Toshiba hasn’t been known for offering premium tech for a few years now, but the Japanese company plans on attacking the high-end market in a big way with its Kira brand of upcoming products. First up is its newest Windows 8 laptop: the Kirabook. The base model for Toshiba’s newest machine will set users back $1599 when it launches on May 12 (pre-orders open on May 3), but the company is hoping that its focus on quality and power will justify the high cost of entry.
It may be onto something. If the Kirabook’s specs are any indication, it will immediately become Toshiba’s most technically impressive laptop as soon as it’s available. The Ultrabook most notably sports a 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1440 (221 ppi) display, which puts it right in line with the super high-res screens found on the MacBook Pro with Retina display and the Chromebook Pixel.
Both of those laptops do not run Windows, however, which makes the Kirabook something of a benchmark right out of the gate. Since it is a Windows 8 laptop, there is a touchscreen option available, but it’ll cost $200 more than the standard non-touch model.
Under the hood, the Kirabook houses a third-gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB solid state drive. Its speakers come courtesy of Harman Kardon, and its keyboard is backlit. It’ll also come with a two-year subscription to Symantec security software, including 25 GB of online storage via Norton Online Backup, Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 and Adobe Premiere Elements 11.
Toshiba further says that Kirabook owners will be able to utilize its “Platinum” support team, which the company claims will provide “24/7 phone support” and free access to repair and assistance services. The machine comes with a two-year warranty too.
Measuring 0.7 inches and weighing in at 2.6 pounds, the Kirabook also sounds sufficiently thin and light. Toshiba is touting its magnesium alloy housing and “honeycomb base” as well, but TG will reserve judgment on that and the rest of the Kirabook’s features until it’s able to go hands-on with the device.
There are potential pratfalls – battery life could be a concern with that display – but for now, Toshiba sounds like it isn’t kidding about its attempt to disrupt the higher end of the PC market. As previously mentioned, the base Kirabook with a Core i5 and non-touch display will cost $1599. Adding a touchscreen to that will bring it up to $1799, while packing a Core i7 on top of that will raise the total to $1999.