Toshiba has always come up with an interesting take on the world of computers, and this year, the company is about making machines that inspire a new line of notebooks.
First, we had the Kirabook, a machine that pushed premium to a new level and was the first PC to feature a Retina-class screen.
Now it’s time to see what Toshiba can do with the Portege Z10t, a notebook that attempts to bridge the Ultrabook and tablet divide by throwing in a keyboard dock with the tablet and giving the customer two for the price of one.
Toshiba’s Portege line has usually meant slim and light, and that’s exactly what Toshiba is bundling in this machine, a notebook that packs all the innards in the tablet section and throws in a keyboard dock to keep the PC mentality close by.
Inside the tablet section is an Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 1.5GHz and from the third-generation, also known as “Ivy Bridge,” working alongside 4GB RAM, Windows 8 Pro, and a 128GB solid-state drive.
Intel’s HD graphics 4000 is the only choice of graphics here, which should suit most people, unless they have gaming on the agenda.
Wireless connectivity is build into the tablet, unsurprisingly, with 802.11 b/g/n Wifi, Bluetooth 4.0, support for DLNA, and 4G LTE provided you have a SIM to throw inside, while wired ports are handled by a microHDMI port, USB 3.0, headset jack, and a full-size SD card slot.
All of this sits underneath an 11.6 inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen boasting a resolution of Full HD (1920×1080) and supporting multiple points of touch.
Two camera are available on this machine, with a one megapixel webcam on the front above the screen, and a three megapixel shooter on the back.
Being a tablet, you can expect the majority of control on this tablet to come from the touchscreen, but Toshiba has also provided a few buttons, too, including the power, rotation lock, and volume rocker, all of which are located on the right side edge.
Toshiba also bundles in a keyboard dock as part of the package, which allows the screen to be connected to a keyboard and two mice (Accupoint nib and touchpad) via a dock connector inside the hinge.
The dock also expands the port selection on the tablet to include a USB 2.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet, full-size HDMI, and a VGA port.
We’ve been eagerly awaiting the Z10t since we first heard about it earlier in the year, and now we’ve spent a week with it to see what exactly Toshiba has done to the transformer formula.
Picking it up in the hands, you’ll find there are two sections: the tablet and the dock.
We’ll tackle the first section because it really is the most important.
More tablet than Ultrabook, Toshiba’s Z10t packs in all of the important technology into the 11.6 inch tablet measuring 12.4mm thin, and while it doesn’t quite weigh as little as an iPad, at 850 grams, it’s still not an uncomfortable machine to hold.
We actually quite liked the weight when held between two hands, and the dotted texture that runs along the rear of the tablet means there’s always something to grip, and less chance for it to accidentally slide out of your hands when you’re not thinking.
The use of plastic as the main casing material does lend itself to feel a touch cheaper than a $1500 machine probably should, but its not uncomfortable in the slightest.
Then there’s the screen, and this is one area where Toshiba has crafted a winner: it’s sharp, clear, and great from most angles.
Like many a tablet screen, it is very reflective, and you’ll often find you’re staring at a mirror image of your hands in darker screens, but it won’t bother many.
In fact, with a pixel density of 189ppi, the Z10t’s screen is certainly great for the eyes, and is much better than the 11 inch tables packing in HD-only 1366×768 resolutions.
Touch responsiveness is also very good, and every Windows 8 gesture – from swiping on the right, left, bottom, top and the staple “pinch to zoom” – is picked up without any problem.