Dynabook Tecra X40-F review: A solid county batsman

There’s nothing special about this middle-order laptop, but that’s kind of the point: it’s a safe choice for businesses

Price
£1,000 exc VAT (as reviewed, approx)
  • Solid portability
  • Good complement of ports
  • Enterprise-friendly features
  • Middling performance and battery life

The Tecra has been a stalwart of Toshiba’s business laptop range for years, with the promise of stoic reliability, solid specifications and – in corporate terms at least – an affordable price. Think of it as the dependable Michael Atherton of business laptops. Now that Dynabook has taken over the Toshiba laptop reins, it will be hoping for much of the same from the Tecra range.

There’s little to get excited about at first glance. The Tecra comes in the onyx blue, full magnesium chassis that’s fast becoming a Dynabook trademark, but without the ultra-slim dimensions of the Portégé range, this will never draw gasps from passers-by. Rather than come-to-bed eyes, this laptop has come-to-the-boardroom eyes.

At 1.25kg, it’s surprisingly light, and while a height of 16.9mm is a millimetre or two thicker than the ideal, its footprint of 332 x 229mm means it won’t consume much room in a briefcase. That’s an A4 sheet of paper, with an extra inch or so added to its width. 

Dynabook also wins for its selection of ports. Rather than the stingy one USB-C port we often see, it has two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports: they’re both on the right edge, where you’ll also find a full-size HDMI port and a microSD slot. The left is more modestly dressed, with a USB 3 port, 3.5mm jack and Kensington lock.

Dynabook resists the temptation of squeezing in a numberpad, and that feels like the right choice: it means you can type with your hands in a central position. Anyone who types in quiet environments will love the keyboard, which provides plenty of travel on the keys without the loud click of some rivals. There are no weird layout decisions to worry about, although it may take you a little time to get used to the tiny PgUp and PgDn keys, and the shortened arrow keys at the bottom-right of the keyboard.

A trackpoint sits in the middle of the keyboard, along with mouse buttons below the spacebar, but most people will default to the smooth trackpad. Note the fingerprint reader embedded in it, although if you have any sense you’ll sign up to Windows Hello via the excellent and speedy IR camera: with support for Microsoft’s Modern Standby, this wakes the Tecra completely the moment you open the screen.

This brings us to bezel size. Dynabook doesn’t even try to follow the trend of ultra-slim edges, with a top bezel that measures 2cm: that’s huge by today’s standards. Dynabook told us that it needs this space for the Wi-Fi antennas (note that the radio uses the older 802.11ac standard, not the newer 802.11ax), but there’s surely room for improvement here.

In particular, it would have been nice to squeeze in a slightly larger panel with a higher resolution. As Dynabook is 80% owned by Sharp, this is the kind of innovation we can hope to see in the future. Here, though, it’s still a Toshiba-made screen, and it’s not great. We measured a peak brightness of 320cd/m2 and contrast ratio of 1,114:1, which are fine, but sRGB gamut coverage of 55.4% and an average Delta E of 4.62 are surprisingly poor. 

In real-world use, there are plus points to this display. Dynabook adds an anti-reflective layer that diffuses overhead lights, so many office workers will prefer this machine to others with superior technical results. It’s a ten-point touchscreen, too; while this is of limited benefit on a non-convertible, it’s still a useful navigation aid.

Dynabook sent us the top-end version of the Tecra X40-F, which will only be available by special request, which means it came stuffed with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a Core i7-8565U. If you’re expecting spectacular performance, you’ll be disappointed: a score of 81 puts it in the middle of the pack for a laptop with a Core i7-8565U processor. 

Nor should you expect stellar battery life. The 48Whr battery lasted for 7hrs 15mins in our video-rundown tests, so it’s a good thing the charger is relatively small and that you can recharge this laptop via the USB-C ports. 

These mediocre results are a shame, but there are plenty of other things here that will appeal to corporate buyers: vPro processors, a BIOS that lets you take full control of the ports, MIL-STD-810G testing and the option of upgrading the single-year EMEA warranty to four years of international cover for £60. 

So where does this leave the Tecra? To continue the cricket analogy, it’s a sturdy, middle-order, county-level batsman. No one will pay to come and watch it play, but it should be a reliable member of your first XI for years.

Dynabook Tecra X40-F specifications

Processor

Quad-core 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8665U processor

RAM

32GB 2,400MHz DDR4 RAM

Additional memory slots

N/A

Graphics adapter

Intel UHD 620 Graphics

Storage

1TB M.2 PCIe SSD

Screen size (in)

14in

Screen resolution

1,920 x 1,080

Screen type

IPS display

Touchscreen

Yes

Pointing devices

Touchpad, trackpoint

Optical drive

N/A

Memory card slot

MicroSD slot

3.5mm audio jack

Combo 3.5mm mic/headphone

Graphics outputs

2 x Thunderbolt 3 (with data transfer, charging and DisplayPort support), HDMI

Other ports

USB 3

Web Cam

720p HD webcam

Wi-Fi

2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 5

NFC

N/A

Dimensions, mm (WDH)

332 x 229 x 16.9mm

Weight (kg) - with keyboard where applicable

1.25kg

Battery size (Wh)

48Wh

Operating system

Windows 10 Pro

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