PC

Portable and light laptop with long-lasting battery life

Toshiba's computers were rebranded as Dynabook after the Japanese electronics giant sold its PC business to Sharp in 2018.

But judging from the latest Dynabook Portege X30L-G, not much has changed besides the branding.

For one thing, it still looks more functional than stylish, though in a nod to modernity, Dynabook has reduced the thickness of the screen bezels.

But the Portege's functional slant is par for the course for a business laptop. More importantly, the latest iteration is, like its predecessors, one of the most portable notebooks in the market.

In fact, Dynabook says the X30L-G is the world's lightest 13.3-inch laptop with a 10th-generation Intel Core processor.

At around 870g, the Portege is indeed remarkably light. Just as impressive is the bundled charger, which fits in my palm and is almost as small as a smartphone charger.

But Dynabook's claim is disingenuous because while it is technically accurate, the Asus ExpertBook B9450 I reviewed earlier in May has the same weight, albeit with a larger 14-inch display.

As is often the case with ultra-light notebooks, the Portege is so handy because it uses a magnesium-alloy chassis.

While the lid exhibits a fair amount of flex, the palm rest and the chassis feel fairly rigid, because of an internal honeycomb structure. Dynabook says the laptop has passed several military-grade tests (MIL-STD-810G) for durability.

Also making the case for durability is the spill-resistant backlit keyboard. But the keyboard feels cramped - the keys are shorter than average while the Function keys are especially small. The keyboard is also shallow, though a light tap is sufficient to trigger a key press.

The touchpad is small by today's standards. And further reducing its usable area, a fingerprint sensor is located at the top-left corner.

  • FOR

    • Bright matt screen

    • Very portable

    • Excellent battery life

  • AGAINST

    • Lacks Thunderbolt 3

    • Keyboard takes some getting used to

    • Small touchpad

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $2,549

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-10510U (1.8GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel UHD Graphics

    RAM: 8GB DDR4

    SCREEN SIZE: 13.3 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1, 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet, microSD card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 42 watt-hour

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5 

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5 

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5 

    OVERALL: 4/5

The Portege, though, also comes with an infrared facial recognition camera, which I prefer over the fingerprint sensor because of its speed. But having a privacy shutter, like the ones found in some business notebooks, to block the camera when it is not in use, would have been nice.

Unsurprisingly, the Portege uses a Sharp IGZO screen that is rated at 470nits, which is very bright for a laptop display. Coupled with the screen's matt finish, I could read the contents of the screen even in an outdoor sunlit setting.

There is no need to carry a dongle with the Portege. It comes with two full-size USB Type-A ports, an HDMI port and even an Ethernet port. There is also a USB Type-C port, which can be used to recharge the laptop. A Thunderbolt 3 port would have been the icing on the cake, but it is unfortunately not included.

With its low-voltage Intel Core i7-10510U processor, 8GB of system memory and a 512GB solid-state drive, the Portege is more than capable at everyday computing tasks such as e-mailing, video conferencing and document editing. It scored 4,036 in the PCMark 10 benchmark, slightly lower than the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (4,233), which has a slightly better graphics chip.

More importantly, for a business notebook, the Portege has excellent battery life. It lasted eight hours and 15 minutes in The Straits Times video-loop battery test with the screen set to the maximum brightness.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2020, with the headline 'Portable and light laptop with long-lasting battery life'. Print Edition | Subscribe