Toshiba Satellite U840 review

Toshiba's U840-10V is a lower priced Ultrabook

Toshiba Satellite U840-10V
An Ultrabook with an affordable price tag and great specs

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The Toshiba Satellite U840-10V Ultrabook has a theme going for it when it comes to specifications: good, but breaking no new ground.

It's no surprise to see an Intel Core i5-3317U in there, the same that you'll find in the Lenovo IdeaPad U410, Asus Taichi and Toshiba's own Satellite Z930. It offers dual-core power, running at 1.7GHz, though it can go up to 2.6GHz through Intel's Turbo technology.

It's not the top-of-the-range chip from Intel - you won't get the same level of performance as the Core i7-3517U, which features HyperThreading and higher speeds, but that processor is used in used in machines such as the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A, which costs hundreds more.

Toshiba Satellite U840-10V review

Even if you don't get Intel's best mobile processor, you do get its best mobile graphics, thanks to the fact that the 3317U is an Ivy Bridge chip.

The built-in Intel HD Graphics 4000 should be capable of running most games, though will be defeated by the flashiest graphics - but Ultrabooks were never meant to be gaming machines.

The processor is combined with a generous 6GB of RAM, actually besting many similarly priced Ultrabooks. This is more than enough for home use, and should offer headroom for some slightly higher-end programs (or just for letting you keep 600 tabs open in your web browser).

Toshiba Satellite U840-10V review

One of the core tenets of Ultrabooks is speed, and the Toshiba U840-10V has a solid-state drive for rapidly accessing Windows. However, it's only 32GB, meaning that while it will help to make the laptop very quick to boot and resume from standby, it won't make something like your iTunes library load that much quicker.

Of course, 32GB isn't a lot of space, so it's paired with a 500GB hard drive, running at 5,400rpm.

The advantage of this is that you get a lot more space than you would for the money, if the Toshiba Satellite U840-10V only had an SSD (flash memory being much more expensive), but it's inevitably slower than if you had all-flash storage.

Toshiba Satellite U840-10V review

In the end, it's a balance between cost and price, and Toshiba's solution of a good-size hard drive and small SSD is one a lot of manufacturers have used. Much as we wish it just had a 500GB SSD, the Toshiba Satellite U840-10V would definitely cost more if it did.

The screen is 14 inches, which is slightly larger than most Ultrabooks, contributing to it being slightly heavier than the likes of the 13-inch MacBook Air.

The resolution of 1377 x 768 is exactly what we'd expect for the price. While there are similarly-sized laptops with 1080p displays, they cost hundreds more.

When it comes to ports, you get a fair selection on the Toshiba Satellite U840-10V. There's one USB 3.0 port, and two USB 2.0 (which is slightly disappointing), along with a card reader, a full-size HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and a mic-in and headphones-out.