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Toshiba Satellite U840W review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £900
inc VAT

A great high-resolution screen makes this laptop stand out, but its keyboard and touchpad slightly detract


14.4 in 1,792×768 display, 1.7kg, 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5-3317U, 6.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Toshiba’s latest premium Ultrabook is the first we’ve seen with an ultra-widescreen 21:9 display ratio. That’s the shape of the cinema screens in your local multiplex, but don’t be put off, as the Satellite U840W is also suited to multi-tasking, with ample room for working on two documents simultaneously.

Toshiba Satellite U840W

The 14.4in, 1,792×768 resolution display is guaranteed to turn heads, but it has an incredibly glossy finish that makes it difficult to see what’s on-screen under bright light, and the disappointingly average viewing angles don’t help matters. However, find a comfortable position and you’ll soon notice how high resolution everything looks – you’re only getting an additional 456 horizontal pixels compared to the average Ultrabook, but that makes a huge difference, especially when compacted into a 14in display. Colours look vibrant and brightness is reasonable, although we would have liked more contrast to really show off the detail in darker film scenes.

Toshiba Satellite U840W

We were able to comfortably fit two word documents on-screen at once, so the U840W is certainly suited to multitasking. For films, it depends on the aspect ratio. A lot of films are shot at 21:9, with the traditional black bars pushed off the top and bottom of the screen, giving you a full-screen experience. For content shot at different aspect ratios, such as 16:9 1080p footage, you end up with black bars at the side of the picture in order to fit the full picture on screen.

Toshiba Satellite U840W

The case has room for a multi-format memory card reader, three USB3 ports, an Ethernet port and two 3.5mm audio jacks. Toshiba has also made space for a pair of Harmon Kardon speakers, which produce surprisingly capable audio, although they still can’t compete with a decent pair of headphones or dedicated speakers.
Build quality is something of a mixed bag. Initial impressions are positive, with a sturdy chassis built from a combination of brushed metal and rubberised plastic. The slightly bronze tint looks sleek and gives the laptop a unique look, but there are problems underneath the lid.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core i5-3317U
Processor clock speed 1.7 GHz
Memory 6.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 1
Maximum memory 10GB
Size 20x369x200mm
Weight 1.7kg
Sound Realtek HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad


Viewable size 14.4 in
Native resolution 1,792×768
Graphics Processor Intel HD 4000
Graphics/video ports HDMI
Graphics Memory 384MB


Total storage capacity 500GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Supported memory cards SDXC, Memory stick Pro, MMC
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input, 3x USB3


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Microsoft Office 2010 Starter edition
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £900