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Toshiba Portégé Z30t-A-10X Ultrabook Review Update

Till Schönborn (translated by Kevin S.), 08/14/2014

Finger friendly. As of now, Toshiba's Portégé Z30-A is also available as a touchscreen version with IPS panel and Full HD resolution. We reveal whether the extra charge is worth paying and which additional features the 13-inch ultrabook has to offer.

For the original German review, see here.

It is rumored that Intel's Broadwell series - successor of the current Haswell series - will enter the market in mid-2015. Many manufacturers try to bridge this unusually long period by implementing small changes and new features to existing products to keep them up to date. 

With that in mind, the Toshiba Portégé Z30t that we are focusing on here is not entirely new: We tested the compact business ultrabook at the end of 2013, back then called Portégé Z30. The new model with the "t" is based on the same chassis but offers a Full HD display with touchscreen function. In comparison with the basic version, both weight and thickness are therefore slightly increased, which is, unfortunately, also the case for the price: Our test device with a Core i7-4500U, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD and LTE module costs around 1550 Euros (~$2070), corresponding to around 100 Euros (~$133) extra charge. At the same time, this price does not seem to be too high, when comparing it to other competitors: The similarly equipped  Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon costs around 1800 Euros (~$2405).

Considering the many similarities between the Portégé Z30 and the Z30t, we are not going to address casing, equipment and input devices. Rather, we will continue with the display.

Display

The 13.3-inch display shows a constant resolution of 1920x1080 pixels (166 ppi). The resulting improved sharpness and additional work space are features one does not want to miss after a short time. Admittedly, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon impresses with 2560x1440 pixels (221 ppi). However, this high resolution has rather limited practical use - also because button icons of many programs cannot be scaled easily anymore. 

The second innovation, the capacitive touchscreen, should be considered more skeptically. On the one hand, one can ask whether a touchscreen is really necessary for a business laptop. That is an individual decision everyone has to make. On the other hand, the touchscreen function asks for compromises concerning the display: The screen which Toshiba calls "anti-glare" is rather a combination of normal glare and anti-glare display. Besides, sliding properties of the slightly shining coating are not really convincing. These negative aspects are, however, not entirely due to Toshiba, but rather a general problem of such displays.

Thumbs up for the powerful and consistent background illumination, which achieves a steady 289 cd/m² at the highest setting. When running on battery only, this value is kept almost constant. We could not discover any annoying halation.

278
cd/m²
281
cd/m²
285
cd/m²
287
cd/m²
312
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
286
cd/m²
286
cd/m²
287
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 312 cd/m²
Average: 288.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 305 cd/m²
Black: 0.43 cd/m²
Contrast: 726:1

Due to the IPS panel, the display shows deep representation of black (0.43 cd/m²) as well as a high contrast ratio (726:1). Compared with this, the WXGA-version (0.8 cd/m², 338:1) cannot keep up. Especially pictures and videos with bold colors appear more vivid and appealing. 

Talking of colors: Even though the Z30t does not directly target graphic designers or photographers, the notebook can be used by this group of professionals. Already at delivery condition, the display has relatively good settings; However, it shows a subtle green cast. After successful calibration, not only the green cast disappears, but colors and grayscales are almost perfectly represented, which is shown by the DeltaE values (1.23 or 1.16). Additionally, the device has a relatively generous color space, covering 84% of the sRGB standard (AdobeRGB: 64%).

Z30t vs. AdobeRGB(t)
Z30t vs. AdobeRGB(t)
Z30t vs. sRGB(t)
Z30t vs. sRGB(t)


Color fidelity (not calibrated)
Color fidelity (not calibrated)
Color saturation (not calibrated)
Color saturation (not calibrated)
Grayscales (not calibrated)
Grayscales (not calibrated)
Color fidelity (calibrated)
Color fidelity (calibrated)
Color saturation (calibrated)
Color saturation (calibrated)
Grayscales (calibrated)
Grayscales (calibrated)

As previously mentioned, the touchscreen panel reflects significantly more light than a typical anti-glare display. Despite its high maximum brightness, the Portégé is therefore not suitable for use in direct sunlight - however, shady places allow for outdoor use.

