Although the Toshiba Satellite U845t-S4165 ($749.99 list) appears to be the latest entrant in an increasingly crowded field—Windows 8-equipped ultrabooks with touch screens, that is—its agile new Intel Core i5-3337U processor sets it apart from most of its competitors. Zippy processing power, along with a slender chassis and solid all-around performance, converge into a final product that’s worthy of serious consideration, though its limited storage capacity and so-so keyboard dampen its overall appeal.
Design and Features
The Satellite U845t-S4165′s chassis measures 0.8 by 13.5 by 9.1 inches (HWD). Its silver brushed aluminum finish and slender build make for a handsome system. At a mere 3.6 pounds, it’s markedly lighter than many of its competitors, including the Asus VivoBook S500CA-DS51t (4.73 pounds), so carrying it around never feels burdensome.
With its vibrant color reproduction and crisp text, the Satellite U845t-S4165′s 14-inch display is easy on the eyes. While it falls short of the full HD resolution offered by the Sony VAIO T15 Touch (SVT15112CXS), its 1,366 by 768 resolution does a fine job of playing content in 720p while, more importantly, keeping the price down. Despite its slightly wobbly hinges, the display’s fluidly responsive touch functionality makes navigating through Windows 8 a user-friendly experience. The built-in speakers below the display belt out clean, crisp sounds, though don’t expect its maximum volume level to fill anything beyond a dorm room.
Like many of its peers, the Satellite U845t-S4165′s chiclet-style keyboard’s keys display short keystrokes and a noticeable amount of flexing. Although the keyboard deserves props for being backlit, that doesn’t change the fact that typing on the Satellite U845t-S4165 for an extended period of time creates unnecessary and easily avoidable feelings of frustration. Thankfully, the Satellite U845t-S4165′s ergonomic miscalculations don’t extend to its touchpad, which complements the system’s touch display thanks to its full support of Windows 8-specific gestures. It was also smooth to use.
Ultrabooks aren’t very generous when it comes to port offerings, and the Satellite U845t-S4165 is no exception. The left side of its chassis houses a pair of USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader, and an Ethernet port while the right side features the system’s only USB 3.0 port, headphone and microphone jacks, and a full-sized HDMI port. While the latter makes connecting the Satellite U845t-S4165 to an HDTV a dongle-free endeavor, you also have the option of ditching cables altogether and use Intel’s Wireless Display (WiDi) technology, which wirelessly beams data to any HDTV outfitted with an aftermarket adapter like the Netgear Push2TV.
Although it’s a zippy performer, the Satellite U845t-S4165′s 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) is far from capacious. Moreover, it’s loaded with a sizeable amount of preloaded software. Devotees won’t be surprised to hear that these programs include pure bloatware (links to Netflix and eBay, WildTangent Games, Windows Essentials), an avalanche of proprietary software (Toshiba BookPlace, App Place, Media Controller, and many, many more) and trial versions (30-day trials of Microsoft Office 365, Norton Internet Security, Norton Anti-Theft). Toshiba covers the Satellite U845t-S4165 with a one-year warranty.
The Satellite U845t-S4165′s dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3337U processor is a step up from the Intel Core i5-3317U CPU that appeared in many of the preceding Fall and Winter’s ultrabook offerings. As it were, the rest of its class sports the latter processor, with the sole exception being the VAIO T15 Touch. Consequently, in most of our tests the Satellite U845t-S4165 sailed past the competition. Its class-leading PCMark7 score of 4,834 points edged past the Sony T15 Touch (4,112 points) and Toshiba Satellite U945-S4390 (4,025 points) while handily trouncing the Asus VivoBook S400CA-UH51 (3,013 points). Similarly, its Cinebench R11.5 score of 2.48 points was on equal footing with our current Editors’ Choice for entry-level touch-screen ultrabooks, the Acer Aspire M5-481PT-6644 (2.48 points), and landed within striking distance of the class-leading Acer Aspire M5-581T-6405 (2.51 points).
The U845t-S4165 fared nearly as well in our multimedia benchmark tests, proving itself capable of satisfying users interested in dabbling with moderate levels of photo and video editing. It wrapped up our Handbrake video-encoding test in the same amount of time as both the Sony T15 Touch and Acer Aspire M5-581T-6405 (1:25 each) while edging past the Toshiba U945-S4390 (1:28). The Satellite U845t-S4165 also led the pack in running through a dozen or so filters in Photoshop CS6 (5:20), besting the Sony T15 Touch (5:21) and Asus S500CA-DS51t (5:30) by narrow margins.
The Satellite U845t-S4165′s integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU simply isn’t cut out for high-end gaming. It therefore unsurprisingly failed to crack the 30 frames per second (fps) playability threshold in either Aliens vs. Predator or Heaven. Outside of gaming, however, its finesse for rendering 3D graphics was apparent in its class-leading performance in 3DMark11 (1,231 points in Entry-level settings, 226 in Extreme mode).
The Satellite U845t-S4165′s 54Wh lasted 6 hours 17 minutes in our battery rundown test, placing it on the same space as the top-performing Acer M5-581T-6405 (6:17) and significantly ahead of the competition, including the Sony T15 Touch (4:18). If you’re on the market for an ultrabook that can get you through most of the day without being tethered to a power outlet, the Satellite U845t-S4165 is the way to go.
The Toshiba Satellite U845t-S4165 is a solid all-around ultrabook that boasts a zippy processor, solid battery life, and an eye-catching slender chassis. Were it not for its limited storage capacity and so-so keyboard, it would have offered stiff competition to the Acer Aspire M5-481PT-6144, our Editors’ Choice for entry-level touch-screen ultrabooks. Still, it remains worthy of serious consideration.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS:
Check out the test scores for the Toshiba Satellite U845t-S4165
|Processor Name||Intel Core i5-3337U|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Processor Speed||1.8 GHz|
|Screen Size||14 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||128 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc