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Dynabook Portégé X30W-J-10C review: A featherweight 2-in-1 with all-day battery life

sandra-vogel.jpg
Written by Sandra Vogel on
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8.0/10

Portégé X30W-J-10C

Excellent
Pros
  • Very lightweight (sub-1kg)
  • Bundled stylus
  • Privacy cover for IR webcam
  • All-day battery life
Cons
  • Clunky laptop attachment for stylus
  • Disappointing keyboard

Producing a sub-1kg laptop isn't easy, but Dynabook has done just that with its Portégé X30W-J, which it claims is the 'world's lightest 13.3-inch convertible', designed for use in tablet mode as well as traditional laptop mode. Not only that, but this Evo-badged laptop runs on an 11th generation Intel processor, has a decent array of ports and solid battery life. It seems to tick a lot of boxes, but let's delve deeper. 

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Dynabook's 13.3-inch Portégé X30W-J runs on 11th-generation Intel Core i7 (X30-J-10C) or Core i5 (X30W-J-109) processors with 8GB-16GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage. The weight starts at just 0.989kg.

Images: Dynabook

The Dynabook Portégé X30W-J weighs just 989g, and has a diminutive desktop footprint of 303.9mm by 197.4mm, with a thickness of 17.9mm. The chassis is unremarkable -- Dynabook says it is 'mystic blue' in colour, but to me it looks matte black. Still, the build is solid. The lid is relatively thick, and although I was able to flex it a little, it does provide pretty good protection for the screen. In fact, the Portégé X30W-J passes MIL-STD-810G and other stress tests, so it should survive the rough and tumble of everyday life in the office or home. 

SEE: Windows 10 Start menu hacks (TechRepublic Premium)

The hinges are nice and firm, holding the screen steady in any required orientation. In tablet mode, with the screen fully rotated, the upper and lower halves sit very neatly on top of each other thanks to the positioning of the hinges. It is a pity the keyboard doesn't lock out in tablet mode, though: it's a frequent concern with 2-in-1 devices that the keyboard is vulnerable to over-pressurising the keys when the screen is being rotated, the device held in one hand, or worked with on the lap. 

The Portégé X30W-J has narrow screen bezels, particularly on the short sides. The upper bezel has room for an IR webcam for Windows Hello authentication that's equipped with a sliding privacy cover. There's a second 8MP camera above the row of Fn keys; this lacks a privacy cover and is designed for use as a rear-facing camera in tablet mode. 

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The Portégé X30W-J's screen hinge rotates the full 360 degrees. Despite its light weight and slimness, this laptop passes MIL-STD 810G testing.

Image: Dynabook

The 13.3-inch screen is matte, so you won't see your reflection in it as you work. Its FHD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) is fine for everyday working, and I was happy watching video too, although brightness tops out at 470 nits, which might be an issue for some. The Harman Kardon speakers put out sound from the bottom of the chassis and up through the keyboard, so their output is accessible in both laptop and tablet modes. Volume is reasonable, although audio quality -- as so often with laptops -- is lacking in bass tones.  

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The screen is touch responsive, and my Portégé X30W-J review unit came with a Universal Stylus Pen with Wacom AES 2.0 pen technology. Powered by an AAAA battery, the stylus is too large to be accommodated in a housing on the laptop itself; instead, it comes with a holder that adheres to the lid and provides a loop into which to slot the stylus. Considering this laptop's price (well in excess of £1000), this is a rather makeshift solution. 

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Although it has large, well-spaced keys, we found the Portégé X30W-J's keyboard disappointing in terms of action, noise and flex. The attachment for the bundled stylus could be more elegant, too.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The backlit keyboard is something of a disappointment. The keys are large enough, and indeed Dynabook says the main QWERTY keys are larger than on the previous model at 16m by 15mm per key. They certainly make a fine target for typists, but the key action is very light, the keys make a rather loud clatter, and there's significant flex in the keyboard. Even though full-speed touch-typing wasn't a problem, I wouldn't pick this keyboard if offered a choice. 

The touchpad, which has a fingerprint sensor in its top left corner, is small but responsive. 

There are currently two off-the-shelf iterations of the Portégé X30W available on Dynabook's UK website. My review unit was the Portégé X30W-J-10C featuring Intel's Core i7-1165G7 CPU with integrated Iris Xe Graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, which costs £1,369 (ex. VAT). The entry-level model is the £1,139 (ex. VAT) Portégé X30W-J-109, which has a Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.  

There is a reasonable range of ports and connectors, with a single USB 3.1 port and two USB-C/Thunderbird 4 ports, one of which doubles as the charging connector. There's a full size HDMI port, a MicroSD card slot and a 3.5mm headset jack. 

Dynabook quotes up to 13.5 hours of battery life for my review model, and my usual test suggests this might be reachable with a fair wind. My three-hour battery rundown test involves writing into web apps, working with multiple browser tabs open, streaming music and some video playback. Under this regime, using the recommended screen brightness setting, a fully charged battery fell to 74% in three hours, suggesting a total life of around 11.5h. Fast charging can deliver 40% battery life to a fully discharged battery in 30 minutes. When I charged a 50%-full battery for half an hour, the battery reached 62% after 15 minutes and 74% after 30 minutes (+24%). 

Conclusions

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Image: Dynabook

The Portégé X30W-J is an impressively lightweight convertible 13.3-inch laptop, with slim bezels giving it a decent screen-to-body ratio (81.3%). Knowledge workers can expect all-day battery life and a bit more, and the fast charge capability is a plus point. It functions well in tablet mode, but the attachment method for the provided stylus is clunky. And although the keyboard features large, easy-to-hit keys, it suffers from issues surrounding flex, key action and noise.

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