Feeds
Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Review: Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Windows 8 - it's not going away, people

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Key concerns

If only the keyboard could match this touch of class. Admittedly, those broad screen borders give rise to a larger base, which provides for more space for the keyboard. So this isn’t too cramped and there’s room enough for a decent sized trackpad. However, those backlit tile keys feel so lifeless. The spacebar is the worst culprit here, having so little travel that it’s hard to ascertain if you've pressed it hard enough. In the end, I just had to consciously dig in more to avoid words running into each other.

Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook keyboard

The keyboard is reasonably well spaced but feels rather lifeless in places

Sure, you do get used to it eventually, but you might want to try this out first to see if it bothers you, especially as there’s some flexing as you get toward the middle of the keyboard. On the plus side, there are some useful shortcut keys along the top including media transport controls and decent sized navigation keys too.

The Toshiba Satellite U920T boots to the login screen from cold in nine seconds. Tests with PCMark 7 notched up a balanced settings score of 3189 and when set up for performance, this shot up to 3816. The benefits of having an SSD on-board helps the numbers here and it’s not such a bad score compared to over 4700 from the Core i7 Sony Vaio Duo. It doesn’t feel sluggish either, although some Flash heavy web pages could take their time to show.

Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook system settings boot options

Booting from external media is made easy with the Toshiba System Settings control panel

There’s only the HD 4000 Intel integrated GPU on this model which will suffice for most tasks, but this is no gaming machine. However, it does run Linux with an Ubuntu 12.10 Live CD working with the Wi-Fi but not the accelerometer. The touchscreen allows mouse movement, but taps do not fire up applications nor open folders. The battery life with PowerMark shows how a lower powered CPU can really deliver advantages when it comes to the duration game. Here it managed 2hrs 51mins which in real world use is easily double that.

Occasionally, the touchscreen would need repeated swipes – particularly for closing apps – but showed no obvious latency issues. Video playback was smooth and while not exactly dazzlingly bright, it was certainly sufficient although tablet mode in direct sunlight could prove to be a challenge.

Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook side view

Having Intel inside demands vents on the bottom too

As for audio, the speakers are in the base at the front and don’t make much of an impression until you fire up the SRS Premium Sound 3D control panel. SRS has been performing miracles with small speakers for decades now and this software makes a huge difference to the overall output. It certainly sounds louder, but you can get those tweaks from VLC Player. The fun starts when you click on the Advanced section, as it takes you beyond the presets for music, movies and 3D so you can tweak for improved dialogue intelligibility and bass enhancement, among other things. If you’re hooked up to external speakers or headphones, there are options for these too.

SRS Premium Sound 3D control panel

SRS Premium Sound 3D control panel helps boost small speaker performance

The Reg Verdict

The Toshiba Satellite U920T is a very likable convertible Ultrabook, although it took me a while to realise why. The reason, I'd say, is that it doesn't come across as some toy-like novelty item – it errs more on the sensible side. Even so, I still want to tilt the screen forward at times and its fold flat and slide convertible mechanism must be obeyed, which can be a little bothersome for speedy getaways. Still, this Ultrabook feels reassuringly solid and has a battery life that should get you through the day. Some will bemoan the lack of a full HD screen though, which leads to the biggest worry: the price. It's something that dogs all convertible Ultrabooks and the state of the premium portable PC market. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Review: Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

A sliding 12.5in touchscreen Windows 8 Pro convertible Ultrabook with an Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
Price: £1139 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
Soundbites: News in brief from the Wi-Fi audiophile files
DTS and Sonos sing out but not off the same hymnsheet
In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE
Rival electronic giant tries to iron out allegations
Your chance to WIN the WORLD'S ONLY HANDHELD ZX SPECTRUM
Reg staff not allowed to enter, god dammit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.