PC

Lightweight laptop with good battery life

The Toshiba Portege X30 weighs in at just 1.05kg.
The Toshiba Portege X30 weighs in at just 1.05kg.

Lightweight laptops built with magnesium alloy have been launched this year from the likes of Acer, Asus and LG. These ultrabooks generally weigh around 1kg or less, and are lighter than aluminium-clad laptops.

These product launches may seem like the start of a trend, but in actual fact, Toshiba has been building magnesium ultra-portable notebooks for years.

Take for instance, Toshiba's latest Portege X30 laptop. It retains the same magnesium-clad design as last year's model. And at 1.05kg, it is just as lightweight as the new kids on the block.

The X30 looks rather nondescript, as you'd expect of a business laptop. The Toshiba branding at the bottom corner is the only striking feature on its lid, which has a bland, brushed finish.

The lid feels wobbly and flexes alarmingly, especially when compared with the rigid feel of aluminium lids. A minor grouse: the lid does not open all the way to 180 degrees, which is unusual, as it is a common feature on business laptops.

The screen is surrounded by slim bezels at the sides, though they are much thicker than the ones on so-called edge-to-edge displays. Its top and bottom bezels remain relatively chunky, with the Web camera located above the screen. An option for an infrared camera with support for facial recognition is available.

As for the display, it is decent, but hardly outstanding. Expect wide viewing angles and good colour reproduction, though with its matte finish, it does not look as showy as a glossy version.

  • SPECS

  • PRICE: $4,200

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-8650U (1.9GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel UHD Graphics 620

    RAM: 16GB DDR4

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

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI, microSD card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 48 watt-hour


    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The keyboard thankfully exhibits little flex and has decent key travel, too. It is backlit and, like most business laptops, has a pointing stick embedded in the middle.

The touchpad is so smooth that my fingers practically glide along its surface. But like last year's model, the fingerprint sensor is found at the top left corner of the touchpad. I would have preferred a different location as such an arrangement slightly reduces the usable area of the touchpad.

This year's X30 has been upgraded to the latest Intel eighth-generation processor. It is a quad-core chip compared to last year's dual-core processor. Unsurprisingly, the new laptop scored higher in the PCMark 10 system benchmark, with its 3,612 score eclipsing the 3,356 score set by last year's model.

Toshiba deserves points for the compact power adaptor included with the X30. It is a small squarish block that is light and easy to carry around. The laptop is charged via one of its two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, so the power adaptor can also be used as a smartphone charger for newer Android handsets with USB Type-C ports.

Battery life has improved significantly from last year's version. The new model clocked nine hours in our video-loop battery test at maximum brightness and volume, up from the 5.5 hours in the previous version.

My review set is priced at around $4,200, but because Toshiba sells its computers direct to businesses, prices will vary depending on the laptop configuration and number of units in the order.

• Verdict: Competent and lightweight business laptop that will comfortably last a full work-day.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2018, with the headline 'Lightweight laptop with good battery life'. Print Edition | Subscribe