The race to cram more pixels into a display has already spread from smartphones to tablets, and now at IFA in Berlin, it has come to notebooks. Toshiba revealed the first 12.5-inch convertible laptop with a 4K display (3840 x 2160) at show often called “Europe’s CES,” which translates to a density of 335 pixels per inch. This is a third more than the pixel density found on the Retina MacBook, and is comparable to tablets, and even some high-end smartphones.
It’s easy to wonder if it’s even practical to use Windows on such a high resolution display, but Windows 10 offers exceptionally well-polished scalability (certainly better than previous versions), though older applications will likely suffer with tiny elements that are difficult to tap with a finger or a mouse cursor. Sticking with new applications, the Satellite Radius 12 display is a truly impressive experience, and offers great delight for the eyes, making it a premium laptop. It also supports Windows Hello, which enables users to log in with just a face or fingerprint.
Apart from the imaging sharpness, the screen brightness is praiseworthy. Toshiba’s booth at IFA was well-lit (likely best lit area at IFA), but Satellite Radius 12 had no problems overcoming the ambience, even with the glare from overhead lights bouncing off the glossy display. It is also available with a 1080p resolution for those who find 4K overwhelming.
When it comes to performance, Toshiba made an effort to equip Satellite Radius 12 with a hardware that suits the notebook’s flagship category. It will ship with sixth-generation Intel processors, up to Core i7.
The notebook can be equipped with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of memory storage, and it includes a USB 3.1 Type-C port, in addition to two regular USB ports and an HDMI output (the new MacBook only has USB C). As we toyed with this new device for half an hour, everything ran swiftly and smoothly, which is not surprising, given the hardware.
It’s not all good, however. The Satellite Radius 12 keyboard has some oddly shaped keys, which felt unnatural when we tested them. Users that want 4K will likely have to adapt.
Its second shortcoming is the battery life. Toshiba representatives claimed it would last 8 hours, which is rather humble for this type of a device. We would expect at least 10 hours. Finally, 4K won’t come cheap. The most powerful version (4K display, Core i7 processor, and 512 GB storage) will cost 1450 euros in Europe, or about $1616 US.
With the high-end display and hardware, also comes an excellent design. Its aluminum body looks quite modern and elegant. While it’s not the slimmest or the lightest convertible PC of its size on the market, it comes close. Of course, being a Radius, it has a 360-degree hinge, so it doubles as a tablet. Satellite Radius 12 is definitely one of the more attractive devices at IFA this year, both in design and in display.