Toshiba recently unveiled a new ultrabook, the Satellite U845W, with an unusual display resolution of 21:9. At 14 inches (measured diagonally), this ultrabook’s 1792 x 768 pixel display is sure to grab consumer attention.

NotebookCheck got their hands on the European pre-production model (U840W) for review to see if the ultra-wide display is worth all the fuss.

Toshiba Satellite U840W

As Brad mentioned when Toshiba first released information on this ultrabook, the U840W is made for entertainment. The 21:9 aspect ratio means that users no longer have to contend with black bars at the top and bottom of movies. NotebookCheck found the picture quality good as well as the contrast and brightness distribution, which should please movie buffs.

However, the glossy screen means lots of reflections in bright light and sunlight as well as less than optimal viewing angles. For optimal viewing, it looks like the ultrabook will have to be in your lap or close by.

When not watching movies, NotebookCheck did find that having such a wide screen is great, especially when placing windows side by side. The drawback is that the display’s shortness means more scrolling when reading web pages or documents.

Other than the unusual display size, the Satellite U840W has pretty standard ultrabook specs and hardware. The keyboard is the same as on previous Toshiba ultrabooks and the clickpad seems just as meh as most clickpads on PCs.

Performance-wise the model NotebookCheck received features an Intel Core i5 processor (Ivy Bridge generation) that performed on par with similar systems. No discrete graphics here, though it looks like casual gaming is possible without too much lag.

The final specs and pricing for the European version aren’t set in stone. The ultrabook is expected to sell for $999 and up when it launches in the US this month.

Go to NotebookCheck to read the full review.

via Ultrabook News

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3 replies on “Toshiba Satellite U840W Widescreen 21:9 Ultrabook Reviewed”

  1. Since they reviewed a pre-production unit, one cannot be sure, but they say the fan does not spin at idle. This could be a quiet notebook.

  2. Hey K.T! now the ‘As Brad Mentioned’ comment makes sense. Just saw that attribution.

    I have mixed feelings about this product. On the one hand, the ultra wide screen would allow me to simulate multiple monitors while on the move, which is simply scrumptious. The problems though are fairly numerous when looking at this device.

    By trying to squeeze into the Ultrabook class, they are limiting storage options. Ideally you would have 2 hard drive bays (or one HDD bay and mSata) on a computer like this, one for spinning media, and the other for a SSD (Not a SSD cache, but an actual SSD, there’s a tangible performance difference between the two unless you only use the computer to do a few repetitive things). This would give you the performance of a SSD, but the storage room to actually store movies!

    It needs more than integrated graphics.

    It needs more vertical resolution. By targeting 768, the scren is 1792 pixels wide which when you snap windows to either side is a rather unsatisfactory 896 pixels. Considering one of the more popular grid layouts for web pages is the 960 grid, a 2100×900 screen would be MUCH better.

    Lastly the system is already absurdly long, almost as wide as a 15.6″ system because of the screen. Making it slightly larger wouldn’t make it noticeably less portable, that’s already borderline as is. So making the system a bit wider to accommodate the higher resolution display, making it a few millimeters thicker to accept more storage bays, and provide the thermal room for cooling a dedicated GPU wouldn’t cost them much (aside from Intel’s Ultrabook marketing money) but would probably lead to a tangibly better product.

    I like the fact that they’re playing with form factors. The current 16:9 trend isn’t a great one from my perspective, it’s 1366×768 isn’t wide enough to do much in split screen, and it’s already too short, so I can actually see how this could be beneficial. More would obviously be better though. That said, the pricing when it ships is going to be critical. I don’t think this would be a particularly high volume product in any case (who knows though consumers might really go in for the native movie experience glossy or no), but it’s different enough that it’s either going to be a home run or a tepid failure, and pricing will go a long way to making the former easier than the latter.

    1. Yeah, KT has agreed to help out around here a bit. You’ll be seeing a lot more of her stuff in the coming weeks!

      As for the widescreen.. I’m trying to get my hands on a review unit. I’m not surprised at the lack of hard disk space… but I’m still not really sure what to make of the screen resolution.

      I’m totally sold on high screen resolutions, and don’t see myself buying a new laptop until I can get one with at least a 1600 x 900 pixel display (the Asus UX31 I reviewed earlier this year was so much better for blogging duty than any 1366 x 768 or 1024 x 600pixel laptop I’ve used). But the low vertical resolution on this model is just odd…

      I do have to say, having encountered one of these guys at a trade show recently, it’s not as heavy as you would think a laptop this wide would be though. So that’s something… I guess.

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