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.
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)
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.
Score in detail
Screen Quality 7
Battery Life 8