If it’s a 2-in-1 laptop you want, you might have come across Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5318. It’s one of the best-selling convertibles from the famous Japanese computer manufacturer, packing a lot of power in its i7 processor, 12GB RAM and a full-blown solid-state drive. This thing also costs quite a bit, so before spending your money you might want to read on and see if the Toshiba is a solid product or just a lemon…
Intel Core i7-4510U is a new dual-core processor featuring 2.0GHz clock speed and 3.1GHz turbo. Being one of the Intel’s faster units, it should offer all the CPU processing power a convertible laptop owner needs. However, there’s a big difference between traditional i7s and energy saving i7s. This one belongs to the latter category, meaning power consumption is minimal, but of course performance isn’t quite on par with other i7s. To give you numbers, i7-4510U reaches ~4000 points with CPU Mark, one of the popular processor benchmarks. Other i7s without low-energy design get double from that, around 8000. They’re much faster, but it’s only the hardcore gamers or users of extremely tasking software that would benefit from power hungry i7 models. For everybody else this power efficient processor is very adequate.
Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5318 features 12GB DDR3L (1600MHz) RAM. The manual says memory is not user upgradeable, which usually means a non tech savvy person will have hard time replacing the RAM. However, if you know how to, you can probably upgrade memory despite manual stating otherwise. Another option is to send the laptop to a Toshiba tech. But if you’re asking my opinion, I don’t think going from 12GB to 16GB (the maximum this unit supports) is giving any noticeable speed boost.
There’s a neat 256GB mSATA SSD responsible for the storage. Better thing than the space itself is performance: you’ll boot up Windows in seconds and programs will load quickly, too. Bear in mind you can replace the current SSD but there’s no space for second drive inside.
Display and graphics
I’m sure the display is one of the best features of Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5318. It has 15.6″ diagonal, 1920×1080 resolution, glossy screen and touch support. Moreover, the In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel offers better overall image quality than cheaper laptops’ TN panels. Flipping the display 360 degrees works too, so you can transform the laptop into a tablet (albeit a heavy one) easily. The keyboard doesn’t separate from the body but it should deactivate once in tablet mode.
Even if other performance is great, graphics really isn’t. The notebook relies on the integrated Intel HD 4400 chip. You should get alright 30FPS on games like Battlefield 4 but only when details are low. Grand Theft Auto 5 wouldn’t get so many frames, perhaps 20-25FPS only. For lightweight titles such as Sims 4 this laptop works fine with some eye candy on.
Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5318 includes 3 USB ports (with one supporting sleep and charge). To hook up an external monitor properly, you can use the laptop’s HDMI port.
There’s Intel dual-band AC WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 card to get you connected to Internet. RJ-45 port is missing, so if you want to use cable you must get USB-Ethernet adapter.
Optical drive is another thing this notebook doesn’t have. This might not matter to many, but if you’re worried you can always use an external DVD drive. They’re lightweight and cheap, around 30 dollars.
Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5318 has a memory card reader with support for SD and MMC formats. It allows you to upload photos and videos from digital cameras and smartphones.
A front-facing HD webcam is present, so fire up Skype and start video chat if you feel like that.
Even though Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5318 is a convertible machine, it weighs 4.9 pounds, same than a real 15.6″ laptop. The power section consists of a 4-cell 60Wh battery that was given up to 10 hours life in MobileMark Productivity 2012 test. I’m sure you won’t reach all that, people have been reporting 6-8 hours with a single charge.
The keyboard has LED-backlit keys and a numeric keypad on the right hand side.
Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5318 comes with a bunch of useful features, that must be said. To begin with the most obvious, the flipping screen means you no longer need separate laptop and tablet – they’re both in the same package here. Of course the unit has a size of laptop, so it doesn’t have similar (excellent) portability than a tablet. But the good sides of a powerful notebook are present: the i7-4510U processor together with quarter terabyte SSD is a combination that doesn’t let your programs or games lag – provided that you don’t keep too high settings on with games. Other goodies include backlit keyboard, Full HD screen and A/C WiFi. If you can appreciate all of these things, paying this much for a 2-in-1 laptop is definitely justified.