Toshiba Portégé Z10t review
A tough, competent tablet hamstrung by a terrible keyboard dock and a high price
Review Date: 14 Nov 2013
Reviewed By: Bobby MacPherson
Price when reviewed: £987 (£1,184 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
As might be expected of a business Ultrabook, Toshiba has prioritised practicality over attractive design. Mating an 11.6in tablet with a keyboard dock, the Portégé Z10t is finished in a frumpy grey, textured plastic, which, while unattractive, is designed to mask the wear and tear of office use and survive the horrors of a daily commute.
At 794g, the tablet portion of the Portégé Z10t is substantially lighter than Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 . It doesn't match Microsoft's tablet for stout build quality, but despite some noticeable flex in the chassis if you grapple it to and fro, the tough plastics feel solid enough to fend off knocks and bumps.
The tablet docks home securely into the supplied keyboard dock, and is held in place by a pair of chunky-looking catches. With the tablet in place, the Portégé snaps shut to make a stocky, 11.6in clamshell laptop. Thankfully, there's no danger of the tablet unexpectedly coming away from the keyboard dock – the recessed latch below the screen is impossible to disengage by accident. Together with the dock, the Z10t weighs 1.38kg.
Despite its compact size, the Z10t still manages to pack ample connectivity. Dotted around the tablet's chassis are a micro-HDMI output, a full-sized SD card slot, a single USB 3 port and a 3.5mm headset jack, while the keyboard dock adds full-sized HDMI and D-SUB video outputs, Gigabit Ethernet and a USB 2 port.
Like several of its rivals here, the Toshiba touts 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and a Core i5 CPU. Unlike its peers, however, the Z10t employs one of Intel's Y-class Ivy Bridge processors, which has a lower power draw than the other Ivy Bridge U-class processors here. This results in lower system performance – the Toshiba achieved a modest 0.48 in our Real World Benchmarks – but keeps battery life competitive. In our light-use battery test, the Portégé Z10t lasted 7hrs 35mins, ten minutes longer than Sony's Haswell-powered VAIO Tap 11.
The Toshiba's Full HD touchscreen also puts in a solid performance. Brightness peaks at 272cd/m2, contrast reaches an excellent 939:1, and only colour accuracy is significantly off the pace. Despite the IPS panel's wide viewing angles, it struggles to reproduce the most vibrant extremes of colour.
Unfortunately, the Z10t's ergonomics are a mess. Indeed, while the tablet portion works perfectly well thanks to its responsive touchscreen and light weight, the keyboard dock is an unmitigated disaster. As there's no battery in the base to counterbalance the tablet, the hinge barely allows the screen to tilt back past the 90-degree mark before toppling over. As a result, it's impossible to set the screen at a comfortable angle, regardless of whether you're using the Z10t on a desk or on your lap.
Worse still, the keyboard's squat, flat keys barely give any feedback, and the decision to place the PageUp and PageDown buttons next to the right-Shift key is aggravating – it's all too easy to dab them by mistake. The touchpad is its main failing, however, and while the touchpoint gets a pair of dedicated, physical buttons, the touchpad is stuck with a pair of touch-sensitive zones beneath, which often required multiple taps to activate.
The Portégé Z10t tells a cautionary tale: it's a solid, capable tablet ruined by a terrible keyboard dock. If you're looking for a true do-it-all business hybrid, we have one piece of advice: save up for Lenovo's ThinkPad Helix, it's well worth the extra outlay.
Author: Bobby MacPherson
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