The Portégé X series from Dynabook is all about the combination of light weight and good performance. Newly refreshed with 10th generation Intel Core processors, there are three laptops in the range, the 13.3-inch X30-G, 14-inch X40-G and my review unit, the 15.6-inch X50-G. With claimed battery life of 14 hours and 45 minutes, does the Portégé X50-G-10V represent the ideal balance of weight, power and battery for those who like a large-screen experience?
With a starting weight of just 1.4kg the Dynabook Portégé X50-G beats our favourite 15-inch ultraportable so far this year, Dell’s 1.8kg XPS 15 9500 (2020), by some distance. The Portégé X50-G has a slightly larger desktop footprint and is imperceptibly thinner, measuring 359mm by 250mm by 17.6mm compared to the XPS 15’s 344mm x 230mm x 18mm.
The Dell system feels altogether more solid, though. There’s a little flex in the lid of the Portégé X50-G, whereas I couldn’t bow the Dell at all. Still, the chassis here includes magnesium alloy and the laptop has been tested to military standards, so it should cope with everyday knocks.
The keyboard sits inside fairly wide left and right bezels — it almost looks like a module ported from a smaller chassis. Some of the keys on the right of the QWERTY keys are narrow, making them difficult to hit accurately; and even at its widest, the Enter key is not double width. The PgUp and PgDn keys are as small as the diminutive Fn keys, while the arrow keys are squished. There’s a fair bit of flex in the keyboard too, which heavier-handed typists will likely notice.
So even though the key action itself is fine, typing is not an entirely positive experience.
Dynabook’s AccuPoint pointing stick sits between the G, H and B keys, with a pair of buttons above the touchpad for use with it. There’s no third button for scrolling in conjunction with the AccuPoint, as you find on Lenovo ThinkPads, though.
The touchpad itself uses embedded buttons and has a fingerprint reader built in.
The screen is a 15.6-inch non-reflective Sharp IZGO panel with a matte finish, now a common feature on Dynabook laptops. It delivers FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution with a maximum brightness of 470 nits. The non-reflective nature of the screen will be welcomed by those who don’t want to see themselves while they work, but it’s not the best for viewing video content, with colours looking somewhat washed-out.
But then this is not really a laptop designed for after-hours media consumption or in-office presentations. The pair of Harman Kardon speakers output via two grilles on the bottom of the chassis. They’re positioned close to the front, where the base curves slightly upwards, but nonetheless sound is easily muffled if the device is on your lap or a soft surface.
Dynabook has paid little attention to the trend for ever-thinner screen bezels. The side bezels here are 7mm by my reckoning, the top bezel is twice that, and the bottom bezel around 20mm. Compare this to the Dell XPS 15, which minimises bezels all around, catering for increased screen height. The Portégé X50-G looks positively old-fashioned in comparison.
There’s a range of security features on offer, including a sliding privacy shutter for the webcam and a smart card reader. Windows Hello authentication is supported, as well as the fingerprint reader. However the Portégé X50-G lacks the ‘privacy display technology’ that’s exclusively found in the 14-inch Portégé X40-G, which creates a narrowed angle of view in a similar way to Fujitsu’s Lifebook U7310.
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There are currently two off-the-shelf models of the Portégé X50-G available in the UK. My £1,369 (ex. VAT) review unit runs Windows 10 Pro on an Intel Core i7-10510U processor with integrated Intel UHD Graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The less expensive £1,159 (ex. VAT) model has a Core i5-10210U, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
There’s a reasonable range of ports and connectors. On the left edge are two USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5mm headset jack. On the right there are two USB-C Thunderbolt ports (one of which is occupied when the laptop is charging), a full size HDMI port, a MicroSD card slot and a smart card reader.
Dynabook says the battery can keep going for up to 14 hours and 45 minutes, but running my everyday mainstream workloads on the Portégé X50-G suggested that this is optimistic. In one typical session I had multiple browser windows open and was working into productivity apps while streaming music and occasional video content. After four hours the battery had depleted from 100% to 50%.
The default setting for screen brightness was lower than I would usually like, and under normal working conditions I’d raise it a few notches, doubtless reducing battery life further. Users may get a full working day from this laptop on battery power, but might be advised to err on the side of caution and keep the charger to hand.
Dynabook has done well to present a 15.6-inch screen in a chassis weighing just 1.4kg. There are some good security features, including a sliding cover for the webcam, but you need to step down to the 14-inch model to get a privacy filter for the screen.
There’s a fair amount of flex in the keyboard, which also has some issues with key sizing. Battery life is less than impressive, and the 16:9 FHD screen is adequate at best. A taller-format screen, more conducive to having multiple applications running side by side, might make better use of the space occupied by the large bottom bezel.
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