Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K Notebook Review

Florian Wimmer (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 07/14/2014

Fit for the office. A good-looker has entered the office dubbed Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K. It is slim and always stays cool. Should the bosses give it an open-ended contract as soon as possible? We will clarify that in this review of the business laptop.

In review: Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K. Review sample courtesy of Toshiba Germany

For the original German review, see here.

Toshiba puts a lot of effort in its new Tecras: A magnesium casing, low weight, and slim outline are to convince business users. Naturally, all kinds of security features alongside swift yet energy-efficient processors are available. However, customers have to dig deeper in their pockets: Our test configuration featuring a Core i7 and 16 GB of working memory has a price of 2049 Euros (~$2789). It is available for 500 Euros (~$680) less on the Internet.

However, the eye-catcher is not alone in the chase for a place on the co-worker's desk. Other manufacturers also have 15-inch, high-quality business devices in their line: Lenovo with naturally its ThinkPad T540p, HP with its EliteBook 850, Fujitsu its Lifebook E753 or Lifebook E754, and Dell its Latitude E6540.

Case

High-quality magnesium dominates the casing.
High-quality magnesium dominates the casing.

We very much liked the magnesium casing with its basic yet appealing design of the smaller Toshiba Tecra Z40. The material has not been changed and thus everything still has a high-quality feel here. The casing's silver-gray color merges seamlessly in every surrounding. It is well built and features an all-over high-quality feel.

The stability is even better than in the Tecra Z40: The screen is not as pliable as in the smaller model, and the base unit is just as rigid. The keyboard is still a bit too yielding though. The hinges have a fairly firm hold on the display, but they cannot prevent slight wobbles.

Due to the height of only 20.4 millimeters and the weight of 1.8 kilograms, Toshiba's Tecra Z50-12K is slim and also quite light for a 15.6-inch laptop. That is naturally an advantage when frequently on the go with the laptop.

Connectivity

Docking port
Docking port

No compromises have to be made in the diversity of interfaces despite the slim and light casing. A Gigabit LAN port, HDMI and VGA out are all available in their full size and without a foldout mechanism. Some users will perhaps miss an ExpressCard slot, or a DisplayPort. However, a total of four USB ports are installed, three of which support the USB 3.0 standard.

All interfaces are located on the sides in the rear area; only the SIM slot is found on the back. Consequently, the ports are easy to reach, and cords will not interfere with either right or left-handed users when using a mouse. Toshiba's Tecra Z50 A-12K is a business device and thus there is, of course, a docking port on the underside.

Rear: SIM slot, vent
Rear: SIM slot, vent
Front: status LEDs
Front: status LEDs
Right: SD slot, 2x USB 3.0, LAN, Kensington lock
Right: SD slot, 2x USB 3.0, LAN, Kensington lock
Left: DC-in, VGA adaper, HDMI, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, combo audio jack, SmartCard
Left: DC-in, VGA adaper, HDMI, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, combo audio jack, SmartCard

Communication

As mentioned, a Gigabit LAN port is just as available as a Wi-Fi module that also supports the newest 802.11 ac standard. Thus, high-speed wireless networks with a data throughput of up to 1300 Mbps are possible. Mobile Internet is also available and supports the swift LTE standard.

The reception quality was just as compelling in our practical test. Both the UMTS reception (LTE is, unfortunately, not yet available everywhere in the German E-Plus network) and the Wi-Fi reception at a distance of ten meters from the router and through three walls was very good. The signal strength first dropped to three-quarters when the distance to the router was increased and an additional wall was between the device and the router.

Security

TPM module, SmartCard Reader, fingerprint sensor: The security features of Toshiba' Tecra Z50 A-12K are very comprehensive. A slot for a laptop lock is also common courtesy; naturally self-encrypting hard drives are available upon request.

We did not have problems with the fingerprint scanner below the touchpad in the test. We could always unlock the laptop quickly and reliably after scanning in the selected finger.

Accessories

Toshiba does not offer many special accessories for its Tecra Z50 A-12K. Nothing but the power supply, a few instructions and descriptions are found in the box.

The port replicator that we described in the review of the Tecra Z40 A-147 costs 249 Euros (~$338). It adds six USB ports, a DisplayPort, a DVI port and extended audio ports.

