Hands on: Toshiba Satellite Click Mini review

There’s something just a little bit adorable about the Toshiba Satellite Click Mini, a dinky Windows 8 tablet that transforms itself into a compact Windows 8 laptop by clicking into the keyboard dock. Fans of the Asus Transformer line of 2-in-1 tablet/laptop hybrids will be more than familiar with the concept… and if you happen to work for Asus, you might want to take a look at this machine, because it gets a whole lot right. Follow all of the lastest news and reviews from CES 2015.

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The first item is simply its looks. This may seem like a trivial point, but even if you’re paying under £300 you want a laptop that you can show to your friends without apologising for its ugliness.

Rather more important in day-to-day use is the screen. It’s an 8.9in IPS display, which immediately means strong viewing angles. Where Toshiba ups the battle compared to Asus is the resolution: the just-announced 8.9in Transformer Book T90 Chi has a 1,280 x 800 display, the Click Mini 1,920 x 1,200.

The biggest advantage this gives is detail in photos, and also helps if you’re working in a detailed spreadsheet; the obvious disadvantage is when you stumble upon a part of the Windows UI that isn’t optimised for touch (such as the minimise window at the top-right of an application window) the combination of a relatively small screen and high pixel count work against you.

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The Click Mini is a little bit thicker and heavier than the T90 Chi when used as a tablet, but at 470g it’s hardly a burdensome weight. I found it absolutely fine to hold in one hand.

It’s also pretty nippy. Sure, the fact it’s powered by an Atom processor means this is never going to be a speed demon, but it’s by no means sluggish. In general use of flipping between programs and tapping away in Word, it proved more than quick enough for our needs.

Asus might at this point say the Atom inside the T90 Chi is a little faster – and it is, by 133MHz in base mode (1.46GHz vs 1.33GHz) and more than 500MHz in burst mode (2.39GHz vs 1.83GHz), but I’d argue there are more important factors to consider than this.

And those become most clear when using the Satellite Click Mini in laptop mode. Whereas I struggled to type anything at all on the T90 Chi’s keyboard, the Click Mini proved a comparative joy: there’s just enough space between the keys to ensure you don’t make too many mistakes.

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There isn’t a massive amount of travel on the keys but it would be fine to use for an hour or two per day. You might might want to think again if you’re planning on that opus of a novel, when design decisions such as a minimal backspace key could get annoying.

But I’m being picky. For such a compact laptop, and at such a low price, it’s a great combination of keyboard and screen.

CES 2015 best convertible hybrid laptop Toshiba Satellite Click Mini

There’s also a generous array of ports, both on the tablet itself and the keyboard dock. The tablet includes a microSD slot so you can build upon the built-in 32GB of storage, plus a micro-HDMI slot and a micro-USB connector – an adapter to turn it into a full-sized USB slot is bundled in the box. Handily, the tablet also includes a Windows button to accompany the volume up/down and power switch.

I also had a play with the Toshiba’s TruCapture feature, which allows you to take a snapshot of a piece of text – say, a newspaper story or a whiteboard with notes on it. If it’s typewritten then you can also apply recognition technology to turn it into real text.

The final point to make about the Click Mini: its battery life. The tablet lasts around eight hours of video playback, according to Toshiba; the battery in the keyboard dock doubles this to 16 hours. Not bad when you consider the whole caboodle weighs 999g in laptop mode.

When it comes to price it’s true that Toshiba hasn’t quite hit the magic sub-£200 point (unlike the £199 Transformer Book T90 Chi), but at £249 inc VAT it still looks great value. And I’d definitely pay the extra £50 to obtain a machine that’s just as usable as a laptop.

Display: 22.6 cm (8.9”) WUXGA (1920 x 1200) IPS display, with 254.4ppi resolution and capacitive 10 point multi-finger touchscreen supportProcessors: Intel® AtomTM Z3735F processorGraphics: Integrated Intel® graphicsStorage: 32 GB eMMCConnectivity:Tablet: 1 x Micro-HDMI®-out, 1 x Micro-USB and 1 x microSD card slot (up to 128 GB support), 1 x Mic/Headphone Combo port Keyboard: 1 x full size USB 2.0, 1 x full size SD (up to 128 GB support) slotCommunication: WiFi® 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth® 4.0, wireless display ready5 MP auto focus rear-facing camera, 2 MP front facing cameraAudio: Side firing stereo speakers with Dolby® Digital Plus™OS: Windows 8.1 Update with BingOne year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 PersonalDimensions: Tablet mode: 235 x 161 x 9.8 mm Laptop mode : 235 x 170.6 x 19.9 mmWeight: Tablet: 470g Laptop mode: 999g

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