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Toshiba Satellite U920T-108 review: Toshiba Satellite U920T-108

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The Good Fair performance from low-end components; decent build quality.

The Bad Unpleasant transforming method; low resolution screen; relatively high price.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba Satellite U920T has a unique way of transforming from a tablet into a laptop. Sadly, it's not a very nice one and together with the low resolution screen and only moderate performance, it doesn't do much to justify the price tag.

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6.5 Overall

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The Satellite U920T is the first attempt from Toshiba at creating a Windows 8 hybrid device. It's designed to let you enjoy the fun of a touchscreen along with a full physical keyboard and laptop components for tackling serious work. By combining tablet and laptop features, hybrid devices could be the answer if you're struggling to decide which to spend your money on.

All manufacturers have their own take on what they believe to be the best way to make a laptop transform. Toshiba is no exception and is pinning its hopes on a 'slide then fold' format.

My review model came with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. It's available now but with the high price of £868, is it worth the investment?

Should I buy the Toshiba Satellite U920T?

Like Dell's XPS 12 and Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga, the U920T converts from a tablet into a laptop. Sadly, the sliding method it employs is awkward at best, making it the least pleasant transformation technique I've used. Dell's flipping screen is considerably easier to do.

At £868, it might be slightly cheaper than its rivals, but it's still far too expensive. It has a rather dim, low-resolution screen and lower-end specifications that don't justify the high price tag.

It doesn't struggle with the essential tasks, but if you particularly want a Windows 8 convertible then it's well worth splashing the extra cash for the XPS 12. The better performance and luscious Full HD screen make it a worthy investment.

For the same money though, you could buy a great regular laptop. Alternatively, opt for a budget laptop for work use and grab a Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 touchscreen fun on the go.

Design and build quality

The key factor about the U920T is its sliding mechanism. Sadly, it's far from the best attempt at a convertible I've seen. To open it up from tablet mode, you push the screen section forward until it sits above the keyboard. Then you can tilt it up into a normal viewing position.

There are a few problems with the method. For a start, it requires quite a bit of room to do it so if you're in a cramped train seat, you'll probably have to make do with it as a tablet. There's no easy way I could find to do it. If you're holding it as a landscape tablet, then the most natural method is to use your thumbs to gradually ease the screen along. It's quite stiff though and takes time and effort.

Toshiba Satellite U920T-108
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The transformation mechanism is awkward, fiddly and anything but perfect.

The other option is to push it up from the bottom and given the rubberised strip in place, that's probably what Toshiba expects you to do. It's still not an easy task though and however you go about it, you'll almost certainly leave behind more fingerprints than an average episode of CSI.

The sliding motion itself feels gritty and unpleasant too, as though you're forcing it to make a motion it just doesn't want to do. The screen folds upright easily though and sits firmly enough to not fold back down when you use the touchscreen.

When upright, you're able to quickly navigate around Windows 8 using touch, switching to the keyboard when you need to type -- typing using an onscreen keyboard is no fun at all.

Build quality is fairly high with no unpleasant bending or creaking when poked. The rubberised wrist rest and solid keyboard tray help it feel like a sturdy machine.

It's hardly a looker, though. If you're big into grey and black tones then you'll be right at home, but it's hardly the most stylish of designs. The carbon-ibre effect of Dell's XPS 12 is more visually appealing or you could opt for the bright orange of Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga if you want a more garish hybrid device.

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