Review Toshiba Satellite U940-101 Ultrabook

Till Schönborn (translated by Martina Osztovits), 01/17/2013

Cheap and light. First of all many ultrabooks are expensive. But Toshiba use a simple plastic case for the Satellite U940 and equip the 14-inch laptop with attractive components including a Core i5 and a dedicated SSD cache.

For the original German review, see here.

The first ultrabooks were launched more than a year ago. Since then, an impressive variety of models have become available, which are continuously enhanced by several manufacturers.

Toshiba also expand their product range and launch the first 14-inch ultrabook. Compared to previous models like the Portégé Z930, the Satellite U940 does not only feature  a bigger display, but should also attract price-conscious customers. The entry-level configuration with Core i3 is priced at 700 Euros (~$931). Our U940-101 test model is available for about 800 Euros (~$1065) and features a Core i5-3317U, 8 GB RAM and a 640 GB hard drive with  32 GB SSD cache. Its price-performance ratio is excellent, but does this have a negative impact on build quality?

In our review, we will scrutinize the laptop and compare the Satellite to its direct competition. This includes Lenovo's IdeaPad U410 and Dell's Inspiron 14z, which performed excellently in the past.

Case

High build quality, but somewhat non-rigid plastic case
High build quality, but somewhat non-rigid plastic case

At the first glance, the Satellite looks like a typical ultrabook with high-quality metallic surfaces. But, when looking closer, you'll realize that it is not made from aluminum. In order to keep the price low Toshiba instead use significantly cheaper plastic. Besides that, the bluish shining U940 looks elegant.

The especially thin display frame (about 14 mm) intensifies this experience. As a result the case looks smaller than many competitors'. The laptop can be easily  transported as it weighs barely 1.7 kg and is only 20.7 mm high, although it cannot compete  with 13.3 inch laptops in this aspect, as these are often 0.5 cm thinner and several grams lighter.

The omission of solid light metals has a negative impact on the stability. The chassis notably gives in under light pressure at many parts, but this does not have an impact on  usability. In addition, the display's torsional stiffness is also just moderate. As with many laptops in this price range, the lid teeters, because the hinges are not high-quality.

Finally, we want to praise the Toshiba's high build quality. Due to small gaps and neatly rounded edges, we cannot criticize much here and, taken as a whole, the Satellite U940 deserves a good rating.

Connectivity

Ultrabooks often offer only few interfaces. Unfortunately, the U940 is not an exception and only delivers standard fare. Peripherals can be connected to a total of three USB ports. Two of them support modern version 3.0. In addition one of them supports "sleep and charge", which allows charging USB devices when the notebook is turned off.

In addition to Fast Ethernet, it is a pity that the laptop lacks a DisplayPort as well as VGA. External displays can only be attached via HDMI with a maximum resolution of 1080p.

The right side houses most of the ports. So righties might find avoiding disturbing cables more difficult than lefties. Frequently used interfaces like audio jacks and card readers are far at the front and easily accessible.

Front side: no ports
Front side: no ports
Left side: Kensington Lock, USB 2.0, fan grille
Left side: Kensington Lock, USB 2.0, fan grille
Rear side: no interfaces (battery)
Rear side: no interfaces (battery)
Right side: headphones, mic, card reader, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, Fast Ethernet, power-in
Right side: headphones, mic, card reader, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, Fast Ethernet, power-in

Communication

Toshiba's ultrabook supports Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi standards IEEE 802.11b/g/n. The Wi-Fi module from Intel is called Centrino Wireless-N 2230 and belongs to the lower mid-range. While the user has to live without compatibility to 5 GHz networks, the module features Wireless Display technology used for wireless transfer of image signals. Transmission range, connection stability and transfer rates (maximum gross transfer rate via two antennas of 300 MBit/s) proved to be typical in our test. Unfortunately, Toshiba does not offer a UMTS module.

The image quality of the built-in webcam is disappointing. The blurred pictures from the 1.0 MP sensor are already very noisy in daylight. Together with the also only moderate mic, it at least allows video chats in sufficient quality.

Accessories

Like most manufacturers, Toshiba does not include many accessories, just the essential things: apart from the ultrabook there is only a battery, a 45 Watt power supply, a short getting started guide and the warranty information in the box.

