We're seeing more and more devices like the Toshiba Satellite Radius 15: laptop/tablet hybrids that, rather than make the keyboard and touchscreen detachable, fasten them with a 360-degree hinge, allowing the screen to rotate from a traditional laptop setup to a flattened tablet configuration.
The last of these flexing machines we reviewed, the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 12, felt like a technically sound ultrabook that was too big and heavy to be used as a tablet. Toshiba seems even less concerned about bulk, giving the Satellite Radius 15 a sprawling 15.6in screen.
The key feature here, of course, is the fully rotating hinge. The novelty of the idea has worn off, but credit is due for its build quality as it does a fine job of holding the screen in place regardless of how far it's been swivelled. Our favourite configuration for touchscreen use is having the keyboard flipped upside-down so that it acts as a stand, with the screen at an adjustable angle. There is a slight bit of wobbling when jabbing the screen too hard, although not to a ruinous degree.
Unfortunately, like the ThinkPad Yoga 12, the Satellite Radius 15 is just too big and too heavy to use as a mobile tablet. It's fine by traditional laptop standards - 380x245x20.1mm and 2.24kg - but this is still far beyond what can comfortably be held in one hand.
We also found that the quality of the keyboard tempted us away from any touchscreen-based setup. The keys don't have much travel but are perfectly spaced, and their glossy texture stands out in a market where the tactile ‘feel' of a keyboard is rarely at the forefront of manufacturers' minds. Unlike the ThinkPad Yoga 12, however, the keys don't physically lock when using one of the tablet/touchscreen configurations. They can still depress, but won't actually input anything.
The Satellite Radius 15 also demonstrates one of the benefits of a rotating convertible over a tablet or 2-in-1: a good range of ports. It includes two USB 3.0 ports, one for USB 2.0, an SD/SDHC slot and one mini HDMI port, plenty for everyday work and home use.
The 15.in touchscreen certainly allows plenty of space for multitasking, or just a few extra Excel columns. It's set to a full HD resolution of 1920x1080. At 141ppi, it's not absolutely razor-sharp, but looked clear and crisp enough for any task we threw at it. Rich colours and deep blacks were another big help in this regard.
Less helpfully, the Satellite Radius 15's screen is about as reflective as a freshly polished mirror. Using it in direct sunlight or even under a bright bulb is out of the question, and turning up the brightness doesn't solve the problem in the slightest. It's hard to work when you can clearly see your own reflection staring back at you.
Toshiba has revealed a more expensive model with a 4K resolution display, but we haven't seen it on sale in the UK - only via US vendors.
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