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Hands-on review - Dynabook Portege X30L-G

25 May 2020

Dynabook is the new brand for what used to be Toshiba laptops. This change happened in January 2019. Although the name changed a lot of the things one loves about the laptops haven't.

As far as tiny laptops go, this one is a beauty. The Dynabook Portege X30L-G is super thin and ultra-portable. In fact, at just 870 grams, this is the worlds lightest 13" laptop.

Other comparable laptops are often 1.2 kilograms or more.

It's just 17.9 mm thick,  308.8mm wide and 211.6mm deep.

I was worried that with it being so small, that I wouldn't be able to throw this device around like I'm used to. The good news is that it has been certified to a military standard for toughness. The MIL-STD-810 military-grade certification covers drops, temperature, humidity and dust protection.

The 13.3-inch display is made by Sharp and has a full high definition resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. I'm no display expert, although I found it to be bright and clear. I am used to a shiny screen surface on my previous laptops, while this one has a matt finish, although it didn't impact my general office work.

Likewise, I found the speakers to be enough for basic use, although you would need external headphones or speakers for watching movies or other audio-visual experiences.

The screen is surrounded on the left and right sides by quite thin bezels (7mm) and the top and bottom by much larger ones. The top one includes two cameras, one for Windows Hello facial recognition and the other for video use.

The keyboard felt great, with a soft feel and every key backlit. The trackpad was very responsive and worked well, although because of the tiny form factor of the device, the trackpad was a little small and too close to the edge for long term use. All you need is an inexpensive wireless mouse in your laptop bag, I suggest.

I was amazed to see the array of ports including — two USB-B ports, a USB-C port, an HDMI port as well as headphone jack. You can also insert Micro SD cards and unbelievably considering how thin the device was an RJ-45 ethernet port.

In practice with most of my job being based in a web browser, the device lasted 8 hours and 10 minutes. Although the battery is rated up to 9 hours and 45 minutes. Your performance will vary depending on your usage, suffice to say, its enough for a full day of work for most people.

The device comes in two models; the differences are an i5 or i7 processor, 8 or 16GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB solid-state drive.

Pricing starts at $2,500 to $3,000, available through authorised resellers.

This is an amazingly tiny device with all-around good performance, good looks and a robust design. If you're a knowledge worker, then this is an awesome winner of a device!

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