Toshiba has announced a new laptop running Windows 8.1 and they were kind enough to let us test it for a while. The model is Toshiba Satellite CL10-B and they call it a "cloud companion". What does this really mean and what will this device offer to its users? We have tested it the for about two weeks and we are ready to share our conclusions. Read this review to learn more about Toshiba Satellite CL10-B and what you get when you buy it.
Unboxing The Toshiba Satellite CL10-B
Toshiba Satellite CL10-B comes in a rather plain cardboard box with very few details about what's inside.
After you open it, you will find the laptop, the power cord and the charger.
The model we've received for review was not accompanied by any user guides or manuals. Depending on what Toshiba decides to include when they launch this product, you might find them in the box, as well as the warranty of the product.
The Toshiba Satellite CL10-B that we have tested is a 11.1" laptop with a 1366x768 IPS display. The display's colors are decent, but not impressive, while the viewing angles are fair. The laptop weighs 2.4 pounds (1.1 kg) and it is powered by 2 cell 3820 mAh battery. The processor of the Toshiba Satellite CL10-B is a dual-core Bay Trail Intel Celeron N2840 CPU running at 2.16 GHz with 1024 MB of Level 2 cache, 2GB of DDR3 RAM clocked at 1600MHz and 32GB of storage space on an SSD. Unfortunately less than 20GB are available for storage. The good side, though, is that the device also includes 100 GB of OneDrive cloud storage for two years, as part of Windows 8.1 with Bing.
This device includes an HDMI port, one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port, an SD card slot, a Kensington lock, a 3.5mm microphone and headphone jack, plus a 1 megapixel camera on the front.
The laptop has 802.11b/g/n wireless connectivity and a Bluetooth 4.0 adapter. As you can see, the laptop is equipped with the essential connectivity options that you will need on a daily basis. In terms of sound, it has two incorporated speakers placed on the bottom front part. The sound is good, not too loud but not impressive either. Toshiba Satellite CL10-B comes with a 64-bit edition of Windows 8.1 with Bing installed. You can find the full list of official specifications, here: SATELLITE CL10-B.
Using The Toshiba Satellite CL10-B
The overall appearance and design of the Toshiba Satellite CL10-B is decent: the case is made entirely of plastic, with a brushed aluminum texture on the palm rest and around the keyboard.
The lid of the laptop is a bit disappointing, since Toshiba chose to use shiny plastic that gives the entire device a rather cheap appearance and it is also a fingerprint magnet.
Moving on to the keyboard, the keys are well spaced and easy to type on, but there is one aspect that we didn't like: the function keys' functionality is inverted. They double as multimedia keys but not in the traditional way. Basically, if you want to press F1 to access an application's Help, for instance, you need to actually press Fn+F1. This is similar to what Microsoft does with their Surface devices. The model we have tested featured a UK layout keyboard, but depending on the area where you have purchased it, the laptop's keyboard layout might differ. The touchpad is fairly responsive and we did not encounter any problems while using it.
The Toshiba Satellite CL10-B works generally well, but it's definitely not a workhorse. This is a device aimed towards light computing activities, such as web browsing, reading, studying, some light Office work using cloud-based solutions and so on. The multitasking performance of the laptop is decent, but don't expect it to run demanding software such as Adobe Photoshop or Visual Studio, since you will definitely notice slowdowns. If you work with 2 to 4 apps at a time, its performance and responsiveness are good but if you try to use 5 apps or more and you also add desktop applications to the mix, you should expect some degree of slowdown. The webcam is suitable for quick video calls via Skype but nothing more than that. It's quality is anything but impressive. In our tests, the battery lasted somewhere between 5 and 6 hours while using the device for things like browsing the web, email, using touch apps, and watching short videos. Charging the battery takes about 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on whether you use the device during charging or not. Windows 8.1 runs well on this device and Toshiba didn't include bloatware applications on it, which makes the usage experience a lot smoother. The Toshiba CL10-B Cloudbook offers decent performance for non-pretentious users, focused on light computing activities such as browsing the web, light office work, audio and video playback or writing.
Apps That Are Bundled With Toshiba Satellite CL10-B
Toshiba has included only a few proprietary apps on this device. In terms of desktop applications, you will find Toshiba Service Station, an application that you can use to manage system updates and Toshiba PC Health Monitor, which you can use to get useful information about the hardware of the laptop, such as temperatures, battery life, and power consumption. There's also a modern app, called Toshiba Media Player, which you can use to play music and videos and to view photos. As a bonus, Toshiba CL10-B Cloudbook offers 100GB of free OneDrive storage for two years and access to the Microsoft Office Online suite. It doesn't include an Office 365 subscription. The list ends here and we consider this a big positive. No bloatware always means a good user experience.
Performance In Benchmarks
Next, we would like to compare the Toshiba Cloudbook with other similar devices that we have tested so far, such as the ASUS EeeBook X205TA, the ASUS Transformer Book T100 and the ASUS Transformer Book T200. We ran several benchmarks and compared the results obtained for all these devices. First, we measured how fast this device starts, using BootRacer. The Toshiba Cloudbook boots, on average, in 30 seconds. This is faster than other devices, which averaged around 44 seconds. We were quite pleased with the boot time of the Toshiba Cloudbook.
We also ran the 3DMark app from the Windows Store to measure gaming performance. In the Ice Storm Unlimited test (the most detailed test available), the Toshiba Cloudbook managed to get a score of 13783.
Let's see the overall score obtained by the Toshiba Cloudbook and the ones obtained by its competitors. As you can see Asus Transformer T200 was the top performer in this test.
To get a better overview of the performance level, let's take a look at the number of frames per second that were obtained in each test.
To evaluate the battery power, we used the Peacekeeper benchmark that tells us how long the battery lasts while browsing the web. In our tests, the Toshiba Cloudbook averaged 5 hours and 9 minutes battery time. Because of the limited storage space that we quickly ran out of, we had problems installing all of our benchmark software, so we ran the Peacekeeper tests twice. We mentioned earlier in this review that Toshiba Cloudbook took around 2.5 to 3 hours to charge itself. Below you can see a comparison with the charging times of its competitors. As you can see, it fares very well, being almost on par with the ASUS Transformer Book T200.
Toshiba Satellite CL10-B is a laptop with decent build quality and an affordable price tag. It is a great device for users who do not use very advanced applications which require lots of computing power. It might be a great choice for bloggers and people who are often on the move, since its size and weight make it easy to carry around. If you add the 100 GB of OneDrive cloud storage to the equation, it is clear that this device is suited for users who work online a lot and need mobile access to their files in the cloud.