Maintenance

We had issues opening the chassis of Toshiba's Tecra Z40 A-147. It was very easy in the Z50 A-12K. However, quite a number of screws first have to be removed from the underside, which is no problem with a Philips screwdriver.

Pursuing that, the user can remove the underside and has full access to the hard drive, battery, fan, working memory, and wireless communication modules.

Warranty

Toshiba includes a 12-month warranty on the laptop. Warranty extensions up to four years are available in Toshiba's online shop. They include an international warranty and on-site pick-up service. It is even possible to replace the battery when desired if its capacity drops below a specified rate or when it is completely defective. Warranty upgrades cost between 34 and 129 Euros (~$46 and ~$175) - a fair deal in view of the steep purchase price.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The keyboard is comprised of 102 keys, features a chiclet design, and it includes a number pad. Thus, it is a bit more clearly arranged than the keyboard of Toshiba's Tecra Z40 A-147 where the number pad is mapped on the character keys and has to be accessed via the FN key.

The keyboard also has a white backlight. Although it cannot be dimmed, it can be permanently enabled or disabled. It is also possible to activate it by pressing a key, and it then remains on for 15 seconds after the last input.

The typing feel is very similar to that of the Tecra Z40 A-147. The keys have a good drop but only provide very little feedback and, for our taste, insufficient resistance. Nevertheless, working comfortably and relaxed with the keyboard is possible owing to the bigger key height (16 millimeters) and wider spacing between the keys (4 millimeters).

There are so many special functions mapped as a combination with the FN key on the keyboard that the F1 - F12 keys are not enough. For reasons of better accessibility using one hand, the F10, F11 and F12 keys do not have a double assignment. Using the 3 and 4 keys together with the FN key controls the volume.

The user first has to get used to that before accepting it. We appreciate it when as little as possible is written on the keys for clearness reasons. Thus, Toshiba should have perhaps reconsidered the usefulness of a few additional functions. (For example, the touchpad can be directly disabled by double tapping the corresponding symbol.)

Touchpad

The touchpad is implemented as a ClickPad, and we already found it a bit too inaccurate in Toshiba's Tecra Z40 A-147. Since the entire surface, including the incorporated buttons, is touch sensitive, drag and drop, for example, is often difficult to perform. To be fair we have to say that the ClickPad in Toshiba's Tecra Z50 A-12K functioned surprisingly well, and both incorporated keys provide good feedback over the keystroke.

Besides that, two real buttons that can also be used are located above the touch-sensitive surface. That requires a bit of familiarization but works well afterward. Why the buttons have been placed above the ClickPad? Because they actually belong to the TrackPoint that is also installed.

Symbols which allow disabling the touchpad or opening "Toshiba Eco Utility" are found in both upper corners. Double tapping triggers both and functions very reliably.

TrackPoint

Because the TrackPoint was originally invented by IBM for ThinkPads, Toshiba had to call its TrackPoint "Accupoint." However, its principle is the same: A small, blue stick juts out of the keyboard between G, H and B, on which a finger is placed. The mouse cursor can be controlled surprisingly accurately via the slightest movement. Those who have used a TrackPoint will hardly want to go back to the touchpad.

Keyboard
Keyboard
TrackPoint and ClickPad
TrackPoint and ClickPad

Display

In contrast to the Tecra Z40 A-147, the screen already scores with its up-to-date Full HD resolution. The matte, Toshiba-built screen is implemented in a 16:9 format, and it is based on the IPS technology so that decent viewing angles should be possible.

The average brightness of 285.3 cd/m² is roughly on par with the contenders; the illumination of 86% is higher than all other devices in the comparison field. The maximum brightness drops from 309 cd/m² to 276 cd/m² in battery mode.

303
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
307
cd/m²
268
cd/m²
270
cd/m²
283
cd/m²
269
cd/m²
266
cd/m²
293
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 309 cd/m²
Average: 285.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 270 cd/m²
Black: 0.36 cd/m²
Contrast: 750:1
sRGB color space coverage
sRGB color space coverage
AdobeRGB color space coverage
AdobeRGB color space coverage

Colors often look somewhat paler on matte screens than on glare models. However, we subjectively liked the screen's contrast and color reproduction. The contrast ratio is in fact better than in almost all comparison devices. Only Fujitsu's Lifebook E754 has a higher rate than the 750:1 of Toshiba's Tecra Z50 A-12K. The screen's black level of 0.36 cd/m² is also low enough to display black surfaces in a really dark hue and without gray haze.

