Tech review: Dynabook Portege X30L-G is an ultra-light notebook with long 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, 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 that 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, thanks to 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.

The Portege, though, also comes with an infrared facial recognition camera, which I preferred 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 non-reflective 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, a 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 8hr 15min in The Straits Times video-loop battery test with the screen set to the maximum brightness.

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

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