Toshiba Portege Z20t Hands-On Preview

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Toshiba Z20t 2The Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 showcased how attractive a lightweight business 2-in-1 tablet could be. Now with Intel’s new low-powered Core M chipset on the market, manufacturers are taking advantage of lightweight fanless designs to offer greater portability to business consumers. One such device is Toshiba’s new Portégé Z20t laptop.

Similar to the Surface Pro 3, Toshiba is positioning its new convertible as the best of both worlds, offering the flexibility of a tablet, while still providing the productivity expected from a notebook. That’s because all of the device’s specs are stored within its 12.5-inch tablet.

Equipped with an Intel Core M chipset, up to 8 GB of RAM and up to a 512 GB SSD (starting at 256 GB), the Portégé Z20t offers strong performance in line with competing laptops. The hybrid features an attractive full-HD (1920 x 1080) IPS panel complete with a reflective coating. While our time with the device was limited, we can attest that the display held up under the bright lights of the CES showroom floor (which is no small task). But perhaps the most impressive aspect is that Toshiba manages to pack all of that into a thin 0.35-inch, 1.6-pound frame.

Toshiba offers an option where consumers can purchase the tablet separately from the detachable keyboard, but in our opinion what truly makes this device special is how well the keyboard dock and tablet both look and operate as a cohesive unit.

Toshiba Protege Z20t touchpadFrom a design perspective, the Portégé Z20t offers a clean attractive aesthetic perfect for business. The charcoal magnesium-alloy casing is offset nicely by the silver display hinge. The slight slant of the dock’s base allows the device to comfortably sit in a user’s lap, while the curved design of the display hinge helps keep the keyboard at an easy to access angle. The spill-resistant keyboard offers excellent travel and feedback (especially for a convertible device) and old-school business fans will be happy to find a trackpoint stick located between the “G” and “H” keys.

The tablet offers solid connectivity as it houses a microUSB, micro HDMI, and microSD card reader. The keyboard expands that featuring by adding two USB 3.0 ports, a full-size HDMI, RGB port, and a Gigabit Ethernet connector. The laptop also offers a lock slot, which will not only protect the keyboard dock but will prevent users from disconnecting the tablet while locked.

With a reversible display hinge, the display can be turned around to act as a stand or to function as a tablet, while remaining connected to the keyboard dock. The one notable downside to the dock is that it detracts from the device’s portability, as the tablet and dock together weigh a full 3.3 pounds. The Toshiba Portégé Z20t is still easy enough to travel with, but it is heavier than other Intel Core M laptops such as the HP Elitebook Folio 1020 and Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, which both weigh 2.6 pounds.

Toshiba Protege Z20tThere is a reason for the added weight however, as the keyboard dock houses an axillary battery reserve, which serves to significantly boost the Z20t’s battery life. According to Toshiba, the tablet itself averages around 9.1 hours of battery life, but when connected to the dock that number nearly doubles to an impressive 17.5 hours of battery life. The impressive gain is thanks to Toshiba’s complete in-house design. The laptop utilizes scalable TDP (thermal design power), which allows the Z20t’s CPU to recognize when it’s attached to the keyboard and run at a higher frequency as a result.

As a final incentive to pick up the tablet with the detachable dock, the Z20t is paired with a Wacom digitizer with 2,048 points of sensitivity. Consumers who opt for the tablet-only variant won’t be left high and dry though as there is a second small stylus stowed in the tablet’s body.

The Toshiba Portege Z20t will be made available beginning later in January starting at $1,400.

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  1. scott12

    Why hasn’t there been an in depth review of this unit by this publication? The fireworks at CES for this were all over the place and now scarcely a world since January, what gives?