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Review: Toshiba Portégé Z10t Two-In-One Hybrid

Road warriors, listen up! The time has come to decide: do you carry a laptop, or a tablet?

If you’ve ever faced that decision you might be pleased to know that things don’t have to be as cut and dried as you think. Thanks to the power of Windows 8 and the engineers over at Toshiba, you can have your tablet… and laptop too. Meet the Portégé Z10t.

It used to be that hybrids were always a compromise, unable to excel at being portable or being useful, but in the last two years we’ve seen the rise of the tablet hybrid. Toshiba’s Portégé Z10t is the latest of the lot, and it’s leading the way for this growing category.

By the numbers
The Z10t is a Windows 8-powered Ultrabook first and foremost. It’s powered by an Intel Core i5 processor for the base and mid-range models, with a Core i7 upgrade for anyone who’s hungry for power. RAM is limited to 4GB across the board, with 128GB of SSD space shipping standard on Core i5 units and 256GB SSD available on the Core i7 upgrade.

Built for business, the Z10t comes with Intel HD4000 Integrated Graphics, high-quality stereo sound, and it’s bristling with ports like an SD card slot, Micro HDMI, and even things like VGA and Ethernet through the included keyboard dock.

In its laptop form the Z10t has a complete keyboard and trackpad, as well as a strong, stable base to snap into. It’s great for creating documents and presentations, and it feels solid when snapped closed. At 3.24lbs it’s easy to carry and feels grippy and secure in your hands.

The tablet portion is simply gorgeous. It’s thin, light, and powerful. The Z10t sports an 11.6” Full HD IPS display–that means that everything you see on this tablet will be clear and crisp with bright, vivid colours. There’s a built-in 1MP webcam for conferencing

The Toshiba Portégé Z10t in the real world
All of the above is great stuff… if the device is usable in the real world. We’ve been using the Z10t in the GetConnected lab since before it launched, getting an idea of how useful it can be.

Our first impression? Windows 8 is built for touch, and the Z10t handles it perfectly. The screen is big and beautiful; it’s incredibly responsive as you scroll through apps and it feels natural interacting with gestures and the on-screen keyboard. It’s fast, handling Office, Adobe Photoshop, and other intensive task with ease. We had use of both the integrated stylus and the premium Wacom stylus (sold separately) and found the digitizer to be a phenomenal option for artists and business purposes alike. Being able to sketch accurately or just make notes was a welcome feature.

The full array of ports on the tablet portion means that the lines aren’t as clean as some other feature-limited tablets, but they’re definitely handy. Being able to connect directly over HDMI, or to add massive amounts of storage via SD card set the Z10t apart from the crowd. The laptop-base is likewise equipped with some handy ports: ethernet and VGA make an appearance, making this unit very friendly to the corporate environment.

Typing on the keyboard feels smooth and accurate, and though the Canadian version comes with a French-equipped keyboard, it’s still relatively easy to hit the right keys for slash, return, and control–things that can be difficult when bilingual keyboards aren’t set up correctly. The keyboard is also backlit, which is incredibly handy in more situations than you’d think; it’s amazing how often you find yourself working in low-light conditions.

Battery life is a solid 3.5 hours, which may seem a touch short for a tablet, but is adequate for something of this calibre. It would have been nice to see the keyboard dock include some extra battery life, but that would have increased the weight, so we can understand the reasoning here. The tablet snaps in easily and ejects by use of a switch under the Windows logo button. It should be noted that the Z10t is designed for tabletop use; our tests using as a lap-based laptop weren’t that successful. The screen doesn’t tilt much past 90º, making table-based use the best choice when it’s in the keyboard dock.

For $1499 for the base model you get one of the best Windows 8 Pro tablets out there that can stand in for a notebook in all but the most niche of circumstances. If you’re tired of toting both tablet and laptop Toshiba gives you a great solution, making your road warrior kit just a little bit lighter.

 is a Canadian Tech Blogger and correspondent for GetConnected. You can follow him on Twitter at @thetechnogram 

Tags assigned to this article:
consumer techconsumer technologySony

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