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Toshiba Satellite U920t review

Ardjuna Seghers

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Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t
  • Toshiba Satellite U920t

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Pros

  • Relatively affordable
  • Sturdy and pleasant to the touch
  • Flexible specs with up to Core i5 and 8GB RAM
  • Superior battery life to rivals
  • Great speakers

Cons

  • Awkward sliding action
  • Average typing experience and touchpad
  • Bog-standard screen res with poor viewing angles for IPS
  • No optional digitizer stylus

Key Features

  • 12.5-inch 1366 x 768 IPS screen with 5-point touch
  • Core i3 or i5 CPU, up to 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD
  • Solid sliding action and soft-touch finish
  • Manufacturer: Toshiba
  • Review Price: £838.00

Introduction

Windows 8 hybrids come in all shapes and sizes. We have twisters such as the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist, detachables like the Asus Vivo Tab, and even flip-screen models such as the Dell XPS Duo 12. However, just like the Sony VAIO Duo 11, Toshiba has chosen to go the slider route with the Toshiba Satellite U920t.

As the company's only initial offering in the Windows 8 tablet/convertible laptop market, the 12.5-inch Toshiba Satellite U920t has a lot riding on it. Mind you, it certainly seems an interesting proposition for those who want to run full-fat Windows 8 without paying an arm and a leg, yet also without the limitations imposed by an Atom CPU.

Looking for other options? Check out our Best Windows 8 Laptops Tablets Convertibles and PCs roundup

For under £850, the Toshiba Satellite U920t gets you an Intel Core i3 machine with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, along with advanced connectivity like USB 3.0, a roomy keyboard, and an IPS touch screen – all wrapped in a relatively light and slim package.

Toshiba Satellite U920t 12

To keep its price relatively low, a few corners have inevitably been cut: the screen resolution is not Full HD, it ‘only’ offers five-point touch, and there’s no pressure-sensitive stylus support. Still, these kind of specs wouldn’t look out of place on the average Ultrabook, yet you get a higher-quality screen here. So is the Toshiba Satellite U920t the bargain it at first appears?

Toshiba Satellite U920t - Design and Build

First, let’s talk about the flip-out mechanics of the Toshiba Satellite U920t. We must admit that the slider is our least favourite tablet/convertible laptop design, as the screen is always facing out and you can’t detach the keyboard to shed that weight when you don’t need it. Speaking of, at just under 1.5kg the Toshiba Satellite U920t is reasonably light for a 12.5-inch ultraportable ‘laptop’.

Toshiba Satellite U920t 8

Even if you are a fan of the slider, however, Toshiba’s implementation isn’t without issues. Unlike the Sony VAIO Duo 11, which just tilts up as you slide the tablet portion back, with the Satellite U920t you need to slide its screen all the way back horizontally before you can angle it upwards. This is pretty awkward when trying to ‘open’ the machine up or switch between modes on a crowded desk, or in tight quarters like a plane/train/bus.

On the bright side, the Toshiba Satellite U920t’s sliding mechanic feels considerably more robust than Sony’s solution. In fact, build quality throughout is quite good. Both the ‘tablet’ and ‘base’ sections feel solid without creak or flex, and only the keyboard displays a little more give than we would like. A combination of magnesium alloy and plastics helps to keep weight down without compromising durability. The hinge mechanism is completely constructed from metal, and not only provides an impressively solid action but is robust enough to put up with some serious abuse. Though this should be avoided with all laptops, you can easily lift this hybrid by its screen. Toshiba Satellite U920t 16

Visually, the Toshiba Satellite U920t is reasonably attractive. As a tablet it’s a glossy black affair with the usual smooth glass front, a physical Windows button, and a mocha, rubberised lower ‘lip’ which provides a little extra grip and makes orienting this device the right way round easier than with some. It’s not as sleek and smooth as your average convertible, but neither is it ugly.

In ‘laptop’ mode, it becomes obvious that the Toshiba Satellite U920t has stolen quite a bit of DNA from its Toshiba Satellite U840W sibling, which is certainly no bad thing. Just like with the ultra-wide Ultrabook, the U920t has a textured soft-touch finish on its base and wrist-rest area. The former provides extra grip when this hybrid is parked on your lap and when carrying it around, while the latter increases typing comfort.

Chris Beach

February 13, 2013, 12:31 pm

Pity about the piss poor screen...that resolution needs to be eliminated from every non-budget laptop!

