Appearance and Ports
The side of the computer has two fast USB 3.0 ports and another USB 2.0 port that can be used for a mouse or something that doesn’t need the faster speeds. One of the USB 3.0 ports can be configured to charge your smartphone (or nearly anything that charges from USB) even while the computer is off.
This “Sleep and Charge" technology can be setup to your own specifications. For instance, if you are charging your phone while the Toshiba is running off its own battery, you can tell it to stop charging the phone when the Toshiba battery gets to 10 percent.
It also has an HDMI port (more about that later) and a card reader. I tested the card reader with an SD card from an Olympus camera and it read the files into Lightroom without a problem. There is a “Windows” button and volume buttons on the side of the Toshiba, as well. These help when you are in tablet mode and want to control volume or quickly go back to the main screen.
“Tablet” mode is when you have the bottom of the computer and the front cover completely folded back to back. If you have a pillow or some way to prop it up in this mode, it is easier to handle. I do have one minor gripe and that is the fact that the keys are not recessed and locked in when rotating like some other convertibles. In other words, you can still feel the spring in the keys when you are holding it. I wonder how much wear and tear this will create over time when resting the weight of the computer on the keys when using “Presentation” mode, but I guess time will tell.
The Toshiba weighs in at 5.1 pounds, so I personally get tired of propping it up after a while, but I do like the option because it is fantastic for watching movies, using Flipboard (a great app for accessing articles on the web/Twitter/Facebook), Youtube, Lynda, and other apps. I won’t be selling my iPad, though. The 9.7 inch screen and light weight of the iPad is just a lot better for reading books and magazines. I did try the magazine app called “Texture” on the Toshiba, but the text doesn’t look as sharp and crisp as it does on the iPad. However, if you are going out of town and don’t want to carry both devices, the Toshiba will work fine as long as you have some way to prop it up while using it.
I have just started using Cortana and it is nice for launching apps and other features that you want to get to quickly. You can set it up to listen for your voice, all voices, or you can set it to launch when you click on the microphone icon in the search field. From my experience, it works similar to Siri in iOS. If you are new to Windows 10, you may want to look into some articles about privacy in this operating system (the subject is too deep to go into on this review) before jumping in.
The “Continuum” mode is awesome. It allows Windows to go from “desktop/mouse” mode into "touchscreen/tablet" mode by just moving the screen from laptop position to one of the more touch-friendly positions. (Note: You can always use the touch screen, but when it isn't in its normal laptop configuration, they show an onscreen keyboard and the icons are more touch-friendly.)
I ran an online speed test to determine if the internet speed was as expected. I pay for a 75mbps internet connection and it ran at 89.62Mbps down and 12.04Mbps, so the results were better than I expected. I was able to stream a large 22 GB, 1080p movie over the local network without problems using JRiver Media Center. It uses 801.11 A/C WiFi, so it is plenty fast.
The webcam will record at 1280x720p/30 fps and photos taken with the camera are also in that resolution (assuming you choose 16:9). I hesitate to talk about battery power since it depends on your settings and what tests you run, but I expect it to last 5 to 8 hours depending on what I am doing. The Toshiba also has an "eco utility" app that can help you use less battery when desired .
The keyboard is great and has backlighting available. One thing I love about it is the number pad. I use spreadsheets quite a bit, so this was a very welcome addition. As I said before, I would prefer the keyboard to retract and lock so you can’t feel the spring in the keys when you hold it in tablet mode, but so far, that hasn’t been an issue. The touchpad seems like your standard touchpad. Once I got used to it, it is has been easy sailing.
The “Skullcandy” speakers are some of the best I have heard on a laptop. However, be aware that they are located at the top of the keyboard, so if you are holding the Toshiba in tablet mode, the speakers will be facing away from you. This isn’t unusual, though.
I haven't tried video editing on it yet because I have been using iMovie and now I need to find a Windows-friendly replacement. I don't really edit enough video to pay a lot for an editor, so let me know if you have a suggestion in the comment section or you can always shoot me an email.
The Wrap Up
While the convertible features make it great for the road, the ability to connect it to a 4k display at home makes it even more versatile. I have been using a Roku in my office to take advantage of my 4k display, but having a computer that can send the monitor a 4k signal gives me many more options for creating content.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this type of computer, but I have to say that I really like it. Whether I am editing photos, working on spreadsheets, watching video, or just typing out an email, the Toshiba has been a pleasure to use.
Very capable, speedy, laptop
Great, backlit keyboard with number pad
4K HDMI output
Gives you numerous, useful viewing modes
USB 3 ports
Beautiful Touch, IPS Display
Continuum modes for ease of use
The speakers are awesome for a laptop
Heavy (5.1) pounds
Doesn't (easily) run OS X - Macs will easily run Windows
Wish that the keys locked down when not using "laptop" mode (Lenovo has this feature)
Lack of documentation in the box
Note: I also want to mention a small pet peeve and it is the Toshiba splash screen that pops up before bringing up the Windows screen. I will have to research how to get rid of that screen. Also, it has a bunch of Toshiba apps that I could live without.