Dynabook Portégé X30L-G review: A super-light and durable ultraportable with good connections

dynabook-portege-x30l-header.jpg
  • Editors' rating
    8.3 Excellent

Pros

  • Exceptionally lightweight
  • MIL-STD 810G tested
  • Good battery life
  • Plenty of ports

Cons

  • Below-par audio
  • Cramped keyboard and touchpad

Claiming to have the world's lightest ultraportable laptop in your portfolio is a regular 'thing' for PC makers, and back in January Dynabook duly announced that, at 870g, its Portégé X30L-G was "the world's lightest 13.3-inch fully featured business laptop with Intel 10th generation processors". That's an appealing headline, but for a starting price of £1,239 (ex. VAT) this laptop has to offer a lot more than portability. In the US, Portégé X30 models with 10th-generation Core processors start at $1,329.99.

If light weight is your key requirement in a laptop, then the Portégé X30L-G will immediately grab your attention. I was amazed when lifting the laptop out of its packaging for the first time, and again when carrying it around during testing. The last ultraportable laptop I reviewed, the spectacular Dell XPS 13 (2020), has a starting weight of 1.2kg, rising to 1.27kg if you want a touch screen. The difference, holding the touch-screen XPS 13 and the Portégé X30, one in each hand, was noticeable.

dynabook-portege-x30l-main.jpg

The Dynabook Portégé X30L-G runs on 10th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors with up to 24GB of RAM. The display is a non-reflective FHD IGZO panel from Sharp.

Images: Dynabook

The Portégé X30L-G measures just 308.8mm wide by 211.6mm deep by 17.9mm thick. It's a demure little ultrabook, whose primarily Onyx Blue livery is very close to black, with a silver Dynabook logo in one corner of the lid and silver hinges catching the eye when the laptop is closed.

If you're concerned that a laptop weighing just 870g might not be robust enough for the rough-and-tumble of life in your rucksack or bag, you may be reassured by the MIL-STD 810G testing it has undergone. My general quibble with Dynabook laptops, that there's a fair amount of flex in the lid, also applies here, but that military-grade certification -- which covers drops, temperature, humidity and dust -- is good to see.

The utilitarian design continues inside. While the short edge screen bezels are quite narrow, there are no claims for super-high screen-to-body ratios or headline features for the screen itself. I measured the short edge bezels at 7mm, and top at 14mm -- plenty large enough for the pair of cameras that cater for video calling and for Windows Hello facial authentication. It's a shame there is no sliding privacy cover for the webcam though. The bezel beneath the screen is deep, measuring 17mm to the top of the hinge.

The 13.3-inch display is a Sharp-made FHD (1,920 x 1,080) panel with Dynabook's characteristic non-reflective finish. Maximum brightness is 470 nits, which should handle most lighting regimes in the office and at home. Colours are reasonably bright and sharp, but this is a matte-screen business laptop, so don't expect vibrant eye-popping video.

Top ZDNET Reviews

The stereo speakers deliver audio through grilles on the underside of the front. Volume goes reasonably loud, but it's rather top-heavy and trebly. Headphones or external speakers are recommended if high-quality audio is required.

I found the Portégé X30L-G's FHD screen perfectly good for mainstream knowledge-worker tasks -- web browsing and document creation/editing. It's also worth noting that the Sharp IGZO technology used here consumes less power than a standard LCD, which might be a contributory factor in the Portégé X30L-G's impressive battery life (see below).

dynabook-portege-x30l-keyboard.jpg

Some users may find the keyboard cramped (and loud), and the touchpad on the small side.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The keyboard is backlit and has a minimalist design, being frameless and blending neatly into the wrist rest. The keys spring back nicely when pressed, but the action is a bit on the light side, and typing generates a rather loud 'clacky' sound. It might not be the ideal choice for those who work in very quiet environments. 

The stubby-fingered might find the small Fn keys, tiny arrow keys and truncated PgUp/PgDn keys challenging. The Enter key is double-width but only single-height, and I found I missed it a few times early on, although it didn't take long to acclimatise.

SEE: Cheat sheet: Windows 10 (free PDF)

The wrist rest is relatively shallow and the touchpad rather small. I didn't find the touchpad challenging to use, but overall everything felt a little cramped. Dynabook's approach makes an interesting comparison with that used in the XPS 13 (2020). Dell's laptop has a slightly smaller desktop footprint (296mm x 199mm vs 308.8mm x 211.6mm), but the keyboard layout is more spacious and comfortable as the keyboard pushes into the very top of the base section and outwards to the edges. This allows for larger keys and a bigger touchpad.

There are just two iterations of the Portégé X30L-G available. My review sample was the top-end Core i7 model:

dynabook-portege-x30l-ethernet-port.jpg

Unusually for a super-lightweight ultraportable, the Portégé X30L-G has a full-size RJ-45 Ethernet port.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet  

Dynabook has equipped the Portégé X30L-G with a good range of ports and slots. The left side has a round-pin power input, a USB-C port that can also be used for charging, a full-size HDMI port, a 3.5mm headset jack and a MicroSD card slot. The right side has two USB 3.0 ports and a full-size RJ-45 Ethernet port.

The 4-cell Li-ion battery is rated for up to 9 hours 45 minutes and I suspect that many users will be able to sustain a full day's work away from a power outlet. During testing I kept the battery at its default settings, including 50% screen brightness, which was fine for working in my home office. In one four-hour session writing into a web app, browsing web pages and streaming a little music and video, the battery depleted to just 65%.

Conclusions 

The Dynabook Portégé X30L-G is incredibly light at 870g, and benefits from a good range of ports and slots. The IGZO screen's low power consumption contributes to impressive all-day battery life.

However there are downsides. Audio output lacks punch, and the keyboard design doesn't make the most of the available space, and as a result is a little cramped.

RECENT AND RELATED CONTENT

Dynabook Satellite Pro L50-G review: A good-value business workhorse

Dynabook Portégé A30-E review: A basic business laptop with all-day battery life

Dynabook Portégé X30-F-14U review: Lightweight and compact, with Wi-Fi 6

Dynabook unveils new Windows 10 Secured-Core 'Thin and Light' Portégé laptops

Dynabook 10th-gen Intel Core processor Portégé X Series laptops

Read more reviews

Top ZDNET Reviews