The one constant complaint against a tablet is that it cannot be used to do productive tasks and that, it is mainly a media consumption device. Laptop makers have come up with the 2-in-1 category, to counter that. Post the Windows 8 release, we have seen many 2-in-1s and that trend is going to carry on. With improvement in the processor architecture, we have started to see Intel Core-i5 and Core-i7 chips inside these devices. Toshiba Portege Z10t is a 2-in-1 with an Intel Core-i5 processor as well. Is it just another 2-in-1 or do we have something special at hand? Let’s find out.
Build and Design
The Toshiba Portege Z10t comes in a dark gray textured plastic body for the tablet part, whereas the keyboard has plain design. Let us look at the keyboard first. The 11.6-inch screen size means you have to forgo the number pad on the keyboard. This section is quite slim on the sides and only bulges around the hinge where the tablet docks on to. The backlit chiclet keyboard has a good layout and it houses a blue trackpoint, which is more rough on the surface as compared to a trackpoint seen on a ThinkPad machine for instance.
The left and right click keys have a good amount of feedback and when used along with the track point, you will not feel the need to use the monolithic trackpad which is nowhere close to the user experience with the trackpoint. The isolated keys on the keyboard are flat-topped and have a decent amount of travel. Arrow keys, tab, spacebar and caps lock keys are smaller in size as compared to a regular keyboard. While typing on the keyboard, we noticed that there was a minor amount of flex on the base of it. Edges of the keyboard are clean and you have the LAN port, HDMI and D-Sub port on the rear side. This is ideal to connect the Portege Z10t to a bigger display while making presentations or sharing screen. A power port is present on the right hand side.
Coming to the tablet part of the Z10t, we were impressed with the textured finish on the rear side. The air vents on the top can be a little annoying when you hold the tablet in the portrait orientation. When attached to the keyboard, the top and left hand side edge of the tablet portion are clean. On the right hand side you have - from the top - a power port, an auto-rotation lock button, volume rocker, power and battery indicator, audio jack, USB 3.0 port, mini HDMI port, SD card slot and finally a power power. The tablet also sports a Windows 8 button on the base.
When using the Portege on your lap, you need to ensure that the hinge angle does not diverge too far from 90 degrees, as then the centre of gravity of the Portege will make it topple over. When using it on a flat surface like a table, you can extend the hinge all the way, and there will be no toppling over.
The rear side of the keyboard has four rubber feet at the four corners and one in the centre. When placed on a flat surface, you can see that there is gradual slope from the top to bottom, which is better than having a completely flat layout, specially when you have the Portege on your lap.
Toshiba Portege Z10t comes in various configurations. The one we got - Portege Z10t-A X0432 - houses an Intel Core i5-4210Y which is clocked at 1.5GHz, has 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD. Internal graphics are provided by Intel HD 4200. The Z10t comes with a Windows 7 Professional OS installed on the device and it also bundles in a Windows 8.1 Pro recovery disk, using which you can install the Windows 8.1 Pro if you so wish. Toshiba’s strategy to go with a Windows 7 Pro OS on a 2-in-1 may seem strange, but it looks like they are addressing business users, some of who may want Windows 7 Pro instead of the touch optimised Windows 8.1.
The Y series corresponds to Intel’s low voltage line of mobile processors which are characterised by a low clock speed - 1.5GHz in this case. It is a dual-core hyper-threaded processor. The 11.6-inch IPS screen has a native resolution of 1920x1080. There’s an inch long black bezel running across the tablet. It comes with a VGA front-facing camera and a 3MP rear camera. You can also place the tablet in the opposite direction such that its rear side faces the keyboard. This mode can be used while giving presentations or while watching movies. Although in this mode, the Portege is running entirely on the tablet power, even if you connect the power port to the keyboard. The backlit keyboard helps a lot when you are working in lowly lit surroundings.
The display on the Toshiba Portege Z10t is pretty impressive. Crisp colours, ample brightness, barely any colour shift when viewing at different angles (thanks to the IPS panel) and a speedy touch response are some of the hallmarks of the tablet’s display. Using the touch pad on the keyboard dock is annoying thanks to its monolithic design and with the left and right click buttons placed on the top of the trackpad, it makes more sense using the trackpoint rather than the trackpad. Getting used to the trackpoint along with the mouse buttons will require a little learning. But once good at it, you will barely feel the need to use the touchpad.
Thanks to the Intel Core i5 processor, the Portege is speedy when you are using it. The touch response is smooth and playing back HD movies and listening to music is easily handled. We had around 12 tabs open with 5 of them playing videos along with Windows Media Player playing an audio file. The CPU utilisation was hovering around 15-20 per cent which is great. But the low powered processor does show its comparatively slower performance (compared to the U series processors seen in laptops) when it comes to real life tests, as can be seen in the chart below.
Audio is loud enough to be used in a closed room, but when using it outdoors the surrounding traffic noise may drown the Portege’s audio. Since the speakers are firing downwards, the sound is a bit muffled when you are using it in the laptop mode. Sound separation while hearing dense audio files isn’t good as there is no instrument separation. But thankfully, we did not notice any distortion of audio at maximum volumes.
Video reproduction was fine for casual viewing. The reflective screen does tend to reflect the background especially in dark scenes. But we had no issues playing back full HD files and we did not notice any sluggish behaviour either.
The integrated Intel HD 4200 graphics gave a 3D Mark score of 223. Resident Evil 5 gave around 38 fps at 1280x720p at Medium settings. So the Toshiba Portege Z10t can play older titles at lower resolutions, but this is not a device that is optimised for playing games.
Verdict and Price in India
Toshiba Portege Z10t is a 2-in-1 clearly targeting the business user who wants to have a work machine which also works as a tablet. The 11.6-inch screen size is definitely smaller for those whose main work involves working with spreadsheets, but for others dealing primarily with word documents or emails, the Z10t is a good choice. The performance is good, the touchscreen is quite responsive, audio isn’t the best. But the price point of Rs 98,000 is definitely on the steeper side considering there are a lot of options in that price range. Sony Vaio Fit 13A comes with a 13.3-inch full HD screen with mostly similar specifications around Rs 70,000. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 13-inch comes with a 4th gen Core i5 processor and 4GB RAM for around Rs 60,000. HP Pavilion x2 although coming with a 1366x768p screen comes around Rs 70,000 as well for the Core i5 model.
Long story short, Toshiba’s price point is not attractive at all. Some models of the Portege come with a digital pen, which will take the cost to a whopping Rs 1,20,000.
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