Toshiba’s new business ultrabook, the Portégé X20W-D is the sort of computer you want to have with you all the time. It’s slightly smaller than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and only slightly thicker and heavier than that tablet.
However it comes with a real keyboard, a stylus, a full high-definition screen and a collection of security features that most tablets and 2 in 1 computers lack.
This is a modern business 2–in–1 model that like others of its kind it can operate in a number of configurations, including as a laptop and tablet, as you would expect. But it also can be folded over in a tent-style mode for watching videos and a presentation mode with the keyboard folded under the screen to act as a base. It’s set up so that Windows can change screens depending on the configuration.
The Portégé is easy to use in most of the important ways. The screen is clear and it responds readily to multi-touch input. Toshiba includes a Wacom AES pen, although there’s no place to store it on the laptop as there was on the Lenovo X1 Yoga we recently reviewed. But the X20W is smaller than the Yoga, which may mean there’s no place for a pen.
Like many similar computers, the keyboard is slightly sunken below into the case so that the screen can be closed tightly. This makes for a very thin laptop, but it also makes typing more difficult – something that the Yoga solved by making the keyboard raise and lower when the lid with its built in HD display is opened and closed.
The pen serves as writing device as well as a pointer that works well on the touch screen, a handy feature for those with fat fingers—like me, for example. The Protégé comes with a trial version of Adobe Sketchbook. However, when I tried it, there was significant latency before anything I drew actually appeared.
The $2,059 tag on the review machine covers an Intel i7-7600U vPro processor, 16 GB of system memory, but only 256 GB in storage on a solid state drive. A larger 512 GB SSD is available from Toshiba. Toshiba also makes less expensive versions of this laptop available with slower processors, less memory and a lower price.
In use the Portégé feels solid, which gives the user confidence about its durability especially for business travel. The Onyx Blue Magnesium alloy chassis and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 screen make this a tough laptop that has been tested to meet MIL-STD-810G standards for shock, vibration and dust resistance.
Toshiba has included a number of valuable features, including a fingerprint pad embedded on the touchpad and backlighting under the keys. However alternate key functions are printed in a dark gray that’s hard to read in anything but very bright light, or by using the flashlight function on your phone, which is what I did.
The keyboard itself is well designed for easy typing, except with its slightly sunken position issue that I mentioned earlier. It’s worth noting that this laptop does not have the protective ridge in front of the spacebar that I’ve found on other ultrabooks that seriously interfere with the keyboard. Its slightly depressed position in the case is something you can get used to.
The full 1920 x 1080 HD display is very clear and easy to read with LED backlighting that is very bright. The Portégé has a surprisingly good set of speakers that belie their tiny size. Watching music videos or a movie is a comfortable experience with this device. The pictures are clear with excellence definition and range of brightness. Still photos and drawings are likewise clear.
As is the case with some other 2–in–1 laptops, the one thing that suffers is the number and type of ports. With the Portégé you get two. One of them is a USB 3.0 port, and the other is a USB Type C port that supports Thunderbolt 3 and video. If you need more than this, you’ll need to order Toshiba’s Thunderbolt 3 expansion dock.
Toshiba includes a USB type C to HDMI adapter with this laptop. One thing to keep in mind is that the laptop draws its power through the USB type C port, so you can’t use the adapter and also the power. Fortunately, Toshiba says the battery will last for 16 hours.
The Thunderbolt 3 docking station from Toshiba has an MSRP of $299 and it provides a wealth of ports, and it provides power to the Portégé via the USB Type C port. With the docking station you get three more USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, two HDMI ports and two Display Ports, one regular sized and one that’s a Mini Display Port. On the front of the docking station are two USB type C ports and another USB 3.0 port and a headphone jack.
While the Portégé in this test is an expensive laptop, so are the others with which it competes. Part of the reason it’s expensive is that it’s packed with high-end components. The other reason is because it’s built to very high standards that should give this computer an exceptionally long life, even when it has to spend its time being tossed into the overhead luggage compartment, dragged through streets and occasionally dropped.
This is an excellent choice for a business laptop. It’s well designed and comfortable to use. The Toshiba Portégé X20W-D is a 2–in–1 laptop that you can be confident will come through the tough times on the road while working reliably in the office.
Editor’s Note: This review was updated to correct the name of the Toshiba Portégé X20W-D ultrabook.