Tag Archives: ultrabook

Gadget Fever and the Holidays

Don’t you hate it when you write a post on your mobile device, publish it, and it disappears forever!  Does this happen to anyone else?

I’m writing this post (for the second time) on my Toshiba z835 Ultrabook. I wrote this post the first time on my Nexus 7.


I was going to ask for the Nexus 7 for Christmas, but I got a severe case of gadget fever this summer and pre-ordered one from Google.  I use my Nexus 7 for a few hours every day, so I’m getting my money’s worth.  I watch videos on Netflix and YouTube, read the news, and browse gadgets on eBay.  I had hoped that I would be able to do some of my school work on the Nexus 7, but it turns out that productivity is much easier and more reliable on my ultrabook, or a real computer of any kind…(I’m still stewing about the lost post!)

I realize that no matter how well a device meets my wants and needs, I get bored with it and begin looking a new devices.  I think its a case of “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”  My gadget fever really hits its peak about the middle of summer when I start thinking about going back to school, and this time of year, when the new has worn off my back to school gadget.

Well, this year, when I started feeling the twinges of holiday gadget fever, I started looking at old-school PDAs on eBay.  I ended up getting a Palm Tungsten E2 with a charger, leather like case, and a 64MB SD card for $20.


For the record, this is the best Palm device I have ever owned.  I had planned on using it as a journal / graphing calculator / alarm for school, but it seems my pockets are too full to accommodate anything else. I guess I could just leave it setting on my desk…I may give that a try next week, but I might be tempted to play Space Trader (my favorite Palm game) when I should be grading papers.

In the midst of me enjoying my new Palm, Microsoft released the Surface.


If I were in the market for a tablet right now, this would be the one – it’s got a full version of MS Office – everything I have been looking for in a tablet.  I’m ashamed to say I actually thought about selling my Toshiba z835 to get one on these.  If I didn’t already have a laptop, I would probably get a Surface and be happy, but I think ditching my laptop for a Surface would leave me constantly frustrated with all the things I couldn’t do.

I made it through the release of the Surface without succumbing to temptation, then Apple drops the iPad mini.


I had endured the months of rumors without the slightest hint of desire.  I have owned an iPad 2, and it is a wonderful device for media consumption. But my dream device has a productive side (maybe the Surface is my dream device).  Well, then I saw the iPad mini.  I can honestly say, I love the Surface for Its brain, but I love the iPad mini for its body.  I’m infatuated with the iPad mini’s design.

I considered selling the Nexus 7 on eBay and getting an iPad mini, but I really need to get my gadget spending under control.

I went to Best Buy yesterday and actually touched an iPad mini.  It was nice, but I resisted temptation.  Instead, I got a nice notebook from the Martha Stewart collection at Staples.


I’m excited about using it as a journal. I’ve gone through gadget phases and paper phases before.  For the sake of my bank account, I’m hoping this is the beginning of a long paper phase.


Update: Toshiba z835 Ultrabook after a Month

     I’ve been using a Toshiba z835 Ultrabook as my primary home computer for over a month now, and I have no complaints.  It came with MS Office 2010 Starter, which would have been fine, except I’m a math teacher and the equation editor was disabled on the Starter version.  I upgraded to Office 2010 Home and Student.  Now my lesson plans are always up to date because I write them in an Excel workbook that I saved in Dropbox.  It’s the most convenient setup I’ve ever used.

I’m usually ready for school before my daughter, so thanks to the z835’s quick boot time I can review my lesson plans or check out the news while I wait for her.

I use Chrome as my default browser.

Durability has not been an issue, even though it feels so fragile.

I appreciate the battery life of the z835 since my youngest daughter (9 years old) uses it as much as I do, and she usually closes the screen when she is done and just lets it go to sleep.

Bottom Line:  The Toshiba z835 is still my favorite laptop, as well as the best value in the Ultrabook category.

Toshiba z835 Ultrabook

Best All Around Ultrabook!

     I got a new gadget over Christmas break.  This is going to have to be my last gadget…for a while anyway…as in more than a year.  I got a Toshiba z835 ultrabook – and I love it.  Instead of being a distraction that keeps me from work I need to be doing, it is a beautiful effective tool that makes doing my work fun.
     I sold my Samsung Series 5 Chromebook and Blackberry Playbook Prior to getting my new laptop.  Samsung’s 1st generation Chrombook was a nice device – felt kind of cheap, but looked nice, worked well, but Google docs was not working to my satisfaction.  I would type a test or worksheet and get it formatted the way I wanted, then when I printed it, the formatting was totally different.  The 7″ 16 GB Blackberry Playbook is a nice tablet – perfect size, high-end feel, nice OS, but the selection of apps is horrible.
     I’ve tried other options, but I keep coming back to a Windows 7 device running Office 2010 and Dropbox.  This is the most efficient way for me to create and edit/update lesson plans, grades, and other documents at home and at school.
Toshiba z835 Pros:
  1. boots fast – around 20 seconds
  2. very light – 2.5 lbs
  3. long battery life
  4. back lit  keyboard – didn’t know I needed it until I had it
  5. reasonable price – $799
  6. doesn’t get hot
  7. looks nice
  1. The extreme light weight of the z835 makes it feel fragile, thought I don’t know how fragile it actually is.
     Though the individual specs don’t stand out as super awesome, when considered together, the Toshiba z835 is the best all around Ultrabook for using around the house, or in my case for a teacher.  I let my 9 year old daughter borrow mine, but she knows she has to be careful with my gadgets, so I don’t know if it’s sturdy enough to stand up to students use.  I did read a user review (I think it was on Best Buy) from a student who claims the z835 travels well in his backpack.
The Bottom Line:  I think you get the best bang for your buck with the Toshiba z835.