Toshiba Satellite U945-S4130 Review
Considering that Ultrabooks are getting more affordable every day, I decided to take a look at the new Toshiba Satellite U945-S4130 available at the moment for just under 520$. Considering that this isn’t a lot of money for an Ultrabook let’s see what you actually get.
The Toshiba Satellite U945-S4130 is a very thin Ultrabook just 0.78-inches tall, with a textured light blue finish and a brushed aluminum palmrest. The overall finish seems to be very good on this device. The brushed aluminum palmrest means that it will give a cooling effect while typing which is a nice thing to have. The design of the inside is simple with a contrast between the mat black raised-tile keyboard and the light blue cover. I have to say I find this color combination very good. The textured finish on the entire surface will keep those pesky fingerprints and minor scratches at bay ensuring that it will look just as new even in one years time. The brushed aluminum palmrest will also be able to cope very well with scratches from wristwatches and rings and will most likely not get discolored after intense use.
The illuminated keyboard might not be for everyone and will pose a problem in low light conditions but I am sure it can be turned off at any time.
There are plenty of connectivity ports, with USB 3.0, HDMI, headphones and microphone out, ethernet and card reader. The only thing missing is a VGA output. There are adapters available for HDMI to VGA conversions but this would have been a nice thing to have. I guess with it they wouldn’t have been able to make it this thin.
The USB ports also come with the sleep charge function, allowing you to charge you smartphone from the Ultrabook while it is shutdown.
Also missing from this laptop is Bluetooth connectivity witch is very surprising. I have noticed that a many laptops these days don’t have it, I’m guessing manufacturers are weeding it off, but I’m not sure what they’re replacing it with.
Just as most of the Ultrabooks out there the Toshiba Satellite U945-S4130 has no optical drive. This is no longer a problem these days when you can download everything online, but in some instances, especially in working environments it becomes a necessity. You can buy an external USB optical drive and plug it in when you need it. They range from 20-35$ and are very compact, stylish and don’t need an external power source.
Now let’s take a look on the inside and see what we get for such a low price. The Toshiba Satellite U945-S4130 comes with a 1.9 GHz Intel Core i3-3227U ultra-low voltage, dual-core processor which means it will definitely not get very hot or use a lot of energy, resulting in very good battery life. Intel’s ULV processors have shown in the past that they also have a lot of performance even if they need very little energy and are, in my view, a very good choice for anyone, even if you are not looking for high mobility.
This device has hybrid storage, with a 500 GB 5400 rpm HDD and a 32 GB SSD. This combination is used for the users who want the speed of a SSD but also require a lot of storage space. The SSD acts as a cache drive and stores the most frequently used applications on it so they start instantly. This also means that the Toshiba Satellite U945-S4130 also has Intel Rapid Start and Intel Rapid Storage technology. This device can start and be ready to use in mere seconds thanks to this technology.
The RAM preinstalled on the device is relatively average at just 4 GB DDR 3 but it can be upgraded any time to 8 GB if needed.
Tipical for an Ultrabook priced so low this device has no dedicated video card. It comes with the Intel HD 4000 graphics card which is capable enough for everyday usage and some very limited gaming. On the plus side this also means the battery life should be good.
While we are on the subject, Toshiba has declared a battery life for this Ultrabook of up to 4.5 hours. This seems very low to me, considering that the ULV Intel Core i3 has a maximum TDP of 17W, and the battery pack has 4-cells and 45Wh. It should last 2.5 hours under full load by my calculations. I guess Toshiba decided to go on the safe side when they declared that battery life. Also the 4-cell battery pack is built into the case and can not be taken out or replaced without opening it. I think it is capable of 5+ hours of battery life considering the available performance.