Toshiba Portégé Z20t Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Toshiba' started by ile, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. Bitech

    Bitech Pen Pal - Newbie

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    What's the latest Windows 10 version that's compatible with the z20t? I'm still on the original Windows 10 version
     
  2. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I am running Creators Edition and it is actually running far better on this upgrade than it ran on Anniversary - virtually flawlessly.

    Sent from my LG-H820 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Starlight5

    Starlight5 I'm a cat. What else is there to say, really?

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    I'm looking into purchasing z20t-b with 8GB RAM & LTE in $600 range. Would current owners of z20t approve of my decision, or advise me to spend my money on another machine?
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  4. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I actually own two of these - one for my daughter in law school. It's a story of pluses and minuses.

    Pluses:
    Ports - old style, no TB but amazing variety for size of machine
    Battery life - depending on use case and multitude of power settings, between the two batteries you can get from 7-16 hours. But beware, batteries wear out quicker than any laptop I've owned and are hard to source, expensive. Pay attention to battery "hygiene" and you will do ok. Even at 75% of design cap, you can still get 5-10 hrs, so this is manageable. ***Caution: get proof of current batt cap from seller; if they're below 70% you'll have to replace them and it will cost $250-$500, and you will hunt and hunt for replacements.
    Mostly ok tablet-only function
    Wacom EMR (tiny stylus in-body)
    Decent screen, matte (but not too bright and very poor color gamut)

    Minuses:
    Terrible customer support (worse than most consumer brands, but this is their business supp)
    Keyboard meh at best; you can type on it and get used to it, but it's close to worst in class
    Hdwe/sftwe integration - does worse than most with each W10 updates (except Creator's edition, which was great), just flakes out without explanation or cause found - fortunately re-boot or two usually does it
    Sound - pretty much the worst in the business, all categories; you can tune it to be bearable, but if you don't, it will be virtually inaudible. Forget about presentations; bring BT speaker

    I don't have LTE on mine and that would add enough additional capability to nudge my review into even more positive territory. If you can get it for $600 or less (preferably returnable) and verify battery wear I can't really think of a better option, assuming you value all of the strengths and none of the weaknesses are dealbreakers for you. As I read my own review-let here and think about it, the pluses really outweigh the minuses. One more thing to consider: do you live near a supplier/authorized repairer of Toshiba business laptops? If so, you may want to give them a call and see if you can get comfortable w/them. This did not sell in very high volume and I find few Toshiba shops who have worked on them and, while they are not hard to open up and get to parts to replace, there are a number of proprietary hardware items to fit in the size class. There is a reseller computerdirect3000 , that sells and services them. I bought an open box one from them last Feb (for $550, but it was an error in their listing they honored) and they do a lot of Toshiba support. I live on the opposite coast (they are California) and dealing with them by phone is not great, but they have come through with some parts for free under wtty, so I would check out to see if they have any deals on used/refurbs; they have a reputation to protect.

    Whew! Didn't know I had that much to say!
     
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  5. Starlight5

    Starlight5 I'm a cat. What else is there to say, really?

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    @lovelaptops thank you very much for your answer!

    I generally rely on myself when it comes to fixing things, so parts availability & pricing is much more important than support - which is definitely not stellar either for Toshiba, sadly. Reviews generally praised keyboard experience, and it has a trackpoint which I love... your first-hand experience forces me to re-evaluate the machine's value to me - I was thinking of using z20t for outdoors instead of my main convertible which excels in all aspects except battery life (and powerbank support), and that is not an option with poor keyboard. It's not a deal-breaker, as well as other minuses you mentioned - but significantly lowers the amount of money I'm willing to pay for it, while they are pretty pricey.
     
  6. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Thanks for your feedback, Starlight. I took the opportunity to read back in this thread and realized you've been mulling this over for quite a while. In re-reading my post and your response as well, I think I may have misguided you a bit. I'll only mention the things that I wish to modify; everything else remains as I first reacted.

    First, I think I was overly harsh on the keyboard. Reading that you are coming from the land of Thinkpads, yes, there is no comparison - Thinkpads are among the best. But what I will modify is my critique of the keyboard of the Z20t. I too own a Thinkpad Yoga and that is why I was so harsh about the z20t kb. As I've used the Toshiba the past 2 days I am realizing that, while the kb is not as good as most of the 2-in-1 alternatives (though, given the inability to use the SP kb on your lap, it may be fair to give the Z20t the edge there), it is not that hard to get used to the smaller keys and type pretty fast and accurately on the Toshiba. It's just not as comfortable, particularly for long typing sessions. I do find that, having decided to use the z20t exclusively for the past day - in your behalf :newpalm: - that the more I use it and don't use others, the more I find it quite usable.

    I'm also feeling more kindly towards the Toshiba because I have just installed 2 new batteries I was able to get from computerdirect300 (under warranty!), it's far easier to deal with some of the negatives with this astounding battery life!

    I've also spent some time with the tablet separated from the keyboard and it too deserves some recognition. It's very light and comfortable to hold in almost any circumstance and note taking on it is also comfortable. I am not an artist so I'll leave it to others to comment about that. Of course, the biggest downside of the tablet is the 16x9 aspect ratio. This too is an individual judgment you'll have to make. Aside from that, though, the tablet is more comfortable to use than my SP3 - lighter, no sharp edges or corners.

    I may also have been a bit too critical of the display. It's no award winner, but it's actually brighter than I initially described and the advantage of the massive battery capacity is that you can use it at high/full brightness without losing too much mobility. Colors are it's weakest point. Not very accurate and mediocre (at best) gamut. But you can read the notebookcheck.net measurements and judge for yourself if that will compromise your art work. If it weren't for the awesome screens of the SP line, the Samsung Amoleds and even the Dell and HP models, this screen would seem perfectly practical. The standards have skyrocketed in recent years though, and for an artist that has to be a consideration.

    Finally, it occurs to me that my comments about parts availability pertains primarily to the batteries - which I lucked out with from this one vendor - but otherwise Toshiba dealers have been able to get things like power switches (one crapped out after a year) and other proprietary parts fairly easily. It's still a concern, but given the total unrepairability of competing models, this may not be as big a downside as I at first suggested. The battery thing really irritated me, but I am typing on a machine with 2 36mwh batteries at 100%! Also, maybe I'm burying the lead here, you can pretty easily get inside both halves of this computer by unscrewing a dozen std phillips head screws and then it is quite easy to access and clean/replace critical parts.

    If you asked me what general purpose 2-in-one I would recommend over this for around $600 used in good condition, I think overall this is a pretty good choice, given how its pros and cons line up with your use cases. So, if you don't think I'm too flakey to be reliable :p after these conflicting reviews, I would urge you to reconsider, at least if based on the comments that I've now modified.

    Good luck!
     
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  7. Starlight5

    Starlight5 I'm a cat. What else is there to say, really?

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    @lovelaptops thank you once again for your very useful replies!

    Most of the drawbacks you mentioned are not exactly dealbreaking for me. My first and foremost idea was to use z20t for Android emulation & Windows Connect, and from hardware perspective it would deal with both easily. Using it as an outdoors replacement was a complementary option, due to its enormous battery life coupled with LTE capability and keyboard promise - and yes, I fully understand it's not exactly sunlight-readable.

    Poor color reproduction isn't a problem for me, either. All my personal convertible tablets for the past years were 12.5" 16:9, and while I like 3:2, that's something I learned to live with. I prefer Wacom AES over EMR, but it's not an issue either since I have an AES machine, and quick sketching is doable with any tech.

    The price and weight are a problem, though.