We receive more detailed results of color reproduction by examining the display with the colorimeter and CalMAN software. Here, we see that particularly yellow colors are displayed too intensely and that other colors have too many yellow parts. Apart from yellow and orange most colors, however, only deviate marginally from the ideal value of the sRGB reference color space so that the color reproduction is overall satisfactory. The screen is not suitable for professional image and video editors; the coverage of the professional color space is simply too low with 73% (sRGB) and 54% (AdobeRGB).


ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps

Sunlight would have to shine directly on the screen so that nothing can be recognized. The brightness is sufficient to work in the park or on the terrace even on brighter days. The matte finish that reduces reflections contributes to that considerably.

Very wide viewing angles are ensured by the IPS technology on which the screen is based. Although the brightness changes when moving to the sides or when tilting the screen back and forth, it is still possible to recognize content even from very flat angles. However, the vertical viewing angles are somewhat wider than toward the sides, which is not inevitably a drawback - after all, who wants the person in the seat beside them on the train to read important business emails?

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Outdoors
Outdoors

Performance

A swift Intel Core i7-4600U with a base clock of 2.1 powers Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K. 16 GB of RAM and an SSD with a storage capacity of 256 GB supplement that. There are a vast number of alternative configurations, but our test configuration already represents one of the top-of-the-line configurations. Only the SSD can be upgraded to 512 GB.

Other configurations either offer less working memory (4 or 8 GB), conventional hard drives or a 128 GB SSD, and the somewhat slower clocking Intel Core i5-4200U or Intel Core i5-4300U. Among the processors, the performance advantage of our model is approximately 15 and 25%.

System information: Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K

Processor

Intel's Core i7-4600U is an energy-efficient processor from the Haswell generation. It has a base clock of 2.1 GHz and two cores that can process up to four tasks simultaneously via Hyper-Threading.

However, the processor does not achieve the maximum possible Turbo clock of 2.9 GHz when two cores run simultaneously in Cinebench R15. The clock settles to just below 2.7 to 2.8 GHz. When only one core is loaded, the Turbo clock varies between 3 GHz and its maximum 3.3 GHz. These clock rates are maintained in battery mode. Thus, the processor clocks considerably faster than the same CPU in Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 or Fujitsu's Lifebook U904. Actually, both also lag behind clearly in Cinebench.

The impact of a slower Intel Core i5-4200U can be observed well in HP's EliteBook 850. The differences are as much as 20%, which is not gigantic. The processors with a higher wattage, for example, in the ThinkPad T540p, provide up to 134% more power in some cases, but they also need a thicker and heavier casing and more energy. The Core i7-4600U should be more than sufficient for routine office tasks.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
6021 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
10569 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
7938 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
24 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.89 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.39 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
125 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
269 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
25.36 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Help
Cinebench R10
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
10569 Points ∼30%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
24617 Points ∼69% +133%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
9889 Points ∼28% -6%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
20085 Points ∼57% +90%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
20244 Points ∼57% +92%
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
6021 Points ∼24%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
6402 Points ∼26% +6%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
4874 Points ∼20% -19%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
5456 Points ∼22% -9%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
5915 Points ∼24% -2%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
2.89 Points ∼16%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
6.77 Points ∼38% +134%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
2.49 Points ∼14% -14%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
5.79 Points ∼33% +100%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
5.6 Points ∼32% +94%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
6.99 Points ∼40% +142%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A8-003UGE
1.9 Points ∼11% -34%
Fujitsu Lifebook U904
2.58 Points ∼15% -11%
CPU Single 64Bit
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
1.39 Points ∼50%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
1.49 Points ∼54% +7%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
1.13 Points ∼41% -19%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
1.29 Points ∼47% -7%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
1.4 Points ∼51% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A8-003UGE
1.01 Points ∼36% -27%
Cinebench R15
CPU Multi 64Bit
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
269 Points ∼17%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
619 Points ∼40% +130%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
229 Points ∼15% -15%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
519 Points ∼33% +93%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
521 Points ∼34% +94%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A8-003UGE
170 Points ∼11% -37%
Fujitsu Lifebook U904
215 Points ∼14% -20%
CPU Single 64Bit
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
125 Points ∼82%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
130 Points ∼85% +4%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
100 Points ∼65% -20%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
111 Points ∼73% -11%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
124 Points ∼81% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A8-003UGE
90 Points ∼59% -28%
Legend
      Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K Intel Core i7-4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
      Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
      HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
      Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection Intel Core i7-3632QM, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Micron RealSSD C400 (MTFDDAK256MAM-1K12)
      Fujitsu Lifebook E754 Intel Core i7-4702MQ, Intel HD Graphics 4600, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
      Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M Intel Core i7-4800MQ, AMD Radeon HD 8790M, Liteonit LCS-128M6S
      Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A8-003UGE Intel Core i7-4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSCKHF240A4
      Fujitsu Lifebook U904 Intel Core i7-4600U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GCST

