An unspectacular hybrid laptop that will dutifully carry out common tasks, but that Core M processor can't be pushed.
Solid battery life, matte touchscreen offers good visibility, pleasing keyboard
Limited by Core M processor, screen only Full HD, iffy design, costly
PC MAKER Toshiba is a safe pair of hands when it comes to biz-focused laptops. However, the hardware maker's newest Portege range differs from the norm and goes down a path less travelled into the world of the hybrid laptop.
Toshiba's Portege Z20t-c looks the part when closed thanks to that magnesium alloy lid in graphite black. Opening the hybrid, however, reveals a multitude of sins. We're not talking about the attractive backlit and spill-resistant keyboard, but those harsh angular edges and sharp corners that mark the Portege Z20t-c's unforgiving design.
There's a strong focus on business customers here and we realise that Toshiba isn't overly concerned with consumer-friendly design, but are a few soft curves too much to ask?
Things get better when talking about dimensions. The Portege Z20t-c is just 8.8mm thick when used as a tablet, increasing to a none-too-fat 21mm in laptop mode. It weighs 0.73kg in tablet mode (the same as the Microsoft Surface Book) and 1.51kg when docked. That's not too heavy on paper but after a little while we did need a break from using it as a tablet.
Let's talk about the docking mechanism. On the whole, it's a pretty robust system. A long sliding catch towards the top of the keyboard pops the two pieces apart, while a further lock switch lives on the side and helps to prevent unwanted detachments.
However, the great big catches that make this all possible are all a bit much and it's not an elegant solution.
Worryingly, in laptop mode the Portege Z20t-c exhibits a somewhat rickety build. You can't put much pressure on the screen when the laptop's in docked mode, or you risk toppling the whole thing over.
Saying that, the Portege Z20t-c is made of sturdy stuff, having undergone drop-testing up to 76cm and pressure-testing under a 100kg weight for 10 seconds.
It's heartening to come across a device with so many connectivity options. What's more, these aren't all restricted to the keyboard dock. Toshiba has spread them across both parts, which means you don't lose out when working in tablet mode.
There's a mixture of old and new on the keyboard base, for instance a VGA and a full-size HDMI port, which is always useful for presentations.
In addition, there's a RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet) along with two USB 3.0 ports. The Portege supports Bluetooth 4.1 connections too.
The tablet section houses volume controls, USB Type-C port, micro-HDMI port, microSD and 3.5mm headset jack.
The power button is also located on the tablet, which to us was unexpected. Some hunting was required on first use.
The Portege comes with two styli, one loose and one hidden away in the base of the tablet. As nice as it is of Toshiba to supply two, we wanted to use only the larger pen-like stylus as the other felt bendy and cheap. What's more, the bendy model is inaccessible whenever the tablet is docked, which is surely a bit of an oversight.