Toshiba is serving multimedia a la multi-mode. The Satellite Radius P55 gives creative professionals an attractive laptop with a stunning 4K display and excellent sound quality in a design that can transform into five different modes. In addition, this hybrid ($1,585 as configured, starting at $842) offers a powerful Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Add in preloaded photo and editing software, and you should have no problem creating a masterpiece or two. We just wish the input were as top-notch as the rest of the package
Design: I can’t believe it’s a Toshiba!
Toshiba doesn’t have the best reputation for design, which makes the Radius P55 a pleasant surprise. Made primarily from brushed aluminum in Carbon Gray, the P55 is downright chic. My favorite parts of the exterior design are the slim strips of dark gray plastic along the rear, which are not only visually interesting, but also provide a sturdy grip. In addition, they play up the lovely pair of metal hinges the notebook uses to contort into various modes.
You’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, an SD card reader, a secure lock slot and a small, glowing power button on the laptop’s right side. Along the left, there’s a USB 2.0 port, a headset jack, input for the power adapter, a volume rocker and a button for Windows Start.
Unfortunately, the interior isn’t as enticing as the outside. The entire keyboard deck is made of that sumptuous Carbon Gray finish, but something about those black plastic chiclet keys cheapens the look. While I appreciate the full number pad and the bright backlighting, the wide spacing between the keys accents just how small they are, particularly Enter and Caps Lock.
The keyboard’s biggest faux pas is the shallow, 1.2-millimeter key travel. That, paired with the 60 grams of force needed to depress the keys, made for a rather uncomfortable typing experience, as my fingers hit bottom too quickly. I managed only 52 words per minute on the 10FastFingers typing test, which is below my usual 60 wpm.
The corners on the 4.2 x 2.6-inch Synaptics touchpad had better feedback. But using the pad to navigate the desktop was sluggish. At least at the default setting, it took way too many swipes to move the cursor around.
Coming in at 4.6 pounds and 14.9 x 9.6 x 0.79 inches, the P55 is on the thick side compared to the Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (4.46 pounds, 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.71 inches) and the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (4.53 pounds, 14.9 x 10.3 x 0.78 inches).
Using a similar 360-degree hinge design as that on the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga, the Radius P55 can seamlessly transition among five modes (Laptop, Tablet, Tabletop, Presentation and Audience).
The Laptop and Tablet modes are pretty cut and dried, but the other modes require some further manipulation. Positioning the keyboard keys down to act as a base creates Presentation Mode. If you turn the device upside down, the hybrid goes into Audience mode, while laying the device flat will trigger Tabletop mode.
The Radius and Yoga series are evenly matched when it comes to folding and bending. However, I wish Toshiba would create launchers with specific themes and recommended apps for each mode, like Lenovo does.