System Performance

The system performance of Toshiba's Tecra Z50 A-12K is very good and leaves most contenders behind. That is likely due to the combination of the large working memory, the swift SSD, and the high-performance processor.

PC Mark
PCMark 74626 points
PCMark 8 Home v23367 points
PCMark 8 Creative v22959 points
PCMark 8 Work v24519 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
4626 Points ∼70%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
5009 Points ∼76% +8%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
2821 Points ∼43% -39%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
4446 Points ∼67% -4%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
4983 Points ∼75% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A8-003UGE
3015 Points ∼46% -35%
Fujitsu Lifebook U904
4825 Points ∼73% +4%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v2
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
3367 Points ∼68%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
3456 Points ∼70% +3%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
2766 Points ∼56% -18%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
2719 Points ∼55% -19%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A8-003UGE
2264 Points ∼46% -33%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
2959 Points ∼50%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
3636 Points ∼61% +23%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
2530 Points ∼43% -14%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
2804 Points ∼47% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A8-003UGE
2672 Points ∼45% -10%
Work Score Accelerated v2
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
4519 Points ∼84%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
4323 Points ∼80% -4%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
4053 Points ∼75% -10%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
3869 Points ∼72% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 20A8-003UGE
3139 Points ∼58% -31%

Storage Devices

An SSD with a storage capacity of 256 GB is installed in the system. It comes from Toshiba itself, and it thrilled with high read and write speeds across all tests during the assessments. However, the read access time could be a bit shorter. Otherwise, the SSD is an excellent choice for fast working. The system pleased with a quite swift booting of Windows 7 within 17 seconds and short loading times when opening programs in practical use.

Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
Sequential Read: 509 MB/s
Sequential Write: 457 MB/s
4K Read: 22 MB/s
4K Write: 95 MB/s
4K-64 Read: 359 MB/s
4K-64 Write: 202 MB/s
Access Time Read: 0.144 ms
Access Time Write: 0.032 ms
Score Read: 433 Points
Score Write: 343 Points
Score Total: 1001 Points
AS SSD
Seq Read
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
509 MB/s ∼38%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
513.2 MB/s ∼38% +1%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
437.13 MB/s ∼33% -14%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
514.92 MB/s ∼38% +1%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
491.34 MB/s ∼37% -3%
Seq Write
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
457 MB/s ∼52%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
243.27 MB/s ∼27% -47%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
269.78 MB/s ∼30% -41%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
248.27 MB/s ∼28% -46%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
299.93 MB/s ∼34% -34%
4K Read
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
22 MB/s ∼17%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
25.99 MB/s ∼20% +18%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
19.24 MB/s ∼15% -13%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
27.2 MB/s ∼21% +24%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
25.07 MB/s ∼19% +14%
4K Write
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
95 MB/s ∼72%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
71.32 MB/s ∼54% -25%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
51.54 MB/s ∼39% -46%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
69.44 MB/s ∼53% -27%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
48.21 MB/s ∼37% -49%
4K-64 Read
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
359 MB/s ∼54%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
301.62 MB/s ∼45% -16%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
165.03 MB/s ∼25% -54%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
360.54 MB/s ∼54% 0%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
338.66 MB/s ∼51% -6%
4K-64 Write
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
202 MB/s ∼38%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
206.64 MB/s ∼39% +2%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
168.36 MB/s ∼31% -17%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
187.43 MB/s ∼35% -7%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
239.96 MB/s ∼45% +19%
Access Time Read
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
0.144 ms * ∼0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
0.102 ms * ∼0% +29%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
0.1 ms * ∼0% +31%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
0.08 ms * ∼0% +44%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
0.112 ms * ∼0% +22%
Access Time Write
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
0.032 ms * ∼0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
0.048 ms * ∼0% -50%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
0.522 ms * ∼1% -1531%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
0.04 ms * ∼0% -25%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
0.073 ms * ∼0% -128%
Score Read
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
433 Points ∼53%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
379 Points ∼46% -12%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
228 Points ∼28% -47%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
439 Points ∼53% +1%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
413 Points ∼50% -5%
Score Write
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
343 Points ∼50%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
302 Points ∼44% -12%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
247 Points ∼36% -28%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
282 Points ∼41% -18%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
318 Points ∼47% -7%
Score Total
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
1001 Points ∼52%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
870 Points ∼46% -13%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
590 Points ∼31% -41%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
941 Points ∼49% -6%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
940 Points ∼49% -6%

