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Toshiba Satellite U840W – Performance, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



  • Recommended by TR
Toshiba Satellite U840W


Our Score:


Toshiba Satellite U840W Specs

As far as its innards go, the U840W is your typical high-end Ultrabook, with performance that will be more than adequate for most, as long as you’re not a gamer.

At the helm is an Intel third-gen (Ivy Bridge) Core i5-3317U. This dual-core processor supports Hyper-Threading for up to four virtual cores and can clock up to 2.6GHz from its 1.7GHz default.

PCMark 07

General: 4470

Entertainment: 3678

It’s backed by 6GB of RAM, which is significantly more than the usual 4GB you’ll find on nearly all Ultrabooks by default. Given the Satellite U840W’s multi-tasking aspirations, this seems a logical increase.

For storage there’s a hybrid HDD/SSD affair, with 500GB of traditional hard drive combined with a 32GB solid state part for fast booting and quick loading on your most frequently used software.


TrackMania Nations Forever (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)


S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)


Only graphics are a bit on the weak side. Though Intel’s latest integrated HD 4000 generation is a major improvement over the previous HD 3000 chip, it’s still not really what you would call gaming-worthy, and if you want to play recent 3D games you’ll need to be prepared for serious compromises in detail and resolution. Certainly, running even less demanding titles at the screen’s native res is a no-go.

Toshiba Satellite U840W Battery Life

Toshiba has certainly made good use of the extra space the U840W’s chassis provides over the average Ultrabook for some extra battery capacity, as this Satellite lasted a record-setting seven hours 40 minutes on a charge – that’s the best result we’ve yet seen from a slim Ultrabook, only topped by the AMD-based HP Envy 6-1006ea ‘Sleekbook’. Even the far thicker and heavier 14-inch HP Envy Spectre fell far short of this mark.


(40 percent screen brightness, wireless radios disabled, mixed productivity)

480 minutes

Toshiba Satellite U840W Value

With a little hunting around, you can easily find the Toshiba Satellite U840W online for under £800, which makes it reasonable value. And it’s currently in Curry’s for just a penny shy of £600 – making it quite the bargain.

Don’t forget, whether you like or dislike the ‘Cinema’ screen it’s pretty good and provides a higher-than-average resolution, while the rest of the U840W is a nicely built slab of metal and soft-touch rubber with premium features like keyboard backlighting.

At a sub-£650 price, the U840W’s competition is either the plasticky Lenovo IdeaPad U310, which is inferior in every way except for its keyboard, or the Sony VAIO T13 – though that’s heavier, thicker, has no keyboard backlighting, and of course lower screen res. There’s also the Acer Aspire S3, but that doesn’t offer USB 3.0 and has average battery life.

Toshiba Satellite U840W Verdict

Toshiba has taken a brave step in being the first to introduce a ‘cinematic’, ultra widescreen laptop into the market. The Satellite U840W is an all-round goody bag combining generally premium build and materials with a usable backlit keyboard and the best speakers we’ve yet heard on an Ultrabook along with good battery life. Its 14.4in 21:9 display is also reasonably impressive and great for split-screen multi-tasking, though being TN rather than IPS/VA it still suffers from poor viewing angles and its glossy finish can be annoying. However, throw in the U840W’s current £600 price, and there’s little that can touch this Ultrabook.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 8
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Screen Quality 7
  • Value 9

Chris Talset

October 25, 2012, 4:54 pm

Love this idea, and understand the concept of an ultrabook, however in this case it feels like a glaring ommission to not have some form of DVD drive on board.


October 3, 2013, 12:49 am

I have this Ultrabook and I gotta say the vent in the back of itnis quite stupid. as you open the laptop up the screen covers the vent.


October 16, 2013, 5:31 am

I bought one. Very nice to use and quite lightweight considering its construction. The backlit keyboard is a bonus...I see in the comments here somebody beleives the lack of a dvd or optical drive is a minus...seriously???? Who uses optical drives these days...?

Eric Osman

October 22, 2013, 6:19 pm

I agree with Mike below. I have used this ultra book and the lack of an optical drive is not relevant in these days of cloud computing. There is a Toshiba Cloud TV service and I hope the developers in Tokyo and Germany for Toshiba, create suitable interoperability with this cloud system within the next 2 years at least.


March 7, 2014, 2:35 am

clearly you don't understand the concept of an ultrabook at all.


June 10, 2014, 2:23 pm

I think the screen serves more as a diversion for the heat to go up (along the screen) rather than blowing heat directly horizontal from the back.


November 12, 2015, 12:10 pm

They are marketing this partially for watching movies, given the screen aspect ratio, which gives reason to expect a dvd drive.

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