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Toshiba Satellite U840 review

Toshiba's U840-10V is a lower priced Ultrabook

The Toshiba Satellite U840-10V seems very much to be an attempt to balance good Ultrabook specs with affordability, like its brother, the Toshiba Satellite Z930. It's a noble goal, and one that seems to have managed well on paper.

There are few areas where the Toshiba Satellite U840-10V is noticeably worse than its competitors in a spec list, and areas such as 6GB of RAM definitely push it ahead. The problems only come up when you take the experience as a whole, but they do ultimately bring it down from being a great choice.

We liked

The design is simple, and hard to dislike. Some may find it boring, but we think the brushed slate is handsome. The build quality overall shows little sign of this being a cheap Ultrabook (save for the keyboard).

The price is probably the main advantage here, offering an Ultrabook with little compromise when it comes to specs, for a reasonable cost. There's a generous amount of RAM, and good Intel chip, and plenty of storage (even if that comes with a downside).

The 14-inch screen and decent array of ports mean it's a good work machine, too.

We disliked

There is evidence of the cost-cutting when you use the Toshiba Satellite U840-10V, and in some cases, it's hard to ignore. The screen's viewing angles are a pain if you're stuck somewhere like a train, with no way to adjust your angle, while the poor keyboard knocks back its credentials as an office machine - we wouldn't be keen to type on this all day.

Battery life is the other big issue; it's much lower than slightly-more-expensive Ultrabooks, and again harms the Toshiba Satellite U840-10V's business credentials.

The less obvious cuts, such as having a hard drive instead of an SSD and a lower-resolution screen than we'd like, are a shame, particularly since the HDD can impact performance. But we understand why those choices have been made. The 1.5kg weight is also a fair bit higher than we'd like.

Final verdict

The Toshiba Satellite U840-10V just doesn't quite overcome the compromises that have been made to create something a fair bit cheaper than most Ultrabooks. The spec list is good, but it falls down in the more practical aspects.

If you want something smaller and lighter than the average home laptop, but don't want to pay through the nose, it's a reasonable choice. But paying £150 more will get you a much better machine.

If you're looking for a good office Ultrabook, try the Toshiba Satellite U930, which is lighter and has an SSD. Otherwise, the Asus Zenbook UX31 is one of the best out there.

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 4000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time5.25 Hour
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilySatellite U840W
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor Modeli5-3317U
ColourPrecious Silver
Operating SystemWindows 8
Brand NameToshiba
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size36.6 cm (14.4")
Number of Cells4-cell
Screen Resolution1792 x 768
Standard Memory6 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.68 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR 5.0, WEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Total Memory Slots1
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTruBrite
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-1600/PC3-12800
Height20.3 mm
Width368.7 mm
Depth200 mm
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesU840W
ManufacturerToshiba
Product ModelU840W-10J
Product NameSatellite U840W-10J
Pointing Device TypeClickPad
Product LineSatellite
Aspect Ratio21:9
Manufacturer Part NumberPSU5XE-00800UEN
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk
Marketing Information

Designed for great everyday performance, Satellite range products are affordable but serve up the power, features and portability that even the most demanding home users require. You can buy Satellite products through an extensive network of high street and online retailers.

Maximum Memory10 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Package Contents
  • Satellite U840W-10J
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year