Toshiba's Portege Z20t: Laptop, Tablet, 17 Hours Of Battery

Toshiba’s Portege thin and light laptops have always been small, but they’ve made minor compromises to get there — generally in battery life or overall flexibility. Not the Portege Z20t, though — in the one device you’ll get the portability of a sub-800g tablet, or clip on the included docking keyboard for a laptop that barely tips the scales at 1.5kg.

The Portege Z20t is built around a 12.5-inch, 1920x1080pixel multi-touch screen, and it’s that half of the laptop that unclips to transform into a properly portable tablet — although you don’t necessarily have to compromise on connectivity, since the tablet has microSD, microHDMI and microUSB ports. Attach the keyboard dock — one unified clip mechanism controls the whole thing, although you can lock the two together using a switch on the side — and you get two full-size USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, full-size HDMI and VGA.

The most inventive thing about the Z20t, though, is its battery management. The tablet portion has a 9-hour battery, and its own power connector, but the keyboard dock adds another 8 hours of life for a total of 17 — enough for the longest of international airplane trips. It also has its own power socket for the bundled travel-sized AC adapter. Toshiba’s approach to charging is inventive and actually makes perfect sense — the tablet’s internal battery gets first priority for charging even when you have the power connector attached to the keyboard, so if you wanted to detach the screen and take it to a meeting you’d be confident of having as much battery life as possible.

I actually have a Portege Z20t with me right here, and it’s like a Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro on steroids. For one thing, it’s strong, super strong. There’s barely any flex to the body of the tablet, the keyboard is equally strong with only a very small amount of buckling when you’re typing away, and the locking hinge mechanism is both secure and unobtrusive — none of the double-sided clamp of the Z10t.

Using Intel’s latest, greatest and most energy efficient Core M processors, the Z20t is fanless, too, despite housing every component except the add-on battery in the chassis of the tablet. Passive cooling means it’s warm but not hot during use, and any potential hot spots are dissipated across the entire rear of the tablet — during its fast charging, for example, the entire right half warms up rather than any specific area. It’s a productivity machine first and foremost, and that means 8GB of RAM and integrated Intel HD 5300 graphics.

Toshiba’s Australian pricing for the Portege Z20t starts at $1672 and ranges up to $2310, depending on which Core M processor spec and how much internal storage you want to spring for. The mid-range Core M-5Y51 with 256GB SSD seems to be the smart middle ground at the moment, although you might want the more powerful Core M-5Y71 if you’re doing some serious productivity work or photo/video editing. [Toshiba]

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