Toshiba Satellite U920t-108 review
There have been many different approaches to the laptop-tablet hybrid since the introduction of Windows 8. The Asus Taichi went for two individual screens, while the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist and Dell XPS 12 used hinges and pivots. The Toshiba Satellite U920t-108 is probably the most impressive from an engineering point-of-view, with the touchscreen tilting back to flat and then sliding down over the keyboard to create a large tablet.
The Sony Vaio Duo 11 converts to a tablet in a similar fashion, but it only goes half-way back - which limits the space for the keyboard. The U920t-108’s has its sliding mechanism built in to the back of the screen, and this leaves a lot more room for input devices. It’s also a very elegant and straightforward way of converting your laptop into a tablet.
Closed, the U920t-108 is a 20mm thick tablet with a 12.5in touchscreen - the same size as the XPS 12's. The textured soft-touch surface on the back makes it very comfortable to hold. Its bright, glossy screen is a pleasure to view, even though it only has a relatively low 1,366x768 resolution. We’d have preferred Full HD or 1,600x900 resolutions, given the price of the unit. Its glossy finish can create reflections, and the display picks up fingerprints too easily, but its excellent contrast levels and rich, vivid colours more than make up for it.
The only disappointing part of the screen is its surprisingly poor viewing angles, and we only got the best view by looking at it straight on. The touchscreen always faces outwards, which means it isn’t particularly well protected in transit. It’s made from hardened Gorilla Glass, so it shouldn’t get scratched too easily, but we still recommend using a carry case to minimise potential damage.
Slide the screen back, and the U920t-108 is a comfortable, if slightly small, laptop. A good part of the keyboard panel is taken up by the sliding mechanism, which leaves the keyboard and the all-in-one touchpad feeling rather cramped. Its bouncy Chiclet-style keys are all full-size and well spaced, but the wrist rest is tiny, leaving very little room for your hands. The touchpad’s accurate and responsive, but clicking requires a lot more force than is typical, and we’d have much preferred two individual buttons.
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