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Toshiba Satellite U920t – Connectivity, Usability and Touch

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Toshiba Satellite U920t – Connectivity & Controls

Along with Ultrabook specs, the Toshiba Satellite U920t brings Ultrabook connectivity – though some of it is located somewhat awkwardly at the rear. Along the left there’s a single USB 3.0 port for hooking up peripherals or speedy external storage. This is also where you’ll find the power button, a volume rocker, and dedicated rotation lock switch, which should be mandatory on every tablet regardless of its OS.

To the right, we have a 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack and, hidden behind an easily opened cover, a full-size SDXC card slot. Once opened, this cover dangles from a single soft-plastic ‘thread’, which looks fragile and ugly, and the cover gets in the way. We can’t help but wonder why more manufacturers can’t implement an elegant solution like the inward-hinged flap on the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook – or if that’s not an option, just leave it bare.

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Finally on the rear we have a second full-size USB 3.0 port, along with a regular-sized HDMI for video out. Wireless support comes from the usual Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth 4.0, with no 3G option in sight. Obviously, you’ll also need an adapter for Gigabit Ethernet, but for the Toshiba Satellite U920t’s price, we’re not complaining that one isn’t included in the box.

This Satellite also sports front and rear cameras, though at one and three megapixels respectively, with average quality and without an LED flash, they’re hardly going to set the world on fire – even by low tablet standards. It’s worth noting that the rear shooter can’t be used when the Toshiba Satellite U920t is in tablet mode.

Toshiba Satellite U920t – Keyboard & Typing

Alas, Toshiba generally falls behind the likes of Lenovo, Dell and HP when it comes to a comfy typing experience. Having said that, the Toshiba Satellite U920t is far nicer to tap away on than its rival slider, the Sony VAIO Duo 11.

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The isolation keyboard sports a semi-matt black finish and is fully backlit in white. Travel is decent and you don’t really notice the keyboard’s flex in use. However, keys are spaced a little far apart and are on the small side. Combined with a slightly slippery surface, it’s easy to miss a stroke or two when typing at speed, and overall we’d classify the experience as average.

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Toshiba Satellite U920t – Touchpad

The touchpad is where we really feel the hurt of the limited space the sliding form factor allows. The Toshiba Satellite U920t’s pad is wide but really lacking in the vertical height department, and while it matches the 16:9 screen to a degree, navigating around the classical desktop of Windows 8 may require frequent repositioning. Of course, having a touchscreen means this isn’t as serious an issue as it would otherwise be. And thankfully, the pad’s integrated ‘buttons’ are a joy to use, with a clear click and no noticeable dead zone.

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Toshiba Satellite U920t – Touch

As mentioned, the Toshiba Satellite U920t supports five-point touch, but that’s as much as a single user is likely to need, and this hybrid’s ‘low’ 1,366 x 768 resolution is actually an advantage when trying to touch small elements in Windows 8’s ‘traditional desktop’ interface.

The screen’s Gorilla Glass protection means you can jab your digits as hard as you like, though, as with most tablets, unsightly fingerprints do accumulate quickly – yet another reason why we prefer clamshell convertibles. As with its Windows 8 brethren, the Toshiba Satellite U920t is a joy to navigate through using your fingers, as its capacitive screen is never less than responsive.

Toshiba Satellite U920t 1

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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