Save Your Money

Mar 22, 2013 (Updated Mar 22, 2013)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review


Cons:Windows 8, no optical drive, price, screen resolution, etc.

The Bottom Line: Save your money. There are better systems out there for a better price.

I really like Toshiba laptop and notebooks. For me they have lasted longer than most others. In this case however, I had to ask the same question as you’ll ask when looking at the Toshiba Satellite U845W-S4170: Is a 14.4’’ so-called ultrabook worth the almost thousand dollars it sells for? In a word, no.

First, the Intel Core i5 2.7GHz processor is mediocre at best. There are hundreds of notebooks out there with this processor for hundreds less. The system comes with 6BG DDR3 RAM, 500GB 5400 RPM SATA hard drive, 64MB to 1.6GHz shared graphics memory, but no optical drive. It also has 3 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, and memory card reader. What’s missing there is it has no PC Express slot, SmartCard reader, RGB or display ports. It is Wireless N, Wi-Di, and Bluetooth capable. Basically, almost the same as you can get a notebook for in the three to four hundred dollar range.

Another disappointing factor, besides having no optical drive, is the display. It only supports up to 1792x768 720p HD. Some of the games and videos I use/watch regularly need greater resolution to look right. I’ve seen tablets with the same resolution, and they’re far cheaper. It does look pretty good for what it is, and it runs almost everything I need it to, but for the price I expect far more.

So why is this “ultrabook” selling for 900.00-plus dollars? The Toshiba name, it weighs about 4 pounld, and it has an LED backlit keyboard. For a little more you can get a gaming system that will blow this one out of the water, and it’ll come with an optical drive. I paid 1400.00 for an Alienware 14x which makes this thing look like a Pentium IV. 

The keyboard is okay, but doesn't feel quite right. I'm used to keyboards on 15'' and 17'' systems. When you get right down to it a 14'' notebook is too compact for a standard sized keyboard. Some people can adjust, but I'm not one of them. The backlighting doesn't do anything for me either. I don't usually find myself typing in the dark, and how many people still look at the keyboard while they're typing these days?
The worst aspects of this system, in my opinion, are that it comes with Windows 8, and is only 14.4 inches. I saw a Dell 15R the other day with almost the same features for 299.00 with free shipping. For those of you who haven't yet had the displeasure of dealing with Windows 8 I advise you to put it off as long as you can. The look is completely different, and the functions you've been using since Windows 98 have changed. If you look around on the internet you can find videos and directions to make it look and feel more like previous versions, but it's time consuming. Windows 8, in my opinion, is more designed for touchscreen and all-in-one systems. Younger people will probably like it. I am one of those who are against change just for the sake of change.

Toshiba claims that the battery life of this system is in the five hour range. Well, maybe it is if you're reading a book. Keep it plugged in because the anything more processor and video intensive will suck the battery in less than two hours.

If you absolutely have to have an ultrabook there are cheaper models out there. This system is only a step or two above those little 10’’ notebooks, and you can get one of those for far cheaper. Now, if you can get someone else to buy it for you it’s not too bad. Still, for the price there are better systems. I will give Toshiba credit for building sturdy systems, but Dell’s customer service is better.

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