Toshiba Portege Z20t and what we can learn from it


#1

Having carried my Toshiba Portege Z20t everywhere around for over one year now, it’s time for a short review.

Introduction

The Toshiba Portege Z20t is a battery-powered workhorse. And it runs and runs and runs…
As a convertible, it consists of a tablet that can be attached to a really good keyboard which offers multiple connections and an extra battery.

But first things first: I’m pretty involved in local politics and also work in this environment. I get around quite a lot over my day - and sometimes my work day is as long as 15 hours, so I needed something portable, compact, with great battery but powerful enough to handle everything that might happen.
Typical usage is multiple hours of writing in OneNote, surfing (well, not the fun version of it), mailing, some PDF-editing, in between, one or two short presentations and last but not least some work on graphics in CorelDraw.

In short: Yes, the Portege Z20t is capable of handling all of this - but in the end it is not exactly what I expected.

Stats
Intel® Core™ M-5Y71 Vpro™ processor
31.75cm (12.5”) , Toshiba IPS FullHD High Brightness touch display with Wide View Angle, Digitizer and Pen, 16 : 9 aspect ratio, LED backlighting, hardened IOX Glass, Anti Fingerprint and Anti Reflective Coating
Solid State Drive 256 GB
8,192 onboard MB, LP-DDR3L RAM (1,600 MHz)
Intel® HD Graphics 5300
maximum life : up to 9h tablet only (Mobile Mark™ 2012)
up to 17h tablet & keyboard (Mobile Mark™ 2012)
1.6 kg combined, 730g for the tablet only.

Display
The good: The display is great. Colors are correct. It is originally a glare display with an anti reflective coating, so you can really use it outside in bright sunlight (no marketing gag). The coating is just a factory applied screen protector that could be peeled of if you really want to remove it. This is a very nice backup plan if you happen to scratch the display.

The bad: It’s 16:9. 16:9 is great for watching movies but not for office use or writing. As the display has an anti reflective coating, it hasn’t got the shininess of other IPS displays on the market and movies don’t look that great either. It would be much better if it was 16:10 or 4:3. And the surface is not hard enough. You won’t break it but you always fear that if you press a bit stronger with the pen.

Digitizer, Pen
The good: It’s a Wacom EMR Digitizer and it works pretty flawlessly. Wacom driver support was a bit problematic in the early days of Windows 10 but now it works just great. The device comes with two pens, one in the size of a real pen with good grip, just a little bit to light. The other one is really small and fits in a docking hole at the bottom of the display. This way you always have a pen with you. Palm detection is absolutely great - it’s the typical Wacom look and feel you get.

The bad: As stated in other threads, you have accuracy problems with EMR tech in the corners of the screen. The buttons only work when the pen is in the range of the EMR field (5cm / 2") so you can’t use your pen as a presenter tool.

Connections, Ports

The good: You get LTE and WiFi in the tablet along with Micro USB, Micro HDMI and Micro SD. The keyboard brings an extra Gigabit Ethernet port, 2 full size USB-A 3.0 ports, a full size HDMI and a VGA connector. Connection wise you have everything on board you might face. I have different providers at my tablet and my phone so I always get a pretty good connection. LTE support is pretty important to me when I’m often out of office.

The bad: The full size HDMI and VGA. I bought 10cm short adapters to reduce tension by the cables. One time I hat to connect to a pretty high quality HDMI cable and wrapped it around the screen to prevent it from breaking out my HDMI port as it was that heavy.

Power, Graphics
No good, no bad - It’s a Core M and it is just enough for office use. Gaming is not what it is intended for. But even under these restrictions: Guild Wars 2 runs ok-ish in full resolution with 20 FPS. That’s more than enough for what I want on this device category.
You can really stress the CPU by editing large PDFs with many vector paths like construction plans or maps with lots of statistical information. Zooming these is somewhat fatiguing, but even my i7 takes two or three seconds to rebuild the page after zooming in.

Battery
The good: The device has two batteries: one in the tablet, one in the keyboard. In reality the tablet reached 7 hours at first, both together brought 15.5 hours of battery life in my use scenario. After one year of intensive use, battery wear brings is down to 5 hours and 12.5 hours combined. That’s not great, but it’s OK. The tablet as well as the keyboard both have a charger port. The tablet is always charged first, the keyboard after.

