The term "business laptop" used to evoke images of bulky, drab slabs of plastic, something that Toshiba is staying clear of with its consumer-inspired Z-range of enterprise notebooks.
The 13.3-inch Portege Z30 is joined by new 14-inch Z40 and 15-inch Z50 models in Toshiba's Tecra range. All of the laptops share compatible internals meaning IT departments can chop and change when installing disk images and using Toshiba's docking stations.
Design and display
First up is the 13-inch Portege Z30, which succeeds Toshiba's flagship Z930 and is offered in two flavours.
The standard Z30 comes with a 1366 x 768 pixel-resolution matte display that looks fairly washed out compared to the comparatively lively 1920 x 1080 pixel-resolution panel found on the touchscreen Z30t.
All of the models look the part thanks to being constructed of a gunmental grey magnesium alloy that gets its sturdiness from what Toshiba calls a Tough Body chassis.
Not that you'll be able to tell without a high-powered microscope (and everybody has one of those lying about), but the laptops use a honeycomb-style lattice to make the material tough, yet lightweight.
Even the 15-inch Z50 can be held at the corner in one hand without giving any noticeable flex in the chassis (the largest model was particularly impressive for its weightlessness).
Their lids offer sturdy resistance when opened and closed in one hand but stop short of feeling stiff, and the chrome finish on the shoulder hinges adds a nice touch.
The Z30 gives you plenty of choice depending on what level of internal horsepower you require. All of them come with Intel's fourth generation Haswell processor, starting at i3 and ranging up to an i7 chip, which Toshiba says should help battery life last around 12 hours.
You'll have to put up with shared graphics with this model, which gets a Intel HD 4400 GPU that should prove adequate for everyday tasks. It's available with a SSD drive up to 512GB and up to 8GB DDR3L RAM.
Toshiba tells us that it aims to provide business users will the necessary connectivity options to help you out in any given situation, and the Z30 doesn't disappoint.
It offers three USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and two video outputs in the form of HDMI and RBG. You can also opt for a SmartCard reader and 4G SIM slot for hooking up to the internet on the move.
Also present are the usual stereo speakers with DTS Studio Surround, a full HD stereo microphone, Toshiba's EasyGuard security software and a Trusted Platform Module.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Z30's spill-resistant keyboard packs a bright trackpad that gives off an electric blue glow in the dark, which both looks impressive and should serve well for typing out documents into the early hours.
The keys gave a surprising amount of travel, feeling comfortable to type on but not overly springy. In the middle of the keyboard is an "accupoint" trackpoint that can be used as in conjunction with the roomy trackpad.
The laptops will be available to pick up during the fourth quarter of 2013, with pricing yet to be announced. We'll let you know when we do.
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