Review: Toshiba's U920T Marries Tablet With Ultrabook
By David Richards | Monday | 19/11/2012
Do you really want to lug around a tablet, Ultrabook and a smartphone? In this era, where gadget overload can become a problem, there are options available to ease the load while still getting great device functionality.
The recent launch of Windows 8 has seen most PC vendors roll out new hardware, some with radical designs.
We have seen clamshell designs like that used for the Asus Vivo Tab, then there was the dock version of the tablet. We also saw the Dell XPS Duo 12 with its flip-around screen.
Now Toshiba has stepped into the market with its Windows 8 U920t, which combines a full blown Windows tablet with all the functions of an Ultrabook.
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Wrapped around a 12.5-inch IPS touchscreen which delivers 1366 x 768 resolution, it's a tablet computer powered by an Intel Core i5 processor. Both i3 and i7 options are available.
You also get 6GB of RAM, 128GB SSD memory and you can easily slide between 'tablet' and 'laptop'.
This is a very impressive device that is both highly functional and like a lot of products from Toshiba, superbly designed.
The tablet easily slides away over the keyboard or you can slide the tablet up to quickly use your device as a full blown notebook.
While I am not a fan of Windows 8, I do believe that Toshiba has delivered one of the best designs in combining a fully blown tablet with an Intel i5 powered Ultrabook.
The wide screen is reminiscent of Toshiba's 'cinema' screen Satellite U840W Ultrabook.
Weighing 1.48kg, the device is not too heavy when you consider that is both a full blown notebook and a tablet combined. Also impressive is the brushed metal and soft-touch rubberised finish which delivers a really nice feel in the hand.
At just 20mm thick the device easily slides into a bag. And because Toshiba has invested in Gorilla glass, you get the best of both worlds: a semi ruggedized device that is reasonably light and durable.
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The real standout with this device is the slider for the tablet and screen. This is no third party slider; it has been designed from the ground up by Toshiba. It is solid, highly functional and above all, unobtrusive.
The touchpad is easy to use and because the device is running Windows 8, one has to only swipe your finger across the right side of the touchpad to bring up access to key areas.
The big drawback is that you have to work this out for yourself as Microsoft has failed to deliver instructions on the home screen as to how the new Windows 8 OS can be used with this device.
A sliding hinge takes the Satellite from laptop mode, which features a LED-backlit keyboard, to tablet mode, where you can take advantage of the five-point touch Gorilla Glass screen.
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The Rapid Start feature found in much of the ultrabook family mimics the quick boot time of a tablet, but it certainly doesn't skimp on performance with this device booting quickly.
The tablet comes with a HD webcam and a 3MP back camera for use while in tablet form.
The U920T has one USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet LAN, and an SD card reader, along with standard Bluetooth 4.0 and Intel WiDi for wireless display streaming.
A power button is located on the left side of the unit; this is the same side as the volume controller and a screen lock.
Right in the middle of the device is a physical Windows home key that allows you to easily toggle back to the Start screen or Desktop.
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As a tablet the device was excellent. I was able to easily arrange apps on the screen using the 8-specific gestures that Windows 8 delivers and at no stage did the screen fail to respond to a touch command.
Another big standout with this device was the keyboard (being a writer I tend to be anal over the performance of a keyboard). With this device the keystrokes responded quickly and the layout is excellent.
The U920T's 12.5-inch screen uses an IPS panel that has a 1,366 x 768 resolution, but because this device has a recommended retail price of $1,600, I would have liked a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 display.
The colours seemed okay and viewing angles were as good as ever on IPS.
This device is well-built and attractive due to the use of excellent materials. It really works as a tablet and Ultrabook and connectivity is excellent. What lets it down is Windows 8. For the price I would have liked a Full HD screen which is where Samsung with their new range of Windows devices has an advantage.
There is no pressure-sensitive stylus support yet despite this, the device is well worth considering. It's also made by Toshiba and that is worth a lot when it comes to notebooks and portable devices.
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