Dynabook Portégé X40L-K review: An ultra-light business laptop that gets a lot right

Dynabook Portégé X40L-K review: An ultra-light business laptop that gets a lot right

The Dynabook Portége X40L-K is a high-end business laptop that isn’t trying to do anything too fancy, and instead, it focuses on nailing the basics. To that extent, it does its job. It’s a super light laptop that offers almost everything you really need for a good experience. I really like a lot about this laptop. It has a nice display, the keyboard is phenomenal, and it manages to look good while still being subdued and professional. Even the speakers are really loud and great for media consumption or calls.

There are some downsides, and I’d say the biggest of them is that it still has a 720p webcam – a decision I can’t really get behind in 2022. I also wish the touchpad was a bit better, but on the whole, this is a really solid experience. The base price is also not too bad compared to other business laptops, so I’d say it’s certainly worth checking out.

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    The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K is a lightweight business laptop with 12th-gen Intel processors and a 16:10 display.

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Dynabook provided the Portégé X40L-K for the purposes of this review. However, the company didn’t have any input in its content or provide any sort of compensation for its production.

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Dynabook Portégé X40L-K: Pricing and availability

  • The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K is available at Amazon or directly from Dynabook and its partner resellers
  • Pricing officially starts at $1799.99, but this configuration is priced at $2,219.99

Dynabook first announced the Portégé X40L-K in March, and it launched a few months later with prices starting at $1,799.99 with an Intel Core i5-1250P processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. That price also includes three years of warranty with On-site support, which comes standard with most Dynabook laptops.

Pre-built configurations of the laptop can be found at Amazon or on Dynabook’s website, and you should also be able to get specific configurations built to order.

Dynabook Portégé X40L-K: Specs

CPU Intel Core i7-1270P vPro (28W, 12 cores, 16 threads, up to 4.8GHz, 18MB cache)
Graphics Integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics (96 EUs)
Display 14-inch IPS, WUXGA (1920 x 1200), 161 DPI, up to 400 nits, EyeSafe
Dimensions 312.4 x 224 x 15.9 mm (12.3 x 8.8 x 0.63 in)
1.05 kg (2.31 lbs)
Memory 16GB LPDDR5
Storage 512GB NVMe PCIe 4 SSD
Battery 65Wh battery
Ports
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4/USB4 Type-C ports (40Gbps)
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (one supporting Sleep & Charge)
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x RJ45 Ethernet
  • 1 x microSD card reader
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
Audio Quad speakers with Dolby Atmos
Dual 360-degree microphones
Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211
Bluetooth 5.2
Camera 720p webcam with privacy shutter
Color Tech Blue Metallic
Material Magnesium Alloy
OS Windows 11 Pro
Price $2,219.99

 Design: It’s super light and it looks great

  • The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K comes in a dark blue color that’s subdued, but unique enough to stand out
  • It uses a magnesium chassis that’s very light, making it easy to carry around

Business laptops always have a tendency to look a little bit boring, and in my past experience, Dynabook didn’t do a whole lot to change that perception. Thankfully, with this model, things are a bit different. The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K comes in “Tech Blue Metallic”, which is to say it’s dark blue. It’s light enough that you won’t really be confused and think it’s black, but it’s dark enough for it to still be a great fit in an office environment and not get any weird looks.

Angled rear view of the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K laptop on a wooden table

Honestly, I think it looks great. It’s not exciting, but I appreciate little changes that help a laptop feel more unique. There’s a bit of sparkle to the surface when bright lights shine on it, too, which adds a bit of extra flair, but you wouldn’t notice it unless you look closely and you have a very bright light source. When you’re indoors, it’s not flashy at all.

Magnesium is very light, but it can feel cheap.

Another thing that’s great about this design is just how light it is, at 2.3lbs. It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a laptop this light, and it’s great to have something you can pick up so easily and take anywhere. That’s all thanks to the magnesium chassis, which is a very interesting material because it can offer the same durability as aluminum while being much thinner.

Left-side view of the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K with the lid closed

It comes with a downside, though, and that’s how it feels. While the build quality of the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K is good and it feels solid, aluminum just gives you that reassuring feeling of heft and sturdiness that’s really hard to match with magnesium. It’s a very superficial thing – this laptop still meets MIL-STD-810H standards for durability – but for some people, it also matters how a laptop feels. Personally, I’d rather have the added portability, but that may not be the case for everyone. There’s a reason why Apple refuses to stop using aluminum for the MacBook Air.

Right-side view of the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K with the lid closed

As for ports, you get quite a lot here for such a thin and light chassis. On the left side, there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB Type-A port, and HDMI. On the left, you get another USB Type-A port, RJ45 Ethernet, and a headphone jack, plus a microSD card reader, too. It’s hard to imagine a more complete setup than this, though I sort of wish there was a Thunderbolt port on each side.

Display and sound: The screen is sharp enough, and the speakers are loud

  • The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K has a WUXGA display, which is sarp enough and doesn’t use a lot of power
  • The quad-speaker system can pack a punch for media consumption

Dynabook has always been strangely conservative with its laptop displays. Even today, some of its laptops start with 1366 x 768 resolution, and you won’t find anything sharper than Full HD, or in this case, WUXGA, which is essentially the same as Full HD but with a 16:10 aspect ratio. This is totally fine, though, and it seems like Dynabook is really focused on just delivering a solid experience without overly fancy configurations, which is totally respectable.

Close-up view of the display on the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K

A benefit of sticking with this resolution is that this panel doesn’t eat up the battery very quickly, which is especially beneficial when you use Intel P-series processors. We’ll get to battery life later, though.

This is an IPS panel and it goes up to 400 nits of brightness (officially), which is honestly very good. Outdoor visibility isn’t a problem at all, and indoors, I’ve mostly been comfortable with it sitting below 20% brightness, even during the day. As you can see below, the display is fairly consistent at different levels of brightness, and it can actually go a bit higher than the advertised 400 nits.

As for colors, I found this screen to work very well. Colors looked great, though I noticed the display looks a little cooler than some other laptops I have on me. On to more technical measurements, it covers 97% of the sRGB color space, so it’s certainly good for the kind of work this laptop is meant for. Other color spectrums aren’t as impressive, but this laptop really isn’t meant for creative work, so it’s not a big deal.

Screenshot of color gamut coverage tests for the Dynabook Portégé X40L laptop. The tests show 97% coverage of sRGB, 74% coverage of Adobe RGB, 76% for P3, and 71% for NTSC

What I really like about this laptop is the quad-speaker setup, which I didn’t really expect from a business laptop. This is only a 14-inch laptop, but there are still top-firing speakers (two fire upwards, two fire downwards), and they get really loud. They still sound great at max volume, with no significant amount of distortion as far as I can tell. Voices still sound very clear and crisp.

Close-up view of the top-firing speaker grille on the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K

Keyboard and touchpad: Typing is extremely comfortable

  • The keyboard on the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K feels great to type on
  • It has a large touchpad, but the surface is a little grippy

One of my favorite things about the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K is the keyboard. I’ve used some good laptop keyboards, with the recent Lenovo ThinkBook 13s being one of my favorites, but I think I might actually prefer this one. The keys have a nice and comfortable amount of travel, and they don’t feel harsh when they bottom out. It feels like it requires a bit more actuation force than other laptops, but I actually prefer that. It feels great to type on this keyboard, and it’s definitely one of the best I’ve ever used. On a side note, the power button is an odd exception to this – it feels mushy and kind of difficult to press, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen something like it.

Overhead view of the keyboard on the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K

Even with the somewhat cramped 14-inch size and already having speaker grills on the sides on the keyboard, Dynabook also managed to stick a few extra keys in here that I haven’t seen in a lot of laptops recently. The arrow keys have an inverted T layout instead of the typical setup where both vertical keys are sandwiched between left and right arrows, and you get dedicated keys for Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End. I use these somewhat often, and most laptops require me to press the Fn key along with one of the arrow keys, but not here. These are small things, but the fact that Dynabook still decided to include them make them all the more special.

Below the keyboard, there’s a very large trackpad, and again, I have to commend the great use of space by Dynabook with this laptop. It’s about as tall as it could reasonably be, and it’s great to have a large area for my fingers to move around.

