4 star rating

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165 Review

Pros: Lightweight design; Responsive touch screen; Long battery life; Fast overall performance
Cons: Keyboard feels shallow and flexes
The Verdict: Toshiba's Satellite U845T-S4165 offers a sleek design, responsive touch screen, and long battery life.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

Toshiba has given its Satellite U845 Ultrabook a facelift with Windows 8. This update includes a touch screen display, more memory, a speedier Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, and a 128GB SSD. Better still, Toshiba kept the same sleek aluminum body, not to mention the competitive price of $729. Find out why the Satellite U845T-S4165 is one of the best Windows 8 Ultrabook values.

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Design

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165As with last year's Ultrabook, the Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165 has a slim and elegant design. Encased in smooth brushed aluminum, it's pleasing to the touch and has a keyboard deck and lid that exude a crisp shine. The 14-inch widescreen display is framed with a black plastic bezel that contrasts the laptop's titanium grey body, and a gleaming power button sits just underneath the screen.

The U845T-S4165's display and keyboard deck are hinged together subtly; there's no clunky binding or seam to detract from its sleek design.

This Ultrabook's 13.5 x 9.1 x 0.8-inch body fit perfectly on our lap. At 3.6 pounds, the Satellite is lighter than both HP's Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 (4.6 pounds, 13.5 x 9.3 x 0.9 inches) and Acer's Aspire M5-481PT-6488 (4.4 pounds, 13.4 x 9.6 x 0.9 inches).

MORE: Toshiba Best and Worst Notebook Brands 2013 Rating

Keyboard and Touchpad

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165The U845T-S4165's backlit island-style keyboard is resistant to spills, and the roomy keyboard deck leaves just the right amount of space to rest your wrists. However, the keys are shorter than what you'll find on some other layouts. For example, the MacBook Air's keys are 1.5 cm high, compared to 1.3 cm for the Toshiba.

Despite this drawback, we notched a solid 72 words per minute with 0 percent error during the Ten Thumbs Typing Test, which surpasses the 70 wpm we achieved on our desktop. That doesn't mean typing was comfortable, however. In addition to the relatively short keys, the layout exhibited some flex while typing.

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165We found the 3.9 x 2.4-inch touchpad on the U845t to be fluid and smooth. Both the left and right side of the pad responded well to our clicks. This made it easy to be precise and accurate when highlighting text or making selections. Pinch to zoom worked well in Google's Chrome browser, but lagged when trying to zoom back out. Swiping in from the left edge (to switch apps) and from the right edge (to activate the Charms menu) worked smoothly.

Display and Audio

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165The Satellite U845T-S4165 features a 14.1-inch touch screen with your typical 1366 x 768 resolution. When watching the trailer for "Oz The Great and Powerful" on the glossy display, details came through clearly with little noise. The beady little eyes of one of Oz's winged creatures glistened on screen, and colorful scenes were depicted with plenty of depth. We didn't notice much glare when viewing footage from wide angles, but the display was reflective during darker and more shadowy clips.

However, the screen didn't fare well during our brightness test. Registering 174 lux on our light meter, the U845T-S4165 fell below the ultraportable category average of 227 lux. This is still brighter than the display on Acer's Aspire M5 (134 lux) and HP's Envy TouchSmart 4 (114 lux).

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165We scrolled around the U845T's touchscreen smoothly with no lag. Pinch-to-zoom was much more responsive on the touch screen than it was on the trackpad, and we breezed through the Windows 8 interface with ease.

The Satellite's bottom-mounted speakers delivered passable sound during our testing. The speakers got fairly loud when we listened to "Some Nights" by Fun, and the instrumentals and vocals came through clearly. However, the overall sound was somewhat hollow and distant; the audio improved when we changed the setting from Music to Movie in the SRS Premium Sound control panel.

Heat

The U845T-S4165 managed to stay relatively cool during our testing. After streaming a video on Hulu for 15 minutes, the touchpad registered 76 degrees Fahrenheit. The area between the G and H keys got significantly warmer at 93 degrees, and the laptop's underside registered a cool 81 degrees. We consider anything above 95 degrees to be a cause for concern.

Ports

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165Toshiba equipped the Satellite U845T-S4165 with all the ports you need. The left side features headphone and microphone jack, a USB 3.0 port, a lock slot, an HDMI jack and the charging jack. On the right, you'll find a memory card reader, two USB 2.0 jacks, and an Ethernet port.

MORE: Laptop Buying Guide 2013: 8 Essential Tips

Webcam

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165The Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165's HD webcam captured generally clean photos in well-lit environments. After taking some test shots we found that images looked lively and bright in natural lighting, but looked more pixelated in fluorescent light.

Performance

The Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165's 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5-3337U processor with 6GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD performed well when executing day-to-day tasks. Apps launched almost instantaneously with eight tabs open in Google's Chrome browser. We streamed "Bob's Burger's" on Hulu with no lag while running six other applications.

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165The U845T-S4165 boots up fast--it only took 11 seconds to load Windows 8, which is much faster than the 43-second thin-and-light category average. By comparison, the Acer Aspire M5 took 16 seconds to boot and the HP's Envy TouchSmart 4 took 13.2 seconds.

When it came to benchmarking tests, the U845T-S4165 delivered speedy results across the board. On PCMark7, the Toshiba scored 4,798, surpassing the 2,901 category average, as well as the HP TouchSmart 4 (4,131) and the Acer Aspire M5 (3,100), both of which have similar Core i5 processors.

