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Toshiba Satellite Click review: The budget Windows tablet-laptop you don't want

Too little, too heavy: a weak battery life and unimpressive performance, plus a poor keyboard, do in Toshiba's budget-targeted Windows laptop-tablet.

Scott Stein
Scott Stein Editor at Large

I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets.

6 min read

I really wanted to like the Toshiba Satellite Click. I did. But reality set in.


Toshiba Satellite Click

The Good

The <b>Toshiba Satellite Click</b> runs Windows 8, costs $599, and has a keyboard.

The Bad

Just about everything else: battery life’s short, performance is slow, and the laptop is bulky and heavy. And that keyboard doesn’t feel very good at all.

The Bottom Line

By attempting to shoehorn an affordable 13-inch laptop-tablet into a crowded market, the Toshiba Satellite Click ends up as a compromised, underperforming mess.

I understand that Windows 8, right now, is a sea of confusion. Tablet hybrids aren't necessarily what everyone wants. Laptops are understandable. Can you make a laptop that also turns into a tablet, and do it affordably, at the $500 price range that entry-level midrange Windows laptops actually were just a few years ago?

I wanted to credit the Toshiba Satellite Click for trying. At $599 ($699 according to Toshiba's Web site, but it sells for $599 at Best Buy, where it's a retail exclusive) the Click has a 13-inch screen, a 500GB hard drive, and yes, a display that detaches and becomes its own tablet. It runs Windows 8.1, on an AMD processor. Maybe this was a hidden gem. But no, it's not.

Yes, there's a keyboard, but it's shallow and cramped. Yes, there's 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, but there's also a very slow AMD processor. Yes, the top half of this 13.3-inch computer detaches to become its own standalone touch-screen tablet, but the battery life is so bad it won't ever find its way very far from your wall outlet.

I'd love to like the Click more...but while it's a low price for a laptop/tablet hybrid, you're far better off just buying a laptop, or a tablet.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Design: feels like a budget product
I've seen a lot of Toshiba Satellite laptops, but none that looks or feels exactly like the Click. It's plastic, but it's also top-heavy in every sense: the tablet upper half, which houses the display, weighs more and is thicker than the keyboard base underneath. It doesn't topple over on a desk or your lap, but sometimes it feels like it'll threaten to.

Toshiba Click W35Dt-A Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14
Price $599 $799 $999
Display size/resolution 13.3-inch, 1,366 x 768 touch screen 13.3-inch, 1,366 x 768 touch screen 14-inch, 1,366 x 768 touch screen
PC CPU 1GHz AMD A4 1200 1GHz AMD A4 Quad-Core 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 4200U
PC Memory 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz 9192B DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz
Graphics 512MB AMD Radeon HD 8180 512MB AMD Radeon HD 8250 1792MB Intel Graphics 4400
Storage 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive 128GB SSD hard drive 128GB SSD hard drive
Optical drive None None None
Networking 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system Windows 8 (64-bit) Windows 8 (64-bit) Windows 8 (64-bit)

At 4.8 pounds, this laptop feels heavy. And thick, too. The tablet alone weighs 2.8 pounds, and is over half an inch thick. It's more of a lap-tablet for a living room than anything you'd actually ever want to carry around with you in public.

Sarah Tew/CNET

That tablet part pops into the keyboard bottom via a mechanical latch that locks into place with a snap (or a click). To detach, you slide a little button and pull the tablet back out. The tablet is the whole PC, so docking is plug and play.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The keyboard...oh, that keyboard. It's flat, so incredibly flat, and has keys that feel smaller than normal keyboard keys. It's a bad typing experience. The smallish touch pad underneath is a bit better, but let's go back to that keyboard: it's actually the only reason you'd buy a tablet-laptop hybrid. If the keyboard isn't great, then why have it be a laptop at all?

