Review: Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Windows 8 - it's not going away, people


Unplugged

So there's GPS and NFC on this machine and, unless you make audio accessories, the latter lacks inspired development for other applications. It feels like Bluetooth printing all over again. Personally, I find the lack of Ethernet here a real drag though. When setting up new machine there’s usually around a gigabyte of cumulative updates and a wired connection is going to pull it all in faster. Toshiba touts this Ultrabook as a business model, so having an adapter in the box would seem obligatory when you’re paying over £1k for a Core i3 machine. Talking of updates, I don’t know what Toshiba did when it sent this model out for review, but I couldn’t update anything or even add a new user account.

Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook restore options

Easy access to restore options from PC Settings

The only way forward seemed to be a wipe and restore, which is delightfully pain-free. Unlike Lenovo and Sony, Toshiba foregoes a dedicated button for such a task, as you can just follow the restore options in the PC Settings control panel. If you go for the full wipe, the complete restore is done in around 35 minutes. And then on to the updates, which don’t always prompt for a restart, when doing so would reveal another slew to be applied.

When it comes to updates though, the worst offender here is the Microsoft Store for the Modern apps. I like to monitor the progress of the these incoming apps, but the Store gets bored of showing this and wants you to go back to browsing for stuff it can sell you. Once it’s made up its mind, checking out the download progress becomes impossible. The prompt showing the number of updates disappears and you end up in some no man’s land. It’s not a Toshiba issue, it’s the same on all of these convertibles I’ve tested and doesn’t inspire confidence.

Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Updating Windows 8 Modern apps can turn into a bit of a mystery

Another thing that doesn’t inspire confidence is Toshiba’s website. It has the Core i5 model down at £1078 whereas the Core i3 model that I’m reviewing with an otherwise identical spec is £1139. Shurely shome mishtake? As for those prices, we are in Ultrabook country so don't expect bargains. Also, this Toshiba certainly doesn't feel cheap and flimsy. It's solidly built and at 1.5kg, you feel it when in tablet mode. This form factor prerequisite does bulk it out slightly too, as the screen margins are wider as a result. The overall size works out at 327 x 213 x 20mm, although it doesn’t actually seem too thick due to some thoughtful tapering in places.

Toshiba describes the Satellite U920T as having a “precious silver finish with brown woven texture... on silver metal base.” It’s nicely understated and the texturing feels good in the hand being more grippy on the outer shell. Despite its cogs and struts at the back, the overall impression is that it’s fairly sturdy and will take the knocks.

Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

The line of teeth gearing the slide mechanism could well appeal to Steampunk fans

Indeed, even the slightest knocks can be a problem with Windows 8 convertibles, as screens all too easily flip between portrait to landscape modes. In this respect, without doubt, the screen orientation detection on the Toshiba Satellite U920T is the best I’ve encountered. There is a momentary pause, which seems quite deliberate, as if it’s determining if you really intend to stay in this position. It works for me and as far as avoiding toe-curling frustration goes, it gets my vote on this refinement alone.

Next page: Key concerns

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • VMware claims 'bare-metal' performance on virtualized GPUs
    Is... is that why Broadcom wants to buy it?

    The future of high-performance computing will be virtualized, VMware's Uday Kurkure has told The Register.

    Kurkure, the lead engineer for VMware's performance engineering team, has spent the past five years working on ways to virtualize machine-learning workloads running on accelerators. Earlier this month his team reported "near or better than bare-metal performance" for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) and Mask R-CNN — two popular machine-learning workloads — running on virtualized GPUs (vGPU) connected using Nvidia's NVLink interconnect.

    NVLink enables compute and memory resources to be shared across up to four GPUs over a high-bandwidth mesh fabric operating at 6.25GB/s per lane compared to PCIe 4.0's 2.5GB/s. The interconnect enabled Kurkure's team to pool 160GB of GPU memory from the Dell PowerEdge system's four 40GB Nvidia A100 SXM GPUs.

    Continue reading
  • Nvidia promises annual updates across CPU, GPU, and DPU lines
    Arm one year, x86 the next, and always faster than a certain chip shop that still can't ship even one standalone GPU

    Computex Nvidia's push deeper into enterprise computing will see its practice of introducing a new GPU architecture every two years brought to its CPUs and data processing units (DPUs, aka SmartNICs).

    Speaking on the company's pre-recorded keynote released to coincide with the Computex exhibition in Taiwan this week, senior vice president for hardware engineering Brian Kelleher spoke of the company's "reputation for unmatched execution on silicon." That's language that needs to be considered in the context of Intel, an Nvidia rival, again delaying a planned entry to the discrete GPU market.

    "We will extend our execution excellence and give each of our chip architectures a two-year rhythm," Kelleher added.

    Continue reading
  • Amazon puts 'creepy' AI cameras in UK delivery vans
    Big Bezos is watching you

    Amazon is reportedly installing AI-powered cameras in delivery vans to keep tabs on its drivers in the UK.

    The technology was first deployed, with numerous errors that reportedly denied drivers' bonuses after malfunctions, in the US. Last year, the internet giant produced a corporate video detailing how the cameras monitor drivers' driving behavior for safety reasons. The same system is now apparently being rolled out to vehicles in the UK. 

    Multiple camera lenses are placed under the front mirror. One is directed at the person behind the wheel, one is facing the road, and two are located on either side to provide a wider view. The cameras are monitored by software built by Netradyne, a computer-vision startup focused on driver safety. This code uses machine-learning algorithms to figure out what's going on in and around the vehicle.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022