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Home Computers Toshiba Portégé X20 – a lightweight heavyweight (review)

At 1.1kg, 15.4mm thin, with a 12.5” HD touch screen, Wacom AES pen, and choice of Intel Kaby Lake Core i5 or i7 mobile processors, the Toshiba Portégé X20 is easily one of the lightest, yet one of the most powerful, enterprise-grade, 360° hinge design, business notebooks on the market.

This is Toshiba’s answer to the Windows 10 hybrid two-in-one design a.k.a Surface Pro and it has chosen a 360° hinge design as it adds even more functionality as a laptop, tent top, flat, presentation, and tablet. Add to that enterprise grade construction and a three-year international warranty and there is a lot to like.

It is backed by all the latest tech – Harman/Kardon speakers, Windows Hello, Wacom AES pen, Intel Kaby Lake Core processors, LPDDR4, M.2 PCIe storage, USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, USB-3.0, Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth, mag-alloy chassis, and even a dongle offering pass-through charging, USB-3.0 and HDMI video out!

I liked this device so much I really did not want to give it back. There is something about good old Japanese design and quality even if it makes it in its own factory in China.

The review instructions were, “Use it and tell us what you like and what could be improved” according to Justin White, product marketing manager at Toshiba Australia.

White, a Toshiba veteran, spoke about the company's direction. “It is now focused on business, enterprise, government, and education. We don’t want to paddle in the consumer space where price and bling over quality seem to prevail.”

White said that Toshiba’s selling propositions were that it had superior reliability (designed to be a workhorse), was supported and repaired locally (kept parts for a quick local turnaround) and it wrote its own BIOS so it was easy to customise for business customers use.

Frankly, there is everything to like about this Onyx Blue notebook and one very minor suggestion – the bezels at the top and bottom of the screen are huge! This chassis could easily accommodate an inch or more diagonal size and it would then take on Microsoft Surface Book.

Out of the box

  • The notebook
  • 5V/3A, or 12V/3A or 20V/2.5A charger
  • USB-C dongle with pass-through fast charging, HDMI, and USB-3.0
  • Wacom AES active pen (battery operated)

The 44W, 3760mAh battery will charge from a standard USB-C 5VC/3A charger (slowest) to a combination fast charge. Mobile Mark has given it a 13-hour life but in video playback tests it peaked at 11 hours – almost enough to get from Sydney to San Francisco on a single charge.

A word of warning, however – the charger is proprietary and will cost $79.95 if you lose it. I was stuck in San Francisco overnight (thanks, United) without baggage, and a standard USB-C charger took around six hours to top up.

Toshiba X20 info

Screen

It is a 12.5”, 1920 x 1080, HD, TFT, Gorilla Glass 4 touch panel and provides some of the most natural yet punchy colours I have seen on a display this size. The resolution was kept to HD instead of 2K or 4K to extend battery life.

Brightness is 350 nits and that is perfect for both daylight and night time use and its anti-glare filter works a treat – there is no reflection.

As stated earlier the chassis could hold a larger screen – I look forward to that as I really value the larger screen real estate of the Surface Book.

The Pen – one of the best

The capacitive touch panel has the new Wacom AES digitiser and Wacom AES pen (it will not use older Wacom EMR pens) but that means you can buy Wacom pens with different designs. The Toshiba pen costs $89.95 to replace.

The screen also supports 10-point, multi-finger gesture (pinch, pivot, 3-finger down, and swipe) for Windows 10.

Writing on glass was very good. It detects 2048 levels of pressure and has Toshiba Digital Ink Assist to detect when the digital pen is near the screen and disables the touch screen preventing unwanted cursor movement or accidental writing.

Keyboard

It has a typical Toshiba chiclet island-style, backlit keyboard and it is very usable. The key throw is around 1mm so it will slow down a touch typist a little, but I think the quality is worth that trade-off.

The touchpad is average – it takes three diagonal swipes to get the cursor from the top right to the bottom left. I found myself needing to use a Bluetooth mouse rather than the trackpad as I do with and the excellent HP x360 and Surface/Pro/Book where you can do the same in one swipe.

