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

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MSRP: $899.99
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The Good The Toshiba Satellite Click 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.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

4.2 Overall
  • Design 5
  • Features 5
  • Performance 4
  • Battery 3

Review Sections

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

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.

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