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Hands-on: Toshiba's New Products for 2013
By Leo Boon Yeow & Kenny Yeo - 12 Jun 2013,6:30pm

Toshiba's New Notebooks

Toshiba's Latest for 2013

Toshiba has just announced a whole lot of products that consumers can expect to see in 2013. Our news report contains availability and pricing details, and some key specifications of the products. 

We've also had the privilege to be invited down to Toshiba's office to learn more about Toshiba’s new design language and have a hands-on feel of some of these new products. For 2013, the Japanese company believes that a greater emphasis on design was required, so to develop their new products, they conducted numerous surveys and studies to better understand their target demographics.

According to studies and research from Toshiba, they found that both younger and older consumers value "elegant design".

Interestingly, they found that many users greatly value what Toshiba calls “elegant design” - that is products that have been thoughtfully designed that combines both functionality and aesthetic. And example of this would be that recognizing that a large proportion of the world is right-handed, Toshiba decided to position the power button on the right side of their notebooks for easier operation. On top of that, many of Toshiba’s new notebooks feature design elements such as metallic surfaces and finishes, “frameless” keyboard, enhanced speakers and modern materials.

To understand Toshiba’s new design philosophy, we checked out the Toshiba Portege Z10t, a hybrid Ultrabook that's targeted at business and enterprise users; the Toshiba Satellite P50, a 15.6-inch mainstream multimedia notebook; and the 17.3-inch Toshiba Qosmio X70 gaming notebook. Read on to find out what we think about them. On top of that, we also checked out Toshiba’s new Canvio Connect portable external hard drives and their nifty USB Mobile LED Monitor..

Toshiba Portege Z10t Ultrabook

The 11.6-inch Toshiba Portege Z10t, is a hybrid Windows 8 Ultrabook that has the full suite of security features essential for an enterprise notebook, as well as a digitizer powered by Wacom technology.

The Toshiba Portege Z10t Ultrabook is definitely one of the more interesting products launched by Toshiba this year. The Z10t is positioned as a hybrid Ultrabook made for business use, so that users can have the portability of a tablet, while having the power of a full-fledged Ultrabook. And since it's made for enterprise use, it also has security features like a TPM chip, as well as Intel vPro, which IT departments will definitely appreciate. 

During our hands on session with the device, we were impressed with the look and feel of the Z10t Ultrabook. It may be mostly made of plastic which keeps the tablet at a light 850g, but it is stiffer than what you would expect. There was hardly any flex on the back of the machine thanks to the stiff plastic used. The locking mechanism on the keyboard dock was fairly secure, but the release button wasn't as smooth as we would expect it to be. However, we felt that the stiffness of the hinge could be improved upon, so that when the display was being interacted with, it wouldn't tilt backwards that easily.

The very thin keyboard dock of the Z10t is very robust and portable. We'd prefer it if the dock provided extra power or storage capabilities, however it does provide users with additional connectivity options, a very comfortable keyboard and even a trackpad.

What was truly impressive about the Z10t however, was its dock. It is made mostly out of metal, making it robust and allowing it to take some abuse. It is also quite thin, light and portable, so it doesn't add on much mass when its paired with the display (tablet). Because it is so thin, the dock has fairly shallow keys. Fortunately, they are stiff enough to provide tactile feedback which makes for a comfortable typing experience. 

As for connectivity, the Z10t is right up there with the best of them. On the tablet itself, there's a USB 3.0 port, a micro HDMI port, a card reader slot, and a audio combo jack on the right side of the tablet. Also located on the same side is a volume rocker, an orientation lock button and the power button. And because they are located on the side, they can be reached easily even when the tablet is docked. On the dock itself, there's also a VGA port, a full-sized HDMI port, a RJ45 port and even a extra USB 2.0 for your peripherals.

And finally, Toshiba also added a feature which most business users would find handy. On top of the multi-touch display on the tablet, the trackpad and pointing stick on the keybboard dock, the Z10t also comes with Wacom digitizer technology. We found that it worked snappily, with no perceptible lag. This means that the writing and drawing experience on the Z10t would be as close to the real thing as possible. 

Toshiba Satellite P50 / P50t

The Toshiba Satellite P50 is reasonably priced, but has a premium build quality and feel thanks to the brushed aluminum used on the lid and keyboard chassis.

For mainstream notebooks, there's the new Toshiba Satellite P series, which is made up of the Satellite P50 and P50t. The Toshiba Satellite P50 is a mainstream notebook running a 4th generation Haswell processor, a new GeForce GT 745M with a whopping 4GB of framebuffer and an optical drive. 

From our hands-on session with the machine, we found that the Satellite P50 is made to be much more sturdy than other Satellite notebooks we've handled in the past, which are mostly made of plastic. As part of a company-wide redesign and emphasis on looks and materials, Toshiba fitted the P50 with premium aluminum. The lid, keyboard chassis and palm rest are sturdy thanks to the attractive brushed aluminum used.

The P50 offers quite an extensive array of connectivity options which include 2 USB 3.0 ports, audio in and out ports, a HDMI port and even a VGA port on the right side. On the left side, are two more USB 2.0 ports for peripherals, an RJ45 port and an optical drive.

We were also impressed with Toshiba's decision to fit the mainstream P50 with a full HD display, making it perfect for watching movies and for working on documents. We also found that the machine's Harman Kardon speakers are not just your average speakers with a brand slapped on. Sound from the speakers was clear and loud enough for personal use, worthy of the Harman Kardon brand. 

For those who are impressed with what the P50 has to offer, but would prefer to have a touch enabled display to make full use of Windows 8, there's always the P50t. It features slightly older components (Ivy Bridge processor), but it has a touch display which gives consumers an extra input option. 

Toshiba Qosmio X70

The Qosmio X70 packs a 17.3 inch full HD display and serious hardware under its hood.

The Qosmio series is Toshiba’s line of high-performance desktops and notebooks and a glance through the specifications sheet of the new Qosmio X70 confirms that. Underneath its massive 17.3-inch full HD display, it packs serious gaming hardware.

First of all, the Qosmio X70 is powered by Intel’s new Core i7-4700MQ (2.4GHz) and comes with 16GB of RAM and a dual storage system consisting of a 256GB mSATA SSD and 1TB hard disk. Users can also opt for a more affordable hybrid HDD option, which combines a small amount of flash memory to augment the performance of a traditional mechanical hard drive. Graphics duties are handled by the new GeForce GTX 770M, which is based on NVIDIA’s Kepler architecture and has 960 CUDA cores and 3GB of GDDR5 framebuffer. This is NVIDIA’s second most powerful mobile GPU - only the GeForce GTX 780M sits above it.

To the right of the Qosmio X70, there's the headphones and microphone jacks, two USB 3.0 ports, a HDMI port, a VGA port, a sizable exhaust vent and finally a DC-in jack for power.

On the left panel, there's an Ethernet jack, two more USB 3.0 ports and a Blu-ray drive.

The Qosmio X70 has a full-sized back-lit keyboard with number pad. It features Toshiba's new "frameless" design, which is to say it is built on a single piece of aluminum.

Specifications aside, the new Qosmio X70 follows Toshiba’s new design philosophy and features an all aluminum and metal chassis, bright red metallic finishes on the sides and a new “frameless” keyboard design. It looks suitably funky and should appeal to its target demographics. That said, it is still a chunky piece of kit, measuring a good 30.3mm thick at its thinnest point and 43.5mm at its thickest. The Qosmio X70 weighs around 3.5kg so it is definitely no featherweight. However, that's unavoidable considering the amount of hardware and gear you get from the Qosmio X70.

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