Today, getting a Windows 2-in-1 is all about compromise. Toshiba is hoping to change that by not forcing users into making bad hardware choices and giving them amazing battery life. The Toshiba Encore Portege Z20t is still a tablet, but it has an optional hardware dock free of the negatives associated with other convertibles.
Toshiba announced the Portege Z20t at the Consumer Electronics Show taking place his week in Las Vegas. For $1,399 this January businesses get the best experiences that Windows has to offer. Toshiba has been able to strike a balance between notebook and tablet by rethinking some of the trends that have taken over the PC landscape in the last few years.
There’s no 360 degree hinge or add-on keyboard to be seen with the Portege Z20t. Instead, the Portege Z20t is two halves of one whole. An Intel Core M Processor, up to 8GB of RAM and as much as a 256GB solid state drive are inside the tablet half of the Protégé Z20t. The Toshiba Portege Z20t’s tablet half is dominated by a 12.5-inch high-definition IPS display. There’s a hardware Windows button below that display and a webcam just above hit. Toshiba has smartly added some ports to the right edge of the Portege Z20t’s tablet half. There’s a headphone jack, miniHDMI plug for connecting to displays, a microSD card slot, a single microUSB port and volume buttons. There’s no fan, and Toshiba’s has included Toshiba’s TruPen technology and apps in this device for better note taking. There’s Wi-Fi AC support, a gyroscope and an ambient light sensor in this half of the Portege Z20t.
The bottom half of the Toshiba Portege Z20t is truly the best part of the notebook. The Portege Z20t’s dock includes the things you might expect. There’s a full-size trackpad and back-lit keyboard for when an on-screen keyboard and touch just aren’t ideal. Too often we see compromises when it comes to docks themselves. Some companies throw everything they can into the tablet part of their convertible. This makes switching into tablet mode easier, but means you aren’t getting the full notebook experience. For example, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is a great productivity tablet, but really doesn’t provide anything close to a full notebook experience. The Surface Pro 3 Type Cover doesn’t have any ports and doesn’t boost battery life.
The Portege Z20t’s dock does and that’s what makes the entire system so interesting. On the left edge of the Portege Z20t are a full-size HDMI port, VGA display and Kensington lock slot. On the right edge is a power port, Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 ports. The tablet half of the Protégé Z20t locks into a grooved hinge on the keyboard dock. Toshiba engineered the groove and keyboard so that they’re reversible. Because of this, buyers have a presentation mode that puts the touchscreen display front and center.
The smart decisions made by Toshiba don’t stop there though. Each half of the Portege Z20t has a battery. Separately, the tablet half of the Protégé Z20t can run for about 9 hours. The dock and tablet halves together get an astonishing 17.4 hours of battery life.
I walked away completely impressed by the Toshiba Portege Z20t’s build quality and features. The latch mechanism for connecting the tablet to the keyboard dock was sturdy, the machine itself speedy. The keys on the dock had just the right amount of travel. One thing that did have me worried for business users was Windows 8.1. Most business are actively avoiding it. Toshiba has said that any business that purchases the Toshiba Portege Z20t will be able to downgrade to Windows 7 if they choose to do so. Combined the halves of the Toshiba Portege Z20t weigh 3.3 pounds. Separately, the tablet half of the Toshiba Portege Z20t weighs 1.6 pounds.
Toshiba says that business will be able to purchase the Toshiba Portege Z20t from sites by the end of January for $1,399. It’ll also be sold at Toshiba Direct, Toshiba’s website. Users who just want a tablet without the TruePen technology and keyboard will have the option to purchase the Toshiba Portege Z20t for $899 this coming February.