Toshiba Satellite U840W hands on review

We get down and dirty with the worlds first 21:9 cinemascope laptop

Toshiba Satellite U840W – overview

Toshiba has officially revealed the world's first 21:9 cinemascope Ultrabook, and we've got some hands on impressions from its exclusive sneak peek in London last week to share with you. Click on through to find out how it fared in our gadget-weathered hands...

Toshiba Satellite U840W – design and build

The Toshiba Satellite U840W looks squashed at first glance, thanks to its unconventional 21:9 aspect ratio, but pick it up and there's no doubting its premium quality and rock solid design. Crafted from premium brushed metal with faux leather strips for added grip, the stylish design of the U840W is enhanced further by rigid metal speaker grills.

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Despite its svelte 20.8mm thin frame, the U840W feels fairly weighty in the hands, falling just shy of 2kg in weight, tipping the scales at 1.8kg. The premium build quality is however let down by the screen, which has a disturbing amount of flexibility, and felt worryingly soft and far too easy to bend. Either that, or we've inherited some Hulk-like strength overnight.

Toshiba Satellite U840W – screen

The Toshiba Satellite U840W's party piece is of course its 14.4in 21:9 cinematic 1792x768 LED display, which lends to its uniquely wide form factor. Aimed at movie buffs, the 21:9 aspect ratio serves to eliminate pesky black bars, enabling you to watch movies as they were intended in their original aspect ratio.

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The Dark Knight Rises trailer certainly looked impressive on the bright vivid screen and Toshiba's split screen utility provides an auto-resize function to let you quickly fit windows side-by-side, with a standard 16:9 window on the left, and a 5:9 window on the right. Granted, Windows 7 lets you snap windows to each side as well, but it's still a nice feature for heavy multitask fiends.

More after the break...

Toshiba Satellite U840W – power and connectivity

The U840W is packing Intel's latest generation of Intel processors for some serious mobile-processing grunt, along with a 32GB SSD and 500GB storage space. You can even have up to 10GB of RAM for some serious memory overkill, if you're into that sort of thing.

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Connectivity wise, the U840W is packing three USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet port, a HDMI-out port and a multi card reader with Bluetooth 4.0 and Intel's wireless display technology to boot, along with an in-built HD webcam.

Toshiba Satellite U840W – keyboard and touchpad

The backlighting on the U840W's tiled keyboard was a welcome feature at the dimly-lit press event and typing was easy enough though we found the key travel to be a little too shallow for our tastes.

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The large multitouch touchpad packs in the standard swipe, pinch and zoom functions and we found its size to be quite generous and ideal for large-fingered gadgeteers.

Toshiba Satellite U840W – speakers

The Toshiba Satellite U840W is carrying some impressive audio tech beneath its stylish speaker grills, thanks to its Harmon Kardon-powered speakers with SRS Premium Sound 3D audio tech. We cranked up the Dark Knight Rises teaser to full volume, which managed to impressively cut through the noisy journalistic hubbub with relative ease.

Toshiba Satellite U840W – first impressions

The Toshiba Satellite U840W is definitely a head turner, thanks to its rock-solid premium design (which is sadly however let down by its flimsy screen). But with no optical drive for Blu-ray movies, will you really want to choose its unusual form factor over another standard Ultrabook? Stay tuned for our upcoming full in-depth review to find out...

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