    Yes, weight comes with the outstanding battery life in this case - but it won't make hauling it in a backpack alongside TPY260, and fitting less other stuff because of tight plane restrictions, any easier - and battery life of slate without keyboard base seems somewhat lacking.

    Also, I've done my research on the machine internals, and it is impossible to say whether I could upgrade z20t to WiGiG before purchasing and trying. First of all, it will require cutting the card to physically fit it inside the slot - this will leave it without displayport capability and render the card unsellable, but whatever - and then there's no guarantee that Toshiba actually connected second PCIe lane to the slot, and/or some BIOS quirk won't prevent it from working. I am simply not willing to pay over $400 for a machine that can't have WiGiG, because I won't be able to use such a device as a backup machine.

    Basically, due to high price&weight for me z20t competes over my choice not only with all-consumer, yet cheap Surface 3 - but with getting another TPY260, which while lacking in battery life, is a full-on enterprise device with all the features I like in convertibles. I don't mind the fact that secondary machine doesn't do something main machine does - as long as it's significantly cheaper to justify that difference, which is currently not the case with z20t. Additionally, when replacing a Thinkpad with newer model, it is still a good gift for not-so-tech-savvy relatives (even if they break it, repairs are cheap & easy), and it's easy to sell - unlike most other laptops I dealt with.

    With a price tag along the lines of $250 per 4GB version / $300 per 8GB, I'd pull the trigger on z20t instantly. Maybe closer to the end of 2017, with mass deployment of 8th Gen CPUs, z20t prices will take a dive, and I'll grab one...
     
  8. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Starlight,
    I have a thought/offer to make, but it may be moot based on what I read in your impressive, but mind-spinning thread re: WiGIG. How would you like to strike an agreement with me to "borrow" my Z20t and experiment - at your expense - with the WiGIG mod? Why would I be willing to do this? In all honesty, I'm fascinated with what you have done with this mod and I would love to have it done to my machine (I probably lack the expertise to implement your methodology, but as of last June I've had to deal with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and have the fine motor skills of a 4 year old!), and frankly, I own too many tablet pc devices and would be happy do without this for a little while to help you to evaluate whether this machine could meet your needs, in all respects. I'm not sure this is feasible, as this is a Z20t-B (late 2015) and has an M-Y571 and it does not have LTE/WWAN. Part of "what I get out of this" would be to get LTE/WWAN capability at minimum if I pay for the materials and ask you to install/test it for me, assuming this is prerequisite for you anyway. Then, if you can do the WiGIG mod, wow! You would get the opportunity to determine if you can do the WiGIG mod as well as the chance to try out the Z20t to see how you like it. I have to tell you, I have been using this pretty much exclusively since I read your recent posts and I think I was overly harsh on the keyboard, and other items - (except sound, it's pretty sucky!). Except for the keys being smaller and the travel being typically short due to thinness of the kb base, it's actually quite easy and surprisingly pleasant to type on all day long. No laptop keyboard matches a TP, but I assume that you already factored that in when considering this model.

    So, to sum up, I would like to offer to let you use my Z20t to see if you could make the mod work and to evaluate how well it would meet your needs and be a candidate for the unit you're looking for. I would be thrilled to end up just with LTE capability, much less WiGIG. I'm also willing to consider selling it to you if everything works out well and we can come to terms on price, though I am not proposing this as a backdoor sales pitch!! (Also known as the "puppy dog close" take it home for the weekend, just bring it back if you don't want to keep it :p) But I do have more machines than I need and I don't have as much need for the mobility as I used to. This has the advantage of having two brand new batteries and it still has 1 year left on wtty.

    Maybe the model, lack of WWAN/LTE installed, cpu, or the overall premise won't work for you. I just thought I'd make the offer. If you want to pursue, PM me and we can talk further details.

    Cheers, Jeff
     
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  9. Starlight5

    Starlight5 I'm a cat. What else is there to say, really?

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    @lovelaptops thank you for your offer! I replied in PM.
     
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