Tablet computers have existed for decades but have only risen to prominence in the past few years.
The newfound popularity of tablet computersproves more users are opting for the flexibility that comes with tablets, although the lack of productivity features on most tablets means that many will still have to carry a laptop around.
But now a new category, that of the hybrid computer, is emerging. Instead of having to carry around two devices, users have the option of both in one.
Hybrid devices are popping up faster than before, especially with Windows 8 being introduced to bridge the gap between computers and tablets.
The Portege Z10t is one such device from Japanese conglomerate Toshiba.
Tablet or Ultrabook?
The Z10t is a Windows 8 Ultrabook in the form of a tablet computer. It comes with a keyboard dock that converts it into a conventional Ultrabook form factor.
As a tablet, its huge 11.6in screen makes it a little bulky and heavy compared to existing tablets from other manufacturers.
The tablet slots in and locks easily into the keyboard dock. As an Ultrabook, the size is just right for those who are always on the go.
However, we didn’t like the restricted viewing angle the dock forces the device into in Ultrabook mode. We would have much preferred it if the dock allowed us to push the screen further back for a more optimum viewing angle, especially when on the go.
One plus point here is that the display’s viewing angles are good enough for it to be visible even when the screen isn’t at a comfortable angle.
The keyboard has its own backlight which is very convenient when used in low light conditions. The layout is easy enough to familiarise yourself with. It isn’t top-notch, but is definitely usable.
We were impressed by the audio quality of the Z10t. It was louder and clearer than we were expecting. The volume control buttons are on the side of the tablet to allow for easy access.
The Z10t comes with both a front-facing HD webcam as well as a 3-megapixel rear camera. Needless to say, you shouldn’t expect too much from a tablet camera.
As mentioned earlier, the Z10t runs on the Windows 8 operating system. The advantage it has here is that it works as a full-fledged computer even on tablet mode, increasing its productivity value against iOs and Android tablets.
The productivity advantage is further boosted by the device’s generous amount of ports. There is a USB 3.0 port on the side of the tablet as well as an additional USB 2.0 port on the dock. The dock also has ports for HDMI, Gigabit LAN as well as VGA out. On the tablet, there’s a micro HDMI port and SD card reader.
There is a charging port on both the tablet as well as the dock, which we feel is very practical.
This product is targeted more towards the business set, and it performed as it should when we were reviewing it. The device demonstrated very minimal lag while we were using it.
As with other Windows 8 devices, we like how the interface is smart enough for you to easily switch between typing with the on screen keyboard and the actual physical keyboard.
Touching any text box area on the screen will bring up the virtual keyboard while typing anything on the physical keyboard will minimise that virtual keyboard. This worked smoothly for us.
An interesting addition to the Z10t is the stylus — not just one, but two of them. One of the stylus slots into the body of the tablet portion of the Z10t, while the other is a bigger one with more functionality that has to be carried around separately.
We tested both styluses with Evernote’s Skitch app and sadly we weren’t very impressed with the performance. We tried doodling and scribbling using the attached stylus and it wasn’t as smooth and responsive as we expected it to be. It is good enough for casual use, but it is unlikely to be something that designers will be happy to work with.
Windows 8 was designed to bridge the gap between PCs and tablet computers. As such, many of the latest laptops come with tablet-like designs and features. The hybrid design that is used for the Portege Z10t is going to be more and more common in the near future.
All in all, we will say that the Z10t was a device that we enjoyed using. Its size as a laptop is convenient enough for it to be very portable, making it a very useful productivity device on the go.
The fact that the screen can be detached and used as a tablet is great for added portability and for media consumption.
While the ports give great productivity value over other popular tablets, the size and weight of the device in tablet mode will probably overwhelm some. Also, Windows 8 OS isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Pros: Portable; generous amount of ports; stylus support.
Cons: Restricted viewing angle of the keyboard stand.
Portege Z10t (Toshiba) Ultrabook PROCESSOR: Intel Core i5-3339Y 1.5GHz processor (up to 2.0GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0) MEMORY: 4GB DDR3-1600 RAM DISPLAY: 11.6in IPS (1,920 x 1,080-pixels) LED-backlit display with Corning Concore Glass GRAPHICS: Intel Graphics HD STORAGE: 128GB SSD CONNECTIVITY: WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit LAN PORTS: On tablet: One USB 3.0 port, micro HDMI out, SD card reader; On keyboard dock: One USB 2.0 port, HDMI out, VGA out, Gigabit LAN OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 8 Pro OTHER FEATURES: Detachable backlit keyboard, HD webcam, 3-megapixel rear camera, two pressure sensitive digitizer pens, stereo speakers with DTS Studio Sound DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 299 x 220.5 x 16.9mm (front)/19.9mm (back) WEIGHT: 850g (tablet), 1.40kg (with keyboard dock) WEBSITE: www.pc.toshiba-asia.com