanks - already I hate glossy screens due the amount of reflection on them. To have them smeared all over with fingerprints as well would *intensely* annoy me.
As soon as I got my first Smartphone, I got a screen protector which was properly matte and finger-print resistant (far more so than these so-called oleophobic coatings on the screen which don't seem to make any difference it would seem). It makes the screen ever so slightly more fuzzy, but I'm prepared to put up with that and have a clean screen!
It's like my Dell monitor (UltraSharp 2407WFP from 2006) which is also matte itself - I refuse to change it on the grounds it's a great screen with very little reflection and NO fingerprints!
Touch on a desktop is a gimmick which simply won't work (it's just not comfortable!).
By mrmmm on 21 Nov 2012
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