Toshiba has unveiled a new high-end laptop that boasts a host of premium features including an impressive 13-inch, 2560 x 1440 resolution touchscreen display. The system, which runs on Windows 8 and features a pressed magnesium alloy body, is both thinner and lighter than Apple's 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

You might be familiar with Toshiba from its low- to mid-range machines such as the popular Satellite range, but the company has its sights set significantly higher with the KIRAbook. The laptop, which is the first in a line of KIRA-branded premium products, features a choice of third generation Intel i5 and i7 processors, 256 GB of SSD storage and 8 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM.

Toshiba claim the system will run for around six hours on a single charge of its 52-Wh Lithium Polymer battery pack, which is not user replaceable.

The notebook measures just 0.7 inches (18 mm) thick and has a starting weight of 2.6 pounds (1.18 kg), depending on the chosen configuration. Toshiba also claims that the laptop's AZ91 pressed magnesium alloy body is one hundred percent stronger than standard (A6063) aluminum alloy constructions. Impressive stuff.

Other features of note include a frameless LED backlit keyboard, Corning Concore Glass (touchscreen models only), three USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wireless-N Wi-Fi connectivity, and 25 GB of complimentary cloud storage (courtesy of Norton Online Backup). On the audio front, Toshiba has opted for a set of Harman Kardon stereo speakers with DTS audio processing.

The KIRAbook will also come bundled with Abode Photoshop Elements 11 and Premiere Elements 11 software, as well as Toshiba's Platinum Service and Support package, something the company is comparing to Apple Care.

The system's high-def display, which will be available in both standard and touchscreen configurations, falls just short of that on the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, with a pixel density of 221 pixels-per-inch against Apple's 227 ppi offering. It also doesn't quite match up to the Chromebook Pixel's impressive 239 ppi display. That said, it's unlikely that those differences will be easily discernible by the naked eye.

Though the KIRAbook may be thinner and lighter than the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, it's also a little more costly, with prices starting at US$1,599.99 for the standard i5 model, $1,799.99 for the touchscreen i5 version and a full $1,999.99 for the touchscreen i7 configuration. The KIRAbook will be up for pre-order from May 3, with purchases starting on May 12.

Source: Toshiba

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