Toshiba Satellite Click 2 Hands-on Preview

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With a new school year on the horizon Toshiba is looking to make a play for the continually growing convertible laptop market. On Tuesday the company announced its new Windows 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrids with the entry-level Toshiba Satellite Click 2 and the performance driven Satellite Click 2 Pro.

The Original Toshiba Click wasn’t exactly lauded as a success; but the company’s refreshed convertible lineup looks far more promising. With a strong focus on clean sleek aesthetics and improved frameless keyboard designs both entries have the potential to capture consumer interest when they are made available in early June as BestBuy exclusives (and on Toshiba’s website) starting at $586 and $1,028 respectively.

Toshiba Satellite Click 2

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One of the things that Toshiba appears to be focusing on with its new product lineup is cleaner sleeker product designs. This certainly seems evident with the Toshiba Satellite Click 2.  The laptop offers an attractive silver brushed design on its display lid, and the interior feels smooth and cool to the touch. The device also features a new frameless keyboard helping to produce an overall tighter aesthetic.

The laptop is thinner than its predecessor, sporting a slim easy to manage 0.5-inch thickness in tablet form, which is increased to 0.9-inches when attached to the keyboard dock. While the Click 2 is noticeably sleeker than the original, that hasn’t helped Toshiba reduce its weight. The Satellite Click 2 weighs in at 4.84 pounds when attached to the keyboard dock and 2.8 pounds when in tablet mode. The curved ergonomic design helped to make it feel comfortable to hold and travel with; but the notebook certainly doesn’t offer the same portability afforded from many competing 2-in-1 devices. The added weight seems like it will be especially cumbersome when attempting to use to the tablet for long periods of time. Even though the Toshiba Click 2 is considered a hybrid device, it feels first and foremost like a laptop due to the added girth.

However, the Click 2’s focus on being a quality laptop first, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One of the most welcomed additions for the Satellite Click 2 is the device’s new frameless TruType keyboard. The rounded keys are slightly curved on their face making it easier to grip with your fingertips when typing. While my time with the laptop was brief, I was pleased with the solid key travel and responsive feedback when using the device. The Click 2’s dock appears to be major upgrade over the original Satellite Click, which suffered from an unresponsive keyboard.

Along the back-end of the keyboard dock sits the device’s display hinge. The Satellite Click 2 employs a standard sliding-lock mechanism that allows the display be detached from the dock. Removing the display proves easy enough, but reconnecting the device can be a bit more awkward. Many competing hybrids, even affordable options like the Acer Aspire Switch 10, now employ magnets to help lineup the tablet and dock. With no such guiding force on the Satellite Click 2 it took a bit of fidgeting before I was able to correctly lineup the display and dock. However, once I was able to find that magic trajectory the display secured firmly onto the dock, providing a nice audible pop when locking.

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The Toshiba Satellite 2 features a 13.3-inch IPS touch display with a 1366 x 768 resolution. Despite the limited resolution – which is still expected on a sub-$600 laptop – the glossy display afforded a sharp pleasant picture. While I didn’t get a chance to watch any video on the Satellite Click 2, I did notice the sharp contrast between the colorful panels on the Windows 8.1 homepage.

In addition to sharp picture Toshiba also hopes to offer improved audio featuring Skullcandy Speakers with DTS audio technology. The actual hardware in the device wasn’t created by Skullcandy, but Toshiba did work in close partnership with them to create high quality audio-profiles, including unique profiles designed specifically for Skullcandy products. I got a chance to try out one of the pre-loaded profiles with a pair of Skullcandy headphones and it appears to make a glaring difference. Activating the profile amplified the sound considerably, providing texture to the soundtrack with added base and treble without distorting the quality. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to test the embedded speakers, so it remains unseen how (or even if) this partnership will improve the audio quality of the actual device.

The hardware of the Click 2 is likely where the device makes its biggest concession for its affordable price point. At launch the 2-in-1 will run on Windows 8.1 and will feature a quad-core Intel Pentium processor, with 4GB of RAM and 500GB of storage. According to Toshiba the device will provide up to 8 hours of battery life.

While the limited spec performance and added weight can prove deterrents, the Toshiba Satellite Click 2 offers a lot to get excited about as well. The display offers a sharp picture and the frameless Trutype offers a typing experience seldom seen on convertibles.

It’s still too early to give our definitive thoughts on the Click 2, but as of now it’s looking like a great option for users with limited computing needs that want a 2-in-1 that first and foremost functions as a laptop.

Toshiba Satellite Click 2 Pro

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At first glance the Toshiba Click 2 Pro doesn’t appear all that different than its more affordable counterpart, but there are a number of refinements separating the two devices.

The more expensive Pro version features full bushed aluminum build, providing a high-quality sturdy feel. The device also boasts an even sleeker form factor with a 0.43-inch thickness in tablet form and 0.78-inch thickness when attached to the dock. The high-end laptop also shaves off a bit of the weight coming in at 4.5 pounds with the keyboard dock, and 2.5 pounds in its tablet form. However; even the sleeker condensed Click 2 Pro variant still feels clunky when compared to competing options such as the upcoming Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which weighs only 1.76 pounds in its standalone tablet form.

Similar to the entry-level Click 2, the device’s saving grace remains its high-quality frameless TruType keyboard dock. The Click 2 Pro may not be able to compete in terms of portability, but it affords a high-quality typing experience that few convertibles match. The Pro variant dock also offers full LED backlighting along with optional features including a second battery reserve and an additional 500GB HDD.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Click 2 Pro also offers a different hinge mechanism. Unlike the sliding-lock on the Click 2, the Pro variant uses a push mechanism to detach its display. Removing the display proves incredibly quick and easy. Simply pushing the display down towards the dock releases the mechanism, the display can even be detached using only one hand.  While the push mechanism makes it easier to detach the display, the Click 2 Pro proved just as awkward when connecting to the dock. The lack of a guiding mechanism left me fidgeting for a few moments before I was able to accurately lineup the dock and display.

The Click 2 Pro features the same sized 13.3-inch IPS touch display, but the resolution has been boosted to full HD (1920 x 1080). As expected with the higher resolution, the Click 2 Pro provides crisper image quality and similarly robust color contrast. As with other high-end Toshiba laptops the 2-in-1 also offers Harmon Kardon speakers.

The biggest difference between the two laptops is their innards. While both devices will run on Windows 8.1, the Pro variant will offer considerably more power. At launch the Satellite Click 2 Pro  will feature Intel’s fourth-generation Core i5 and i7 processors, with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. According to the Toshiba the standard version of the Satellite Click 2 Pro will offer a shorter battery life that the entry-level (likely due to the higher resolution display) at 6 hours. However, that can be further augmented by the optional secondary battery reserve in the keyboard dock, which will boost the laptop’s battery life to 10 hours according to Toshiba.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Pro variant offers a lot of bells and whistles over the standard Click 2; including a higher resolution display, stronger performance levels, high-quality Harmon Kardon speakers and a number of upgrade features. However, the Click 2 Pro also faces steeper competition as a result of its post-$1,000 price tag.

The added weight feels a bit more damning at this price range, but the appeal of the Toshiba Satellite Click 2 Pro remains wholly the same as its entry-level counterpart. Users looking for laptops and hybrids that excel in particular areas will likely find better options; but with its high-quality keyboard dock and easy to navigate hinge design the Click 2 Pro seems like an ideal option for those that want a tablet in a pinch, without conceding a full-fledged laptop experience .

 


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