The creator of the portable PC known as the notebook has a few more this week, as Toshiba lets loose with a few machines that are all business.
Once a leader in the PC space, Toshiba has been taking a bit of a backseat of late, looking to its consumer and business divisions and merging them to focus on business grade gear. You still might see some consumer stuff, but generally business technology is made to survive, and that could be better for consumers since businesses tend to buy once expecting it to last several years.
With that in mind, Toshiba has this week rolled out updates to three ranges of its notebooks, with the Portege, Tecra, and the Satellite Pro series all getting changes for the better, upgraded for the computing power of today rather than the last time Toshiba had new models.
The Satellite Pro R50 starts the range, with a 15.6 inch matte high-definition display providing 1366×768 on a computer with Intel’s sixth-generation Core i5 and i7 processors depending on which you go for. Windows 7 Pro actually comes on this computer out of the box, though media for upgrading to Windows 10 Professional is included in the box in case you want that, and hey, there’s no touchscreen either which is completely intentional.
Toshiba expects as much as eight hours of battery power from this one, and there’s even a DVD burner in the computer, suggesting it’s for people who need older styles of computers and need to read and write to that optical format.
The Satellite Pro R50 starts at $1210, and will be joined by four Tecra models, including the A40, A50, Z40, and Z50.
All of the updates to the Tecra range appear to be fairly configurable, with 8GB RAM configurable to 16GB across the range, as well as either a Core i5 or i7 processor, and the choice of either a 500GB hard drive of a 256GB M2 solid-state drive which based on what we saw in South Korea last year suggests super high speeds.
Primarily the difference between these machines is size, screen and expandability, because the A-series Tecra gets a HD-only screen (1366×768) and support to expand the computer using a port replicator dock, while the Z-series is designed to be more like a slim Ultrabook and offers a Full HD display (1920×1080).
Toshiba’s 2016 Tecra machines start at $1375 with the A40 at that price, the A50 at $1430, the Z40 at $1980, and the Z50 at $2090.
Finally, there’s the range which should attract attention as it always has: Portege.
In 2016, the Portege starts at $1485 for the R30, which delivers a 13.3 inch transreflective LCD running HD’s 1366×768 resolution, Intel sixth-generation technology, and the choice of either a hard drive or a solid state drive. In theory, this should bring up 13 hours of battery life, which should be good news for businesses.
More impressive, however, are Toshiba’s Z series of Portege, with the Z30 bringing a 13.3 inch Full HD touchscreen (1920×1080) display and Corning’s anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coating, with more Intel sixth-gen Core i5 and i7 goodness, an M2 SSD, and up to 16GB of RAM, though more likely to be 8GB out of the box. Toshiba even expects 14 hours of battery power for this one.
Starting at $1815, it does look made for business, but we’re more intrigued but the $2255 Z20T, which takes much of the same technology and bundles it into a 12.5 inch Full HD display with a keyboard you can connect to.
Think of this one as Toshiba’s version of the Surface, and it will even some with up to 16GB RAM and up to 512GB SSD, with the Z20T weighing 1.51 kilograms in Ultrabook laptop mode and only 730 grams as a tablet. Better, there is up to 19 hours of battery life on this model.
As good as some of these look, we keep coming back to one thing that bothers us: screen resolution.
We’ve had this discussion with Toshiba before, and the company definitely knows what it’s doing in regards to good screens, something we experienced in 2013’s Kirabook, but since that machine popped out, we haven’t seen many high-grade screens beyond the 4K-based laptop from last year that was hard to find.
“At Toshiba we need to keep in mind the requirements of every user, which as you can imagine is very vast,” said Justin White, Product Marketing Manager of Toshiba’s Business Solutions Division in Australia.
“It is for this reason we offer a range of screen resolutions from HD through to Full HD, allowing the customer to choose based on budget and or application,” he said. “I personally use a FHD screen and constantly advise of the quality, crispness and vibrant colour, however I can’t convince everyone that this is for them.”
White told GadgetGuy that while the Kirabook technology was “groundbreaking” when it was launched, “it was designed with retail customers in mind”.
“It had a CSV (glossy) screen coating which is not preferred by business customers who want to be able to use their notebook without constant glare from overhead lights or from windows,” he said. “By maintaining a maximum resolution of FHD we have also managed to extend battery life by over half an hour from the WQHD Kirabook resolution.”
So while we take aim at Toshiba for keeping resolutions down across most of its range, battery life is apparently the reason.
And now you know. Let’s just hope the company can work on a solution to increase both at the same time, because with laptops from other manufacturers beginning to pull that together, Toshiba will need to as well.