2012
11.09

The final of the demo machines to arrive on my desk is the U920T slider ultrabook from Toshiba. This is a machine that looks like a big tablet one moment, and a classic ultrabook the next. 

When closed, the screen is facing outwards instead of in.  This is a tough, touch screen, supporting 5 touch points.  The material on the case reminds me of the grip on a DSLR camera.  It’s a kind of textured  tough rubberized plastic.  It feels nice to hold, and you feel safe that the ultrabook won’t slip from your hands when using it in “tablet mode” (it’s not a tablet).

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The screen slide forward, pushing from the base.  There’s a notch when the trackpad is revealed.  The idea here is that you are in tablet mode, but you can access the trackpad.  The trackpad is smallish compared to ultrabooks, and does not have Windows 8 gesture support.

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The next stopping point is when the screen is fully extended.

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Now you can tilt the screen up.  There’s no fixed angles; you just rotate the screen until it’s at the angle you want or until it reaches the max, somewhere around 80 degrees (90 being straight up).  Here it is with the screen as vertical as it goes.  BTW, there are both front and back cameras on either side of the screen.

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I had 2 worries about the screen tilt mechanism:

  1. How far would it rotate.  Every photo I’d seen showed it at around 70 degrees.  That’s useless for watching Netflix, TV, etc, when you’re in a hotel room.  The angle it reaches is acceptable as long as there is no overhead light.
  2. I was worried about the mechanism.  Would it be strong?  The photos I’d seen made the hinges look flimsy.  Would the screen be rigid or flapping about and rattling?

The hinges are actually nice thick looking steel.  They work with a silent ratchet to keep the screen rigid so it doesn’t bounce when you touch it.

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The machine we got has an i3, 4GB RAM (max of 8), 128 GB SSD.  There are 2 USB 3.0 ports, SD card, and  full sized HDMI.  There is no RJ45 (use something like a Dynadock docking station) or VGA (use a HDMI to VGA converter).

There was a bit more Toshiba installed software to uninstall from this machine.  They have their own store (Toshiba Places) on there, some game store (also on the Sony T13), and a bunch of support stuff.  There were more default apps from the Windows Store too … and McAfee (uninstalled immediately).

My impressions?  This is a quality build.  It feels solid, capable of being carried about by a sales person for 3 years.  I don’t think there is a TPM chip.  The battery life is advertised as 4 hours.

I personally would like this type of machine as a presentation platform when coupled with a VGA adapter.  I’m wondering what’s going to happen to it when our run of Windows 8 presentations is over Winking smile

This machine caused quite a bit of interest in the office, even more than the Surface to be honest.  Even our Apple people had to admit it was a nice machine.

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