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Toshiba Announced Satellite U840W Widescreen Ultrabook
10/10/2012 11:58:42 AM

Toshiba 14.4in Satellite U840W Ultrabook is specifically designed for entertainment purposes. It has a wider than usual screen that's perfect for displaying movies shot in cinemascope widescreen format, for example, as it means those movies will usually fill up the screen perfectly, without black bars appearing at the top and bottom of the picture. It's an odd notebook to behold at first, but the more we used it, the more we liked it, and not just because of its shape: its build quality is excellent and its speakers also add to the appeal of this unit as a purposeful multimedia unit.

With a native resolution of 1792x768 pixels, the notebook's screen looks a little cramped at first. After all, it is the same height as a typical mainstream Ultrabook and you'll still need to do the same amount of vertical scrolling in documents and Web pages. However, the extra width opens up more opportunities when it comes to productivity. You can easily run two Web browsers side by side, for example, which is something that's usually only comfortable to do on slightly pricier Ultrabooks that have a Full HD resolution (such as the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A).

The ratio of the resolution is 21:9, which means that films using the wider aspect ratios (such as Casino and The Bourne Identity, for example) will play perfectly on this screen, without black bars at the top and bottom of the picture. When movies or TV shows with a 16:9 ratio are played, black columns will appear on the left and right sides of the screen instead. A drawback of this wider ratio is that regular photos won't look good when used as wallpaper. You might have to start creating some customised 'papers if you want to make your desktop look good.

The quality of the screen itself is decent, but it has a glossy finish that's prone to reflecting light sources, and this can be annoying, even when using the maximum brightness setting. It would have been nice if Toshiba ditched the glossiness for this model in preference of a matte finish. We also had to play around with the tilt now and then to get better contrast in the image. The vertical angles, like those of many notebook screens, are a little narrow.



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