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Dynabook Portege X30L review: Comet Lake power in a featherweight shell

Dynabook Portege X30L review: Comet Lake power in a featherweight shell

There’s light, and then there’s light, and the Dynabook Portege X30L falls into the latter category. Weighing a mere 1.8 pounds, the Portege X30L manages to pack in decent (if not chart-topping) quad-core Comet Lake performance, a bright 13.3-inch display, fingerprint and facial biometrics, and solid battery life. Productivity-minded users who like to travel light (and have a healthy budget) will get a kick out of this barely-there laptop, although we do wish Thunderbolt 3 had been part of the package.

Portege X30L Specs and Features

Dynabook’s 13.3-inch Portege X30L offers many configuration choices. A single off-the-rack model (the Portege X30L-G1331) comes with a quad-core, 10th-gen Intel Core i5-10210U Comet Lake CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid-state drive for a list price of $1,600 from Dynabook.com. (As of this writing, it was $1,374 with discounts.) Build-to-order options range from the Core i5-10210U all the way up to a hex-core i7-10810U CPU. Likewise, you can expand the 8GB of RAM up to 24GB, or quadruple the SSD storage to 1TB. You could also opt for a touch-enabled FHD display. No 4K option is available, but on a screen this size it’s arguably overkill. (A 1440p option would have been nice.)

Our review laptop retails for a hefty $2,014 from Dynabook.com as configured, although that price is comparable to that of a close competitor, the HP Elite Dragonfly. The Portege X30L is also backed by a three-year warranty, versus the standard one-year warranty you’ll get with most mainstream laptops.

Here are the specs on the built-to-order review model we received:

  • CPU: Quad-core 10th-gen Intel Core i5-10210U
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3-inch IGZO (470 nits, non-touch), 1920×1080 resolution
  • Webcam: 720p, dual microphone
  • Connectivity: One SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps (formerly known as USB 3.2 Gen 2) Type-C port, two SuperSpeed USB (5Gbps, formerly known as USB 3.2 Gen 1) Type-A ports, HDMI, combo audio jack, microSD memory card reader 
  • Networking: Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit ethernet
  • Biometrics: Fingerprint reader and IR facial recognition camera
  • Battery capacity: 42 watt-hour
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds (2.5 pounds with AC adapter)
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Overall, that’s a nice mix of mid- and high-end features, particularly when it comes to the roomy 512GB solid-state drive and the Wi-Fi 6 networking (which means you’ll be ready for bleeding-edge 802.11ax routers). The 16GB of RAM should offer plenty of headroom for multitasking or having many browser tabs open at once. The quad-core Core i5-10210U should deliver smooth everyday performance while holding its own with CPU-intensive activities such as video processing and database crunching. The full-HD display comes with an impressive 470-nit brightness rating (in our real-world tests, it scored even higher), but it isn’t touch-enabled (the optional FHD touchscreen has a somewhat lower 300-nit rating).

Of course, the key spec to keep in mind here is weight—a mere 1.8 pounds (that’s our measurement, a tad lighter than the 1.9-pound factory specification). That makes the Portege X30L one of the lightest laptops (if not the lightest laptop) we’ve ever tested with a full-on U-series Intel processor. The U-series chip allows for higher base clock speeds compared to low-power Y-series CPUs, not to mention DDR4 memory support.

Design

The corporate-focused Dynabook Portege X30L has a couple of design advantages, but looks isn’t one of them. With its nondescript onyx-blue magnesium chassis, perfectly flat lid and utilitarian hinge, the X30L reminded me of the similarly dull (design-wise, anyway) Lenovo ThinkPad series, although at least the logo on the ThinkPad sits at a jaunty angle.

Ben Patterson/IDG

The Dynabook Portege X30L isn’t the prettiest laptop ever, but boy is it light.

But the Portege X30L’s best design feature must be felt rather than seen. It feels ridiculously light, making it a delight to hold in your hands (or even one hand, for that matter). It’s also tough, with Dynabook promising that it exceeds military MIL-STD 810G standards for drops, shocks, and other environmental hazards.

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