Windows 8 64 Bit and some applications and tools, which should ease everyday tasks, are pre-installed. For example, the "Eco Utility" allows controlling the energy settings and Nero 12 can be used to create backups.

Maintenance

Only few ultrabooks can be opened that easily and extensively as the Satellite U940. The two maintenance hatches on the underside are just screwed down and allow access to the notebook's most important components. Apart from RAM (2 slots, both occupied) and hard drive (1x 2.5 Zoll) the mSATA drive and the Wi-Fi module can also be removed or replaced. In theory, the case can even be further disassembled. However, this is only recommended for technically experienced users.

Warranty

The price includes 2 years international bring-in service or on-site service for customers in certain countries. In addition, the warranty can be enhanced for a surcharge of about 65 Euros (~$86, 3 years) or 110 Euros (~$146, 4 years).

Input Devices

Keyboard

Unfortunately, Toshiba did not use the additional space of the 14-inch case and incorporated a keyboard similar to their smaller ultrabooks'. Nevertheless, the  alphanumeric keys of the chiclet keyboard are sufficiently big enough with 15 mm side length. In addition, we appreciate the keyboard backlight with two brightness levels. It is somewhat unusual that the special functions are assigned to the F-keys as primary function (F1-F12 via Fn-key). Otherwise the layout conforms to the usual standard.

In our test, we had to get used to the extremely short key travel first. Together with the spongy pressure point the typing experience lacks precise feedback. In addition, the stability should be improved, but we like the low noise. Similarly expensive competitors from Dell and Lenovo perform better here.

Touchpad

The 10 x 6.5 cm touchpad stems from Synaptics and supports many multi-touch gestures with up to four fingers. The smooth surface features excellent gliding traits and precisely reacts to user input without delays. If you dislike arbitrary movements of the mouse pointer while typing, you can simply deactivate the touchpad by pressing F5.

Toshiba use a Clickpad, whose mouse buttons are directly beneath the front part of the surface. Although the feedback could be crispier, quality experience and build quality are overall satisfying.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Touchpad
Touchpad

Display

While more and more high-end ultrabooks feature touchscreens and especially high resolutions (Full HD and higher), the cheap Satellite U940 does neither. The 14-inch display of our test sample only delivers a poor resolution of 1366x768 pixels, which was to be expected in this price range. However, the resulting pixel density of 112 dpi is on par with the Dell and Lenovo, but limits the screen real estate.

The internal screen is a TruBrite display. We measured the brightness in 9 segments and calculated an average brightness of 220 cd/m², which is only good mid-range. Please note: reflective screens as in our test sample should be brighter than matte displays (see outdoor usage below). Furthermore, a slightly darker area is visible along the bottom of the screen, but this is not really disturbing.

228
cd/m²
250
cd/m²
219
cd/m²
234
cd/m²
235
cd/m²
214
cd/m²
200
cd/m²
194
cd/m²
214
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 250 cd/m²
Average: 220.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 78 %
Center on Battery: 181 cd/m²
Black: 1.12 cd/m²
Contrast: 210:1

The internal screen (140AT20-T02) is based on TN technology and its quality is rather poor. The contrast ratio of 210:1 and the black value of 1.12 cd/m² are standard in this notebook category, but are outperformed be high-end IPS panels like the one used in Asus' Zenbook UX31A.  So, videos and games do not look that crisp and vivid. As so often, you need to spend more money for better solutions.

As expected, the Satellite U940 is only fit for professional graphics applications to some extent, as it notably misses important standards like AdobeRGB (about 36% coverage) or sRGB (about 53% coverage). In addition, the color deviation is high ex factory (bluish even after calibration). But, the typical user will hardly notice this.

U940 vs. AdobeRGB (t)
U940 vs. AdobeRGB (t)
U940 vs. sRGB (t)
U940 vs. sRGB (t)
U940 vs. Inspiron 14z (t)
U940 vs. Inspiron 14z (t)
Color accuracy
Color accuracy
Color accuracy (calibrated)
Color accuracy (calibrated)
Gray levels
Gray levels
Outdoor usage
Outdoor usage

As already mentioned above, Toshiba uses a so-called glare-type display with reflective surface. As a result colors look more saturated, but it also brings about negative impacts in many other scenarios: E.g. the notebook can only be used outdoors to some extent. Also, the brightness even falls by about 20% on battery. So the user would be better off staying inside at his desk.

