Dynabook Tecra X50 Preview – Sharp continues Toshiba design

At the end of 2015, Toshiba stopped supplying consumer laptops in Europe. The reason for this was a major reorganization that followed an accounting scandal . However, Toshiba did not disappear, because the company continued to supply business models, including the Portégé, Tecra and Satellite Pro series, which you could also purchase as a consumer. In the meantime, however, Toshiba is completely done with laptops and the company has transferred the entire PC division to Sharp . For these new laptops, Sharp has not kept the name of competitor Toshiba, but opted for a name that still gives loyal Toshiba users warm feelings: Dynabook.

Dynabook is the name of a laptop series that was not delivered in Europe, but was delivered in the United States and Japan. They are generally high-end ultrabooks, of which we last encountered one at an Asian fair in 2014. Apart from the name change from Toshiba to Dynabook, little has changed for the time being, because the existing models have remained, but there is now a different logo. At the IFA Sharp introduced a new Dynabook, the Tecra X50-F, and we were able to try it briefly.

Dynabook’s series of X laptops consists of 12″, 13″ and 14″ laptops and with the arrival of the X50 a 15″ model will be added. The X20 and X30 are part of the Portégé series, which consists of convertibles, while the X40 and the new X50 are from the Tecra series, which includes the classic laptop form factor. All X models are characterized by a low weight and a long battery life. The Tecra X50 therefore weighs ‘only’ 1.36 kilograms and, according to Dynabook, has a battery life of seventeen hours.

If you hold the X50, you will indeed notice that the Tecra does not feel heavy for a 15″ laptop. At first the housing feels like plastic, but it is not. Dynabook has made the housing of magnesium and has a ‘honeycomb construction’. ‘ it must be particularly strong. Our first impression is that this is correct; the laptop feels sturdy and does not bounce too easily when you press it. The low weight, which Dynabook itself is the main distinguishing factor of the laptop we have to qualify, because although 1.36 kilograms is not heavy for a 15-inch laptop, Acer already released the Swift 5 SF515 in 2018, which weighs less than a kilogram and has the same screen diagonal . Dynabook therefore does not seem to be at the forefront of light laptop design.

If we look at the appearance of this Dynabook X50, we also see that Sharp has not given its own twist to the laptops since the takeover. In fact, the Tecra X50 is quite similar to the Tecra X40 we reviewed in 2017 . It also had a dark gray housing, silver-grey caps at the hinges and a housing of, yes, magnesium.

The fact that the new Tecra seems to bring little news to the table does not mean that it is a bad laptop. As mentioned, the weight is fairly low for a 15″ laptop. In addition, we were quite impressed by the keyboard. Like almost all laptop keyboards, it simply uses rubber dome switches, but it does not have a soft touch as we find on many other thin laptops, so it ticks nicely.

Like most Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, the Precision Touchpad, located below the keyboard, can also be used with a trackpoint, which is located in the middle of the keyboard. You can use the trackpoint in combination with the mouse buttons above the touchpad, but the touchpad itself also has a mouse button hidden below it. Dynabook has mounted the fingerprint scanner in the surface of the touchpad. That is one of the many authentication methods on the laptop, because the system is also equipped with a 3D camera for facial recognition and there is a smart card slot on the right side. There are also HDMI, Thunderbolt and regular USB-A connections for connecting external screens or docks. Unfortunately, the card reader only supports micro SD cards and not full-size SD cards.

So far, our impression of the Tecra X50 is not wrong. Although the housing resembles that of a laptop from 2017, it feels sturdy, the keyboard taps nicely and there are enough connections. We then wanted to check whether Toshiba had opted for an Ice Lake or Comet Lake processor and then the real disappointment followed; the X50 still runs on a Whiskey Lake processor, in the case of the laptop on the stand a Core i5-8265U. Intel introducedthat CPU just before the 2018 IFA. According to a Dynabook employee on the stand, the manufacturer used that processor precisely because companies appreciate having proven hardware in their laptops. As far as we are concerned, a Core i5-8365U would be a more logical choice, because that CPU, unlike the i5-8265U, is part of Intel’s Stable Image Platform Program , where Intel guarantees the availability of a certain platform for a certain period.

Preliminary conclusion

It was the first time we visited Dynabook at IFA, but you could easily confuse the stand with a Toshiba stand, because the laptops we encountered are currently Toshiba’s with a different logo. That in itself is not a bad starting point for Sharp, the new owner, because the business Toshibas are not bad. However, it would have been nice if Sharp had put their own spin on the laptops. They didn’t do that with the X50, because that is a clear continuation of the well-known Toshiba design. That design has strong points, such as the relatively low weight, a good keyboard and a long battery life of seventeen hours, according to Toshiba.

The biggest drawback, in our opinion, is the outdated processor, which lags behind the new Ice and Comet Lake CPUs in terms of speed. The laptop is aimed at business users and with that it still manages to distinguish itself somewhat, for example by installing Windows 10 Pro as standard and because the system is equipped with a smart card reader. As far as weight and speed are concerned, the laptop is already being surpassed by the competitors, which makes it an uninteresting choice. If you have become interested, the cheapest Dynabook Tecra X50 will be available from October for twelve hundred euros.