During the LAPTOP File Transfer Test, the Satellite U845T-S4165's 128GB SSD duplicated 5GB of multimedia files in 1 minute and 4 seconds, equaling a rate of 79.5 MBps. That's more than three times as fast as the Acer Aspire M5 (22 MBps) and the Samsung Series 5 Ultratouch (28 MBps), and nearly double the category average of 44 MBps.

The Satellite also did well in our Open Office Spreadsheet test. It took 5 minutes and 26 seconds for the Toshiba laptop to match 20,000 names to their addresses, 30 seconds faster than the 5:56 category average, and beating both the HP TouchSmart 4 (5:36) and Acer Aspire M5 (6:08).

Graphics

The U845T's Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU performed moderately well during our tests. The notebook scored 673 on 3DMark11, slightly below the 724 category average but just outperforming both the HP (545) and Acer (617).

When playing "World of Warcraft" on autodetect settings, the U845T-S4165 notched a playable 32.6 frames per second, compared to the HP TouchSmart's 28 fps and Acer M5's 37 fps. As we bumped up the settings to full, the U845T-S4165's frame rate dropped to 16.9 fps, below the 24 fps average.

Battery Life

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165We're pleasantly surprised that a touch Ultrabook can last this long on a charge. During the LAPTOP Battery Test, which involves continuously surfing the Web over Wi-Fi, the Satellite U845T-S4165 lasted an impressive 7 hours and 39 minutes. This beats the HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 (5:36) and Acer Aspire M5 (6:03) by a significant margin and blows past the 6:26 category average.

MORE: 10 Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

Software and Warranty

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165The Toshiba Satellite U845T comes with a suite of third-party apps. Hulu, Netflix, eBay, Skype and iHeartRadio are all included on the Windows 8 home screen.

When navigating to the standard desktop, you'll find Toshiba's typical bundle of utilities. The Desktop Assistant lets you manage the laptop's media settings, set keyboard shortcuts, create a password to protect certain text files, or enable power save mode. PC Health Monitor displays power consumption and temperature.

Toshiba backs the U845T-S4165 with a standard one-year warranty that covers hardware and battery repairs or replacements. See how the company fared on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brand report.

Configurations

Our $729 review configuration of the Satellite U845T-S4165 comes with a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5-3337U processor, 6GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. Toshiba also offers the S4155 model, which has the same price, processor, and RAM, but switches out the 128GB SSD for a 500GB HDD and 32GB SSD cache. We say go with the SSD.

Verdict

Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165With the Satellite U845T-S4165, Toshiba has successfully combined fast Core i5 performance, an SSD and a touch screen for a reasonable price. Best of all, this Ultrabook lasts 7.5 hours on a charge, outlasting most other touch Ultrabooks. Although the keyboard literally falls short, this 14-inch Windows 8 notebook richly deserves its 4-star rating. Those looking for a laptop they can carry around all day would do well with the Satellite U845T.

Tags: Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165, Toshiba, toshiba satelite, toshiba satelite u845t, reviews, Ultrabook, laptops, Thin and Light notebook

Technical Specifications
Toshiba Satellite U845T-S4165
http://www.toshiba.com


The central processor unit, or CPU, is the brain of your notebook.
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CPU
Intel Core i5-3337U
Operating SystemWindows 8
The amount of memory our reviewed configuration comes with.
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RAM
6GB
The maximum amount of memory this notebook supports.
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RAM Upgradable to
8GB
Amount of data your storage drive can hold.
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Hard Drive Size
128GB
The rotation speed of a mechanical hard drive.
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Hard Drive Speed
Your notebook’s storage drive (hard drive or solid state drive) holds your operating system, your programs, and your data.
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Hard Drive Type
mSATA SSD
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Your notebook display is the primary viewing device for your laptop computer.
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Display Size
14
The number of pxiels (wxh) displayed on your screen at once.
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Native Resolution
1366x768
An optical drive allows you to play or record to DVDs, CDs, or Blu-ray discs.
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Optical Drive
The speed of the optical drive.
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Optical Drive Speed
Graphics chips are responsible for processing all images sent to your computer’s display.
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Graphics Card
Intel HD Graphics 4000
The amount of memory available for graphics processing.
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Video Memory
64MB
Wi-Fi connects you to a router or hotspot for wireless Internet access.
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Wi-Fi
802.11b/g/n
Wi-Fi ModelWireless-N 2200, 2x2 BGN
Bluetooth allows you to connect to wireless devices such as headsets, smart phones, and speakers.
Bluetooth
Mobile broadband connects you to the Net from anywhere, even places with no hotspot.
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Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size3.9 x 2.4 inches
Ports allow you to connect to external devices such as monitors, printers, MP3 players, and hard drivse.
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Ports (excluding USB)
HDMI; Headphone/Mic; security lock slot
USB ports allow you to connect many external devices, from MP3 players to external hard drives.
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USB Ports
3
Card readers allow you to plug memory and expansion cards directly into a notebook.
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Card Slots
8-1 card reader
Warranty/Support1 year
Size13.5 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches
Weight3.6 pounds
AUTHOR BIO
Lisa Eadicicco, Staff Writer
Lisa Eadicicco, Staff Writer
Lisa has been reporting on all things mobile for Laptopmag.com since early 2013. When she's not reviewing gadgets, she's usually browsing patent databases or interviewing experts to track down the hottest tech trends before they even happen. Lisa holds a B.A. in Journalism from SUNY Purchase and has contributed to The International Business Times, The New York Daily News and Guitar World Magazine.
Lisa Eadicicco, Staff Writer on
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