The bad: The battery wear. And - it behaves as an notebook class device and so it uses the standard Toshiba notebook charger that weights nearly 500g… It is somewhat absurd: The designers of such devices starve to reduce the weight by every single gram possible and then they just add an standard charging adapter that weights nearly as much as the tablet itself…

Handling
The good: The docking mechanism works flawlessly. The hinge is sturdy and holds the screen at any angle.

The bad: When docked in laptop mode, you can’t really write on the tablet or use the touch screen. The keyboard brings not enough weight to prevent flipping. When you put it on the table, the keyboard is in your way. So basically you either use the keyboard or touch and pen. The back of the screen is pretty weak - at least it feels weak. You can twist it a bit. This makes the whole tablet is somewhat fragile. You would not put it in your bag without the keyboard or some stable cover.

Design
The good: It’s black. Beside of this it looks valuable with the brushed aluminum case.

The bad: It’s just another laptop. It looks like another laptop - not like a tablet. It feels like another laptop, not like a tablet. It is a convertible but it only feels like a laptop.

Price
"You don’t talk about money - you just have it." This is the philosophy you need for this device. At a typical configuration you dump 1.600 - 2.100 EUR / $ on a convertible. If I had an other job and won’t need the battery, I would have taken the Microsoft Surface Pro and not this one. But for the requirements I have, this device is the best you can get (or could get a year ago).

What to learn from?

  • Make keyboard and tablet independent usable.
  • Don’t care of a few grams if you could make the device more robust. The iPad 1 (stable as a chopping board) was heavy but you could literally chop vegetables on it. Something in between is the way to go. Make sure it can’t be twisted or pressed in.
  • The brighter the display, the better. You can always reduce brightness but when brightness is too low, you can’t see anything on it outside (or inside with a bit of sunlight on your table).
  • Create possibilities for extra battery life. Power packs are great for this. Make it possible to use them.
  • The pen is mightier than the keyboard. It’s the only reason I could get my 65 year old boss to convert from paper to digital. Till march the print volume she had was about 2.500 pages per month. Now it is below 200. Her Surface Pro pays of before the end of the year just by saving printing costs let alone the added effectiveness and the team collaboration that is now possible.
  • Have many possibilities to connect - but don’t put full size HDMI or VGA ports on it when you don’t guaranty the stability to hold the heavy cables that often are around (more or less) professional presentation points. Mini displayport is a good way to go - or USB-C.
  • For business devices, people pay business prices. But to really hit the market, you need to make it suitable for both, business and personal use. Toshiba failed here with this device. It is great for business but the living room acceptance factor is near to zero.

You have questions? Just ask and I will try to answer them :slight_smile:


Eve V vs. Competition!
Hi, I'm Stefan from Germany
#2

Great post Sir!
I was wondering, since your device costs approximately twice as much as the base model Pyramid Flipper(no final price decided), and has mindblowing battery life, what reasons would convince you to switch to the Pyramid Flipper?
If I spent that much money on a device, I’d probably keep it for at least 6-8years! :no_mouth:

A list of reasons would be helpful, thanks a ton!
I have a 750$ Lenovo Flex 2 with an i7 4th gen ULV CPU and an 840M.

Here’s why I want to buy the Pyramid Flipper:
http://eve.community/t/you-have-pains-head-bandage-we-have-a-painkillers-pill-use-cases-for-the-mega-thread/1072/9?u=antonyterence

Post your points here, or in the above thread I mentioned. I hope you don’t mind :grinning:
I’m so happy to be a part of this amazing community !

EDIT: I made that post a long time ago, so things have improved greatly from then. I want a Pyramid Flipper more than ever :grinning:


#3

Indeed, great post. @s.auler You went through a trouble here! Appreciated!

And as for @AntonyTerence 's comment, I am also curious about the willingness to switch to another device. Price is what you pay, value is what you get. Well, here the price has been noticeable, yet the value can leave you wanting for some of the specs/features/abilities of “Pyramid Flipper”.

(also here is an important message to all you eve.community members! That is, please share the knowledge of “Pyramid Flipper” online and offline, so that people will get to choose the best computer they can get. Options include our PF. But only if you hear about it)


#4

The reasons I consider switching to another device are mostly due to a better handling.
In my use case the Portege is more laptop than tablet - and I need more tablet with occasional laptop.
I need more physical stability, the possibility to use the keyboard and write with the pen simultaneously in an efficient way (this is an important one), I want it to be less bulky and - finally - I anticipate the eGPU… :slight_smile:
Edit: I forgot one thing: I want another display ratio. 16:9 is not fun for office use and writing.

