- Far smaller than Windows competitors
- Solid tablet mechanism
- High screen resolution
- Consistently poor performance
- Disappointing keyboard and trackpad
- Underwhelming speakers
- Tiny, slow storage
Key Features: 8.9in 1,920 x 1,200 display; Intel Atom Z3735F processor; 2GB RAM; 32GB eMMC storage; SD card slot; Manufacturer: Toshiba
What is the Toshiba Satellite Click Mini L9W-B-100?
Toshiba’s new Satellite is one of the smallest hybrid laptops we’ve ever seen – and one of the cheapest, too, at just £250. This makes it a tempting option if you’re looking for a cheap device for work or school.
The Click Mini’s keen price and 8.9in screen don’t just draw comparisons with the tablets it’s designed to replace. It’s reminiscent of an old-school netbook, too, and we hope that this device can prove more successful than those tiny, cheap laptops from a few years back.
Toshiba Satellite Click Mini L9W-B-100 – Design & Build Quality
The Mini lives up to its name: its 8.9in screen means it’s one of the smallest hybrids around, and so has more chance than most to compete with tablets.
Also in its favour is that it works well as a proper tablet. In portrait mode, the power button and volume rocker are on one side while a Windows button sits on the other. And apart from being a little soft, they all work well enough. Connections are good too, with microSD, micro-HDMI and micro-USB ports sat next to the Windows key.
Build quality is consistent and impressive. The back panel barely budges, and the seams around the screen are similarly solid. We’d confidently toss the Toshiba’s tablet portion in a bag without any protection.
The tablet plugs into the base and clips into place – unlike Asus’ latest range of Transformers, which rely on magnets alone. It’s released by pressing a single button. The clasping hinge feels solid, although perhaps a little too tough – this device is tiny, but it requires a solid push to move the screen and to release the tablet.
Nonetheless, it’s a good start. Dimensions are decent when compared with hybrid rivals – it’s just under 20mm thick – and the whole unit weighs less than a kilo. Competitors such as the Acer Aspire Switch 11 come in closer to 1.5kg. The Click Mini’s closest challenger is the Asus Transformer Pad TF103, which is 0.1mm thinner but more than 100g heavier – and it only runs Android.
The Toshiba is lighter and slimmer than most rivals when clasped together, and it isn’t far short of tablets when split in half. The Satellite’s tablet portion weighs 472g and is 9.8mm thick – less than 150g heavier and under 2mm thicker than the latest iPad Mini.
These impressive figures result in a hybrid that can travel with you anywhere.
The Satellite’s budget price does mean it lacks flashy features, however. It’s made entirely from plastic, and the glossy area around the screen is distractingly on the large side. The laptop base isn’t as sturdy as the tablet section, either: its corners flex; tapping the plastic results in a fair bit of rattling; and pressing the underside causes the keyboard to bounce upwards.
Inside, wireless connectivity is limited to a single-band 802.11n card, and there’s no NFC connectivity or an IR blaster. There’s no way to get mobile internet working on the Click Mini either, short of a USB dongle, and there are no sensors besides the standard GPUs, accelerometer and gyroscope.
Toshiba Satellite Click Mini L9W-B-100 – Screen & Sound Quality
The touchscreen has an impressive resolution of 1,920 x 1,200, which means a top-notch density level of 254ppi. That’s barely any different from the iPad 3, and it’s better than most Windows-based hybrids; many of those cheap machines are saddled with 1,366 x 768 panels.
The increased resolution gives the Satellite several advantages. Movies at 1080p can be viewed at their full glory, and pictures and games are far sharper. It also means you’ll be able to work with multiple windows open at once, as the screen isn’t quite so cramped.
It’s a solid start, but don’t expect good quality. The biggest problem is colour accuracy, which is off by some margin. The temperature of 7,942K is far too cool, and the average Delta E of 5.31 is poor. They’re both among the worst results we’ve seen, resulting in inaccurate colours. It doesn’t help that this screen can only display 59.8% of the sRGB colour gamut, making for a very narrow range of available colours. The best tablets hit well over 95%.
It’s a shame, because for brightness and black point the panel is better. The 1,004:1 contrast ratio is great, and the 0.3-nit black point is similarly impressive. Those figures translate to good variations in shades of white and black.
Such resolution, brightness and contrast figures put the Toshiba ahead of its Windows rivals, which suffer similarly poor colour quality and worse resolutions. The Satellite can’t compete with proper tablets, though: the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini 3 outpace it on all fronts, making all forms of viewing more enjoyable.
The screen might have the resolution to handle Full HD movies, but the speakers certainly won’t cope with the latest blockbusters. They’re far too quiet, with barely any bass and a disappointing lack of high-end – the reasonable mid-range can’t make up for these deficiencies. They’re barely good enough for listening to music.
Toshiba Satellite Click Mini L9W-B-100 – Keyboard & Trackpad
The Toshiba’s tiny size becomes a hindrance when it comes to ergonomics. The keyboard suffers a selection of layout issues: the Return key and many nearby buttons are too narrow, and the cursor keys are tiny. Several of the buttons on the left-hand side have been reduced in size, too.
