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.
toshiba-satellite-u945-s4130-side-connectivity-view
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.

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Performance


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.

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Who is it for? discussing who would benefit most from this laptop...

  • Student
    Considering the relatively small performance needs of a typical student I think the Toshiba Satellite U945-S4130 is a very good choice with enough RAM, storage space and with Rapid Start ready to use in seconds. It is good looking, with a scratch resistant exterior, I am sure it will become a very good companion when going to class.

  • Casual User
    As in the case of a student, a casual users performance needs are relatively low. This device will definitely perform anything a casual user can throw at it. The only thing with this device is that for this price, you can get something with a lot more power and a sturdier case. If on the other hand you want something thin and lightweight so you can bring it with you anywhere then it is a very good choice. You might need to buy an external DVD drive for your older data.

  • Business User
    Ultrabooks are usually the prefect match for the needs of business users. The Toshiba Satellite U945-S4130 doesn't disappoint in this regard , it is small, light, has decent performance and is highly mobile. As I have said previously I think that the 4.5 Hours declared battery life is on the safe side, but I also think that even if it is that much it is enough for on the go productivity. The thing missing from this Ultrabook is Bluetooth and this might become a problem for some business users. You can buy a very small USB Bluetooth dongle for around 15$ and fix this problem easily.

PROs Vs. CONs

The Toshiba Satellite U945-S4130 offers a very good package for those looking for a cheap stylish Ultrabook. It comes with all the goodies typical for this type of device. Mobility and performance are the main characteristics of this device.

Surprisingly this Ultrabook has no Bluetooth witch has been a standard on laptops for many years. Unsurprisingly it has no optical drive and no VGA out. These are the thing you have to pay for if you want such a thin device.



Summary

The Toshiba Satellite U945-S4130 is a very good entry level Ultrabook with almost all of the Ultrabook goodies attached. It has an SSD, it is very thin and stylish and it also is, thanks to it's ULV Intel core i3 Processor a very mobile device. The performance is not something to boast about, but I will handle everyday computing without a problem. This is an overall balanced package, with enough RAM for the CPU performance and plenty of storage space.
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Technical Details

Processor Intel Core i3-3227U 1.9 GHz
Video Card Intel® HD 4000 graphics
RAM Memory 4 GB DDR3
Audio Built-in stereo speakers with SRS Premium Sound 3D audio enhancement
Operating System Windows 8
Display 14.0-inch 1366 x 768px
Storage Drive 500 GB & 32GB SSD 5400rpm
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
USB 2.0 Ports 1
USB 3.0 Ports 2
Built-in Camera 1 MP
Built-in Microphone Yes
Optical Drive none
Memory Card Reader Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Headphone-out Yes
VGA-out -
HDMI-out Yes
LAN-out Yes
Color Ice Blue
Width 13.40 in.
Depth 9.40 in.
Height 0.82 in.
Weight 4.1 lbs.
Battery Life Up to 4.5 hours
Warranty 1-Year limited warranty

Updated on April 3rd, 2017

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