* ... smaller is better

Graphics Card

Intel's HD Graphics 4400 with a clock of 1100 MHz is installed. That is also the graphics card's maximum clock rate. However, the graphics card cannot maintain its full clock during load and throttles down to 600 MHz. It settles between 750 and 800 MHz after a while. Nevertheless, the graphics card power should be enough for all common office applications. We will now look closer at its gaming performance.

3D Mark
3DMark 11945 points
3DMark Ice Storm35198 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4787 points
3DMark Fire Strike641 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
945 Points ∼7%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
1896 Points ∼14% +101%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
762 Points ∼6% -19%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
725 Points ∼6% -23%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
1030 Points ∼8% +9%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
2425 Points ∼18% +157%
3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
35198 Points ∼24%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
36263 Points ∼24% +3%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
26477 Points ∼18% -25%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
34900 Points ∼23% -1%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
41672 Points ∼28% +18%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
58386 Points ∼39% +66%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
4787 Points ∼20%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
6707 Points ∼28% +40%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
3582 Points ∼15% -25%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
5184 Points ∼21% +8%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
5412 Points ∼22% +13%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
9478 Points ∼39% +98%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Score
Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
641 Points ∼6%
Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE
1011 Points ∼10% +58%
HP EliteBook 850 G1-H5G34ET
490 Points ∼5% -24%
Fujitsu Lifebook E753 Premium Selection
558 Points ∼6% -13%
Fujitsu Lifebook E754
571 Points ∼6% -11%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
1648 Points ∼17% +157%

Gaming Performance

Owing to the graphics card's higher base clock of 10% compared with Intel's HD Graphics 4400 in the Tecra Z40 A-147, the gaming performance is also somewhat better. However, it is not enough for current 3D titles like Thief or Watch Dogs even when using the lowest resolution and minimum details.

We could just still play Diablo 3 using high details, though not in the screen's native resolution. The graphics card's power will satisfy retro-gamers, browser players, and casual gamers, but more should not be expected from it.

low med.high ultra
Diablo III (2012) 5642.330.120.1fps
Thief (2014) 14.297.2fps
Watch Dogs (2014) 15.212.33.2fps

Emissions

System Noise

Fan? What fan? - That might be the question asked when experiencing Toshiba's Tecra Z50 A-12K in routine use. Nothing is heard from the cooling system most of the time; the fan is permanently disabled in idle operation.

It first becomes active in load and spins fairly quietly. The absolute maximum operating noise that we could evoke from Toshiba's Tecra Z50 A-12K was 36.8 dB(A). We had to place our ears quite close to the laptop to be sure that the fan was spinning at all even during absolute full load. The SSD does not produce noise for construction-related reasons, and thus we had a very quiet laptop in our test lab.

Noise Level

Idle 28.8 / 28.8 / 28.8 dB(A)
Load 33.4 / 36.8 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-451 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Although there is virtually no operating noise, the cooling system is sufficiently designed. This can be seen in the only very limited temperature increase on the casing. We measured a maximum temperature of 36.4 °C in the rear center area of the upper side after a longer period of full load. The wrist rest always remained cool.

The very minor temperature increase was also concentrated in the rear center area of the upper side in idle mode and reached a maximum of 32.1 °C. Although that is just still noticed, it is not at all unpleasant. We can also reward Toshiba's Tecra Z50 A-12K with a "Very Good" for temperature development.

