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.
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).
Keyboard and TouchpadMacBook 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.
Display and Audio
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Software and Warranty
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.
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.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-3337U|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|RAM Upgradable to||8GB|
|Hard Drive Size||128GB|
|Hard Drive Speed|
|Hard Drive Type||mSATA SSD|
|Secondary Hard Drive Size|
|Secondary Hard Drive Speed|
|Secondary Hard Drive Type|
|Optical Drive Speed|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Wi-Fi Model||Wireless-N 2200, 2x2 BGN|
|Touchpad Size||3.9 x 2.4 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||security lock slot|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone/Mic|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Card Slots||8-1 card reader|
|Size||13.5 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches|