There are lots of low-cost notebooks with touch screens, but not many affordable convertibles. Toshiba is looking to change that with its new Satellite Click. Priced at $599 (at Best Buy), this 13-inch hybrid features AMD's A4 accelerated processing unit and uses a detachable design to transform from laptop to tablet mode. And thanks to the CPU's efficiency, you won't have to stare at unsightly vents. However, you'll make some trade-offs for such an attractive price.
The Satellite Click uses the Skyline design scheme found on most of Toshiba's newer laptops, starting with its brushed aluminum back lid. Up top is a strip of matte plastic, which covers the slate's Wi-Fi antenna, while the bottom offers a chrome Toshiba emblem. When connected to its keyboard dock, the Click has a noticeable overhang at its rear, which makes room for the hybrid's oversized hinge.
When connected to the dock, the Satellite Click is reminiscent of the Toshiba Kirabook, as its rear corners are more rounded than its front corners. The deck features the same silver paint job as the tablet's lid, but the bottom is black plastic. Since the tablet can be completely separated from its base, Toshiba placed the power button on the slate's left edge rather than above the keyboard.
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Disconnecting the tablet from its keyboard dock involves moving the lock slider above the keyboard and pulling up the tablet. It took little effort to lift the tablet from the dock, though positioning it to reconnect it to the base requires aligning the two posts on top of the keyboard to slide into the tablet's bottom edge.
Weighing 2.2 lbs. -- 4.8 when connected to the keyboard dock -- the 13.3-inch Satellite Click is a rather chunky hybrid. In fact, this device is heavier than some larger 14-inch notebooks, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 (4 lbs.).
The Click is also fairly large. Measuring 13 x 8.5 x 0.55 inches in tablet form and 13 x 9.1 x 0.98 inches when connected to its dock, the Click is thicker than the 0.84-inch Flex 14. In tablet mode, the Click is thicker than the 0.5-inch ASUS VivoTab Smart and 0.3-inch HP Envy x2.
The Click isn't a pain to carry around the house, which is where Toshiba believes users will primarily use the hybrid. However, our arms grew a bit tired while trying to play games like "Halo: Spartan Assault."
The Click's 13.3-inch 1366 x 768 LED display offered relatively crisp and clear images. Text on Laptopmag.com and NYtimes.com looked clean, though we did notice some pixelation around the edges of words written in large font.
While watching trailers for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and "American Hustle," the display offered a good amount of detail and rich color, but there was some noticeable graininess. Viewing angles, however, were nice and wide.
At 357 lux, the Toshiba Click's display is brighter than the ASUS VivoTab Smart(292 lux), the HP Envy x2 (206 lux) and the tablet category average of 360 lux.
Audio duty for the Satellite Click is handled by a pair of speakers located on the tablet's bottom left and right edges. While listening to hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar, the speakers proved loud enough to fill a large room. When turned up all the way, Lamar's lyrics sounded distorted and high notes crackled slightly. We noticed similar results while listening to Coheed and Cambria, with guitars ringing a bit too much.
DTS' Studio Sound app features an equalizer, as well as controls for the bass and treble. A 3D audio option gives music a fuller sound, enveloping you as you listen. Surround sound makes audio sound more even, while Volume Max (true to its name) pushes the volume to the limit, though it also distorts audio. The Bass Boost feature helps improve strengthen bass hits.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The point of a laptop-tablet hybrid is to provide users with the portability of a tablet and the productivity capabilities of a laptop. But you can't expect to be very productive when a hybrid's keyboard is as bad as the one found on the Satellite Click. The keys offer next to no travel or feedback, and the deck flexes so much it feels like typing on a piece of wet cardboard.
On the Ten Thumbs Typing Test, we averaged 80 words per minute with a 3 percent error rate. That's much worse than our normal laptop average of 83 words per minute with a 0 percent error rate.
The Click's 3.95 x 2.45-inch Synaptics Clickpad was large and responsive. Windows 8 commands, including swiping in from the right to activate the Charms menu, worked every time. Basic multitouch gestures such as two-finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom also worked very well.
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By default, twist-to-rotate is disabled; in order to activate it, you must open the Synaptics tab in the Mouse control panel, select Rotating, then press the gear icon to the right and enable TwistRotate.
Ports and Webcam
On the Click's right edge are a microUSB port, microHDMI port, microSD card slot and dual microphone-headphone jack. The right edge is also home to the slate's volume rocker. Over on the left edge are the Click's power button and power port. The keyboard dock features a single USB 3.0 port on its right edge as well as a power port on its left edge.
The Click's 1-megapixel webcam, like many Windows 8 notebook and tablet webcams, offered subpar performance. Images were pixelated and fine details were hard to see. An image of a man's beard looked more like a block of brown than the thousands of red strands it is.