Viewing angles: Toshiba Satellite U940-101
Viewing angles: Toshiba Satellite U940-101

As a typical TN panel it suffers from narrow viewing angles. Especially when viewed from above, the screen content looks distorted. But, you can move up to 30 degrees in vertical direction without experiencing negative effects. Once the viewing angles are even more acute-angled, the image quality quickly decreases here too.

Performance

Maximum Turbo: 2.6 GHz
Maximum Turbo: 2.6 GHz

Like all ultrabooks, the Satellite U940 uses a ULV processor from Intel. The Core i5-3317U belongs to today's most popular Ivy Bridge models and performs mid-range. Besides Hyper Threading its two cores also support Turbo Boost, which can increase the base clock of 1.7 GHz to up to 2.6 GHz depending on temperature and power consumption. Thanks to the modern 22 nm lithography, it features a low power consumption of 17 Watt. A detailed description of the Core i5-3317U and its Haswell successor expected for Q2 are available in our news and technical articles.

Every Ivy Bridge CPU houses an integrated graphics chip. The HD Graphics 4000 supports DirectX 11. Thanks to its 16 Executions Units (EU) clocked at 350 to 1050 MHz in the i5-3317U; it delivers a performance on par with dedicated entry-level graphics cards.

The memory capacity of the Satellite is notable. Apart from 8 GB RAM in two  4 GB DDR3-1600 modules, the buyer will also be pleased about a big 640 GB hard drive, which is supported by an additional SSD cache with 32 GB capacity.

Systeminfo CPUZ CPU
Systeminfo CPUZ Cache
Systeminfo CPUZ Mainboard
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM SPD
Systeminfo GPUZ
Systeminfo HWInfo
DPC Latenzen
System information Toshiba Satellite U940-101

Processor

If ULV lets you think of slow energy saving models from past years, you are wrong: the Core i5-3317U performs decently and is capable of more than web surfing and office tasks.

In Cinebench R11.5 (64 Bit) the frugal dual core CPU achieves 2.4 points and is about 15% slower than the 35 Watt Core i5-3210M model. Only the significantly more expensive i7-3517U performs equally much better. In practice the difference should not be noticeable. Only those who frequently edit HD videos or high-resolution images or execute other CPU-intensive tasks, should consider a faster notebook with quad core CPU. For example, the Core i7-3630QM is about twice as fast in multi-threading tasks, but cannot be used in slim ultrabooks like the U940.

Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit
Toshiba Satellite U940-101
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi HTS541064A9E680 + Samsung MZMPC032HBCD
2.4 Points ∼14%
Dell XPS 14-L421X
GeForce GT 630M, 3517U, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZ7PC512HAGH
2.78 Points ∼16% +16%
Gigabyte U2442N
GeForce GT 640M, 3210M, Crucial RealSSD M4-CT128M4SSD3
2.91 Points ∼17% +21%
Dell Inspiron 14z-5423
Radeon HD 7570M, 3317U, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZ-7PC0128D/EU
2.39 Points ∼14% 0%
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4511 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
8953 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5542 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3539
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
7433
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5554
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.06 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.4 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
16.83 fps
Help

Storage Solution

HDTune benchmark
HDTune benchmark

While SSDs are very fast, they are also small and expensive. In order to combine the speed of flash memory with the capacity of a conventional hard drive, several manufacturers use cache solutions. Here, two drives work in a special RAID connection, which automatically moves frequently used programs to the SSD.

Toshiba use a 640 GB hard drive from Hitachi (Travelstar series, 5.400 rpm) and a 32 GB mSATA SSD from Samsung (PM830 series) for such a hybrid solution. It is difficult to measure the resulting performance with conventional tools: depending on the media currently accessed, transfer rates and the access times vary from very fast to slow. However, the OS, browser and other important applications definitely profit from the dedicated cache.

Hitachi HTS541064A9E680 + Samsung MZMPC032HBCD
Transfer Rate Minimum: 38.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 253.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 68.6 MB/s
Access Time: 15.8 ms
Burst Rate: 172.9 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3 %

System Performance

The PCMark 7 benchmark indicates how well our system with SSD and HDD performs. In achieving an astonishing 4300 points the Satellite U940 even outperforms the Inspiron 14z,  although the latter is equipped with a fully fledged SSD. But, this result should not necessarily be generalized: apparently the test sequences of PCMark nearly exclusively used the mSATA SSD, which will not always be the case in practice. If you always demand full performance, you won't be happy with a cache solution in the long run. Everybody else will appreciate the great compromise of price and performance.

