Dynabook is a fairly new name on the laptop scene, but its roots are deep. The company was formerly part of Toshiba, which built the first laptop computer in 1985. Now Dynabook is off on its own, but it’s still producing laptops that offer a different spin on design, because this model is extremely light, has excellent battery life and offers decent performance.
Plus, there are plenty of ports, including wired Ethernet and HDMI out. That makes it a tempting option for those who often need to connect their road warrior laptop to other external networks, displays and other devices.
Dynabook Portégé X30L-K review: price and availability
The Dynabook Portégé X30L-K is available now, with prices starting at £1187 / $1,379 / AU$2077. My review unit came with the Intel Core i7-1260P processor, 16 GB RAM and a 13.3-inch FHD display, which has a retail price of £1389 / $1,800 / AU$2562.
Dynabook Portégé X30L-K review: design and features
The Portégé X30L-K surprises you when you pick it up. At just under 2 pounds (904g), it’s very light compared to other similarly sized laptops. It's also pretty small.
Much of that is down to the somewhat retro design, with a plastic casing that weighs much less than the machined aluminum of laptops like the Dell XPS 13. The downside is that the construction of the X30L-K feels much less robust; although it should stand up to knocks and bangs, it just doesn’t feel as tough as its metal-skinned siblings.
The 13.3-inch screen of this laptop tilts back a long way — you can actually fold it all the way back flat against your desk. This isn’t a convertible laptop, though: you can’t fold it back against the body. If you want a laptop that can do this, Dynabook offers the X30W, a similar model that is convertible into a tablet.
What this laptop does have plenty of is ports. On the left side, there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a full-sized HDMI port, a USB 3.2 port and a 3.5mm headset socket. On the right side are even more: a Kensington lock socket, a wired gigabit ethernet port, a USB 3.2 port and a micro-SD card slot.
That’s a lot of connections compared to the usual one or two Thunderbolt ports. The gigabit ethernet will be welcomed by anyone who has had to fight with dodgy WiFi in a home or office.
The keyboard of the X30L-K is rather disappointing, with widely spaced keys that have a very soft, almost soggy feel. The touchpad is adequate, distinguishing well enough between a touch and a tap with a decent positive click for the latter in the center of the pad.
A fingerprint reader is also built into the pad, but there is a dead zone around this that’s rather annoying. If you try and touch and slide starting in this zone, the mouse doesn’t respond. Above the touchpad are buttons for left and right clicks, so you don’t have to rely on the rather haphazard click of the pad itself.
In the middle of the keyboard is another throwback: a pointing device rather like the TrackPoint on old IBM laptops. This Acupoint device works like a miniature joystick — wiggle it around and it moves the mouse. That might get a fond sigh from those who grew up on older Toshiba or Lenovo laptops that used them, but modern touchpads are so much easier to use that it feels more like nostalgia than a practical alternative.
Although some of the design cues here might be old-school, the wireless connections are anything but, with a built-in WiFi 6E adapter that supports all three frequencies of the latest wireless internet standard. The WiFi 6E wireless router adds an additional 6GHz frequency band that can provide speedy access on a crowded wireless network.
The Dynabook Portégé’s 13.3-inch LED screen, at 1920 x 1080 pixels, is very bright. I measured it at 391 Candelas per meter squared (Cd/M2), which makes the laptop bright enough to be used in pretty much any lighting conditions, including outdoors. The screen was still very visible when I was working outside on my deck on a very sunny day.
Images looked good, with clean, vivid color, though they lacked the impact of the newer OLED screens available on other laptops. The colors were not as vivid as an OLED, the blacks not as deep. Still, the X30L-K screen was fine for general use — just don’t expect cinema quality here when you’re watching movies.
Dynabook Portégé X30L-K review: performance and battery life
The X30L-K is not the fastest laptop on the block, but it has a decent amount of processing power. I found that it ran business apps, browsed the web and played streaming video without problems, but choked a bit on video editing and games.
When I tested this laptop in the benchmarking program PC Mark 10, it managed a fine score of 5348, which is comparable to similar laptops like the Dell XPS 13. It’s a bit faster than the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro, though, which is interesting since it has the same processor.
The brain of this laptop is the mid-range Intel Core i7-1260P, a 12th-generation, 12-core processor. There is a bit more to it than that, though: eight of those cores are what Intel calls E (for efficient) cores that can run at up to 3.4Ghz, while the other four are P cores that can push up to 4.7GHz for a short while.
With cores inclined more toward efficiency than performance, the processor uses less power than some, but it can’t bring the same level of performance as those used on other laptops with more P cores. That’s a fair compromise, though: this laptop is more about efficiency than raw power.
The X30L-K is definitely not a gaming laptop. The integrated graphics choked on the 3D first-person shooter Doom Eternal, producing glitchy, intolerable gameplay even on the lowest graphics settings. The scores in the benchmarking program 3D Mark were also disappointing: it managed a lackluster score of 1716. However, it performed much better at other non-FPS games, such as Factorio.
The Portégé X30L-K may be a thin and light laptop, but it’s anything but thin when it comes to battery life. It lasted an impressive 13 hours and two minutes in the PC Mark 10 test, which plays back a 1080P video until the battery dies. I also tested the laptop using the Modern Office battery test of PC Mark 10, which simulates someone grinding away at a spreadsheet and other common work tasks, and the battery life was about the same at just over 13 hours. That’s pretty impressive.
One thing to note is that I ran both tests with the screen brightness turned down to 200 Cd/M2, two stops from the minimum. I do that for consistency, so different laptops are tested in a similar way. The battery life with the screen brightness turned up would no doubt be reduced.
Dynabook Portégé X30L-K review: verdict
The Portégé X30L-K is an attractive package with a lot to offer. It has excellent battery life and good performance, plus a lot of ports. That means you can connect to things like TVs, wired networks, USB hubs and other devices without having to lug around a ton of dongles and adapters.
While such things won’t matter much for work-at-home types, for those who have to travel to customer offices, run presentations or debug problems, having extras like the gigabit ethernet could make all the difference.
Dynabook Portégé X30L-K review: also consider
Our guide to the best lightweight laptops is a great place to start, as this is a very competitive area of the laptop market. If the price tag of the Portégé X30L-K is a bit beyond your budget, look at the cheaper models of the Dell XPS 13.
The Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro also has the same ultralight weight as the Portégé, but with a more stylish look and a built-in 5G modem, which means it can connect to the interwebs from pretty much anywhere.