Close-up view of the touchpad on the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K

It would have been even better if it felt a bit nicer to use, though. The surface of this touchpad is strangely grippy, so my fingers don’t glide around very smoothly, and that really hampers the experience. After a couple of weeks of use, I think skin moisture has helped smoothen it a bit, so maybe it’s something that actually gets better the more you use it. My impression has definitely become a bit more positive over time.

Performance: What we’ve come to expect from Intel’s P series

  • This model is powered by an Intel Core i7-1270P processor and 16GB of RAM, so performance is great
  • Intel’s P-series processors continue to take a toll on battery life

As you’d probably expect for a top-tier business laptop, performance is pretty great on this machine. It’s powered by an Intel Core i7-1270P processor, which means it has a 28W TDP, and it comes with 12 cores and 16 threads, and the P cores can boost up to 4.8GHz. That gets you plenty of performance for all kinds of work-related tasks, and having 16GB of RAM to back that up also helps, though it’s worth noting that RAM is soldered onto the motherboard, so you can’t upgrade it. I’ve never really wished for faster performance with this machine. You can see how it compares to similar machines below.

Dynabok Portégé X40L-K
Core i7-1270P
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320
Core i7-1280P
Lenovo Yoga 9i
Core i7-1260P
PCMark 10 4,878 5,481 5,616
3DMark: Time Spy 1,939 1,992 1,678
Geekbench 5 (single / multi) 1,742 / 9,195 1,700 / 10,293 1,736 / 9,525
Cinebench R23 (single / multi) 1,707 / 8,319 1,629 / 10,121 1,638 / 7,757
CrossMark (overall / productivity / creativity / responsiveness) 1,504 / 1,407 / 1,774 / 1,119 1,729 / 1,525 / 2,022 / 1,433

You also get integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, so it can handle some lighter GPU workloads, including some light gaming if that’s something you’re interested in. This isn’t a big upgrade from the previous generation, though.

Battery life isn't great, but it could be worse.

The problem with these processors, as usual, is how much heat they generate, which affects battery life and sustained performance. A lot of these laptops coming with 28W processors are upgrading from CPUs that had a 15W TDP, but they aren’t really doing enough to accommodate the increased power consumption and heat output. Performance can vary a lot with Intel P-series processors, and this laptop gets hot, so getting consistent measurements is difficult.

And for battery life, well, it’s not great, but it could be worse. In general, I’ve managed anywhere between 4 hours and 21 minutes, and roughly 6 hours and 6 minutes with the screen on. There was one time where I only got about 3 hours and 38 minutes, but that was an off-shoot, and I never got anywhere near that low again. For the most part, battery life hovered around 5 hours, and oftentimes, a bit more than that. That’s not amazing,  but it’s much better than laptops like the Lenovo ThinkBook 13s or the Acer Swift 3, because those had Quad HD displays. Using a Full HD panel works out in Dynabook’s favor here, and you could actually consider taking this laptop with you to get some work done on the go. If it’s a full day of work, you’ll still need to plug in, but the bar has been set so low for me that this is still kind of good in comparison.

Should you buy the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K?

I was positively surprised at a lot of what Dynabook did with the Portégé X40L-K. It’s a very nice-looking laptop that’s also very light and easy to carry, it has a tall display perfectly suited for productivity work, and one of the best keyboards I’ve used. It even has a very loud speaker system, which I did;t expect to be a focus on a business laptop. Performance is also solid, and battery life, while not great, is a bit more tolerable than other machines I’ve reviewed.

You should buy the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K if you:

  • Want a lightweight laptop you can easily take with you anywhere
  • Spend a lot of time typing on your PC
  • Watch or listen to a lot of media
  • Want a laptop with great performance

You shouldn’t buy the Dynabook Portégé X40L-K if you:

  • Need all-day battery life
  • Use your webcam often

One of the biggest downsides with this laptop is definitely the webcam, though you can work around that if you’re ok with buying one separately. The battery life is also not amazing, but I’d say five hours is still acceptable for a lot of people, so it’s not necessarily a reason to reject it right away. Still, you can always check out the best laptops you can buy today if you want to look at some alternatives.

    The Dynabook Portégé X40L-K is a lightweight business laptop with 12th-gen Intel processors and a 16:10 display.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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