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Toshiba Satellite U920t – Screen, Speakers and Performance

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Toshiba Satellite U920t – Screen

As the Toshiba Satellite U920t is at the affordable end of the non-Atom Windows 8 convertibles, its 12.5-inch screen offers a 1,366 x 768 resolution. While this might seem a little low to the ‘Retina’ crowd, it was standard on displays as large as 17-inches until recently, and is still adequate here. What's more, the Toshiba Satellite U920t screen is also superior to that of the average laptop in that it uses an IPS panel, meaning good viewing angles.

Toshiba Satellite U920t 13

While we’re talking about viewing angles, it’s worth pointing out that despite being better than those of almost any TN panel, the U920t’s screen does suffer from noticeable contrast shift at horizontal extremes (i.e. when viewed from the side). In this regard it’s slightly inferior to most - but you’re unlikely to notice in daily use, and vertical viewing angles are as good as ever. It’s also a little on the dull side, and there were minor signs of banding across subtle gradients.

On the positives side, dark detailing is better than average and backlighting is perfectly even with nary a hint of edge bleed. Overall, the screen is still nice to use, but below the convertible average.

Toshiba Satellite U920t 12

Toshiba Satellite U920t – Speakers

Toshiba maintains its reputation for providing excellent audio on its devices: as ultraportable convertibles go, the Toshiba Satellite U920t sounds simply fantastic. Its up-facing speakers are found in the ‘base’ behind the ‘tablet’ section, but their sound isn’t diminished when this slider is closed.

Providing a nice amount of body and detail with relatively good clarity, there’s even a little bass to the Toshiba Satellite U920t speakers with only minimal distortion. We’d use them for a movie or even some music, which is more than we can say for the speakers on most hybrids – or Ultrabooks, for that matter.

Toshiba Satellite U920t 3

Toshiba Satellite U920t – Specs and Performance

As with many Ultrabooks, several configurations of the Toshiba Satellite U920t convertible laptop/tablet are offered. The U920t-108 version available for £830 is the one we’re reviewing, which comes with an Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and Windows 8 ‘vanilla’. The U920t-10F is the same machine with Windows 8 Pro, and direct from Toshiba it will set you back a rather steep £1,140. Last but far from least, the Toshiba Satellite U920t-117 downgrades Windows 8 but gets you 8GB of RAM for a pound shy of £1,000.

Toshiba Satellite U920t 9

We reckon that for the majority, the U920t-108 probably makes most sense. If you start looking at the higher price brackets, you might want to consider a more premium device with perks like a Full HD screen and pressure-sensitive stylus input.

PCMark 07 Performance Benchmark

General: 3896

Entertainment: 3007

Anyway, the Intel Core i3-3217U, which is a dual-core 1.8GHz processor, will happily chomp through daily productivity, especially when backed by 4GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM and a speedy 128GB SSD. The latter especially is a significant advantage over similarly-specced Ultrabooks that may offer a hybrid drive, getting you less space but more performance.

Gaming Benchmarks (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)

TrackMania Nations Forever

42

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat

20.3

Gaming is the Core i3 U920t-108’s main weak point, as Intel’s integrated HD 4000 graphics need all the help they can get. Still, the U920t trounces Atom-based convertibles like the Asus Vivo Tab rather thoroughly, and older 3D titles like TrackMania Nations Forever are perfectly playable.

It’s worth noting that our Toshiba Satellite U920t stayed nice and quiet during testing, even when under load. It also only ever became moderately warm to the touch, which shouldn’t be uncomfortable on a lap.

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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