Fast boot time ; Excellent sound quality ; Responsive touchscreen ;
Temperamental touchpad ; Short battery life ;
The Toshiba P845t offers Windows 8 shoppers a touch experience for an affordable price along with very good sound, but the battery life is disappointing.
When we reviewed the Toshiba Satellite P845, we praised its attractive design, loud speakers and low $599 price. With the release of Windows 8, Toshiba has taken that system and added a touchscreen and Microsoft's new operating system. The result is the $799 Toshiba Satellite P845t-S4310, available exclusively through Best Buy. While pricier than regular laptops, this 14-incher is much cheaper than Windows 8 convertibles. Find out if this touch notebook is a good value.
The top of the deck sports Harmon/Kardon speakers, which are covered by black grilles with chrome accents. The P845t's power button sits next to the right speaker and glows white when the system is on. The touchpad is bordered by a thin strip of chrome, while the front of the lip is decorated with a troika of indicator lights. The keyboard rests a few millimeters below the touchpad and power button.
Weighing 4.8 pounds, the 13.7 x 9.2 x 0.95 - 1.14 inch Satellite P845t-S4310 is slightly heavier and larger than the 4.6-pound, 13.5 x 9.3 x 0.9-inch HP Envy Touchsmart Ultrabook 4. The P845t is a hair thicker than the Satellite P845-S4200, and because it has a touchscreen, it's 6 ounces heavier than its 4.2-pound cousin.
With a lux rating of 166, the P845t's display is significantly duller than the 236 thin-and-light category average. However, it's still more luminous than the Envy TouchSmart's screen, which earned a score of 114 lux. The touchscreen was responsive and accurate, both when navigating the Start screen and executing Windows 8 gestures. However, the panel picked up fingerprints easily.
SRS Premium Sound 3D has three presets: Music, Movie and 3D. Without question, the Music setting produces the best sound-quality. Listening to tunes in Movie or 3D produced hollow and distant audio. The software is on by default, and turning it off degraded the quality of tracks drastically.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The P845t's Synaptics touchpad measures a roomy 4.0 x 2.5 inches and felt smooth to the touch. Its integrated buttons produced snappy feedback and a satisfying audible click. Executing gestures proved to be a mixed bag though. Unlike other notebooks we've tested, which require you to initiate Windows 8 gestures from the edge of the touchpad, the P845t would misinterpret swipes as Win 8 gestures, which proved very frustrating. Vertical and horizontal scrolling are inverted, which we didn't like, and there's no option to reverse this function.
Windows 8, Software and Warranty
A right swipe summons the Charms menu. A slim black bar on the right displays icons for Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings. There's also a large black box with date and time, battery and Wi-Fi status. Swiping left lets us cycle between open windows and apps. A fluid left-to-right-and-right-again swipe shows thumbnails of the five most-recently used apps.
Some notebook manufacturers have stepped in to fill the void left by the Start menu's departure with company-branded alternatives. For example, Samsung's S Launcher widget looks a lot like the old Start menu and offers much of the same functionality. While Toshiba does not include such a feature, an icon on the desktop called Desktop Assist helps somewhat. Within this utility, programs are divided into five categories, including Media & Entertainment, Tools & Utilities and an all-encompassing category labeled All Programs. There are also buttons for opening Computer, My Documents and Control Panel.
Other bundled apps include iCookbook, which is a beautiful database of recipes. It helps you brainstorm for your next culinary adventure using a number of categories, including specific ingredient, type of occasion and more. A one-year subscription to Norton Anti-Virus 2013, a 60-day trial of Norton Anti-Theft and a 30-day trial of Norton Online Backup are also included.
After running a full-screen Hulu video for 15 minutes, the P845t's touchpad was 81.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The underside was a tad cooler at 81 degrees, while the gap between the G and H keys registered a slightly warmer 83.5 degrees. We consider anything above 95 degrees to be uncomfortable.
PerformanceEnvy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4, which sports the same CPU and amount of RAM, but a 32GB SSD/500GB hard drive pairing, got a vastly superior score of 4,131.
The P845t booted Windows 8 in 20 seconds flat, which absolutely levels the 49-second category average. Despite this prolific score, the Toshiba still lags behind the HP TouchSmart 4, which booted in 13 seconds.
The P845t took 3 minutes and 41 seconds to complete our LAPTOP File Transfer Test, which tasks the machine with copying a 4.97GB folder full of music, videos and photos. That works out to an average of 23 MBps, which is almost half the 40 MBps category average. That's also slower than the Envy TouchSmart, which wrote the same folder at an average rate of 35 MBps.
In our OpenOffice Spreadsheet Test, the P845t matched 20,000 names with their corresponding addresses in 5 minutes and 55 seconds. That's three ticks behind the thin and light category average and 19 seconds longer than the Envy TouchSmart 4's time of 5:36.
In our "World of Warcraft" test, the P845t ran the game at a very playable rate of 42 frames per second with visuals set to Good and the resolution at 1366 x 768. That's 11 frames below the 52 fps category average. Despite the below-average grade, the P845t handily bested the HP TouchSmart 4's mark of 28 fps when subjected to the same conditions.
On the LAPTOP Battery Test (web surfing via Wi-Fi), the P845t's 6-cell battery lasted a paltry 4 hours and 45 minutes. That's about 1 hour and 45 minutes less than the category average and 51 minutes less than than the Envy TouchSmart. The touchscreen-less Toshiba Satellite P845-S4200 notched 6 hours and 9 minutes.
Toshiba covers the P845t-S4310 with a one-year Standard Limited Warranty. See how Toshiba fared in our Best & Worst Brands report and Tech Support Showdown.
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|CPU||1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|RAM Upgradable to|
|Hard Drive Size||750GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type||SATA Hard Drive|
|Optical Drive||DVD RW|
|Optical Drive Speed||8X|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Touchpad Size||4.0 x 2.5 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB|
|Ports (excluding USB)||security lock slot|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI-out|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||VGA|
|Card Slots||SD memory reader|
|Size||13.7 x 9.2 x 0.95 - 1.14 inches|