If you're constantly on the go, lugging around a laptop and tablet can start to weigh you down. That's where hybrids like Toshiba's Portege Z10t-A2111 come in. A tablet that connects to a full-size keyboard dock, the Portege Z10t combines the convenience of a tablet with the functionality of an ultraportable notebook. And with a powerful Core i7 processor and 256GB solid-state drive, the 11-inch Portege can handle most anything you throw at it. But at $1,799, this high-priced hybrid isn't quite worth the sticker shock.
As a standalone tablet, the Portege Z10t is relatively attractive. Its back panel is made of a gray, textured plastic that makes the device easy to grip. Two air vents on the slate's backside help dissipate the heat generated from the machine's powerful components, but they don't do much for the tablet's aesthetics. The slate's back panel is also home to its camera as well as an integrated stylus slot. The bottom right corner has a chrome Toshiba logo. The Portege's power, volume and rotation-lock buttons are situated on its right edge, making them a bit of a pain to reach when using the hybrid in laptop mode.
The Z10t's dock packs a full-size keyboard and touchpad, complete with a roomy wrist rest. Notably for a hybrid, the Z10t's keyboard also features a pointing stick and associated buttons. Unfortunately, while the top of the keyboard looks clean and modern, the exposed screws and silver paint on the underside make it look like the bottom of an old microwave.Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, which measures 11.7 x 7.4 x 0.46 inches and weighs 1.8 pounds in tablet mode. The 11.6-inch Acer TravelMate X313-M is equally slim, measuring 11.6 x 7.5 x 0.35 inches and weighing 1.8 pounds as a tablet.
Connect the Z10t to its keyboard dock, and its size and weight increase to 11.8 x 8.7 x 0.78 inches and 3.2 pounds. By comparison, the ThinkPad Helix grows to 0.8 inches thick and its weight to 3.2 pounds with its keyboard. That said, the Lenovo's keyboard base features a built-in battery, something the Portege Z10t doesn't have.
Acer's TravelMate grows just 0.15 inches thicker and weighs 3.1 pounds when connected to its keyboard. Dell's XPS 11, with its 360-degree convertible design, measures 11.8 x 7.9 x 0.6 inches and weighs 2.5 pounds.
The Z10t registered just 243 lux (231 nits) on our light meter. By comparison, the ultraportable category average is 265 lux. The ThinkPad Helix topped out at 374 lux, while the TravelMate X313-M hit an impressive 399 lux.
The Portege Z10t's 10-point touch screen proved responsive during our testing, recognizing our input instantly.
We could barely make out the thumping base hits in DJ Snake and Lil John's "Turn Down for What," even with the included DTS Studio Sound software enabled. We also heard an occasional crackle from the speakers with the volume turned all the way up.
The Portege Z10t's speakers aren't particularly loud, either, registering just 71 decibels on our Laptop Mag Audio Test (this involves playing a steady tone at full volume at a distance of 23 inches). That reading is well off the 84-dB ultraportable category average. The Acer TravelMate X313-M hit 81 dB, while the Dell XPS 11 reached 84 dB.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Portege's netbook-sized keyboard sports smaller-than-usual Caps Lock, Shift, Enter and directional keys, making it harder to press these keys when typing quickly. You'll also have trouble using the Portege in your lap, as all of the hybrid's weight is in its tablet portion. As a result, when you put the device in your lap, it has a tendency to fall backward.
The Z10t's 3.3 x 1.75-inch touchpad includes a pair of outlines for its right and left mouse buttons. Unfortunately, neither of the buttons move, which was something we never really got used to. We were also slightly bothered by the fact that the touchpad's Windows 8 gestures were disabled by default. Thankfully, the Portege's pointing stick and its included physical buttons, situated below the spacebar, were accurate and responsive.
For users who find the built-in stylus too small, Toshiba also includes a much thicker stylus, which unfortunately can't be tethered to the Z10t.
Ports and Webcam
The Portege Z10t's 3-megapixel rear-camera captured grainy, dull images. A shot of a busy intersection was blurry and slightly distorted. Video was equally subpar.
