Toshiba Satellite U840W-107 review

Price when reviewed

The desktop wallpaper on Toshiba’s latest laptop claims the firm is “leading innovation” and, for once, this might be more than marketing department hyperbole. In a world where it’s difficult to distinguish between hordes of identikit Ultrabooks, the Toshiba Satellite U840W-107 stands apart.

Rather than using a screen with an aspect ratio of 16:9, as used by almost every other modern portable on the market, this machine has a 21:9 panel with an unconventional resolution of 1,792 x 768 spread across its 14.4in diagonal. It’s strikingly different, and it’s a design targeted specifically at those keen on watching movies on their laptops. Play a movie and its pesky black borders disappear, but that isn’t the only advantage.

Toshiba Satellite U840W-107

When we were working on the laptop, we found the ability to have two documents lined up on the screen, side by side, consistently useful. It makes up for the lack of vertical space, which saw us spending more time scrolling than we would on 1,600 x 900 or 1,920 x 1,080 screens.

Critically, though, image quality isn’t brilliant. The gamma level of 1.9 is very close to the ideal of 1.8 and, similarly, a colour temperature measurement of 6,348k isn’t far enough away from the 6,500k ideal to cause issues. Brightness is fine at 344cd/m2, too, but viewing angles aren’t great, and critically the contrast ratio of 232:1 is low. This means movie scenes lack punch and depth, which is hardly ideal.

Toshiba Satellite U840W-107

This is a shame, as the U840W is certainly striking. The wristrest, lid and base are all covered with soft, textured material, and the rest of the machine is clad in brushed metal. We have a few complaints about build quality – there’s a little give in both screen and base, and the Toshiba is a little chunkier than rivals at 20mm thick and 1.7kg in weight, but that’s about it.

The backlit keyboard makes a good first impression, but it soon disappoints. The base is bouncy and the keys don’t have enough travel to make for comfortable typing, and Toshiba has used the sheer width of the U840W to fit in extra wide keys rather than a number pad. We found this made it tricky to get to grips with, and it doesn’t help that the right-hand side of the spacebar proved unresponsive.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions369 x 200 x 20mm (WDH)
Travelling weight2.0kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-3317U
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM77
RAM capacity6.00GB
Memory typeDDR3

Screen and video

Screen size14.4in
Resolution screen horizontal1,792
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1792 x 768
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 4000
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity465GB
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetHarman/Kardon
Speaker locationBeside keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 57min
Battery life, heavy use2hr 7min
3D performance (crysis) low settings34fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.62
Responsiveness score0.71
Media score0.68
Multitasking score0.48

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partiion

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