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Dynabook Portege X40L-K review

Stylish 14-inch notebook for those who mean business

Last updated: 21 September 2022

CHOICE verdict

Dynabook’s Portégé family has always been a heavy hitter in the small-and-light notebook field, and the Portégé X40L-K strengthens that reputation. Though this is a 14-inch notebook, it weighs in at just over 1kg, and still feels solid and well made with a strong lid and chassis. Clad in dark blue, it’s stylish, but looks and performs like it means business. With the latest 12th-general Intel Core i7 processor, it's an excellent performer and gives particularly long battery life. The non-reflective 14-inch (1920 x 1200 pixels) screen is high quality, with very good colour and wide viewing angles. There are plenty of connection port options, including Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, and microSD card for extra storage. The battery and SSD can be accessed via the bottom panel for upgrading, potentially extending the laptop's useful working life.

Price: $2288

How does the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K perform?

We tested the Portégé courtesy of Dynabook and found it gave excellent performance and long battery life that would be the envy of many laptops. The processing power is from Intel's 12th-generation 1.7GHz (gigahertz) Core i7-1240P chip, which has 12 cores (and hyperthreading on the four performance cores). 

This is supported by integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. It also has 16GB (gigabytes) of RAM (memory), which is a decent amount for productivity and running multiple programs. The 512GB SSD (solid-state drive) for storage gave us very good read performance and good write performance in our testing. This Portégé should handle any kind of work you throw at it.

Looking Right Dynabook Portege X40L-K

High quality no-glare matte screen

The 14-inch screen is high quality, with resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, which adds a few more lines vertically that a typical Full HD (1080p) screen. The extra vertical space makes the screen a little more square, and comes in handy for such things as viewing long documents.  

The screen's matte finish means the sort of annoying reflections you often get with a glossy screen aren't a concern here, though you might still notice a little dull glare at times if you have strong ambient lighting. 

The screen also has wide viewing angles, very good colour reproduction, and its brightness and contrast were excellent in our tests, with good detail being retained in the bright and dark areas of our test images. Note that it is not a touchscreen.

Sound quality was fine... so you won't need to add external speakers for personal listening.

Unfortunately, the built-in 1MP (megapixel) webcam is not quite up to the quality of the screen, producing noticeably soft images in both bright and dim lighting in our testing. Motion blur was evident in dim lighting and we found backlighting noticeably affected the foreground subject. If it's to be used for extensive online video meetings, then you might want to look to a high quality external webcam. It does support face recognition login.

The X40L-K's sound quality was fine though, with decent audio power and overall clarity, so you won't need to add external speakers for personal listening.

Front view Keyboard Dynabook Portege X40L-K

Very good keyboard and large touchpad

The keyboard is very good and a joy to type on, with keys that are soft to press, and with plenty of travel and responsiveness. This is the sort of keyboard you can happily tippity-tap all day.

A large touchpad with a smooth texture rounds out the physical interface between human and machine. We found it responsive and easy to use, which is a good thing because you'll be using it a lot since there is no touchscreen capability.

Plenty of ports including Thunderbolt 4

You might think such a light laptop wouldn't have a variety of wired connection options, but the X40L-K surprises in this area. It gives you plenty of ports to get plugged in, with USB 3.0 (Type-A) ports, as well as two USB Type-C high-speed Thunderbolt 4 ports. There's also a headset port, HDMI, and gigabit ethernet port along the side edges. 

A microSD card slot is thrown in to make it easier to transfer data from phones and cameras using that media. Wireless connectivity is via the latest Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 6, and both worked well in our testing.

Standout battery life

Battery life is a standout feature of this laptop, with our heavy-usage video rundown test lasting 9hr 10min. That figure is especially impressive due to the high brightness of the screen, which we measured at 416nits. That's nearly twice what you get from a lot of laptops. 

The battery and SSD are accessible for replacement, so you can upgrade both down the track

A nice feature is that the bottom panel underneath the base can be removed, giving access to replace the battery and SSD, which can give the laptop a longer useful life. 

Both the RAM and Wi-Fi module are fixed in place, but 16GB RAM should be enough for most people for the foreseeable future. 

The bottom line

Overall, the Portégé X40L-K is a very sensible laptop that is light and easy to carry, yet packed with features that will please traditional users who like plugging stuff in. Performance was responsive, and battery life long. There's lots to like about this one, so try to get some hands-on time with it if you can. You're likely to be impressed.

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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.