PCMark 7 - Score
Toshiba Satellite U940-101
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi HTS541064A9E680 + Samsung MZMPC032HBCD
4300 Points ∼65%
Dell Inspiron 14z-5423
Radeon HD 7570M, 3317U, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZ-7PC0128D/EU
3102 Points ∼47% -28%
Lenovo IdeaPad U410-MAH6MGE
GeForce 610M, 3317U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint ST500LM012 HN-M500MBB
2724 Points ∼41% -37%
5.1
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
6.9
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.4
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
5.7
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.4
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.1
PC Mark
PCMark 74300 points
Help

Graphics Card

Intel's HD Graphics 4000 does not only decode and encode videos (via quick sync), but can also run simple 3D tasks. Thanks to fast RAM access via dual channel mode, the U940 efficiently uses the potential of the graphics card and achieves 642 points in 3DMark 11. Here, it is on par with the GeForce 610M in Lenovo's IdeaPad U410 (654 points), but about 30% slower than the Radeon HD 7570M in Dell's Inspiron 14z (908 points). The HD 4000 even performs better in older benchmarks of the 3DMark series, as they depend more on CPU performance.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
4837 points
3DMark Vantage2967 points
3DMark 11642 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Anno 2070
Anno 2070

As is already known from former tests, the HD Graphics 4000 can only smoothly run current games in much reduced settings. Nearly all titles are (more or less) playable if you do, although they no longer look that good.

In Battlefield 3 the user even has to select a poor 640x480 pixels and the lowest detail level. The game does not even runs smoothly (15 fps) in our preset minimum level (XGA resolution, minimum details) and you really can't enjoy the game this way. Anno 2070, Dishonored and Diablo 3 are significantly less demanding and run at 30 fps in 1024x768 pixels and low to medium settings. But, as the results prove, adding a weak, dedicated GPU such as in the Lenovo or Dell, would not have been useful. It's a good thing that Toshiba did not.

Toshiba Satellite U940-101
Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Hitachi HTS541064A9E680 + Samsung MZMPC032HBCD
Lenovo IdeaPad U410-MAH6MGE
Intel Core i5-3317U, NVIDIA GeForce 610M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint ST500LM012 HN-M500MBB
Dell Inspiron 14z-5423
Intel Core i5-3317U, AMD Radeon HD 7570M, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZ-7PC0128D/EU
Anno 2070
-10%
1024x768 Low Preset47.749
3%
1366x768 Medium Preset AA:on 23.820
-16%
1366x768 High Preset AA:on AF:2x14.512
-17%
Diablo III
2%
1024x768 Low / off53.950
-7%
1366x768 Medium / low32.235
9%
1366x768 High AA:on 27.328
3%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-10% / -10%
2% / 2%
low med.high ultra
Battlefield 3 (2011) 15.4fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 47.723.814.5fps
Diablo III (2012) 53.932.227.3fps
Dishonored (2012) 32.126.5fps

Emissions

System Noise

Although the fan runs without interruption, the notebook does not get uncomfortably loud while idle. Because of the uniform and low-frequency noise the noise level of 31.6 to 33.8 dB(A) is subjectively very quiet. If you listen closer, hard drive access is audible (32.1 dB(A)), but also only notable in quiet environments.

Under load the noise gradually increases to up to 42.3 dB(A), but the maximum level could only be observed during our stress test. In real life load scenarios, e.g. 3DMark 06, the noise remains at an acceptable level with 37.6 dB(A) and our test sample is as loud as its ultrabook competition.

Noise Level

Idle 31.6 / 33.8 / 33.8 dB(A)
HDD 32.1 dB(A)
Load 37.6 / 42.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft SL 320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

While idle the top side of the case gets only slightly warmer and only some parts exceed 30 °C. With 37 °C the underside gets warmer. Nevertheless, you can use the U940 on your lap if you just run undemanding tasks like Office or internet.

