Dynabook Tecra A50 EC 11H, hands on: A 15.6-inch business workhorse with all-day battery life

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The Tecra range of laptops from Dynabook -- recently rebranded from Toshiba -- is designed for mainstream business productivity. With both 14-inch and 15.6-inch screens there are no ultra-light, ultra-portable models here. Instead, these are well made, solid laptops with enough screen size to display sizeable spreadsheets or to have two documents open side by side. 

The Tecra A50 is one of the larger laptops, sporting a 15.6-inch screen. It comes in several configurations, with our Core i5-based A50-EC-11H review unit costing £799 (ex. VAT). Here are the configurations of all the A50 models available in the UK:

  • Tecra A50-E-1LJ
    Intel Core i5-8250U, Windows 10 Pro, 15.6-inch 1,366 x 768 pixel non-reflective non-touch screen, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
    £769 (ex. VAT; £922.80 inc. VAT)
  • Tecra A50-EC-11H (reviewed here)
    Intel Core i5-8250U, Windows 10 Pro, 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 pixel non-reflective non-touch screen, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
    £799 (ex. VAT; £758.80 inc. VAT)
  • Tecra A50-EC-144
    Intel Core i7-8550U, Windows 10 Pro, 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 pixel non-reflective non-touch screen, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £879 (ex. VAT; £1,054.80 inc. VAT)
  • Tecra A50-C-218
    Intel Core i7-6500U, Windows 10 Pro, 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 pixel non-reflective non-touch screen, Nvidia GeForce 930M graphics with 2GB dedicated VRAM, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD
    £1,259 (ex. VAT; £1,510.80 inc. VAT)
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The £799 (ex. VAT) A50-EC-11H model we reviewed had a Core i5 processor and integrated graphics. If you want a Core i7 CPU and a discrete GPU (Nvidia GeForce 930M), you'll need to spend £1,259 (ex. VAT) on the A50-C-218 model.

Images: Toshiba/Dynabook

The 15.6-inch screen demands a sizeable chassis, but wide bezels make it larger than it arguably should be. At 379mm wide by 258mm deep by 24.05mm thick, it'll be too big for smaller backpacks. It's also not particularly light, with a starting weight of 2kg. But it is solid with a lid that had just a slight flex in it and a base that felt tough. It should travel well.

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The advantage of a larger chassis is that the keyboard has room for a slightly compressed but still very usable number pad. The keys don't have a huge amount of travel, but are springy enough. They make almost no sound when pressed, so they should suit open-plan offices and other quiet working spaces. Toshiba includes its AccuPoint pointing stick for cursor control, and there are a couple of physical buttons above for use in conjunction with it in the trackpad, which also houses a fingerprint sensor.

The screen has a matte finish, so you should have no problems with reflectivity. The screen tips back to an angle of about 120 degrees, so it won't lay flat on a desk. Viewing angles are fine, and the resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels is good enough. However, note that the entry-level model in the range offers just 1,366 by 768 pixels, which is below par.

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The Tecra A50 has a good selection of ports, including Ethernet (RJ-45) and legacy VGA.

Image: Toshiba/Dynabook

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Dynabook generally provides a good range of ports and connectors for office use, and the Tecra A50 is no exception. It's unusual to see a legacy VGA adapter here, but these are still used in some offices, and those who need VGA will welcome its inclusion. Similarly there is an RJ-45 Ethernet port for those times when a wired connection is necessary. If your external screen connectors have moved on, there are both HDMI and USB Type-C with DisplayPort (and power delivery). You also get three USB 3.1 ports, an SD card reader and a 3.5mm headset slot.

The battery is rated as good for up to 10.5 hours. I worked with the laptop on several occasions, and in my judgement a full day's document creation work is perfectly within its reach.

The Tecra A50 isn't a 'special' laptop in any way. It's neither ultra-thin nor ultra-light, and it has a humdrum Full-HD 15.6-inch screen. It's designed to do a job, and to do that effectively. The inclusion of a number pad on the keyboard, legacy and forward-looking ports, and a solid build are all significant plus points. Just beware of the low screen resolution on the entry-level model.

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