The keyboard base also houses a couple of extra ports, but the majority of those ports are stuck in the Click's top-heavy tablet/screen. Weirdly, both the keyboard base and the tablet have charge ports, to charge either one separately, since each has a battery. Docked together, they'll charge as a single unit. But we weren't able to get the Click review unit we received from Toshiba to register its second battery.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The 13.3-inch display is IPS, meaning it has wide viewing angles, but only a 1,366x768-pixel resolution. In laptop mode it seems OK, but as a tablet it feels pixelated: reading a Web page, text looks grainy. I have a harder time forgiving lower pixel density on a tablet -- maybe it's because I read on them from a closer range. Audio output is fair via the built-in speakers, but not remarkable. And a front-facing 0.9 megapixel camera for Webchats is serviceable, nothing more.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Connections, performance, battery life: Not what you're hoping for
All the Click's major ports are, for the most part, crammed into the upper tablet, which means they're shrunken-down: Micro-HDMI, Micro-USB, microSD. The keyboard base only has a single USB 3.0 port, with Toshiba's useful sleep-and-charge gadget-charging technology. Why do this to a laptop that's nearly five pounds? There's more room in this device for fuller-fledged ports: it's a wasted opportunity. You want to dock a tablet into its keyboard base for a larger selection of full-size ports, maybe even Ethernet: you get none of that here, although there's built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, plus gyroscope/accelerometer/digital compass functions for the tablet.

Because this Click is weirdly designed, it's also not easily upgradable: RAM is maxed at 4GB. The standard 500GB mechanical hard drive is slower than having a solid-state drive, adding to an already snail-like performance.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I hate to harp on this poor AMD processor, but our benchmark tests tell the story: the dual-core AMD A4-1200 processor, running at 1 GHz, is one of the slowest laptop processors we've seen this year. It's a massive step down. Even navigating Windows 8, an operating system that optimizes itself for lower-power processors, felt like wading in a solid block of butter. Web browsing also felt slow. Sometimes I'd tap at the Windows button over and over hoping to get back to app selection and skip past whatever slow-motion process I'd fallen into. You're better off with an Intel Atom-powered tablet hybrid, which -- last we checked -- cost the same or even less.

And then we come to battery life. On our video playback test, the Click got about three hours of runtime. The Click has two batteries: one in the tablet and one in the keyboard, which are supposed to offer a combined six hours of performance, or just three in the tablet. We tried to draw from both batteries, but only got the same three-hour result in keyboarded and keyboardless modes. I don't need to tell you that three hours of battery life in a tablet in 2013 is not good at all.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion: You deserve better
So, here's a proposition for you: do you buy an iPad, a Microsoft Surface 2, or...a Toshiba Satellite Click?

OK, maybe the analogy is flawed. The Click, at $599, actually costs more than either the iPad Air or the Surface 2. But, the proposition it offers is that of a full-fledged Windows 8 laptop -- one that has a tablet top half that detaches from its base.

A long time ago, this type of proposition would have seemed like the future. Now, it seems like a vague hindrance if it means compromising on what a computer offers. And, sadly, it is a compromise in every sense: heavy, underperforming, uncomfortable, and underwhelming.

I'd recommend you look for a plain old Windows 8 laptop if you want an affordable Windows PC right now. Don't get fancy. And if you do, then spend up: get a better convertible, or a laptop like the Lenovo Yoga. Or, if you want a tablet, then get a tablet. This tries for too much and does too little. The Click...well, I'm pretty sure, no matter who you are, this isn't what you're looking for.

Multimedia Multitasking test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Video playback battery drain test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Handbrake MMT
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Toshiba Click W35Dt-A Windows 8 (64-bit); 1GHz AMD A4 1200 APU; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 8180 Graphics; 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive

Acer Aspire E1 572-6870 Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 4200U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 4400: 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive

Acer Aspire S7- 392-6411 Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 4200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 128MB (Dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 4400: 128GB SSD

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite Windows 8 (64-bit) 1GHz AMD A4 Quad-Core; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 8250; 128GB Samsung SSD

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 4200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 1792MB Intel HD Graphics 4400: 128GB Samsung SSD


Toshiba Satellite Click

Score Breakdown

Design 5Features 5Performance 4Battery 3
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