Outdoor use Toshiba Portégé Z30t-A-10X
Viewing angles Toshiba Portégé Z30t-A-10X
Viewing angles Toshiba Portégé Z30t-A-10X

Next to the superior contrast ratio, the excellent viewing-angle stability especially distinguishes an IPS panel from a cheaper TN. The Z30t is no exception: Even at an extreme view from the side, colors remain mostly unchanged. However, brightness and contrast decrease more and more with increased viewing angles, which is probably due to the particular combination of touchscreen and anti-reflection layer.

Performance

The Intel Core i7-4500U of the Portégé Z30t is the same dual Core CPU that has already been used in the Z30. Unfortunately, Toshiba does not implement the slightly higher clocked successor i7-4510U. At the same time, the 1.8 - 3.0 GHz 4500U allows for respectable performance values, which are next to the high (turbo-)clock speed mainly due to the pro-MHz performance of the Haswell architecture. Power intake of the ULV chips is rated with only 15 Watt TDP, which is meant to reduce noise generation and temperature increases.

The integrated HD Graphics 4400 is responsible for the graphics output, which is clocked with 200 - 1,100 MHz. Despite current features including DirectX 11 support, 3D performance is rather poor - faster and usually more energy-demanding graphics chips are in general not offered for the Portégé. 

Out of the two memory slots of the Z30t, only one is used, which facilitates future upgrade possibilities on the one hand, but which forces the use of the potentially slower single-channel mode on the other hand. The 8 GB module is an economic DDR3L-1600 memory with particularly low supply voltage. A 256 GB large SSD serves as data storage. 

System information Toshiba Portégé Z30t-A-10X

Processor

Turbo Boost is only partly exploited.
Turbo Boost is only partly exploited.

In order for the Core i7-4500U to provide the expected performance, the available Turbo Boost (1 core: 3.0 GHz, 2 cores: 2.7 GHz) has to be optimally used. While this works in an exemplary manner for the Portégé Z30, the Z30t shows surprising weak points: the single-thread test of the Cinebench R11.5 is performed with only 2.8 GHz, the multi-thread benchmark only with 2.2 GHz. Accordingly, the scores are rather bad - other notebooks with identical processors work up to 20% faster. The change between different energy profiles or the way power is supplied (battery/grid operation) does not influence clock speeds or benchmark results. 

Despite extensive investigation, we could not determine the reason for this behavior. Temperature and power intake are beneath the allowable limits, so that it is possible that the manufacturer chose a particular BIOS setting in order to reduce emissions. Anyway, the Core i7-4500U is therefore slower than a much cheaper Core i5-4200U - that is annoying. 

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
2.4 Points ∼14%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
2.88 Points ∼16% +20%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A7-002DGE
HD Graphics 5000, 4550U, Samsung MZNTD512HAGL
2.78 Points ∼16% +16%
HP EliteBook 820 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4510U
2.93 Points ∼17% +22%
HP EliteBook 820 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
2.83 Points ∼16% +18%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
1.27 Points ∼64%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
1.31 Points ∼66% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A7-002DGE
HD Graphics 5000, 4550U, Samsung MZNTD512HAGL
1.33 Points ∼67% +5%
HP EliteBook 820 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4510U
1.35 Points ∼68% +6%
HP EliteBook 820 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
1.43 Points ∼72% +13%
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5452 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6111
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4230
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
7448
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5669 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
9600 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
18.57 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.4 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.27 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
223 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
63.3 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
112 Points
Help

Storage Devices

AS SSD Benchmark
AS SSD Benchmark

For reasons of space, the Portégé has only one compact mSATA-slot to which SDDs of different capacity are connected, depending on the configuration. Our test device relies on a 256 GB large drive from Toshiba's current HG6-series, which showed a respectable performance in different test reviews. Especially sequential read and write tests stand out with excellent results, whereas the 4K-values are not on a level with the currently fastest notebooks. In practice, one does not notice such differences. 

Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
Transfer Rate Minimum: 248.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 409.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 328.8 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 203.5 MB/s
CPU Usage: 2.6 %

System Performance

Due to a non-optimal CPU performance, scores in our systems performance benchmarks decrease to some extent. The Portégé Z30-A scores 4,812 points in PCMark 7, a 7% higher score than the Z30t which achieves "only" 4,510 points. Nonetheless, we can give our test device a very positive rating: mainly due to the SSD, the system turns out to be performant and quick-response. Also for multitasking, the notebook which is equipped with 8 GB RAM, is suitable. Significantly more performance is only offered by a quad-core processor, which would not be compatible with the slim design.

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
4510 Points ∼68%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
4812 Points ∼73% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A7-002DGE
HD Graphics 5000, 4550U, Samsung MZNTD512HAGL
5321 Points ∼80% +18%
HP EliteBook 820 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
5196 Points ∼78% +15%
PC Mark
PCMark 74510 points
PCMark 8 Home v22184 points
PCMark 8 Creative v22229 points
PCMark 8 Work v23232 points
Help

Graphics Card

As already mentioned, the more than one-year old HD Graphics 4400 is only an entry level to mobile graphics chips. In our case, performance is additionally reduced due to the slim single-channel connection to the central memory, which results in a 3DMark 11 score of only 846 points. Using a second storage module, performance could be increased by 20% - people that work frequently with sophisticated 3D programs should seriously consider that option. If only typical multimedia tasks such as de- and encoding of videos (per Quick Sync) are required, the HD 4400 is more than sufficient. 

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
757 Points ∼4%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
910 Points ∼5% +20%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A7-002DGE
HD Graphics 5000, 4550U, Samsung MZNTD512HAGL
949 Points ∼6% +25%
HP EliteBook 820 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
824 Points ∼5% +9%
3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
4382 points
3DMark 11846 points
3DMark Ice Storm27589 points
3DMark Cloud Gate3883 points
3DMark Fire Strike521 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Diablo III
Diablo III

Toshiba's ultrabook is only partly suitable for computer games: provided that one makes do with old games and low graphics settings. Already 1366x768 pixels and average details are too much for the HD 4400 in most situations, just like modern bestsellers à la Watch Dogs. Even at minimum settings, this game cannot be smoothly played. The targeted audience, however, is not likely to be put off by that fact.

low med.high ultra
Anno 2070 (2011) 43.123.114.87.1fps
Diablo III (2012) 44.327.321.913.1fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 35.416.59.35fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 24.912.110.13.4fps
Dota 2 (2013) 47.324.111.1fps

Emissions

System Noise

In idle mode, noise generation of the Portégé is low and even at high ambient temperatures it is mostly not audible. For small loads such as office or browsing, the fan starts working from time to time. The swoosh at these low rotational speeds (just over 30 dB(A)) is not particularly bothersome. 

Under load, noise level of the Z30t increases to around 40 dB(A) in a short time. The small fan produces rather high frequency noises, thus annoying the user after a while. From our point of view, a more quiet cooling system could have been possible - more on that in the following chapter. 

Noise Level

Idle 28.6 / 28.6 / 28.6 dB(A)
Load 38.9 / 43.8 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft SL-451 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

As expected, the ultrabook equipped with ULV hardware only heats up marginally when unloaded. Even under full load, casing temperature increases significantly only in the back of the notebook, whereas the wrist rest barely reaches 30 °C. Consequently, the Z30t can be put on the thighs without any problems. 

Similarly, the CPU does not heat up too much: after one hour of stress test with Prime95 and FurMark, the chip shows only 67 °C, far less than what is allowed according to the manufacturer (100 °C). Accordingly, we wonder whether the noisy fan under load is really necessary - even at low rotational speeds, cooling would be absolutely sufficient. The fact that the CPU throttles to a poor 1.0 GHz despite the low temperatures is due to the reached TDP limit.

