The ultraportable market has swelled greatly in the last year, with ultrabooks and similarly thin laptops becoming the style-du-jour for laptop manufacturers across the board. While there are plenty of pricy ultraportables available for $1,000 or more, the entry-level space is perhaps the most important, drawing on the slim designs and premium features of more expensive systems, but delivering thin and light laptops for affordable prices. The Toshiba Satellite E45t-A4300 is just such an ultrabook, providing solid performance, all-day battery life, and a design that looks far more luxurious than the price tag might suggest.
As an ultrabook, the Satellite E45t-A4300 is a slim and portable laptop, measuring 0.8 by 13.4 by 9.2 inches (HWD)—about the same size as the Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch, and just a little heavier at 4.4 pounds. While similar in many respects to the similarly price Lenovo U430 Touch, the Satellite E45t-A4300 borrows several premium elements from a different laptop, the much more expensive Toshiba Kirabook. The Satellite E45t-A4300 mimics the Toshiba Kirabook’s brushed metal exterior and slim tapered chassis. The Satellite E45t-A4300 has an affordable silver brushed aluminum chassis instead of the expensive, feather-light magnesium alloy of the Kirabook (2.7 pounds), but aside from the difference in material (and the subsequent difference weight), the two look quite similar. It’s also a far cry from the molded plastic chassis seen on the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite, which also aped a premium design, but reduced the price by cutting corners.
The Satellite E45t-A4300 features a 14-inch touch screen with 1,366 by 768 resolution, which is the standard display quality for this price range. The touch screen offers 10-digit tracking, and looks pretty good despite the common resolution.
The chiclet keyboard is backlit with a soft glow that lets you continue to type with ease, even in a darkened airplane cabin or meeting room. The keys themselves offer a firm typing experience, and the deck has no discernable flexing. The clickpad has a wide touch sensor, and supports all of the gestures and multitouch controls that make Windows 8 more navigable. Two stereo speakers provide adequate sound, enhanced with DTS Sound software. They provided decent sound, whether I was watching YouTube videos or streaming music, giving the Satellite E45t better audio quality than many entry-level systems.
While the Satellite E45t-A4300 has a thin chassis, Toshiba doesn’t cut any of the more useful ports and connectors, providing Gigabit Ethernet, full-size HDMI output, three USB 3.0 ports, a headset jack, and an integrated SD card reader. Inside, the system is equipped with an Intel Wireless-N 7260 2×2 BGN for better 802.11n Wi-Fi, along with Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting wireless peripherals, and Intel WiDi (Wireless Display) for beaming HD content to a TV through a WiDi receiver.
The Satellite E45t-A4300 has no optical drive–the physical disk drive has all but disappeared on both laptops and ultrabooks—but it is outfitted with a 750GB, 5400rpm spinning hard drive. While 750GB provides plenty of storage space, it’s complimented with 32GB of solid-state memory, which boosts the total capacity up to 782GB (664GB available out of the box) and ensuring faster boot times and zippy performance.
Preinstalled on the drive are several programs and apps, including trial versions of Norton Antivirus and Norton Anti-Theft security services, along with a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 2013. On the start screen you’ll find a few apps, like Google Drive (for cloud storage), Amazon Kindle Reader, Evernote, Zinio, and iHeart Radio. You’ll also see links to Amazon’s regular site, Netflix, HuluPlus, and Ebay. One new addition that may be more commonplace in the months to come is Dragon Voice Control, which gives you a way to control applications and search the web via speech. Toshiba covers the Satellite E45t with a one-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
The Satellite E45t-A4300 is outfitted with an Intel Core i5-4200u processor, which has a standard clock speed of 1.6GHz, but can hit up to 2.3GHz using Turbo Boost. It’s the same processor seen in the Acer Aspire M5-583P-6428, but thanks to the 32GB SSD cache that is added to the hard drive, the Satellite E45t-A4300 offers better performance from the same model CPU, completing PCMark 7 with 4,181 points, while the Acer Aspire M5-583P-6428, on the other hand, scored only 2,922 points in the same test, and the Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch squeezed out 3,911 points. That SSD cache makes a difference, especially considering that, in our pure processor test Cinebench, the Satellite E45t-A4300 scored 2.48 points, only slightly ahead of the 2.44 points scored by the Acer M5-583P-6428, and just behind the Lenovo U430 Touch (2.50 points). That same overall performance translates into relatively speedy work in multimedia tests, where the Satellite E45t-A4300 completed Photoshop in 5 minutes 54 seconds, and Handbrake in 1:24.
With no discrete graphics hardware, the Satellite E45t-A4300 relies upon the integrated graphics (Intel HD Graphics 4400) built into the CPU. Intel has improved its integrated graphics solution over previous generations, with the Satellite E45t yielding 3DMark11 scores of 1,551 points (Entry) and 253 points (Extreme). Despite the solid graphics performance, the Satellite E45t was unable to produce playable frame-rates in either of our gaming tests, as expected for an entry-level Ultrabook.
The Satellite E45t lasted 7 hours 32 minutes in our battery rundown test, which is enough to take you through a full day, but still falls behind both the Acer M5-583P-6428 (7:50) and the Lenovo U430T (7:42). Despite the short lag behind these leading systems, the Satellite E45t-A4300 still lasted a full two hours longer than the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite.
For an entry-level system, the Toshiba Satellite E45t-A4300 delivers a high-quality user experience, combining luxurious design, solid performance, and all-day battery life that put it alongside our Editors’ Choice Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch as one of the better ultrabooks available in this price range.
|Processor Name||Intel Core i5-4200U|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4400|
|Type||General Purpose, Business, Small Business|
|Networking Options||802.11n (2.4 GHz only)|
|Processor Speed||1.6 GHz|
|Screen Size||14 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||782 GB|
|Storage Type||HDD, SSD|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc