Toshiba Tecra X40-E First Take: Better battery life boosts mobile credentials

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Toshiba's Tecra range is built specifically with businesses users in mind, and while the 14-inch, 1.25kg Tecra X40 E is on the large side for an ultraportable, it does offer plenty of high-end features, including 8th-generation Intel processors.

I was broadly complementary about last year's Tecra X40-D series, although slightly wary of battery life. This time around battery life seems improved -- my review unit soldiered on for 8.5 hours in one test session, dropping to 30 percent battery life in the process. The workload was document creation and a small amount of web browsing, so the system was not working particularly hard: still, all-day battery life should be well within reach for most users.

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The 14-inch Tecra X40-E runs on 8th generation Intel Core processors, offering battery life of up to 14.5 hours according to Toshiba.

Images: Toshiba

The Tecra X40-E is not too big to go in a backpack, measuring 332mm by 228.9mm by 16.9mm, and weighing from 1.25kg. It will need a protective sleeve, however, because there's quite a lot of flex in the lid section.

Very little has changed in the hardware design compared to last year's model. There's a pointing stick sitting between the G, H and B keys which is responsive and can be used in conjunction with a pair of physical buttons above the touchpad. There's still no status light to let users know they've disabled the touchpad, which is an irritation as it's easy to forget that the touchpad has been disabled.

There are plenty of security options for the business user: a fingerprint reader is built into the touchpad, an IR camera for Windows Hello, plus Toshiba's encryption, TPM2 and a smart card reader on the right edge.

This is a standard laptop design with the screen pushing back to around 130 degrees. The 14-inch screen sits inside what's by today's standards relatively wide bezels -- 10mm on the sides and 20mm at the top. The full-HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) screen has a matte, non-reflective finish that's easy on the eye. It's nice to have a touch screen, although of course this does add to the price, and volume purchasers can forego this feature to save on costs. If I have a criticism of the screen, it's a bit on the dark side -- even at maximum brightness.

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The keyboard is a delight to use. From memory it doesn't feel different to last year's Tecra X40 D model, and I found the light but responsive action conducive to extended periods of typing.

The 8th generation Intel processor is complemented by up to 32GB of RAM -- and my review unit (whose particular specs are not available on Toshiba's UK website) was powered by a Core i7-8650U CPU with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. The asking price for this configuration is £1,249.17 (ex. VAT).

There's a single USB 3.0 port, a pair of Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, a MicroSD card slot, a full sized HDMI connector and a 3.5mm headset jack.

Overall this is a nice workhorse laptop, aimed more at knowledge workers than media creators. It has a great keyboard and good battery life, so it should suit mobile professionals. The touch screen is useful, but it's a shame the lid is rather flexible.

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