Even the standard buttons are a noticeably smaller than their equivalents on larger machines – and, of course, the general lack of room means there’s no numberpad or row of function keys.
The typing action isn’t much cop, either. The keys have hardly any travel, their downward movement isn’t consistent and they’re rattly. There’s a problem with the base, too, which wobbles too much.
This isn’t a machine suited to lengthy typing or work . Those with big fingers will have to hen-peck their way around the keyboard because touch-typing will be too difficult.
The trackpad isn’t much better. Again, it’s small size makes navigation difficult, and the cursor often failed to respond for a second because it had gone into standby – an irritating, noticeable delay. The two built-in buttons are fine, but that’s cold comfort.
Toshiba Satellite Click Mini L9W-B-100 – Performance
The Toshiba is underpinned by an Intel Atom Z3735F processor that runs at speeds between 1.33GHz and 1.83GHz, and it has 2GB of memory. Don’t expect performance miracles from this machine, however – other Atom parts prove quicker, and Celeron, Pentium and Tegra hardware is also faster.
The Toshiba stumbled to a score of 2,189 in the Geekbench multi-core benchmark, which is slower than every other system we’ve mentioned here – and, sometimes, more than 1,000 points behind.
It’s poor in real-world applications too. Although it copes fine with basic software, the Start screen stuttered during navigation and loading times were sluggish. Media playback was fine, but games proved trickier: Asphalt 8’s frame rates were consistently slow, and less demanding titles such as Jetpack Joyride were similarly afflicted.
The Satellite’s prospects are further hampered by its storage. The Toshiba-made eMMC drive has a tiny 32GB capacity that’s cut to 15GB once Windows is installed. Sequential read and write speeds of 151MB/sec and 46MB/sec are poor, with the latter result especially dreadful. There’s barely any room to store media or applications unless you use the microSD slot, and both loading and boot times suffer.
Toshiba Satellite Click Mini L9W-B-100 – Battery Life
The low-power components are given a helping hand by the Toshiba’s pair of batteries: there’s one unit in the tablet, and a secondary power pack in the base.
When combined they help the Satellite Click Mini to beat every hybrid competitor. In our standard 40% screen brightness test the Satellite lasted for 9 hrs 35 mins, which is more than an hour longer than the Asus Transformer Book T200TA – this machine’s closest Windows-based challenger.
The Toshiba doesn’t fare so well when compared with proper tablets, however. The Nexus 9 lasted for more than 11 hours and the iPad Mini 3 for just under ten. The Toshiba could manage only 5 hrs 15 mins when it relied on the single battery in its tablet.
The Click Mini’s battery life helps it fall between Windows-based hybrids and rival tablets in our tests – one of many areas where it’s left in the middle.
Other Things to Consider
The Toshiba’s camera, like the imaging gear on so many other hybrids, feels like an afterthought. The lens’ 5-megapixel rating means it won’t be able to challenge the best tablets and smartphones. Our tests reveal middling quality: the crisp detail in some shots is undone by bright areas that lack definition, and some edges are left looking blurred rather than sharp. The camera struggled to pick out details in darker areas, too.
Toshiba has a poor reputation for bloatware, but the Click Mini doesn’t suffer too badly. Apps such as Kindle, Netflix, eBay and Skyscanner are installed on the Start screen, but are sequestered in one section on the extreme right-hand side, and the desktop is saddled with only a handful of extra icons. The worst offender, as usual, is McAfee, with its relentless popups and messages.
Should I Buy the Toshiba Satellite Click Mini L9W-B-100?
The Click Mini has an eye-catching price and several impressive attributes, from its full Windows installation to its 1,920 x 1,200 screen. There’s no denying it works well as a hybrid device, too: it’s smaller than every Windows-based rival, and not too far off proper tablets when its weight and dimensions are considered.
In order to produce something this small and cheap, though, Toshiba has made sacrifices. The speakers lack quality, and the keyboard and trackpad aren’t good enough for even the lightest work. Performance is consistently poor, and the storage is tiny.
It leaves the Satellite Click Mini in an uncomfortable position. Proper tablets are lighter, faster and can be just as productive with a decent keyboard case, and budget laptops will be superior for work or school. The low price means the Satellite will suffice for those who really do need both form factors in the smallest space possible, but its performance and design issues mean we’d advice looking at dedicated laptops and tablets first.
The Toshiba is thinner, lighter and cheaper than Windows rivals, and its tiny size means it works well as a hybrid device. It struggles for performance, though, and its keyboard and trackpad are both left wanting for quality. The Satellite Click Mini is only worth considering if you’re on a tight budget and are after a small, basic hybrid. Dedicated tablets and laptops are better at their respective jobs, however.
The Satellite is no better with games. Its Ice Storm score of 14,513 also fell behind every other rival tablet and hybrid.
Scores In Detail
- Battery Life : 8/10
- Build Quality : 7/10
- Design : 6/10
- Heat & Noise : 10/10
- Keyboard : 4/10
- Performance : 4/10
- Screen Quality : 7/10
- Touchpad : 5/10
- Value : 7/10