Back at the IFA event in Germany, I noticed that Toshiba had announced a new laptop. However the headline didn’t quite grab my eye. It was only by chance that while walking through the show floor, I stumbled into the Toshiba booth where the device, called the Portégé X30T, was on display. When I say it is an uncanny mix of clamshell and tablet, this is not an exaggeration: trying to tap into that Thinkpad market is difficult, and Toshiba thinks this new device is one to fit into the bill.

Toshiba lists the Portégé X30T as ‘a business companion that’s built to move’. And if you take a quick glance at the fully-assembled device, then you'd say it looks like any other laptop, with a large high quality screen, a keyboard with ports, a hinge, and that should be the lot. However the Portégé X30T is more like a conventional 2-in-1: the keyboard – with houses the USB ports, VGA output, HDMI output, and Ethernet port – detaches.

The unit physically detaches with two metallic hooks to reveal a USB-C connection between the keyboard and the screen, but all the internals are housed in the screen. Those internals include a 15W class Intel processor with integrated graphics, storage and memory, but also a back hinge for the device to stand up like most 2-in-1 devices when the slim keyboard is used.

The full-fat keyboard, with an extra battery and ports, makes the system stable enough to be a clamshell; but users can invest in a light weight keyboard for the device to be more portable. The slim keyboard by contrast uses a simple pogo-pin type interface. But that being said, even with the full-fat keyboard, I felt the overall design was still fairly light – it was actually the first thing I said to the rep when they handed me the unit.

Inside the screen is an 8th generation U-series processor, a 13.3-inch FHD touchscreen display with active pen support, the built-in kickstand, both front-facing and rear-facing cameras, and Toshiba states that it is around 0.9 inches thick and weighs under 1kg. The base tablet mode should be good for eight hours of battery life, but the full-fat keyboard bumps that up to 14-15 hours. Toshiba is offering a 3-year warranty for the laptop, and it is built to the MIL-STD-810G standard for durability.

Compared to the previous generation, it would appear that the in-keyboard trackpoint is now an optional extra (for business users that prefer it), and Toshiba has bumped the device up from a 5W Core M to a 15W U-series processor, which requires additional vents in the tablet part of the device.

Toshiba is set to make the newest Portégé X30T available in October, starting at $1550.

To be honest, my main critique with 2-in-1 devices is that I use my main portable notebook in clamshell mode at critical parts of my job – either on tiny tables on airplanes, or on my lap during keynotes. This is where the 2-in-1 model falls apart: it requires an additional ‘stand’ which takes more room that I don’t have. By having a weighty keyboard that also adds a lot of battery life, Toshiba has a good thing going here. If I know I’m going to be doing desk work, I can potentially use the lightweight keyboard at all other times.

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  • wr3zzz - Thursday, September 13, 2018 - link

    The Ethernet port would have cinch it for me if not for the fan. I wonder why Toshiba chose to use the U-series instead of the new Amber Lake Y-series.
  • digiguy - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    Agreed, after the bad experience with the fan noise of the (otherwise excellent) notebook 9, starting to scream after 6 moths and getting progressively worse (without any trace of dust in the fan), I now don't trust ANY pc with a fan. I want fanless or nothing (I do business work on it, no video editing or gaming).
  • Death666Angel - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    I've had fans in my PCs since my first PC (circa 2001). Not one fan has become troublesome. But sure, stay away from those types of PCs. "Business work". Sure.
  • digiguy - Saturday, September 15, 2018 - link

    I have had fans in my pc since 1992... and at that time who cared, that was the norm... and hard drive were even noisier... But when you work with a fanless device it's hard to go back to even a low noise. It's like resolution, 640x480 was fine, nobody complaied. Today, anything under 1080p feels bad... And yes business work, you don't need a quad core for that. A core M with an ssd can be more than enough for that...
  • wr3zzz - Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - link

    What is your point? I started building PC for myself and friends/family since 1986 and my first company issued laptop weights nearly 5kg and has a VGA monochrome screen. You obviously have never been to serious business meetings where millions are at stake with notebook's fan squeaking on and off.
  • azazel1024 - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    I think that should be "most" for 2-in-1. Many 2-in-1 do not require a kick stand. My T100HA does not. That said, I've finally decided that weight is my primary issue and less size. So I will probably be looking for something like an Asus UX390 when I finally replace my T100. It would be nice to see some competently designed small form factor laptops with something like a 4415y in them.

    The Surface go is nice, but makes compromises to be a tablet (and also not cheap by the time you add the type pad and configure with 8/128GB).

    The 11.6" market seems to have mostly evaporated, or is only cheap chrome books. But a thin and light 11.6" with a 4415y in it, 8GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB SSD and either 180 degree hinge or just standard hinge would be awesome.

    But since no one seems to make that, I'll probably end up with one of the smaller 13.3" laptops in the end as I find I use my 2-in-1 tablet as a laptop 95% of the time and the occasional time I use it as only a tablet, I don't really NEED to use it as a tablet, it is just a bit more convenient.
  • Death666Angel - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    You are echoing my experience a lot. I've had a 11.6" 2-in-1 which was fine, but it was a jack of all trades and master of none device. I've then switched to a 14" laptop which was great as a laptop. Portable but large enough for my kind of work and entertainment. Since my phone has gotten larger, I've needed a tablet like device less and less. I've had a 10" chinese tablet (used a bit at home and on holidays), a 7" Nexus 2nd gen (used a lot on the road, but mostly entertainment) and an 8" Asus Note (used for a bit of everything). But most of the time I want a somewhat large screen and after 8" (which is barely portable in my trousers/jackets) it doesn't matter if it's 10" or 14", I need a backpack. I've come to the conclusion that a 13-14" tablet-laptop would be ideal for me, together with a 5.5"+ phone. Maybe the Asus Note 8 can play a role in there somewhere. But for right now, the refurbished T904 seems like a great fit for me.

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