Given the success of the Lenovo Yoga, I was wondering why no-one else had explored the concept, but here’s the Toshiba answer to Lenovo’s monopoly on the multimode laptop”. The Satellite Radius which was announced this week offers the same kind of multimode positions (laptop, tablet, presentation, audience, tablet top) as the Yoga, but in a 15.6-inch form factor that Lenovo has left wide open for the competition to get in (for how long remains to be seen).
Same concept, same advantages
Screen size aside, the concept works just the same and while I don’t have hands-on experience with group activity in presentation mode, I think that the folding capability is worth it as soon as you get into a coach seat for a long flight. A regular 13.3” laptop may already be uncomfortable in such conditions, but a 15.6” display is pretty much guaranteed to bang on the seat in front of you. By going to tablet or presentation mode, you can read or watch movies more comfortably than you would with a classic clamshell design. Lenovo invented it, and now Toshiba takes the concept to a new size.
Good build quality
When I looked at a real unit of the Toshiba Radius, I found the build quality to be quite high, with a clean backlit Chiclet keyboard (with curved keys), a minimalistic keyboard area and screen and a large, comfortable trackpad. The metallic body/skin feels premium, and the laptop wasn’t slippery when I handled it. The 1080p IPS display is pretty decent, but it wasn’t more impressive than that since a high DPI isn’t an option here.
Decent specifications, but no SSD
You can choose an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 with 8GB of RAM and up to 1TB of HDD storage. Unfortunately, there no SSD version of this, which is a pity because some customers may want faster disk access instead of raw storage capacity. Toshiba has integrated DTS Sound, which is always nice for watching movies with a good pair of headphones. As for connectivity, WiFi AC is the de-facto standard, along with the integration of WiDi, a wireless technology from Intel. If you want to connect with a regular HDMI cable, Toshiba points out that 4K video output is supported.
There are Three USB 3.0 ports and one of them has the Sleep & Charge feature, so you can charge your phone, camera or anything else even when your laptop is OFF.
The 15.6” screen is the main differentiation
Overall, the Toshiba Radius’ main advantage over the Lenovo Yoga Series is the screen size, which is unique in that form-factor, and the starting price of $925.99 is competitive. If size is not a critical feature for you then Lenovo remains extremely competitive and I would recommend that you compare the configuration and prices carefully before making a decision. In any case, it’s nice to see that the multimode PC is taking off. I really like the concept and thus far, there is no downside if the PC manufacturer manages to keep the laptop as slim as other Ultrabook.