A few years ago most laptop and desktop computer displays had 4:3 aspect ratio displays. Today 16:9 screens are much more common. Among other things, that means videos designed for HDTV displays fit on computer displays better.

But Toshiba’s got a computer aimed at true cinema fans looking for a 21:9 display.

Earlier this month the company introduced the Toshiba Satellite U845W ultrabook with an extraordinarily wide display, and I got a chance to spend a few minutes with one last night.

Toshiba Satellite U845W

The Satellite U845W has a 1792 x 768 pixel display that measures 14.4 inches across. Thanks to the unusual screen size, it can handle videos shot in a 21:9 aspect ratio without showing any black bars above or below the video.

You can also easily run multiple apps or two or more web browser windows side by side on the display. But the unusual screen was clearly designed with video in mind.

Of course, videos designed for 16:9 or 4:3 displays are going to display black bars on the left and right sides of the screen. But you can’t have everything, can you?

The unusual screen size means that the ultrabook is much longer than a typical notebook with a 14 inch screen. After throwing a full-sized backlit keyboard in the center, Toshiba had enough room on the sides to include some Harman Kardon speakers.

I only got to see the laptop in a noisy room, so I can’t really comment on how loud or clear the audio sounds, but the placement of the speakers alone suggests that you’ll get at least moderately better sound from the U845W than from many other thin and light laptops with tiny speakers packed away on the bottom or near the hinge.

The Toshiba Satellite U845W measures 0.82 inches thick and weighs about 3.5 pounds — making it a lot lighter than it looks, and significantly lighter than many other ultrabooks I’ve seen with large displays.

The laptop has 3 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and an Ethernet jack. It has an Ivy Bridge processor, but does not have a removable battery or upgradeable memory.

Toshiba will begin selling the Satellite U845W soon for $999 and up.

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10 replies on “Hands-on with the Toshiba U845W ultra-widescreen ultrabook”

  1. The kind of aspect ratio I’d like to see on tablets, as they are mainly for consumption, and in addition would make the tablet more pocketable, ceteris paribus.

    1. Why? You’ll never get true cinema experience on a tablet…. this aspect ratio on a laptop or tablet is pointless.

      1. Larger screen real estate for a slightly longer, but no wider device, no black “dead” parts when watching movies, potentially other use for screen, eg an action list, or mail box open, while still maintaining the webpage fully readable, etc etc. Mainly it’s a larger screen for a longer, but still pocketable device. I understand few apps are made for this aspect ratio, but more will come and consumption seems to drive the tab-land.

  2. How was it running regular apps. I know on some of the smaller vertical resolutions, ok and cancel buttons can get cut off. Did it always feel like part of the screen was missing? How readable were web sites and text?

    1. I’m waiting for flexible screens to finally come out and then we can just resize the screen as needed.

      1. that’s not how flexible screens work.
        this laptop reminds me of the vaio p series, but that’s tiny. i would have both. also, it’s cheap!

        1. They do work that way if the screen rolls up and rolls out. It’s not a new idea and it’s basically just waiting for flexible screens to become practical.

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