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Toshiba Satellite U840W review

Ardjuna Seghers

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

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Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W
  • Toshiba Satellite U840W

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Attractive, innovative design combining metal and rubber
  • Cinema screen is great for movies and productivity
  • Superb speakers
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Average keyboard with some flex
  • Glossy TN-panel display with poor viewing angles

Key Features

  • ‘Cinema 21:9’, 14.4in 1,792 x 768 TN screen
  • Brushed aluminium body with rubberized grip sections
  • Core i CPU, HD 4000 GPU, up to 10GB RAM
  • SRS 3D up-facing speakers
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Manufacturer: Toshiba
  • Review Price: £755.00

The 14-inch Toshiba Satellite U840W is not just your average Ultrabook. Instead, it’s as if Toshiba took a regular ultraportable laptop and stretched it widthwise. If you’ve seen Philips’ 50PFL7956H 21:9 TV, you’ll know exactly what to expect, as the U840W is actually the world’s first 21:9 widescreen laptop.

What’s wrong with the good old ‘regular’ 16:9 variety, you may ask? Well, though most TV content is formatted in this aspect ratio, the majority of movies are not. Cinemas offer an ‘ultra-wide’ (usually 2.35 or 2.40:1) screen, and with the U840W, so does your laptop. With a resolution of 1,792 x 768, it’s also ideal to work with two documents side by side.

Mind you, it’s not just the Satellite U840W’s screen that potentially impresses, as it’s also beautifully built, offers good connectivity and performance, plus excellent battery life – and at under £900, it doesn’t break the bank. So is it worth your hard-earned cash?

Toshiba Satellite U840W Design and Build

There’s no denying that the Satellite U840W is Toshiba’s prettiest Ultrabook yet by quite a stretch. Half the lid is brushed mocha aluminium, while the other half sports a black, textured, rubberised finish. The same combination applies to the keyboard surround, while the U840W’s entire base is finished in that black rubber. On many laptops a two-tone design doesn’t work, but for some reason here it simply does.

All this makes the U840W, quite frankly, the best-feeling Ultrabook we’ve yet come across. It’s simply lovely to hold, and all that soft-touch plastic provides a secure grip, too. Every inch of this Satellite feels premium, smooth and pleasant to the finger, and most of it doesn’t scratch or pick up fingerprints easily. Only the glossy black screen surround breaks this trend.

Build quality mostly matches up. Though it’s not quite on a level with the likes of the MacBook Air or Samsung Series 9 due especially to some flex in the keyboard area, overall this is one well-designed ultraportable. Reasonably durable, ergonomic and pretty, with the Satellite U840W you’re getting the best of most worlds.

Toshiba Satellite U840W Connectivity

Connectivity is pretty good too on the Toshiba Satellite U840W, though you don’t get any extras. On the left you’ll find a flip-out Gigabit Ethernet port and two speedy USB 3.0 ports. The front houses an SDXC card slot, while the right is home to headphone and microphone jacks, a third USB 3.0 connection and HDMI for video output.

Toshiba Satellite U840W Usability

Unfortunately, keyboards have always been a weak point of Toshiba Ultrabooks, even as recently as the Toshiba Portege Z930. The good news is that the U840W improves noticeably on its predecessors.

While the aforementioned flex can be annoying and feedback is still far from as positive as we would like, the well-laid-out keyboard on this widescreen Satellite is very usable thanks to better travel and slightly more defined action. We can only hope that Toshiba continues to improve here till it can rejoin the ranks of HP, Samsung and portable keyboard king Lenovo.

We have no complaints of the huge multi-touch trackpad, which is smooth, responsive and sports a subtle but nice click.

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.

david

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.

mike

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.

bill

March 7, 2014, 2:35 am

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

Kris

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.

oggologgo

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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