Max. Load
 33.3 °C39.0 °C32.9 °C 
 30.4 °C34.7 °C30.5 °C 
 29.0 °C29.5 °C29.2 °C 
Maximum: 39.0 °C
Average: 32.1 °C
31.5 °C37.2 °C34.3 °C
29.9 °C32.2 °C30.1 °C
29.9 °C29.9 °C29.2 °C
Maximum: 37.2 °C
Average: 31.6 °C
Power Supply (max.)  47.6 °C | Room Temperature 24.8 °C | Fluke 62 Max

Energy Management

Power Consumption

A positive is that the power intake of the Z30t is at the same low level as the Portégé Z30 - despite the additional touchscreen and the higher Full HD resolution. In idle mode, we measure only 3.0 to 7.9 Watt, which is proof of an efficient overall system. 

When processor and/or integrated graphics unit have to perform under load, consumption increases to 27 to 30 Watt. That corresponds to the usual level of a current Haswell ultrabook. Competitors such as the HP EliteBook 820 G1 (26.8 - 34.3 Watt) or Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon (26.2 - 27.3 Watt) show also maximum values of around 30 Watt. A compact power adaptor with 45-Watt power output is sufficient. 

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 3.0 / 6.6 / 7.9 Watt
Load 27.4 / 30.3 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Extech Power Analyzer 380803

Battery Life

The fantastic battery life is one of the strongest points of the new Z30t. Despite the 52-Wh capacity, the battery lasts almost 20 hours in Battery Eater's Reader's test (energy-saver mode, minimum brightness, deactivated radio modules) - besides some MacBooks, only a few devices can achieve this.

With active Wi-Fi and adjusted display brightness (~150 cd/m²), endurance reduces to around 7 to 8 hours. Direct comparison with competitors shows that the Portégé just ranks before the EliteBook and X1 Carbon.

The also very good battery life of around 3 hours in the Battery Eater Classic test (peak performance, maximum brightness, activated radio modules) is partly related to the slightly reduced CPU performance.  We would like to emphasize in particular the convenient charge time of around 2 hours.

Reader's test
Reader's test
Wi-Fi test
Wi-Fi test
H.264 test
H.264 test
Classic test
Classic test
Charging
Charging
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
19h 54min
WiFi Surfing
7h 53min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
6h 32min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 58min

Verdict

Toshiba Portégé Z30t-A-10X
Toshiba Portégé Z30t-A-10X

Let's consider the most important question again: Does a business notebook need a touchscreen? Even though the question can only be answered individually and depends on personal preferences, we are inclined to say "no." Admittedly, Toshiba did everything right with its Portégé Z30t. The integrated IPS panel offers good brightness, high contrast ratio and - after successful calibration - precise color rendering. Unfortunately, the anti-glare foil cannot reduce annoying reflections significantly. Besides, images appear somewhat less sharp than on conventional matte displays. Luckily, Toshiba also has a Full HD version without touchscreen (Portégé Z30-A-15M), which does not have these disadvantages and which even costs around 100 Euros (~$133) less.

Of course, we do not want to reduce the Z30t to its display only. Casing and input devices have a high standard, which is typical for a business notebook, and it can therefore compete with HPLenovo or Dell. In terms of battery life, our test device is one of the best in its class. The manufacturer should, however, work on the fan as well as on the clock control of the CPU (keywords are "Turbo Boost") - then it might deserve a "very good" or "excellent" as overall rating, which is currently not the case.

static version load dynamic

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In review: Toshiba Portégé Z30t-A-10X. Test model provided by Toshiba Germany.
In review: Toshiba Portégé Z30t-A-10X. Test model provided by Toshiba Germany.