Under full load the U940 suffers from its quiet cooling system. While the palm rests remain comfortably cool with a maximum of 34 °C, the temperature increases to 43 to 50 °C around the keyboard. Given the frugal ULV hardware, a record-breaking 66 °C on the underside is a surprise. Is throttling bound to occur?

Much to our surprise it is not: during our one hour stress test with Prime95 and FurMark the i5-3317U's core temperatures stay significantly below 80 °C and it keeps running at its base clock of 1.7 GHz. The clock rate of the integrated graphics chip varies between 900 and 1000 MHz and nearly completely uses its Turbo Boost potential. So, throttling should not occur in summer.

Max. Load
 46.1 °C50.5 °C48.6 °C 
 43.7 °C47.5 °C43.1 °C 
 33.8 °C30.1 °C34 °C 
Maximum: 50.5 °C
Average: 41.9 °C
52.8 °C61 °C46.2 °C
44.3 °C66 °C47 °C
36 °C36.3 °C30.5 °C
Maximum: 66 °C
Average: 46.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  56.1 °C | Room Temperature 23.5 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The stereo speakers are hidden inside the case and are designed primarily for communication or background sound of videos, but not for music. It lacks bass and also mid tones, while high tones dominate and sound unpleasantly sharp.

If you prefer a better sound and a higher maximum volume, you should either use headphones or external speakers via the decent 3.5 mm jack (tested with AKG K 701) or the digital HDMI interface.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Satellite U940's power consumption is on par with comparably fast ultrabooks. It demands 6.7 to 10.3 Watt while idle and up to 38.1 in 3DMark 06. So, the included 45 Watt power adapter only has a small reserve capacity for charging the battery. In our stress test (not relevant in practice) a maximum of 41.3 Watt is reached.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.4 Watt
Idle 6.7 / 10.1 / 10.3 Watt
Load 38.1 / 41.3 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

By means of a 45 Wh Li-Ion battery the U940 should be able to reach battery runtimes of up to 4.5 hours according to the manufacturers. However, this value was recorded with Mobile Mark 2012 and not while idle.

The Battery Eater Reader's test (energy saving profile, minimum brightness WLAN off) reports 6 hours and 27 minutes. That is slightly shorter than the Inspiron 14z's and  the IdeaPad U410's.

If Wi-Fi is enabled and display brightness is at a medium level (about 150 cd/m²) the runtime falls to about 4 hours. So, the user can work for about half a day remote from an outlet.

As full CPU and GPU performance is also available on battery, the runtime is relatively short in the Battery Eater Classic test. The battery is empty after 1 hour and 18 minutes and the notebook has to be plugged in again. Charging takes about 2 hours.

Reader's test
maximum battery life (Reader's test)
Classic test
minimum battery life (Classic test)
Charging
Charging
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 27min
WiFi Surfing
4h 05min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 18min

Verdict

Toshiba Satellite U940-101
Toshiba Satellite U940-101

For current laptops barely 800 Euros (~$1065) is not really a small price to pay, however it is for ultrabooks, because of their high build quality.

The Satellite U940 is not made from expensive light metals. Therefore, the stability of the case is not that high, but the plastic case is neatly manufactured. The money saved here was invested in powerful hardware, which delivers decent system performance. If you like, you can easily upgrade many components, which is not or only to some extent possible in ultrabook competitors.

As so often, the display is once again one of the biggest points of critique. In this price range, low quality TN panels are commonplace, but the manufacturer should at least have built-in a matte display so that it stays legible outdoors. As the battery life is only moderately long, the Satellite unfortunately disappoints a little bit in the key skill of an ultrabook, i.e. mobility.

In addition, the laptop loses points because its keyboard only has a poor feedback and it gets very hot under load. The latter is caused by the slowly rotating fan, which keeps the system noise low. Overall, the Satellite is not ideal in office use.

Nevertheless, we do not want to say that the U940 is not appropriate for its target group. If you are looking for an especially light and portable laptop with big memory capacities, you could like the slim 14-incher - among others because of its attractive price-performance ratio.

