How low can a Windows 8 hybrid tablet/laptop go -- at least, as far as price is concerned? Toshiba has tried its best with its new $600 bargain-basement Satellite Click, a 13.3-in. tablet that comes with a snap-on keyboard, transforming it into the equivalent of a traditional laptop.
The Click will be available only directly from Toshiba or from Best Buy, and comes with a one-year warranty. While the review unit came with Windows 8, Windows 8.1 was available as of October 18.
On its own, the silver-tone plastic tablet weighs 2.2 lb. and has a protective rubber rim around the screen's edge. It measures 13.0 x 8.5 in. with a depth of 0.4 in. in front and 0.6 in. in back.
Add in the matching 2.5-lb. keyboard and you have a laptop package that weighs 4.7 lb. and is an inch thick. That means the Click is 0.4-in. narrower, but 5 oz. heavier, than the Asus Transformer Book TX300, which, at about $1,400, is the other 13.3-in. tablet/keyboard combo currently on the market. (HP will be coming out with its $600 Pavilion 13 X2 sometime in November.)
A larger -- and heavier -- tablet
The Toshiba's 13.3-in. screen shows 1366 x 768 resolution (as opposed to the Asus Transformer Book's 1920 x 1080 HD imaging). The Click uses a Radeon HD 8180 graphics accelerator with 500MB of dedicated video memory that can use up to 1.5GB from the system's RAM, for a total of just over 2GB of available video memory.
In practice, that means the display is bright and rich enough for most users. However, the video it delivers looks choppy at times. It works better for animated games like Cut the Rope than for watching YouTube videos.
Able to respond to up to 10 independent inputs, the capacitive screen can interpret several gestures; when I tried it with my own Kensington Virtuoso Stylus, it worked well.
I really appreciated the system's big display for games and movies, although I would have preferred the detail that comes with an HD or better screen. It sits flat on a tabletop and doesn't wobble when tapped, but at three-quarters of a pound heavier than the iPad with Retina display, carrying or holding the Click can get tedious.
I found that the Click was most comfortable with me seated and the base of the slate balanced on my lap with a hand holding one of its sides. That leaves the other hand free for tapping and swiping.
The tablet has a power switch on the right edge and volume rocker on the left. There's a front-facing webcam for video conferencing and selfies; unlike many other tablets, the Click lacks a forward-facing camera.
The Click's ports are minimalist: audio, micro-HDMI and microUSB 2.0. It comes with a 6-in.-long micro-to-full-size USB adapter cable that works well for connecting it to a computer; however, the cable makes it awkward to use with a USB key. The Click's communications are covered with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The tablet is outfitted with an AMD A4-1200 dual-core processor that runs at 1GHz. It comes with 4GB of DDR3 memory and a 500GB hard disk drive that spins at 5,400 rpm. If that's not enough, it sports a micro-SD card slot to add up to 64GB of storage.