My typical device renewal cycle is 24 to 36 months, dependent on warranty. This device will be passed on to either a colleague or to my wife / kids.

I’m a bit tech savvy and always on the search for the perfect device. So I’m often asked by several people what device I would recommend to them. During the last 3 months I told most to wait till later this year for an absolutely great new device… :wink:


#5

@s.auler great you went ahead and wrote the review :wink:

I’m really excited about it! This goes a long way towards reaching “Evengelist” status! :wink:

As you may know, the eve.community is embraced and amplified by members facilitating discussion around our objectives (now, mainly the Pyramid Flipper), providing help and content to each other.

Thus all actions towards these noble goals won’t surely be unnoticed by the staff.

Great job mate!


#6

This is exactly why we are against implementing the full size HDMI. We’d rather provide an affordable adapter.

It’s a good thing that mobile CPUs of Intel have lately been more focused on adding graphics power vs. pure calculating power. I think I remember seeing a presentation claiming graphics to be up to 50% more powerful in 6th gen compared to 5th gen. 7th gen will probably increase this gap even wider.

That’s ridiculous,man…

That’s only one of the use cases where a wireless keyboard would help :wink:

Sooner or later we are facing a tough call, of which a lot of tests will be conducted. We have the possibility of using a pricey anti-reflection coating directly on top of our glass (not a separate cover). However, this coating is not anti-scratch as the glass and our contact persona warned us that if the coating gets scratches, scratches will be more visible than without the coating in the anti-scratchable glass.

Okay I failed horribly describing that. :joy: I hope I made my point clear.

However, this enables up to 85% anti reflective properties without effecting the brightness or the colors.

Very interesting call indeed. What do you think we should do?

Of course we are going to do A/B testing to see how much exactly the screen will scratch with/without the extra coating.


#7

Talking of Core M, 6th gen has 40% better graphics than 5th gen. That’s what Intel says, at least. Benchmarks show something similar but a little less significant, but it depends on the device it’s used in. Also, 15W units didn’t have such a big improvement.


#8

Will these tests be done before or after going live on Indiegogo? Because this I can guess, that this could be a very important factor for many potential buyers when deciding if they should buy one or not.

450 nits is brighter than 400 nits on a Surface Pro 4, but not as bright as the new Macbook Pro (which is another device category and not a direct competitor for everybody). With a good anti-reflective coating the sun readability could be much better (compared to a Surface) than the additional 50 nits would suggest. But when there is no coating, then it’s not that much brigther and the new Macbook Pro is even brigther (with 500 nits promised and even more measured by Notebookcheck, but well, this will vary per device).

In a word: When will we know if the coating is there or not? Will there be another voting after you present the test results?


#9

I too am concerned about the coating getting scratched - especially from repetitive use if the stylus when drawing/sketching.


#10

You will find everything you want to know about tue display here. In short, it is a dream. At the risk of sounding like a worked up salesman, the display is the best combination of pixels, antivreflective properties, raw power and touch… My hands are itching to give it a go.

http://eve.community/t/eve-v-final-hardware-specifications/2291/133?u=tiktoktoyatoya


#11

The coating will be tested after going live. We don’t have ebough prototypes to spare at the moment.

If the coating proves to be very prone to scratching, we will let you guys know. However no matter what, It should not scratch from fingers or a stylus.

BUT

It may scratch - even easily - from being put to close to somethinf sharp & hard (e.g. keys or sand in your bag) without the V wireless keyboard close to it.

That being said, Macbook Pro doesn’t come even close to our pricing IMO. As the older members of community have been reminded, we can’t beat all the competitors in all their features 100% and simultaneously hold up to all of our non-tangible value.

Not yet. :wink:

I know this feature is very important for many people, but we should think about this feature as an added bonus. The V’s display will - even without the coating - beat majority if not all of the competitors in this class and all of the price equovalent options, hands down.


#12

Can you please answer the biggest question about this coating… do screen protectors ruin it? Or do they render it useless?


#13

Well naturally screen protectors add another layer and the protector can act as bottleneck since that is the last surface which dictates the reflections.

Basically you can’t have both, since coating is never as durable as pure gorilla glass.

Either you choose to have a display with anti-reflective coating that has better colors and anti-reflective properties

or

You choose a glass that reflects ambient light as usual but doesn’t scratch so easily.

If we find out the screen indeed scratches too easily, we will then let the users probably to choose which one they would like to have OR remove the AR coating all together.


#14