Toshiba Satellite U920T review

A powerful but clunky 12.5in hybrid device running Windows 8.

DisplayColour representation, detail, and viewing angles on the U920T's 12.5in screen aren't the best. The bog standard 1366 x 768 doesn't provide the sharpness which are associated with tablets such as the iPad 4 and Google Nexus 10. Visibility is also bad in or near direct sunlight - this is not a machine for users that like to work outside.

The U920T does offer a solid browsing experience and performs well as a workstation, however. The 12.5in size seems to be the optimum size for a portable laptop - it's bigger than your average MacBook but still fits nicely inside your bag.

When using our review units at events, it proved to be reliable providing we avoided sitting direct sunlight. The touchscreen responsive, affording you a third means of interacting with the device beside the keyboard and trackpad.Windows 8's gestures are a little tricky to get your head around at first but once learned and committed to muscle memory they do offer an invaluable third way of interacting with your machine. And because the display can be positioned in almost any position we found little need to use the U920T in tablet mode.

Operating SystemRunning a 64-bit version of Windows 8, the U920T is fully kitted out for business unlike Windows RT devices.

With Windows 8 you get all the advantages of the Microsoft's Modern UI coupled with core Windows desktop functionality. On the surface, Windows 8 does appear different to its predecessor but once you delve deeper into the OS you'll start to see elements of Windows 7 everywhere. See our in-depth Windows 8 Pro review to see whether you need to upgrade.

BatteryIn our real world test, we switched the display to 50 per cent and went about our working day: sending email, uploading video, web browsing, downloading apps, running Spotify in the background, and working across multiple applications at once.

In this test, the U920T managed just shy of five and half hours. That's better than average, but not surprising given the U920T has a three-cell 3,400mAh Li-ion setup. With less intensive use you're going to be pushing the seven hour mark. That's better than the Surface RT, a step ahead of our 2010 MacBook Air, and a big USP for this machine.

OverallThe U920T wants to be a hybrid device like the Surface Pro or Asus VivoTab Smart, but can't quite pull it off. Toshiba appears to have added the tablet mode as a after-thought, bolting it on in order to keep up with market trends. We enjoyed using the device but we can't help feeling more effort could have gone into the overall design and finish.

The good news is the U920T is a thoroughly excellent work machine that's portable, and nicely designed. And unlike the Surface Pro, you can actually use this device on your lap like a proper laptop. Couple this with better than average battery life and a decent touchscreen and what you're left with is a solid touch screen laptop.

Howeverm if you're after a device with that offers a true tablet experience, then the U920T is not the machine for you. It's more like a double-jointed touchscreen laptop than a true hybrid device. For a more solid tablet experience and altogether fresher approach to design, try Asus's VivoTab Smart or an iPad.

Verdict

The Toshiba Satellite U920T isn’t the best hybrid device out there. It does offer more functionality than the Surface RT, but is simply too heavy to be used a tablet as you cannot undock the keyboard.

OS: Windows 8 64-bit (pre-installed) Processor: Intel Core i3-3217U Processor for Ultrabook Display: Toshiba HD TFT High Brightness touch display with 16:9 aspect ratio, scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass and LED backlighting Internal storage: 128 GB RAM: 4GB  Battery: 3,400mAh Weight:  1.52 kg Dimensions: 326.5 x 213 x 19.9mm

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