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Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 review – hands on

The Satellite Radius 12, Toshiba's attempt at a Yoga-style 2-in-1, gets help in slimming down from Intel Skylake

Intel revealed its 6th-generation Core “Skylake” processor line-up for mobile devices late last night, and manufacturers are already piling out of the woodwork to show off their latest designs. Toshiba’s Satellite Radius 12 is one of the first, and it’s immediately clear that the reduction in power and heat from the previous processor generation will mean great things for thin and light devices. The Radius might run its Core i7-6500u at 2.5GHz, and boost up to 3Ghz across both cores when thermal limits allow, but the laptop is still around 18mm thick when closed and practically silent in operation.

The Brushed metal finish looks premium, but either Toshiba has used incredibly thin metal to save on weight or has simply used plastic – it doesn’t feel as good as it looks. The plain-looking hinge mechanism might not be as attractive as the watchband design found on Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro, but it’s perfectly functional, keeping the screen locked in place at any orientation. That’s because the Radius is a hybrid device, with a 360-degree hinge that lets you use it in tablet and laptop modes. It takes very little force to move it, but the screen won’t tilt shut under its own weight either.

It’s one hell of a screen, too, with a gorgeous 3,840×2,160 4K resolution. In a 12in panel, it’s impossible to see individual pixels without a magnifying glass. The glossy finish meant light reflections were a bit distracting, but viewing angles were very good to compensate. Colours looked very punchy and vibrant, but without a colour calibrator to hand there’s no indication of how it stacks up to other top-spec laptop displays. The touchscreen was sensitive enough for Windows 10’s full screen Start Menu, and thanks to display scaling it’s even possible to make selections, close Windows and move files in desktop mode – an incredibly frustrating experience in older versions of the OS. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to give the Harmon Kardon speakers a fair test, to see if they are a worthy match to the screen.

With no benchmarks to hand there was no way to test the Radius’ performance, either. However, with the aforementioned Core i7 processor, which is a dual-core chip with Hyperthreading so that Windows sees four separate CPU threads, it should be more than capable of the kinds of tasks ultraportables are usually given. Skylake’s 14nm fabrication process and tiny 15w maximum tdp should also mean very respectable battery life. 8gb RAM and a 120gb SSD are welcome additions too, but there’s no indication as to whether Toshiba has used super-fast PCi-Express storage or standard SATA flash. Considering it won’t be an ultra-premium laptop, the latter is more likely.

Toshiba has updated its Chiclet-style keyboard with a new Windows 10 graphic on the Windows key, but otherwise it feels very similar to other Toshiba laptops we’ve used in the past. That means you can expect a fairly bouncy key press, relatively short key travel and comfortable spa in between each key. Toshiba’s touchpads have been hit or miss (sometimes literally) in the past, but the Radius felt accurate and responsive, even when using multi-touch gestures. 

The Radius is also one of the first Windows laptops to find room for a reversible USB3 Type-C port, although oddly Toshiba has still added a traditional charging port despite the fact USB Type-C can deliver enough power to juice it up once you run low. There are also two standard USB3 ports, an SD card reader, a full-size HDMI video output and a 3.5mm audio jack, in addition to power and volume controls for when you’re in tablet mode.

It certainly makes a good first impression, thanks mostly to that gorgeous screen, but if Toshiba gets the price right the Satellite Radius 12 could be exactly what the company needs to beat the Lenovo Yoga at its own game. There’s currently no word on a UK price or availability, but with a 4K screen and core i7 cpu, the Satellite Radius 12 clearly isn’t going to be a budget laptop, but with the Yoga currently sat between £1,000 and £1,200 depending on specifications, there’s every possibility Toshiba will be able to undercut and steal the show.

Expect more details once Berlin’s IFA show gets under way later this week.

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