Display Quality

While the display of the Toshiba Satellite U845W is arguably it's selling point, I regret to inform you that it is unfortunately still a TN panel. The 1792x768 resolution makes it much improved for productivity purposes (making it easy to edit two documents side by side, something Toshiba goes out of their way to make even easier by including software that resizes windows to suit the wider display) and even the movie we use to test battery life looked a bit better since no letterboxing was occurring, but contrast and color are still middling.

LCD Analysis - Contrast

LCD Analysis - White

LCD Analysis - Black

LCD Analysis - Delta E

LCD Analysis - Color Gamut

You can see it's not quite as bad as TN panels typically are, and dpi is actually bit improved from a typical 14" 1360x768 display (remember that this one is actually shorter than 14" panels usually are), but it's still not a huge winner. It's very bright, but the high black level takes its cut from the contrast ratio. Viewing angles are average for a TN display, and I feel like this resolution would be better served by an IPS display (then again, every resolution would be better served by an IPS display.)

Battery Life

What I'm particularly curious about is, given that everything else is equal between the Toshiba Satellite U845W and the more traditional Satellite U845, how much running time is sacrificed in the switch to a slightly larger, higher resolution display?

Battery Life - Idle

Battery Life - Internet

Battery Life - H.264 Playback

Battery Life Normalized - Idle

Battery Life Normalized - Internet

Battery Life Normalized - H.264

Happily, while the U845W takes a bit of a bath in idle usage, the differences in actual productive use are smaller to the point of mostly being negligible. That's good news since the substantially wider display is much better for productivity than the usual 1366x768 14" panel tends to be.

Heat and Noise

I'm particularly pleased with how Toshiba designed the cooling system of the Satellite U845W. Ultrabooks and even just more portable notebooks seem destined to be used on your lap, yet vendors keep putting fan intakes on the bottom, waiting to get suffocated. The U845W doesn't make that mistake; the entire back of the notebook is ventilated while the bottom is one solid piece of plastic with no ventilation to worry about stuffing up. And because the ultrabook is so wide, that means a substantial amount of surface area is being opened up for airflow.

Load temperatures around 80C are basically unheard of in an ultrabook, where thermals are routinely sacrificed for the form factor. This is really quite good, as the surfaces of the U845W barely get warm, and even the fan speed remains relatively low. The U845W runs cooler and quieter than most any other ultrabook I've tested, and Toshiba should be proud of themselves.

Overall Performance Conclusion: A Niche Worth Exploring
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  • Subyman - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    It would have been nice to include a shot of what the desktop looks like on that screen. I've never seen Windows in 21:9. Looks like an interesting design, but I like my vertical space. Reply
  • prime2515103 - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    I agree. Or at least something on the screen. It's as though they never turned it on. Reply
  • inperfectdarkness - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    that aspect ratio is distusting. i feel like i'm trying to fit in yoda's house just looking at the thing while it's OFF. for the love of god, can we please just go back to 16:10 permanently? Reply
  • brvoigt - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Looks more like 7:3 to me. Reply
  • KineticHummus - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    they use 21:9 because its easier to relate to the industry standard 16:9. Yes 7:3 is technically more correct, but 21:9 is easier to compare. Reply
  • ExarKun333 - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    What's next? 4:3 is now 12:9? Good grief... Reply
  • lowlymarine - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    This is hardly new and unique. When was the last time you saw 15:9 referred to as 5:3, or to use the most common example, how often do you see 16:10 given as 8:5?

    4:3 is the exception rather than the rule, honestly.
    Reply
  • iMacmatician - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    Okay, this is the first time I've heard of 15:9…. Reply
  • bwhalen - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    Math class moment approaching here. If you divide 21:9 by 3 you get 7:3.

    To echo others comments, a screen grab while power was being applied would be good.
    Reply
  • PhoenixEnigma - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    This seems like the perfect compact machine to have a dedicated number pad, which would have been a major plus in my books. Just look at all the extra space beside the keyboard - why not make use of it? Reply

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