TechVegan

February 14, 2013, 9:57 am

While I am definitely a fan of higher resolutions (and the screen isn't sterling in other regards), it's interesting how a few years ago most people were perfectly happy with this kind of resolution even on larger screens...

The fact of the matter is that unless you do imaging work, use massive spreadsheets, or do intensive multi-tasking with multiple windows, it's probably more than adequate. It also makes touch in the Win8 desktop a little easier.

Not that that doesn't mean we'd love to see at least Full HD on every display around :)

Chris Beach

February 14, 2013, 12:41 pm

We were? I can't ever remember seeing a review being happy with 720p on a Windows Laptop, mainly because Windows doesn't fit! Most of the dialogs were designed with 1024x768 in mind, and at 720p the buttons were often hidden behind the taskbar!

I know I specifically went with the 1440x900 on a Dell (when Dell did customisation options) to get the extra height. And at the time there were other resolutions around as well, all bigger than 720p...then they all stopped existing.

Suffering on a work 19" 1280x1024 at the moment, so damn inefficient.

TechVegan

February 19, 2013, 3:29 pm

Where do I mention 720p? There were very few laptops with 720p screens - nor does the Toshiba have one of those. The laptop 'standard' was 1366 x 768 (as per this Tosh), which means your example dialog would fit.

Mind you, my first proper laptop had 1680 x 1050 and I was glad of every pixel. I share your hig-res love, just saying 1366 x 768 isn't that terrible.

Ouch, I can empathise with the suffering there - working on anything less than 1920 x 1200 on a monitor is painful for me these days...

Ahmed Abdo

June 28, 2013, 11:31 am

can i play ( pes 2013 ) on it ???????

smith hammerson

September 12, 2013, 6:42 am

I need a laptop for school and I think that is a great ultra book exactly what I want considering some laptops are $600 and they are not touch screen.

Andreas Kjernald

November 2, 2013, 7:10 pm

Don't forget the simple fact that higher resolution on a small screen makes for tiny, tiny text AND that many third party (in desktop mode) programs don't scale right. Read about the new Lenovo yoga pro 2 or the Surface reviews. They all have to be upscaled, which mediocre results.

I think this is the perfect resolution for this size screen.

Dave P

December 23, 2013, 2:38 pm

mmm, Got 7 weeks out of mine before the screen packed up. It's now gone to Germany for 10 working day repair to err, be repaired. 7 weeks old & Toshiba will not replace it.
I have the feeling this is a common fault.....

Telstar

January 22, 2014, 1:54 pm

Try upgrading from 4 to 8G. Best part of £150. You cannot do it yourself as there is a specialised screw on the base and you will invalidate your warranty. So it has to be done by Topaz their dealer. Total rip-off. Do not buy this machine.

Derek

February 18, 2014, 7:53 am

My third Toshiba and easily the worst laptop I have ever owned. While the design is attractive and i thought just what I wanted. Because I am a professional in the software business and am constantly traveling I thought this was the complete answer. Had the RAM factory upgraded to 8Gb and the SSHD replaced to 480Gb. After that it is all downhill. There is no manual, not even a basic getting started guide and the Toshiba web site would have to be the worst. Type in U920t and you are told reference cant be found. The WiFi as reported by several other users is close to useless unless you are right by the router. This was reported by someone in Singapore on the User Forum but after searching for the last 20 minutes can not find the entry again. In an airport lounge I was surrounded by others typing away while I was watching the wheel go round trying to refresh. The Toshiba web is full of advertising guff but useless if you want hard information. The trackpad is unuseable as after locating the spot as soon as you tap it jumps down to the entry below. Pressing on the arrow at the bottom or top of scroll bar to the right does not work until you hit it two or three times and then it moves off and the scrolling stops. Works perfectly with an external blue tooth mouse so it is not a problem with Windows 8.1 which I also had installed.

I have downloaded all the new drivers and has made no difference. A complete let down, dont touch it, mine is going back.

Simon

September 11, 2014, 1:03 am

Hi,

I'm not a power user, but I have bought a second hand machine on ebay. It suits my needs perfectly, and have very little to complain about.
I use a mac at home and a windows desktop PC at work. My preference was for a windows laptop. I was aware of the glossy screen: reflections/fingerprints etc ...and sure this is the case...have ordered a matt screen protector.
I'll let you know how I get on
Thanks
Simon

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