Toshiba touts that the Click doesn't need an internal fan or ventilation slots. The Click owes that to its AMD A4 processor, which produces so little ambient heat that it doesn't need a fan to keep it cool.
Since the Click packs all of its guts into the tablet portion, we only measured heat output on the tablet and not the keyboard dock. After streaming a high-def video on Hulu for 15 minutes, the Click reached a relatively cool 88 degrees Fahrenheit on its back panel. We consider temperatures of 95 degrees and lower to be comfortable.
The Toshiba Satellite Click is the first Windows 8 hybrid to come with AMD's low-power A4-1200 accelerated processing unit. Unfortunately, the processor's performance was underwhelming, to say the least. The Click struggled to load Web pages quickly, and when it did, scrolling down the screen brought up a white-and-gray grid, indicating the hybrid couldn't keep up with our scrolling.
Similarly, the system lagged significantly while playing "Zombie HQ" with five tabs open in Chrome, with frame rates dropping precipitously as we opened more tabs.
On the PCMark 7 test, a synthetic benchmark that measures a system's overall performance, the Click scored 1,209. That's lower than the Intel Atom Z2760-powered ASUS VivoTab Smart's score of1,399, as well as the similarly equipped HP Envy x2 (1,428). The Lenovo U310, which has a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5-3337U processor, scored 2,744.
The Click performed just as poorly on our OpenOffice test, taking 28 minutes and 35 seconds to match 20,000 names with their respective addresses. That's better than the ASUS VivoTab's time of 30:18, as well as the HP Envy x2's 29:45, but nowhere near the category average of 16:17. The U310 took just 5:45.
The Click performed slightly better on our LAPTOP File Transfer test, with its 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive moving 4.97GB of mixed media files in 2 minutes and 56 seconds, a rate of 29 MBps. That's faster than the VivoTab Smart's 18 MBps, as well as the Envy x2's 22 MBps, though both of those systems use slower eMMC memory. All three were well below the tablet category average of 64 MBps.
If there's one thing the Click has going for it, it's how quickly it springs to life. The tablet booted Windows 8 in just 13 seconds, quicker than the HP Envy x2's 22 seconds, the category average (20 seconds) and the ASUS' 18 seconds.
Thanks to the AMD A4's built-in Radeon HD 8180 graphics processor, the Click can handle basic games, but not much else. Unlike the HP Envy x2 and ASUS VivoTab Smart, which feature Intel's Graphics Media Accelerator, the Click supports DirectX11 and therefore can run the 3DMark 11 benchmark. That doesn't mean the Click performed well, though. With a score of 292, the Click fell well below the tablet category average of 610. The Lenovo U310's Intel HD Graphics 4000 didn't fare much better, scoring 482.
If you're looking to play something as low-impact as "World of Warcraft," you'll want to look elsewhere. With the graphics set to auto and the resolution at 1366 x 768, the tablet reached just 20 frames per second.
Toshiba crammed two batteries into the Satellite Click, one in the tablet and one in the keyboard dock. When the tablet runs out of juice, the keyboard dock's battery takes over. Toshiba wisely chose to prioritize the tablet's battery in the charging order, meaning that if both devices are plugged in, the tablet's battery will charge first.
Without the keyboard dock, the Click ran for just 4 hours and 1 minute. That's much shorter than the HP Envy x2's time of 6:52, the category average of 7:07 and the VivoTab Smart (8:17). The Lenovo U310 lasted 4:58.
With the keyboard dock, the Click's endurance jumped to 7:18. However, the HP Envy x2 ran for 11:57 with its dock.
Software and Warranty
Toshiba has gone fairly light on the bloatware with the Satellite Click. The hybrid comes with the standard array of Windows 8 apps, as well as third-party apps including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, Norton Studio, Vimeo, Zinio, Evernote and more. First-party apps include Toshiba Start news app, Toshiba Book Place bookstore and Toshiba Media Player.
Toshiba offers Satellite Click users a 1-year standard limited warranty.
With the $599 Satellite Click, Toshiba sought to create a low-cost Windows 8 hybrid for the masses. We like the bright 13-inch display, loud speakers and long battery life this device offers in laptop mode. Unfortunately, while the Click's AMD A4 processor runs cool, don't expect much more than netbook-like performance. Combine that with a flexy keyboard, short battery life in tablet mode and a hefty chassis, and the Click becomes a device that's difficult to recommend even at its budget-friendly price.
If you're in the market for a hybrid device that won't empty your bank account, the $649 HP Envy x2 also comes with a detachable keyboard in a smaller and lighter build, and offers comparable performance and much longer endurance. However, you'll get much less storage than the Toshiba (32GB versus 500GB). For $50 less than the Click, the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch lacks a detachable display, but offers a far better keyboard and a more powerful Intel Core i5 processor in a thinner, lighter design. Overall, the Satellite Click doesn't quite click with us.