After the Portege Z10t streamed a 15-minute Hulu Plus video, the device's keyboard and touchpad topped out at 71 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, the tablet's hottest point, its underside, reached just 89 degrees. We consider anything lower than 95 degrees to be comfortable.
On PCMark 7, a synthetic benchmark that measures a system's overall performance, the Toshiba Portege Z10t scored 4,960. That's far better than the ultraportable notebook category average of 3,914. The $909 Acer TravelMate X313-M and its third-generation 1.4-GHz Intel Core i3-3229Y, 4GB of RAM and 120GB SSD scored an unimpressive 3,026.
The $1,299 Dell XPS 11, with its 1.9-GHz Intel Core i5-4210Y CPU, 4GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, notched 4,122, while the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix and its 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U chip, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD scored 4,447.
It took the Portege Z10t just 8 seconds to boot Windows Pro 8.1. That's faster than the 12-second category average, as well as the Dell XPS 11's boot time of 11 seconds. Both the Acer TravelMate X313-M and the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix came to life in 10 seconds.
The Portege also proved speedy on our Laptop Mag File Transfer Test, copying 4.97GB of mixed media files in 26 seconds at a rate of 196 MBps. That's faster than the category average of 128 MBps, and far better than the TravelMate X313-M's 81 MBps. The ThinkPad Helix's SSD ran at 170 MBps, while the Dell XPS 11 matched the Portege's rate of 196 MBps.
The Portege Z10t took 5 minutes and 9 seconds to complete our OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test, which matches 20,000 names with their addresses. That's more than 2 minutes faster than the category average of 7:53. The TravelMate X313-M took 12:38 to finish the test, while the Dell XPS 11 took 7:13. The ThinkPad Helix finished in 5:23.
While playing "World of Warcraft" with the resolution set to 1366 x 768 and graphics on autodetect, the Portege recorded an average frame rate of 44 frames per second. The ultraportable average is 33 fps. The TravelMate hit just 18 fps, while the Dell XPS 11 topped out at 23 fps. When we pushed the resolution up to 1080p, the Portege registered an unplayable 24 fps.
In addition to Windows and Toshiba apps, the Portege includes Nuance's Dragon Assistant voice control software, as well as a 30-day trial of Norton Internet Security.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix ran for 8:10 on our old battery test, which involved continuous Web surfing with the display brightness set to 40 percent. The Dell XPS 11, however, had the longest battery life of the group, running for 8:11 on our old test.
As the Z10t can be used as a tablet, we ran it on our battery test using the testing parameters we use on slates as well (continuous Wi-Fi surfing with the display set to 150 nits or 53 percent). At that brightness level, the Portege lasted 6:44, which is well off the tablet category average of 8:02.
Our review unit, the Z10t-A2111, is the most expensive, at $1,799; it has an Intel Core i7-4610Y processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
VerdictLenovo ThinkPad Helix, which offers a beautiful display, excellent keyboard and long battery life, all for $1,205.
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|CPU||1.7-GHz Intel Core i7-4610Y|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1 Pro|
|RAM Upgradable to||8GB|
|Hard Drive Size||256GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||n/a|
|Hard Drive Type||SSD Drive|
|Secondary Hard Drive Size|
|Secondary Hard Drive Speed|
|Secondary Hard Drive Type|
|Optical Drive Speed|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics|
|Wi-Fi Model||Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 760|
|Touchpad Size||3.3 x 1.75 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Mini HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||VGA|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Docking Connector|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||DC-in|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 2.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Combo Headphone/Mic Jack|
|Ports (excluding USB)||SD card slot|
|Card Slots||SD memory reader|
|Warranty/Support||3 Year Standard Limited Warranty|
|Size||Tablet: 11.8 x 7.4 x 0.49 inches With keyboard: 11.8 x 8.7 x 0.78 inches|
|Weight||1.9 pounds as tablet 3.2 pounds with keyboard dock|