Toshiba Goes Uber Upscale With Kira Ultrabook

While some players in the Ultrabook category look to mine the mid-range price points for sales, Toshiba has set its course in the opposite direction with the recent release of its Kira line of Ultrabooks.

Dubbed the Kirabook is not Toshiba's first entry into the Ultrabook segment, but it represents the company's initial attempt to create a high-end line to attract what it calls the "discerning adopter." And it has done so in a very stylish and appealing manor.

These target customers fall between 30 and 40 years old, is a photo buff, and is evenly split between men and women. These consumers do have money to spend, so while they may not be first adopters, they keep track of trends and will jump in when the time is right, Toshiba said.

And having a few extra dollars is a good thing when shopping for a Kirabook as they are admittedly, by Toshiba, not the least expensive models on the market. However, that is expressly by design as the company has no desire to participate in the on-going race to the bottom that is currently taking place in the Ultrabook market three-SKU line of 13-inch models that start with the $1,599 Intel Core i5-powered model.

The entry-level model has a non-touch display, but both step-up models, costing $1,799 and $1,999, will have touchscreens. The midpriced model also features an i5 processor, while the flagship piece has an i7 processor.

Other features include 8GB of memory and a 256GB solid-state drive.

The Kirabooks are very pleasant to look at and are no trouble to tote with the same basic size and weight of a large tablet inside a nice cover. Toshiba spared no expense with the industrial design. All the models feature a pressed magnesium-alloy cover, improved keyboard, Retina-level display -- which Toshiba calls Pixel Pure -- and a dedicated Kira customer-service program. The open end of the clamshell comes to a very nice rounded edge making it easy to hold.

The backlit keys have a nice feel to them and are positioned so that the users thumbs do not constantly flick against the touchpad thus moving the cursor unwantedly around the screen.
Toshiba includes a two-year warranty for the Kirabooks along with a special customer service experience for Kirabook owners. This will include 24/7 phone support with access to U.S.-based customer service personnel, annual tune ups, rapid repair and setup assistance.
Most importantly, and often overlooked, is that included in the purchase price is a two-year subscription to Norton's Internet Security, Anti-Theft and Online Backup with 25GB of storage provided.