HP and Toshiba both have an impressive pedigree when it comes to the laptop market. Both of these companies have been the top-selling manufacturer in the industry.
But, the consumer laptop market is nothing if not competitive. It is a fast-changing technological field. Past glories have little to do with current success, laptop performance, and choice.
The question is, how do both of these well-known brands compare today?
We will provide the answers. Whether you are looking for a laptop for business, home or gaming use—this article will give you the truth. It will help you decide which brand is best for you.
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With a history stretching back over 80 years, HP are one of the oldest companies in the computer market. First known as Hewlett-Packard, their business began in the US by selling audio parts for movie theaters.
HP are considered as the founders of US computer manufacturing.
Their innovative production of semiconductors virtually began the Silicon Valley revolution. With humble beginnings working from a garage, they are now a multinational company.
At the present time, HP are the leading manufacturer of laptops in the world. They have a market share of over 21 percent.
HP has always been known for its good relationship with processor manufacturers, Intel. Back in 2015, they joined together to found the High Performance Computing Alliance.
Today, their partnership continues with Intel being the processor of choice for HP.
Their laptops favor the use of the 8th generation Intel Core i7 and Core i5 chips. Although their current Chromebook, the 14 G5, does come with the Intel Celeron N3350. Budget HP laptops, such as the HP Pavilion 15, include the cheaper AMD Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 processors.
Top-end products, such as the Spectre and Omen X, come with ultra high-definition (UHD) displays. This means crisp and clear imaging even at close quarters.
As you move towards the lower specification laptops they lose the UHD feature. They move from full high definition through to standard high definition in the budget Pavilion model.
Once thought of as plain and practical looking laptops, over the past five years, HP have improved their designs. They have created some of the most appealing looking machines on the market.
Their theory has been to trim everything down — to produce the sleekest products around. For example, the hybrid HP Spectre x360 is incredibly light at just 2.78 pounds. It has an aluminum body and thin bezel edges.
In addition, the HP Spectre 13 could be the most beautiful laptop available, even surpassing Apple models. It is remarkably thin with a white ceramic casing. Even small elements have been treated to a design overhaul. The screen hinges are finished in polished chrome, which really stands out.
HP has always placed its prices in the mid-range area. Not the bargain prices of Acer or the salary-busting costs of Apple.
However, where they do excel is offering products with high-specifications. These are cheaper than many of their nearest competitors. In essence, you do get more for your dollar.
For example, the HP Spectre x360. This is around $200 cheaper than the Lenovo Yoga 920, Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 and Toshiba's Tecra Z40t-B. All of these are comparable products.
HP have a dedicated consumer focus team that analyzes customers’ desires. It then responds to those requirements.
Recently, they found that there was a large demand for 15-inch and UHD displays. However, customers did not want the accompanying extra weight or thickness. This led them to work in conjunction with NVIDIA and include the MX150 graphics card. The result was a crystal clear display with a tiny 0.07-inch increase in size.
Furthermore, they have improved their battery technology. This year, they introduced the fast charge system — charging the battery to 50 percent in as little as 30 minutes.
Customer research also found that 97 percent of laptop users prefer thin bezels. Or actually, no bezel at all. In response, they created a ‘micro edge display’. Reducing the bezel size by over 70 percent.
Why They Stand Out
The range of computers available from HP is impressive.
Their budget Pavilion 15 is a great first laptop. It is also ideal for students who want a cheap but powerful machine. At the other end of the market is the awesome Omen X, designed for the serious gamer. Combined with hybrids such and Chromebook 14G5 — all markets are catered for.
This is in addition to the attractive design and competitive pricing already discussed.
Their warranty is a standard one year from date of purchase. Although they do include 90-day free telephone support.
What Other People Say
One area in which HP is continually praised is their customer support — offering a wide range of tools. This includes a comprehensive online troubleshooting guide, chatbots, and customer service email.
Furthermore, users have commented that telephone queries are answered quickly. According to testimonials, troublesome issues seemed to be solved in under five minutes.
HP are not short on awards either, in the past two years they have received:
They have also been voted number one in numerous reader’s choice and editors’ awards.
Formed in Japan in 1939 as an electric lamp manufacturer, Toshiba has grown into a multinational company. They now produce everything from laptops through to televisions and railway control systems.
From 2001-2005, Toshiba ranked as the fifth largest laptop manufacturer in the world. But their share has fallen dramatically since that time. In 2016, they announced they would phase out production of laptops for consumer use. Instead, focusing on the business market.
Their current lines include Tecra (solid business laptops) and Portege (thin, light business laptops).
Note that in 2021, Toshiba has rebranded, in partnership with Sharp, as Dynabook. Don't be surprised if you see a Dynabook Tecra being sold at your local retailer.
The majority of Toshiba’s current laptops include 8th generation Intel core processors. These chips deliver increased speed upon demand and enhanced visual capabilities.
The displays on the machines offer little innovation. Coming in mainly 15.4 or 13.3 inches, the better models include full high definition. There is one bonus in that they include an anti-glare coating.
Many customers have indicated that the resolution on these screens is impressive. Yet, their brightness levels fall below those of HP, Asus, and Lenovo.
The lower-end C series of the Tecra models come with an HDD at 5400 rpm. The Portege line includes the faster solid state drives.
Many of the Toshiba laptops come with a lithium ion prismatic battery with 4-cells. There have been positive comments from users indicating their extended battery life. However, equally, there have been quite a few reports of these batteries failing to charge and a replacement needed soon after purchase.
Looking at their history, one area that has always let Toshiba down has been the design. It was an industry joke that you could have a Toshiba laptop in any color, as long as it was black.
To be fair, the newer models are charcoal more than black. But impressive aesthetics is not a term you would associate with Toshiba. As they are concentrating on the serious business market now, this could be a reason. Other business-ready machines — such as the Apple MacBook Pro and the HP Spectre, are much more appealing.
Other manufacturers are trying to reduce the bezel-edging and keyboard frame size. The Toshiba models are still wide and obtrusive.
In the past, Toshiba received praise for providing powerful laptops at budget prices. Even though they were a little ‘plain’ in appearance. Now that their focus has shifted to business, prices have increased. The days of getting a Toshiba laptop for under $250 dollars have gone.
Hence, their lowest priced laptop (Tecra C50) currently comes in at over $500. This is more expensive than the Lenovo IdeaPad 300 with very similar specifications. At the other end of the price spectrum, the Portege Z30 C1320 is more costly than the comparable HP Spectre.
Comparing like-for-like, Toshiba is more expensive than HP and many other of its competitors.
As they are designed for the business person on the move, the Portege series is a sturdy machine. It has a magnesium alloy casing, shock-absorbing body, and a honeycombed build. This increases the durability and overall strength of these laptops.
Both the Tecra and Portege laptops include Toshiba’s Easyguard system. This prevents damage to the critical components from spillages and dropping.
Furthermore, Toshiba have improved high-heat performance with their proprietary cooling system. It has “intelligent” airflow control, a heat-busting component layout and enhanced air-intake properties. This design ensures that the laptops do not overheat.
Why They Stand Out
The slimmed-down product line is Toshiba’s distinguishing feature. You will most likely recall the famous consumer market laptops, the Satellite series. These have been discontinued since late 2016.
Equally, there are no gaming machines. The top-end Portege has neither the graphics card nor the processor to run serious games.
Toshiba is now a brand concentrated on the business market and should be rated as such. They offer solid performance and robust design. However, they are often more expensive than their competitors.
What Other People Say
One of the biggest criticisms leveled at Toshiba regards their technical support. The online troubleshooting remains somewhat Windows 8 orientated. This is disappointing as all the new machines are running Windows 10.
They have a chatbot which again does not fare well in customer testimonials. The main criticism being, that it leads you in circles without answering queries. Yet, their telephone helpline has received some positive comments. They praise the impressive knowledge of the technicians on the other end of the line.
Users have praised one aspect of the Toshiba warranty. Their laptops come with a standard one-year coverage, which is expected. However, unusually for a tech company, you are able to upgrade your system components without the warranty becoming void.
What Are the Main Differences Between HP and Toshiba?
The contrast between HP and Toshiba is in their product orientated demographic.
Toshiba is now concentrated purely on the business market. Especially with the new Dynabook rebranding, the primary focus is on business sales.
This is reflected in their design. HP offers a wider range of aesthetically different products. Toshiba has remained with the traditional, and somewhat outdated, black laptop appearance.
When to Choose HP
With the sleek, slim design and modern variety of machines, any time is a good time to choose HP.
They lead the market in laptop sales for one main reason — well priced, powerful and reliable machines. For the home or business user, their products will deliver.
Perhaps the only downside to their range is their gaming machines. However, the Omen X is still a good laptop. It has an overclockable Intel Core i7 9750H and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card.
When to Choose Toshiba
As we have seen, if you are a home-user you are quite restricted in your choice.
The Tecra C50 is the budget end of the market. However, even then you will be paying more for a machine that lacks in specification and performance than its cheaper rivals.
Toshiba laptops are ideal for business use.
They are perfect for people whose work demands portability and strength. If you work in an industry where being avant-garde is frowned upon, the plain black traditional casing of the Toshiba range is ideal.
A few years ago, this comparison would have been a different story. Toshiba were up with the best in laptop sales and budget pricing. What’s more, they had products aimed at numerous markets.
Today, with Toshiba concentrating on business, the only way to compare directly is on their work-based machines. HP are more design orientated, innovative and cheaper than comparative Toshiba laptops. Furthermore, HP have a wider range of these business machines — including hybrids, 2-in-1s, and Chromebooks.
Whatever your needs, business or pleasure, we would recommend looking at the HP line first. Only consider Toshiba if you want a strong, plain-looking business laptop.