Until quite recently for the majority of people an ultrabook was a luxury item that only a few could afford. To the users’ delight, times change and the market offers an increasing number of relatively modestly priced ultraportable machines among which is the Toshiba Satellite U845. The brief reviewbelow shows if it’s worth powder and shot.
The Toshiba Satellite U845 ultrabook boasts a modest but pretty tasteful design and looks clean and cohesive, with a brushed-metal silver aluminum lid and matching interior. With the chrome diamond-cut Toshiba logo, that lid feels cool and smooth to the touch while keeping fingerprints and smudges at bay. The matte-silver bottom side, including the keyboard and the glossy bezel around the screen is made of plastic.
Weighing in at 4.1 pounds and measuring 0.8 inches thick, the Satellite U845 may seem fairly chunky for an ultrabook, however, it looks thinner than it is and feels really sturdy and well-made.
Display and Sound
The Toshiba Satellite U845 series ultraportable sports a 14-inch LED-backlit display with the native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, which is right in line with the rest of the ultrabook crowd. Thanks to Toshiba’s TruBrite solution, the U845’s screen delivers higher levels of brightness with less glare and better viewing angles. In practice, the reviewed machine’s display provides vivid colors with clear, sharp text and images along with excellent viewing angles, thus being perfectly adequate for everyday use.
In addition the Satellite U845 packs Intel’s Wireless Display technology, which makes it possible to stream 1,080p movies to a big-screen monitor or HDTV.
The U845 ultrabook’s audio system runs powered by the SRS Premium Sound 3D technology and includes the bottom-mounted stereo speakers that deliver fairly decent sound. However, at high volumes the laptop sounds somewhat tinny and distorted, so you would be much better off using external speakers or headphones.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The U845 goes on sale with a spill-resistant charcoal-colored keyboard that features an island-style layout and backlighting. The black matte keys are generously spaced, but feel a bit shallow which may deliver a not entirely comfortable typing experience. Fortunately, the manufacturer got the proportions right: the Enter, Shift and even arrow keys are big enough that touch typists should have no problem hitting them without looking. Furthermore, the function keys are set to their default actions, so there is no need to hit Fn first in order to change volume or brightness.
As for the Satellite U845’s trackpad, it is impressively easy to use, while the navigation process proves responsive and accurate. Multi-touch gestures are also quick and smooth – users won’t have any problems dragging the cursor while performing pinch-zoom, two-finger scroll and rotate, three-finger and four-finger flicks.
Ports and Connections
Hefty weight and bigger dimensions are not always a downside. In our case they serve the good cause: thanks to additional space the Toshiba Satellite U845 family boasts a great selection of ports which include an HDMI socket, a USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, separate headphone and mic ports, an SD card reader and an Ethernet jack.
Toshiba offers several configurations of its Satellite U845 ultrabook. The base-specs models get powered by a Sandy Bridge Intel Core i3-2377M dual-core, low-voltage chips clocked at 1.5 GHz, 4GB of installed DDR3 RAM, 500GB 5,400RPM hard drive plus 16GB SDD coupled with Intel HD 3000 graphics card with support for Microsoft DirectX 11 games.
The upgraded version comes with a 1.7GHz Core i5-3317U CPU with 6GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive coupled with a 32GB SSD and advanced Intel HD 4000 graphics card.
In terms of performance, both configurations of the U845 are roughly on par with similarly specced competitors. In practice, they are fast enough to be able to handle the user’s daily computing routine (e.g. several tabs open in a web browser, plus streaming music and watching videos including online ones, etc.) with ease. Thanks to the SSD cache drive, the machine boots and resumes quickly: it takes about 20 seconds to turn on and three seconds to wake up from sleep.
When it comes to battery life, Toshiba promises the Satellite U845 will last up to 8 hours on a single charge. During real battery rundown tests, the U845 lasts six and a half hours, matching the ultrabook category’s average score.
All things considered, the reviewed Toshiba Satellite U845 falls under an inexpensive ultrabook series hitting the price level of under $1,000. The entry-level model goes for sale for about $540 which is currently the best price in the USA market. That money will buy you a second-generation CPU along with 4GB of RAM. More advanced Satellite U845’s configuration with a third-generation chip coupled with better storage capabilities will cost $650.
When it comes to battery life, Toshiba promises the Satellite U845 will last up to 8 hours on a single charge. During real battery rundown tests, the U845 lasts six and a half hours,