Toshiba Satellite U920T
An underwhelming hybrid, despite impressive innards
Ratings BreakdownEditor's Rating:
- Value for money:
Display screen: 12.5 IPS HD 300 LD-Flat
Internal storage: 256GB (SSD) mSATA
Memory: 4GB DDR3
OS: Windows 8
Price: AED 4,999
Hybrids are perhaps not as popular as one might think. The best-of-all-worlds selling point has been hammered somewhat by consumers' reception of Windows 8. But if v8.1 of Microsoft's OS catches on, hybrids could still see more of the market.
That, we suppose, is why vendors continue to knock these convertibles out. We recently had a poke and prod at Toshiba's Satellite U920T, which initially curried favour with us because of its sliding hinge conversion method between form factors. This works well provided you have room.
When moving from tablet to laptop, the screen initially slides to reveal the keyboard underneath, in tribute to some mobile phone designs. The screen then tilts towards the keyboard. In reverse the screen must tilt backwards away from the keyboard to slide into tablet mode. In both cases, the transition is only smooth if the user has space to accommodate both screen and keyboard, end to end in front of them; otherwise, the device has to be converted while held upright, which is possible, but not as easy, especially on a bus or when flying economy class.
This is a solid piece of kit: sturdily built; strong hinge system that felt like it had some lasting power; and a keyboard that is pleasing to use. But in choosing to keep keyboard and screen together, Toshiba has delivered a device that feels heavy in tablet form, leading to strained wrists and moaning users in our tests. We also found Windows 8 particularly cumbersome to use in touch format.
Battery life was above average and the speakers gave crisp, deep audio, even at high levels. Performance was sharp, as we expected, given the addition of the solid state drive. But we agreed the screen was dim, difficult to see in bright sun and in ideal lighting the graphics still seemed below par.
Given the AED4,999 price tag, this device is a definite pass for us. Considering the next generation of tablets is almost upon us, a savvy consumer could probably pick up a serviceable notebook and a 3G tablet for the same price.