Specifications

Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
:: Memory
8192 MB, 1x 8 GB DDR3L-1600, 1 of 2 Slots used
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4400, Core: 200 - 1100 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz, 10.18.10.3345
:: Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, capacitive, 10 fingers, Toshiba TOS508F, IPS-Panel, LED-Backlight, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU, 256 GB , 193 GB free
:: Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
3 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: Headset connector (3.5 millimeter jack), Card Reader: SD, 1 Fingerprint Reader,
:: Networking
Intel I218-V (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 7260 (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth, Sierra Wireless UMTS/HSPA/LTE + GPS
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 19.9 x 316 x 227
:: Weight
1.36 kg Power Supply: 0.26 kg
:: Battery
52 Wh Lithium-Polymer, firmly integrated, 4 cells
:: Price
1600 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 2.0 MP, Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Booklets, 45 Watt power adaptor, McAfee Internet Security (trial version), Toshiba PC Health Monitor, Toshiba Tempro, 12 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The dull gray surface of the Portégé Z30t...(Images: Portégé Z30-A-12U)
The dull gray surface of the Portégé Z30t...(Images: Portégé Z30-A-12U)
...is part of the high-tech chassis...
...is part of the high-tech chassis...
...which is made of light and stable magnesium.
...which is made of light and stable magnesium.
The opening angle of the hinges...
The opening angle of the hinges...
...could have been slightly larger.
...could have been slightly larger.
However, processing does not show any flaws.
However, processing does not show any flaws.
In case the existing ports are not sufficient,...
In case the existing ports are not sufficient,...
...a docking station can be used.
...a docking station can be used.
Waste heat of the Core i7-4500U...
Waste heat of the Core i7-4500U...
is dissipated at the back.
is dissipated at the back.
The keyboard has a clearly defined pressure point...
The keyboard has a clearly defined pressure point...
...and white LEDs illuminate it.
...and white LEDs illuminate it.
Before opening the bottom...
Before opening the bottom...
...some hidden screws must be loosened.
...some hidden screws must be loosened.
Now, the bottom panel can be detached.
Now, the bottom panel can be detached.
If the extremely long-lasting battery needs to be charged,...
If the extremely long-lasting battery needs to be charged,...
... the provided power adaptor...
... the provided power adaptor...
... with a power of 45 Watt is used.
... with a power of 45 Watt is used.

Similar Devices

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

» Lenovo M30-70 Notebook Review
Core i3 4010U, 1.53 kg
» Lenovo Yoga 2 13 Convertible Review
Core i3 4010U, 1.56 kg

Links

Price Comparison

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Pro

+high-quality magnesium casing
+accurate processing
+docking station port
+good input devices
+bright and high-definition IPS display
+decent performance
+very long battery life
 

Cons

-CPU-turbo is not entirely used
-no DisplayPort
-somewhat noisy under load
-only 12 month warranty

Shortcut

What we like

When we tested the Portégé Z30, the display was one of the more negative points. With the Full HD panel of the Z30t, Toshiba greatly improved: bright, high contrast, generous viewing angles - only the not entirely anti-glare screen is a point of criticism. 

What we are missing

Since the Turbo Boost is only partly used, part of the Core i7 CPU performance is wasted. We hope that the manufacturer eliminates this flaw with a BIOS update. 

What surprises us

A business notebook with touchscreen display - an unusual combination which is becoming more popular. Whether the clientele is excited about this trend still remains to be seen.

The Competition

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

HP EliteBook 820 G1

Dell Latitude E7240

Lenovo ThinkPad X240

Fujitsu LifeBook S904

Rating

Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
08/04/2014 v4
Till Schönborn

Chassis
91 / 98 → 93%
Keyboard
87%
Pointing Device
85%
Connectivity
80 / 95 → 84%
Weight
71 / 78 → 84%
Battery
91%
Display
87%
Games Performance
59 / 85 → 69%
Application Performance
70%
Temperature
90 / 91 → 99%
Noise
90%
Audio
69 / 91 → 76%
Camera
55 / 85 → 65%
Average
79%
86%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Toshiba Portégé Z30t-A-10X Ultrabook Review Update
Author: Till Schönborn, 2014-08-14 (Update: 2014-08-19)