Toshiba LX830 review
A capable all-in-one with a screen that’s perfect for movies, but stuttering menus and inconsistencies spoil the show
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.
|Price ex VAT||£665|
|Price inc VAT||£798|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||4|
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|CPU family||Intel Core i3|
|CPU nominal frequency||2.40GHz|
|Conventional PCI slots free||0|
|Conventional PCI slots total||0|
|Internal SATA connectors||1|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Memory sockets free||0|
|Memory sockets total||2|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Hard disk usable capacity||931GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,080|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Dimensions||566 x 182 x 415mm (WDH)|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Windows 8|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||32fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.64|