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Toshiba Portégé X30-E review: Built for work

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1415
inc VAT

The X30-E is a powerful business laptop in an exceptionally thin frame, but it doesn't compromise on battery life


  • Built for business
  • Good connectivity
  • High-quality display


  • Some rivals are faster
  • Additional docking station may be required

There’s no shortage of candidates if you’re looking for a thin-and-light laptop, but this Portégé is a little different because it has IT managers in its sights. The X30-E is designed to be an easy-to-manage laptop that also happens to be slim and sexy.

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Toshiba Portégé X30-E review: Design and features

Well, sexy may be pushing it. Dressed in a sober dark blue finish, it’s more Canary Wharf boardroom than Shoreditch coffee shop, but it has a list of attractive stats: a 15.9mm height, a 1.09kg weight and a promised battery life of over ten hours.

That latter stat will be tough to reach in general use, but it lasted a creditable 8hrs 38mins in our video-rundown battery-life tests. That’s with the screen set to a medium 170cd/m2 level, and most people will find it’s willing to work for a longer day than they are.

When it does come time to recharge, attach it via USB Type-C to any source capable of supplying 45W or use Toshiba’s supplied adaptor (this weighs 383g with the USB-C cable).

Nor does Toshiba rely on USB Type-C alone. While there are two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on the right-hand side, it also includes a full-sized HDMI port, a Type-A USB port, a microSD slot and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Our review unit also included a smart card slot, but you may find the fingerprint reader and Windows Hello-compatible webcam more convenient. Both are slick in practice, even if the fingerprint reader is a fraction smaller than I’d like.

I’m a fan of the touchpad, though. It’s a precision touchpad, so supports all of Windows 10’s gestures, and you can double-click anywhere on its surface. You can also click at the bottom-left and -right areas to mimic the left- and right-button of a mouse, or use the dedicated buttons that sit above the touchpad. Users who still hanker after a trackpoint will also be delighted.

The keyboard is a fabulous example of its type. There’s enough “feel” to it that you know when you’ve hit keys, but it’s also relatively quiet. Toshiba keeps function doubling to an absolute minimum, with the only potential irritation being its non-standard positioning for the PgUp and PgDn buttons – these small keys sit below the double-height Enter key.

Toshiba Portégé X30-E review: Display

The screen is another high-quality affair. It’s a matte finish designed for starting at for long hours rather than watching the latest films, and that’s reflected in a high sRGB gamut coverage of 92.9% but more mediocre 67.4% for movie-friendly DCI-P3. While a contrast ratio of 1,035:1 and average Delta E of 4.08 aren’t much to shout about, its peak brightness of 355cd/m2 is great for a business machine. Surprisingly, it’s a touchscreen, too.

Toshiba Portégé X30-E review: Specs

The X30-E’s business-friendly features are reinforced by the vPro certification of the Core i7 chips Toshiba provides, and notably these are eighth-generation units. Our review sample matched a Core i7-8650U processor with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD, but it has the disadvantage of not being available for sale in the UK.

Instead, you can choose between the X30-E-12W with a Core i5-8250U, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, or the E-12N with a Core i7-8550U, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD. The former costs £1,272 inc VAT from Insight, the latter £1,179 exc VAT from Toshiba.

Toshiba Portégé X30-E review: Performance

The supplied specification proved speedy, with an overall score of 80 in our benchmarks – notably twice that of the X30-E with a seventh-gen chip and 8GB of RAM. You can buy faster laptops, but in practice the X30 offers plenty of power for 90% of people. It’s only those who perform number-crunching tasks that will need more from their day-to-day machine.

If you are going to distribute these to workers as their main machine, or buy it for yourself, consider investing in a suitable docking station. Toshiba is pushing its Thunderbolt 3 docking station for around £200, but other third-party docking stations are available. And as Toshiba still keeps “legacy” HDMI and Type-A USB ports, you don’t even need to put a USB Type-C adapter into your travel bag.

Buy now from Insight

Toshiba Portégé X30-E review: Verdict

So where does this leave the Portégé X30? It isn’t as cute, slim or light as some of its rivals, but it has one key thing in its favour: it’s built for work. Windows 10 Pro and its greater manageability all lift it above the consumer mainstream, so if you are buying for business, it’s a great choice.