Dynabook Portégé X40L-K review

Dynabook Portégé X40L-K review

We’ve been impressed with Dynabook’s Portégé laptops which have kept true to the original Toshiba designs that revolutionised the world of ultraportable laptops back in the 90s. Now, here’s the latest Dynabook Portégé X40L-K, a business-designated, 14-inch laptop with a ‘Dark Tech Blue,’ aluminium livery. It looks smart and is a smidge more vibrant than the usual corporate fare. But who should buy it?

Table of Contents

Dynabook Portégé X-40L-K specs

14-inch, matte, 60Hz, 1,920 x 1,200, IPS, touchscreen display; 3.3-4.4GHz Intel Core i5-1240P CPU; 16GB DDR4-3200 RAM; 512GB HDD; Intel Iris Xe graphics; 65Wh battery; 1.48KG. Dimensions (WxDxH): 312 x 224 x 16mm. SKU: PZA11A-006003. Full specs here.

Handling and design

The the latest Dynabook Portégé X40L-K’s thin (16mm), blue, aluminium chassis certainly looks good and it’s robust too. The screen barely flexes when twisted and the lid is strong enough to withstand some serious knocks. The Dynabook moniker and logo isn’t the most stylish, but the parent company is still trying to promote itself so we’ll lay off with the harsh judgment.

However, what we can’t ignore is the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K’s penchant for attracting fingerprints, dirt and any form of hand-derived grease. We used it extensively at various conferences and, in the end were embarrassed by the dirty protest that kept becoming the lid… this despite washing and sanitizing our hands incessantly. We asked interviewees what they thought and they didn’t hold back. Bring some wipes to regularly clean this or you’ll get demoted.

Dynabook Portégé X40L-K review fingerprints
Even after sanitising your hands red raw, the blue lid quickly turns into an unsightly petri dish.

Filth aside, there’s much to like about the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K. The 14-inch, Full HD screen is crisp and sharp and is rare in that it sports a matte finish while supporting touchscreen. Dynabook cites its Eyesafe compatibility for offering low-blue light and flicker-free, eye-comfort features but it didn’t stop us noticing that colours are somewhat washed-out and muted. We also found that the automated eco Mode brightness adjustments – which automatically adjusts the screen brightness – could fluctuate annoyingly in low-light settings. So, we preferred turning it off.

Dynabook Portégé X40L-K review front
The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K’s screen’s colours aren’t just washed out in our photo here. But, it’s rare to have a matte touchscreen.

Despite the 60Hz refresh rate, the screen’s pixel response is impressive. While professional gamers would wince, it’s still capable of displaying casual games in-between work sessions.

The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K’s screen folds down flat (for presentations to customers), which will appeal to some, but it’s worth noting that even its own siblings can rotate 360-degrees and act like tablets, while this one can’t.

Transitions in colour gradients are generally good and monochromatic equivalents, while a bit blocky, weren’t bad (for a laptop). Contrast can be an issue though, with some details getting lost in both bright and dark areas.

Dynabook Portégé X40L-K review light bleed
For those who are interested by a screen’s backlight bleed, the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K suffers very little from it.

The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K’s keyboard is a low-travel, Scrabble-tile affair that’s comfortable and accurate for typing upon for extended periods. The white backlight is rather weak though and we’re not fans of reduced-height arrow keys.

Dynabook Portégé X40L-K review keyboard
The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K’s keyboard is generally good. But the trackpad can be sticky.

We do have some issues with the trackpad. It can take a small moment to wake-up plus, scrolling with multi-touch, all-too-frequently sees it jerkily rushing too-far forwards and back. The touchscreen too, isn’t the most responsive. It’s functional but can take more-than-a-touch to start working. We’d like a bit less lag.

Above the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K’s screen there’s a decent HD webcam with hardware privacy slide. Despite the fingerprints, there’s nothing to read them but there is, nonetheless, a TPM 2.0 module for security. Our particular SKU didn’t support Intel’s vPro for business management.

The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K’s four speakers are Dolby Atmos compatible but they sound tinny and quiet with no top-end or bass response worth talking about.

Performance

Inside the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K there’s a 12th Gen, 3.3 – 4.4GHz Intel Core i5-1240P processor with four performance cores and eight efficiency cores. It’s flanked by 16GB of (last-gen) DDR4-3200 RAM and a 512GB NVMe hard drive. The processor ‘sounds’ significantly superior to its quad-core predecessors and Intel promises that its P-Series delivers top performance to thin-and-light laptops… so we had high hopes.  

In the general computing benchmark, PCMark 10, it scored 5,036 which is decent for a business-grade ultraportable laptop, but not that impressive for anything with a 12th Gen Intel processor. In the CPU-intensive Cinebench rendering tests it scored 1,028 and 8,701 in R15 and R23 respectively. These are good results for a thin-and-light laptop but nothing to shout about in the world of power users.

We didn’t expect much 3D performance from the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K but we ran the tests anyway. In 3DMark Time Spy it scored 1,161 which is an average of just 6.3fps. In Fire Strike Extreme it scored 1,183 (average 5.5fps) and it wouldn’t run the difficult Port Royal ray-tracing test. However, in the easier 3DMark Night Raid test it managed 10,826 which is an average of 55fps. The latter, combined with the decent pixel response of the screen, means it can just about handle older, casual and competitive games.

It’s worth noting that, even when under load, the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K rarely gets hot or noisy.

Connectivity

Dynabook portege X40L-K review right
On the right is a microSD card slot, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 and Gigabit Ethernet.
Dynabook portege X40L-K review left
On the left are two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports (one is used by the charger), HDMI 2.0, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 and a 3.1mm audio jack.

Inside the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K there’s the latest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 technologies.

Portability

The Dynabook Portégé X-40K weighs 1.48KG (and 18mm thin) and so approaches the limits of being considered a business-friendly ultraportable. Still, the internal magnesium structure and aluminium cladding are very strong and tough and we expect it to survive being battered when dealing with life on the road. It’s also MIL-STD-810H-rated for robustness. The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K’s charger (and cables) adds just 330g to the weight.

Dynabook Portégé X40L-K review underneath
The combination of performance, portability and robustness of the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K edge it ahead of rivals when judged exclusively on these criteria.

The battery ran the PCMark 10 Modern Office test for an impressive 11hrs 10mins which is more than a full day out of the office.

Price

At the time of going to press, the X40L-K-006003 version of the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K had a price of $2,114.

Should you buy the Dynabook Portégé X-40K?

The Dynabook Portégé X-40L costs $2,114 which represents decent value for a laptop with this level of build quality married to the combination of performance and portability. However, it’s in a crowded segment, made more competitive by the low product refresh rate of ultraportables. This means there are many other models that offer similar (or better) features at price points that both started lower and have since tumbled. The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K currently places outside the top 10 of our ongoing portable laptop group test, with rival offerings from Huawei appearing ahead of it and the splendid Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip now costing $1,000 less. Still, if you need current-gen performance from a lightweight laptop and you’re fine carrying around cleaning wipes with it, there’s much to like.

Pros

Well-built
Portable

Cons

Fingerprint magnet
Speakers

Dynabook Portégé X40L-K Results
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Ergonomics
  • Stability
  • Portability
  • Value
3.2

Summary

The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K represents a good combination of robustness, portability and performance. But, beyond this, there are superior rivals.

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