Max. Load
 30 °C36.4 °C32.6 °C 
 27.3 °C33.3 °C28.7 °C 
 26.8 °C27.3 °C27.3 °C 
Maximum: 36.4 °C
Average: 30 °C
28 °C34 °C30.5 °C
27.1 °C30.8 °C27.4 °C
27.7 °C29.1 °C27.5 °C
Maximum: 34 °C
Average: 29.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  42 °C | Room Temperature 22 °C | Fluke 62 Max

Speakers

Like in Toshiba's Tecra Z40 A-147, both speakers are located under the front edge of the laptop. They sound louder owing to the larger resonating body in the casing; their sound is also slightly better than in the smaller model. Furthermore, the balance also seems to be a bit better, although it naturally still largely lacks bass.

It is possible to enable audio enhancements using the "DTS Studio Sound" tool, or optimize the sound via the equalizer. Audiophile office workers will continue to use headphones or external speakers. The speakers are, however, quite sufficient for video playback or the audio files in presentations in not overly big and quiet rooms.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

One first note: Toshiba's Tecra Z50 A-12K is a very frugal laptop in terms of power consumption. It beats all comparison devices used in this test. Its consumption in a turned-off state and standby mode is exemplary with 0 and 0.1 watts. Thus, the plug does not have to be pulled every time to save energy.

It consumes a maximum of 8.6 watts when idling; the ThinkPad T540p or even the Lifebook E753 that both sport less economic processors consume almost twice as much power. HP's EliteBook 850 with a nominally weaker Intel Core i5-4200U processor also consumes slightly more energy with 9.3 watts.

The laptop can consume as much as 30.6 watts in full load, but that will rarely be the case in routine use, and it is still the lowest rate among the comparison devices.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 4.1 / 8.3 / 8.6 Watt
Load 30.2 / 30.6 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Extech Power Analyzer 380803

Battery Runtime

Although Toshiba's Tecra Z50 A-12K has a much lower capacity battery with 60 watt hours than some contenders, it achieves better battery runtimes. We could not browse the Internet for over 7 hours with any other device from our comparison field. The battery in Lenovo's ThinkPad T540p even has a considerably larger battery of 100 watt hours. Watching videos is possible for 6:35 hours. The device shows its best side here too.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
12h 49min
WiFi Surfing
7h 14min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
6h 35min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 46min

Verdict

In review: Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K. Review sample courtesy of Toshiba Germany.
In review: Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K. Review sample courtesy of Toshiba Germany.

Toshiba's Tecra Z50 A-12K makes an even more complete impression than the smaller Tecra Z40 A-147 model. Firstly, it features a higher-quality screen with wider viewing angles, higher resolution, and more accurate color reproduction. Then, working with the keyboard is more comfortable although the poor keystroke feedback will not be ideal for professional typists.

The chapters about temperature development, noise level, and power are finished exemplary; there is nothing to be reproached there. The speakers could perhaps be a bit louder, but they are otherwise very satisfactory for a business laptop.

The ClickPad was unnecessary, and the fact that the battery cannot be replaced from the outside is also a minor drawback. However, the buyer gets a very high-quality casing that is slim and comparatively lightweight. Beyond that, it is nicely designed and rigid. The diversity of interfaces and the stability of the wireless connections are also good.

The open-ended contract for the Tecra Z50 A-12K should therefore be a sure thing in many companies. Private users who are willing to pay the steep price for a first-rate laptop can also unhesitatingly bind themselves for a longer period.

Comment this article:

In Review: Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K. Review sample courtesy of Toshiba Germany.
In Review: Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K. Review sample courtesy of Toshiba Germany.

Specifications

Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
:: Memory
16384 MB, dual-channel
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4400, Core: 1100 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, TOS508F, IPS, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT, 256 GB , 210 GB free
:: Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo audio jack, Card Reader: SD card reader max. 64 GB, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: shock sensor,
:: Networking
Intel I218-LM (Clarkville ULT) Network Adapter (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth, LTE, UMTS
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20.4 x 379 x 252
:: Weight
1.8 kg Power Supply: 0.143 kg
:: Battery
60 Wh Lithium-Ion, 4 cells
:: Price
2049 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64 Bit) + Windows 8 Pro (64 Bit)
:: Additional features
Webcam: 2.0MP FHD web camera (1980 x 1080), Speakers: stereo speakers, Keyboard: 102 key, chiclet keyboard, Keyboard Light: yes, Toshiba Tempro, PC Health Monitor

