Initial Impressions: Toshiba Satellite Radius 12

The Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 certainly looks beautiful in pictures.

It sounds so good. A 12-inch laptop with a 4K screen. It’s a hybrid laptop that has Intel’s latest Skylake i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and only costs $1000. How can anything go wrong?

I played with the Radius 12 for about 15 minutes yesterday and that was more than enough. I wasn’t frustrated because it was a bad machine, but more so because I really wanted it to be a great machine — something it wasn’t.

The 4K screen itself looks beautiful. It has a higher pixel density that the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, MacBook Pro, or — actually — any laptop in existence. However, it is a little bit too reflective and this was even noticeable in a room with normal lighting. I would hate to use this thing in a room where there is just a little bit of sunlight coming through.

The 4K screen on Toshiba's latest laptop is a little too reflective.

I don’t mind they keyboard as much as other reviewers do. While the keys are about half the size of normal keys, the amount of travel in them is perfect — not too much or not too little. I was able to type as fast as I usually do and would feel comfortable using this as my go-to laptop if it wasn’t for the awful trackpad.

The trackpad on the Satellite Radius 12 feels like one in which some coffee was spilled on and it still sticks. Just to make sure it wasn’t just the trackpad of the computer I was using, I tried to do the same on another Radius 12 that was across the table. “How can anybody use this?” I said softly and saw some people give me a weird look.

Perhaps the laptops didn’t have the latest drivers. Then again, it also didn’t help that the trackpad on the Radius 12 is off to the left a little bit and I found the side of my thumb accidentally touching it a few times.

The battery life on the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 is dismal.

Perhaps, the biggest problem I had with the Radius was the battery life, which dropped from 93 to 78 percent in just fifteen minutes. I had the screen at 80 percent brightness and didn’t do anything too intense such as video or photo editing. However, I did a lot of web surfing. My judgement against the battery life isn’t the only one either. As a matter of fact, I often heard from colleagues that the battery life was this laptop’s Achilles heel.

I really want to be able to recommend this laptop to my readers, but I can’t. Toshiba went the extra mile in creating a beautiful laptop — something they aren’t known for doing. But in creating a beauty, they made things somewhat ugly inside. If Toshiba fixes the battery life and the trackpad on the next version of the Sattelite Radius 12, they will have a huge winner on their hands.

About Daryl

Daryl Deino has been a technology enthusiast since 1995 and has written for several newspapers and technology sites. Please reach him at [email protected]
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