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Specifications

Toshiba Satellite U940-101

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM77 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, 2x 4096 MB DDR3-1600, 2 slots
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4000, Core: 350 - 1050 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz, 9.17.10.2828
:: Display
14.0 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, Samsung 140AT20 T02, TN panel, LED backlight, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Hitachi HTS541064A9E680 + Samsung MZMPC032HBCD, 640 GB 5400 rpm HDD + 32 GB mSATA-Cache
:: Soundcard
Intel Panther Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: headphones, mic (both 3.5 mm jack), Card Reader: 5-in-1 (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MS, MS-Pro),
:: Networking
Realtek RTL8101 (10/100MBit), Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20.7 x 340 x 238
:: Weight
1.72 kg Power Supply: 0.18 kg
:: Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Ion, replaceable 4 cells battery, 14.8 V
:: Price
800 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1.0 Megapixel, Speakers: SRS stereo speaker, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 45 W power adapter, booklets, Eco Utility, Nero 12 Essentials, 24 Months Warranty

 

Looks metallic ...
Looks metallic ...
The battery is inserted on the back of the case ...
The battery is inserted on the back of the case ...
...and delivers 45 Wh.
...and delivers 45 Wh.
This lasts for about 4 hours in practice.
This lasts for about 4 hours in practice.
The underside of the laptop is not sealed...
The underside of the laptop is not sealed...
but can be opened with a screw driver.
but can be opened with a screw driver.
RAM ...
RAM ...
...hard drive...
...hard drive...
and mSATA drive can be replaced.
and mSATA drive can be replaced.
The WLAN-/Bluetooth module from Intel is also here.
The WLAN-/Bluetooth module from Intel is also here.
Power is provided via a small power supply...
Power is provided via a small power supply...
The 1.0 MP webcam delivers snapshot quality at best.
The 1.0 MP webcam delivers snapshot quality at best.
Its waste heat is emitted laterally.
Its waste heat is emitted laterally.
The CPU is a Core i5-3317U.
The CPU is a Core i5-3317U.
...but is only made from simple plastic:
...but is only made from simple plastic:
Toshiba's Satellite U940 does not want to score with noble materials...
Toshiba's Satellite U940 does not want to score with noble materials...
...but rather with great features at a fair price.
...but rather with great features at a fair price.
The 14-inch ultrabook is about 2 cm high...
The 14-inch ultrabook is about 2 cm high...
...and neatly manufactured.
...and neatly manufactured.
The inaccurate hinges seem inferior.
The inaccurate hinges seem inferior.
The connectivity is decent for an ultrabook...
The connectivity is decent for an ultrabook...
...but the maximum transfer rate of the LAN port is unfortunately only 100 MBit/s.
...but the maximum transfer rate of the LAN port is unfortunately only 100 MBit/s.
While the touchpad works precisely and reacts quickly...
While the touchpad works precisely and reacts quickly...
the key travel of the keyboard is spongy and short.
the key travel of the keyboard is spongy and short.
...with 45 Watt output.
...with 45 Watt output.

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Links

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Pro

+easy to maintain and upgrade
+quiet
+relatively cheap
+good build quality
+SSD cache
+2x USB 3.0
 

Cons

-dark, reflective display
-inaccurate hinges
-very hot under load
-spongy keyboard
-plastics case

Shortcut

What we like

Despite the fact that the Satellite U940-101 costs less than 800 Euros (~$1065) and is relatively cheap, it is decently equipped: Core i5 CPU, plenty of memory and even an mSATA-SSD. This price-performance ratio cannot be criticized.

What we'd like to see

Unfortunately Toshiba had to cut costs elsewhere: build quality and display cannot keep up with more expensive competitors like the Asus UX31A. In addition, the spongy keyboard is disappointing.

What surprises us

Despite the frugal ULV CPU, the notebook gets extremely hot under load, especially on the underside. Even many high-end DTRs stay cooler under similar load.

The competition

Comparable 14-inch ultrabooks are: Dell's Inspiron 14zLenovo's IdeaPad U410, HP's Envy 4-1000sgAsus' VivoBook S400CA or the Wortmann Terra 1450 II.

Rating

Toshiba Satellite U940-101
01/13/2013 v3
Till Schönborn

Chassis
80%
Keyboard
74%
Pointing Device
83%
Connectivity
67%
Weight
90%
Battery
83%
Display
67%
Games Performance
68%
Application Performance
95%
Temperature
62%
Noise
85%
Add Points
80%
Average
78%
79%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Toshiba Satellite U940-101 Ultrabook
Author: Till Schönborn, 2013-01-17 (Update: 2013-06- 6)