Toshiba Te­cra X40-D-10H

An un­der­stated and speedy ul­tra­portable, but the screen and fan noise mean it will strug­gle to woo fans

PC Pro - - November 2017 Issue 277 - TIM DAN­TON

SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £1,404 (£1,685 inc VAT) from lap­tops­di­rect.co.uk

Want a fast ul­tra­portable busi­ness-fo­cused lap­top? Packed with the lat­est se­cu­rity tech? Then you’re in luck: aside from the main­stream bud­get lap­tops, this sec­tor is cur­rently more fash­ion­able than a pair of Su­perdry skinny jeans. Th­ese two pages alone of­fer you a choice of just-such lap­tops, while our group test ( see p76) of­fers an­other shelf-full of op­tions.

That means Toshiba must try ex­tra-hard to stand out – al­though that isn’t ob­vi­ous when you first set eyes on the Te­cra X40. It’s more un­der­stated than stylish, with a dark blue brushed metal fin­ish ev­i­dently de­signed to make an im­pres­sion in the board­room rather than the cof­fee house. The only dash of con­trast is the pair of an­odised alu­minium hinges on ei­ther side, but if you’re hop­ing th­ese will al­low the Te­cra’s screen to flip around then think again. It pushes back to 130 de­grees, but that’s it.

Nor is there an at­tempt to recre­ate the Dell XPS 13’s bor­der­less screen, with 5mm-wide bezels to the side and dou­ble that above and be­low. It’s all very 2010. At least the space above the screen leaves plenty of room for Toshiba’s Win­dows Hello-com­pli­ant camera, so you can log into your ac­count with­out fid­dling with fin­ger­print read­ers or pass­words. This works as smoothly as ever.

There is a fin­ger­print reader squeezed into the touch­pad, a sen­si­bly wide de­sign with the same as­pect ra­tio as the screen. It’s re­spon­sive, but I found the blue touch­point nes­tled within the keys to be slug­gish. With phys­i­cal left- and right-mouse but­tons above the touch­pad, though, you can use ei­ther sys­tem equally well.

The key­board is a plea­sure to type on – but that’s what I’ve come to ex­pect from big-name lap­tops. The days of clicky, bouncy key­boards is long past, so it’s now a mat­ter of mak­ing sure but­tons are ad­e­quately sized and well placed. Here, Toshiba wins: the Backspace and En­ter keys are both large, and it even sep­a­rates out the PgUp and PgDn but­tons. The only mi­nor ir­ri­ta­tion is that the cur­sor keys are small, with the top cur­sor the trick­i­est to hit.

There’s noth­ing spe­cial about the dis­play, a 14in touch­screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 res­o­lu­tion. It’s non­re­flec­tive, and to­gether with the touch coat­ing the screen looks sub­dued next to, say, the Dell XPS 13. I mea­sured max­i­mum bright­ness at 264cd/m2 and found it strug­gled in di­rect sun­light, but was more con­cerned by its sen­si­tiv­ity to view­ing an­gles – head away from a “di­rect on” view and the colours drop off.

Colour ac­cu­racy is dis­ap­point­ing, with an av­er­age Delta-E of 6.66 well above the 2 or less we’d hope for – while a mea­sured 60.6% sRGB gamut cov­er­age in­di­cates this isn’t a panel for pho­tog­ra­phers.

Few peo­ple will need more power than this lap­top has to of­fer, with a Core i7-7500U processor and 16GB of RAM com­bin­ing to score 55 over­all in our bench­marks. That’s a thun­der­ous score, but it’s matched by thun­der­ous noise when pushed: the cool­ing fans kick into ac­tion sur­pris­ingly

“That’s a thun­der­ous score, but it’s matched by thun­der­ous noise when pushed: the fans kick into ac­tion sur­pris­ingly of­ten

of­ten. Hav­ing lived with an ul­tra-quiet Dell XPS 13 for two years, I found this an­noy­ing. At least this didn’t ad­versely af­fect bat­tery life too much, with the Te­cra last­ing for 8hrs 18mins in our video-run­down test.

One thing I loved, how­ever, was the Thun­der­bolt dock­ing sta­tion. This plugs into one of the two Thun­der­bolt 3/USB-C ports on the right-hand side of the Te­cra, and means that you can con­nect ev­ery con­ceiv­able wire or out­put when at your main desk. There are VGA, Eth­er­net, four USB 3 ports, two HDMI ports, a Dis­playPort, a mi­cro Dis­play Port and three USB-C con­nec­tors avail­able. At £200, it’s a lit­tle ex­pen­sive, but the con­ve­nience it of­fers is am­ple com­pen­sa­tion.

You know you’re in trou­ble, though, when the thing you most like about a lap­top is its dock­ing sta­tion. As I men­tioned at the start of this re­view, com­pe­ti­tion is tough. While an iden­ti­cally spec­i­fied ThinkPad X1 Car­bon (with a 512GB SSD) would cost al­most £200 more, it’s worth the ex­tra in­vest­ment – es­pe­cially when that comes with a three-year on-site war­ranty com­pared to the Toshiba’s sin­gle year of re­turn-to-base cover.

BE­LOW The Te­cra is slim and light – yet still packs a pow­er­ful Core i7 processor in­side SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS Dual-core 2.7GHz In­tel Core i7-7500U processor In­tel HD Graph­ics 620 16GB RAM 14in IPS touch­screen dis­play, 1,920 x 1,080 res­o­lu­tion 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD 720p we­b­cam 802.11ac Wi-Fi Blue­tooth 4.2 2 x USB-C/Thun­der­bolt 3 USB 3 HDMI mi­croSD card slot Win­dows 10 Pro bat­tery ca­pac­ity not stated 332 x 229 x 16.9mm (WDH) 1.25kg 1yr RTB war­ranty

ABOVE Dressed in dark blue, the Te­cra X40 will make the right im­pres­sion in a mod­ern board­room

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