 

The Tecra Z50 attracts attention with its stylish magnesium casing.
The Tecra Z50 attracts attention with its stylish magnesium casing.
Even the hinges are designer pieces.
Even the hinges are designer pieces.
Mobile Internet is also on-board.
Mobile Internet is also on-board.
The casing features a large keyboard including number pad.
The casing features a large keyboard including number pad.
There's a blue stick in the center:...
There's a blue stick in the center:...
...It's the TrackPoint that allows controlling the mouse, like the ClickPad.
...It's the TrackPoint that allows controlling the mouse, like the ClickPad.
Many keys have a double assignment.
Many keys have a double assignment.
The number pad is physical this time.
The number pad is physical this time.
The "Accupoint's" handling is convincing.
The "Accupoint's" handling is convincing.
The webcam shoots decent, but not outstanding pictures.
The webcam shoots decent, but not outstanding pictures.
The Full HD IPS screen is appealing.
The Full HD IPS screen is appealing.
Its color reproduction is good, and the brightness is also sufficient.
Its color reproduction is good, and the brightness is also sufficient.
Intel's Core i7 provides enough power.
Intel's Core i7 provides enough power.
In any case, the Tecra Z50 is a solid companion in the office.
In any case, the Tecra Z50 is a solid companion in the office.
The touchpad can be disabled by double clicking on this button.
The touchpad can be disabled by double clicking on this button.
"Eco Utility" can be opened here.
"Eco Utility" can be opened here.
The diversity of interfaces is also impressive.
The diversity of interfaces is also impressive.
Overall, there is not much to complain about.
Overall, there is not much to complain about.
For example, the fan operates very quietly.
For example, the fan operates very quietly.
There are many status LEDs on the front.
There are many status LEDs on the front.
The casing is quite rigid and well-manufactured.
The casing is quite rigid and well-manufactured.
There is even a docking port.
There is even a docking port.
Windows 8 Pro is included making the change from Windows 7 possible at any time.
Windows 8 Pro is included making the change from Windows 7 possible at any time.
The speakers are satisfactory.
The speakers are satisfactory.
The lid can be removed for replacing the working memory or hard drive, and the battery can then also be accessed.
The lid can be removed for replacing the working memory or hard drive, and the battery can then also be accessed.

Similar Laptops

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

» Review Dell Latitude E5540 Notebook
Core i5 4300U, 2.4 kg

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Amazon: Invalid XML response.

Amazon.com

Show results on Amazon.com

Pricerunner n.a.

Pro

+Great magnesium chassis
+Decent stiffness
+Fairly light and thin
+Low power consumption
+Good performance
+Great battery runtimes
+Low temperatures
+Barely any fan noise
+IPS screen with decent viewing angles
+Good contrast and black level
+Trackpoint
+Good maintenance options
+Security features
+Decent connectivity
 

Cons

-Slightly too inaccurate ClickPad
-Battery not accessible from the rear
-Screen's brightness drops in battery mode
-Yellow hues overemphasized
-Keyboard with too little feedback

Shortcut

What we like

There is quite a lot: The viewing-angle stable Full HD screen, the great casing, the quiet and cool operation, the sufficient power for routine office, etc.

What we'd like to see

We very much like the Tecra Z50 A-12K; however, Toshiba could rework the keyboard. We would wish for more feedback here.

What surprises us

How much more complete the device seems compared with the smaller Toshiba Tecra Z40.

The competition

ThinkPad X1, Fujitsu Lifebook U904, ThinkPad T540p, HP EliteBook 850, Fujitsu Lifebook E753, Fujitsu Lifebook E754, Dell Latitude E6540.

Rating

Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K
07/10/2014 v4
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
94 / 98 → 96%
Keyboard
89%
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
84%
Weight
65 / 67 → 96%
Battery
87%
Display
86%
Games Performance
61 / 85 → 72%
Application Performance
80%
Temperature
93%
Noise
95%
Audio
59%
Camera
68%
Add Points
+1%
Average
75%
89%
Office *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Toshiba Tecra Z50 A-12K Notebook Review
Author: Florian Wimmer, 2014-07-14 (Update: 2014-07-14)