Speakers

It has two down-firing Harman/Kardon-tuned DTS speakers under the front wrist rest. While it is more than enough for personal use and mid/treble, is clear it lacks bass and stereo separation. I also found that when I put it on my lap, such as playing movies, the sound was muffled.

It swaps the sound from left to right depending on tablet or notebook use. In tent presentation mode, that means the sound is firing away from the viewer. This is one time where front-firing speakers would have made a difference, especially in presentation mode.

Intel Kaby Lake Performance

The review unit came with an i7-7600U at 2.8GHz, 16GB RAM, and a 465GB formatted M.2 SSD.

I compared it with a Surface Book, Intel 6th generation i7-6600U at 2.6GHz and found that in all cases the programs opened a fraction of a second faster.

The key difference is that the Kaby Lake has passive cooling and lower power use.

The dongle

The dongle has pass-through fast charging and supports one HDMI and USB 3.0. It is great to use on the road.

I also tested with a Kensington SD4600P, USB-C 4K, powered dock and it supports dual monitors, multiple USB ports and has powered charging (not fast charge).

Windows Hello web camera and microphone

It has two IR cameras to allow for facial authentication via Windows Hello face sign-in. This is one of the fastest implementations I have seen yet.

It has multi-directional microphones and handled Skype video calls well.

Specifications

Model Portégé X20
Part Number PRT12A-01W006 PRT13A-052002 PRT12A-01V006 PRT13A-05S002
CPU Intel® Core i5-7200U Intel® Core i5-7300U Intel® Core i7-7500U Intel® Core i7-7600U
Operating System Windows 10 Pro
HDD 256GB M.2 PCIe Solid State Drive 512GB M.2 PCIe Solid State Drive
Memory 8GB (On Board) 16GB (On Board)
Colour Display 12.5" FHD TFT Widescreen (1920 x 1080) with Ant Glare coating, Touchpanel (Capacitive) and 1 x Regular Wacom AES pen
Expansion Toshiba USB 3.1 Type C to HDMI/USB3.0 Type A Multiport Adaptor is bundled with Notebook
Wireless Communications Integrated Intel 802.11 ac + a/g/n (2x2) M.2, Bluetooth™ v4
Speakers harmon/kardon speakers
Camera HD webcam, Dual IR with Windows Hello Face Authentication and Cortana Premium
Primary Battery 3 cell 44Wh Lithium-Ion battery (up to 13 hours) (Mobile Mark™ 2014)
Power Supply 45W 5V, 9V, 15V and 20V USB 3.1 Type C Adaptor PD (Power Down)
Bundled Adaptor USB 3.1 Type C to HDMI/USB 3.0 Type A Multiport Adaptor
Keyboard

Frameless tile black 85 key keyboard with backlight, Clickpad with On/Off and Eco, Capacitive with 10 multi-finger touch with

Gesture Support, 1 x Button for Power on

Dimensions 299mm(W) x 219mm(D) x 15.4 mm(H)
Weight (kg) From 1.1kg
Physical Description Onyx Blue with Hairline, Magnesium Alloy Casework with 360° Hinge
Warranty

3-year international limited warranty parts and labour.  

Complimentary courier pick-up and return service available in AU & NZ only

RRP:

$2,145 (AUD) Inc. GST

$2,354.63 (NZD) Inc. GST

$2,420 (AUD) Inc. GST

$2,656.50 (NZD) Inc. GST

$2,365 (AUD) Inc. GST

$2,596.13 (NZD) Inc. GST

$2,915 (AUD) Inc. GST

$3,199.88 (NZD) Inc. GST

URL:

http://www.mytoshiba.com.au/products/computers/portege/x20

http://www.mytoshiba.co.nz/products/computers/portege/x20  

Summary

Well-built, great brand, will withstand commercial use, and at 15.4mm thin including the keyboard, it is a true lightweight heavyweight.

To get the most out of it I would recommend a USB-C Toshiba dynadock 4K or the excellent Kensington 4K dock for dual monitor, desktop use.

iTWire does not usually comment on value as the price is what the market will pay and Toshiba is a premium product. It is within the Microsoft Surface price bracket that currently uses a 6th generation Intel processor.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

 

 

 

 

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