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Dynabook offers serious competitor to Surface Pro

The dynabook (previously Toshiba) Portégé X30T-E is a business-focused 2-in-1 that goes all out to maximise functionality, writes BRYAN TURNER

Click below to read about the 2-in-1 computer.



While 2-in-1 laptops have become a mature technology on the market, they haven’t become less clunky or cumbersome to use. Until now.

Dynabook – previously Toshiba – has released the Portégé X30T-E, which is aimed at the business market and offers impressive processing power for a mid-sized form factor. Best of all, it acts as a 2-in-1 should.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8550U, an Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU, and a whopping 1TB SSD. All of this was housed behind the screen, which is extremely thin when one considers the power that sits behind it.

On the left side, the panel has a SIM card slot, volume rocker, and power button, while on the right it features a USB Type-C port for charging or connectivity, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. On the back is a small indented square, which houses the fingerprint sensor. On the front, the wide-bezelled 13.3-inch display has a matte finish to make working in brighter, sunlit conditions more comfortable. The wide bezels ensure that accidental touches don’t happen when one is holding the computer in tablet mode.

Apart from the panel, we had two keyboards and a stylus in the box.

The first keyboard is an answer to the minimalist connectivity on the panel. It features two USB ports, an ethernet port, a VGA port, an HDMI port, and a Kensington lock. When attached, this keyboard makes the computer seem like a standard-sized Core-i7 laptop. The keyboard also has an integrated battery to extend the battery life.

The second keyboard is a slimmer, lighter version with no ports. This is ideal for those who want a slimmer profile on-the-go while writing or doing basic tasks. When using the computer with this keyboard, one needs to use the tablet’s built-in kickstand for support. The kickstand does not need to be used with the other keyboard.

Both keyboards are backlit and have a deep key travel for a satisfying typing experience. The trackpads are fairly standard and serve their purpose. For a good 2-in-1 experience that’s comparable to Microsoft’s Surface Pro, the computer came preloaded with Windows 10 Pro.

During the setup, the touch features were responsive and one could work seamlessly between touching the screen and using the trackpad. The touch technology in the display is powered by Wacom, leaders in tablet-input technology, which also enables the accurate stylus technology in the screen.

The overall design of this computer shows Dynabook’s meticulous attention to detail. The cooling fans face upward to cool the heavy-duty CPU, while the serious keyboard has metal pins and hooks to eliminate the need for a kickstand. This is a great first step for the legacy of Dynabook.

We didn’t test games on the computer, because it doesn’t have a dedicated GPU. That said, it performs well in multitasking situations and handles Photoshop well.

The point where it shines is note-taking in tablet mode. In Microsoft OneNote, the tablet can distinguish between the stylus and one’s finger. That allows one to move the virtual page around with one hand and write with the other, while resting one’s palm on the screen with no accidental input. The pen can also sense pressure changes, creating a very natural feel to writing on the screen.

The integrated 36 Wh battery is on the small side but is complimented by another 36 Wh in the keyboard for a 9-hour battery life.

Overall, this is the best alternative to the Microsoft Surface Pro, especially in terms of availability in South Africa.

Product of the Day

Acer’s latest Chromebook means serious business

The latest Acer Chromebooks for business have arrived in South Africa. BRYAN TURNER reviewed the Acer Chromebook 715.

Click below to read the review.



The Chromebook market has been perceived as very consumer-focused, until the recent introduction of management tools for Chrome OS.

To complement these corporate management tools, Acer has released the Chromebook 715, aimed at the business person that works in the cloud, in South Africa.

The unit we reviewed contained an Intel Core i5-8250U, 16GB of RAM, and 128GB of eMMC storage. All of this was housed in a sturdy aluminium body. 

On the left side, the computer features a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer, a standard USB Type-A port, and a headphone jack, while on the right it has a Kensington Lock, another USB Type-C port just for connectivity and a microSD card slot. 

When open, the narrow bezelled 15.6″-inch display has a Full HD resolution for crisp lettering in documents. The wide colour gamut also ensures that colours are accurately represented on screen. 

The keyboard features a first for Chromebooks: a num-pad. This is especially useful for those working with spreadsheets on Google Sheets or Excel Online, or accountants working in web apps like Xero.

The overall design of this computer shows the professional look Acer was going for with a business-facing Chromebook. It has a grey aluminium body, which looks heavy, but comes to a mere 1.8kg. It’s much lighter than it looks for an almost 16″ laptop.

The performance is great and switching between web apps is fast. This is thanks to the embedded i5 processor, which doesn’t make as much of a noise as its Windows counterparts.

The computer isn’t for the “slashie”: those who run their personal and business lives on the same device. As a result, games don’t run on the computer because it doesn’t run applications. This asserts the device’s status as a purely business-focused device.

Apart from the hardware features, the computer is handled via the lightweight Chrome OS. 

Chrome OS is Google’s answer for those who only work with web apps, and don’t want their computer’s performance hindered by unnecessary apps. With the increasing power offered from web apps, the computer application as we know is likely to disappear eventually. 

With Google’s Apps for Work platform, the Chromebook lends itself to the same admin management tools that exist on other platforms. 
The integrated 45 Wh battery may seem small but operates for around 9 hours, thanks to the lightweight software and good battery management.  

Overall, for those who want a no-nonsense approach to computing, the Acer Chromebook 715 may be their best next device. However, its pricing at R7,999 may deter those who would expect to pay less.

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Product of the Day

Philips’s new toothbrush does more than clean teeth

Philips’s new Sonicare DiamondClean toothbrush comes with five brushing modes, including one focused on gum care.

Click below to read about the new toothbrush.



Brushing one’s teeth and following a daily oral healthcare routine has more than just cosmetic gain.

Plaque forms a film of bacteria between one’s teeth and gums, that if not properly removed can lead to gum disease and a range of diseases like diabetes and coronary heart disease. With statistics from Philips indicating that an estimated 90% of South Africans suffer from gum disease at some point in their life, good oral health has never been more important.

This is why the company has created the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean electric toothbrush.

The Philips Sonicare is tough on plaque but gentle on gums.

Its brushstrokes drive fluid deep between a user’s teeth and along the gumline. According to Philips, one brush with this toothbrush does more than a manual toothbrush does in a month.

It features 5 modes to cover more brushing needs, such as Clean, Polish, White Sensitive and Gum Care, it offers a customisable experience providing up to 7x more plaque removal than a manual toothbrush. Philips says the users of this brush can also get a whiter smile in one week with the DiamondClean brush head and improved gum health in just 2 weeks.

For the person on the go, the USB travel case doubles up as a charger to ensure the device remains charged. For home charging, the charger glass doubles as a glass for rinsing after brushing. To activate charge, place the brush into the glass to experience two weeks of regular use from a single charge.

Available in a range of colours at Takealot and Dis-Chem for a recommended retail price of  R3299.

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