I use a laptop for business travel, so I was pleased to be able to order this Toshiba Ultrabook. I find it to be a bit bulky when used as a tablet, with nice features, adequate battery life, and good performance overall.
The device is a handsome brown color, with a very nice "soft touch" back. The big draw of this model is the ability to use it as a tablet or laptop. To convert to and from a tablet, the screen slides out (away from the person holding it), then locks upwards in place. I found it easy to use, although one really needs to use both hands when sliding the screen. On the front of the device are lights to indicate on/off, charge and wireless. The left side has a power button, a volume rocker, a USB port, and a button to lock the screen orientation. The rear has a circular power port, twin fan outlets, an HDMI port, and a USB Port. The right side has a door that covers the memory slot and the headphone jack. On the front of the screen is the microphone, a web camera indicator, the front camera, and a large button under the screen that presses the "Windows" key (which I found useful). The small speakers are on the bottom of the device. When in tablet mode, the screen can be slid an inch or so up to allow one to use the rear camera (otherwise covered). It comes with a mini power brick and 30 day trial versions of Office 2010 and Norton Internet Security, plus a bunch of other software that I may end up uninstalling.
This would be an good laptop for daily use. It ran all of my legacy Windows programs nicely, and the Windows 8 programs also ran well. The computer is great as a tablet (if you don't mind the size), or when used as a laptop. Although the manuals are full of warnings about heat, on battery or external power it never got hot while I was using it, and the fans are whisper quiet. The front video camera is actually quite nice for Skype. Programs opened rapidly, with no significant lag. Sound output was good with a headset, and acceptable from the speakers.
The keyboard is acceptable for typing, and is probably the single weak point of the device. I found that it seemed to bow in a bit over the middle keys, and I would prefer more of a raised portion on the F and J keys to make it better for touch typing. There are small ridges, but they are hard to feel.
The battery lasted a little over 4.5 hours after the initial charge. This is on the default "eco" settings, which features high performance settings for the CPU and SSD, and leaves the Bluetooth and NFC turned on. Also, Windows 8 has the screen auto brightness turned off by default. I would expect that if one changed these, and decreased the maximum screen brightness settings, the time could be pushed to 5 hours. Conversely, if one was gaming with the battery set to high power and bright screen, I think it would last no more than three hours. The device has an "eco" mode that dims the screen at 25%; otherwise it is fairly bright until the screen timeout. Eco mode gets very aggressive below 15% remaining charge, trying to save that last bit of battery. Overall I had to take back one star for the limited battery on WiFi.
What I like:
+ Boots up very quickly. The Windows log-in screen shows up in about 10 seconds. It takes an additional 30 seconds or so to finish loading the various programs that run in the background over on the desktop side.
+ This is one great tablet to use with Windows 8. It is snappy and very responsive.
+ One of the two USB ports can function as a charging port for a phone or other device, even when the tablet is powered down. This is a nice feature for those times when you need a bit more phone charge but don't have a plug nearby. This feature has to be turned on via software settings; it is disabled by default. When the tablet is connected to the wall charger, the USB port can be set to high power, which is used for IPad and some Android tablets, or regular power output. On battery alone, the ports are regular power only.
+ Windows based platform. One can run every Windows program desired with complete compatibility. Windows 8 is another story, and it already has people who like it and hate it. But there are add-ons to Windows 8 that allow it to function almost exactly like Windows 7. So I don't see any real problems with Win 8 being installed.
+ Very good specifications; Intel based I5 processor, with appropriate supporting firmware. This device it built for some major computing. The only real detraction is the on-board Intel graphic chip, which did not score very well in business graphics. However it worked well enough with Microsoft Office. I don't think this device is suitable for heavy duty gamers.
+ Support for SDXC high capacity memory. It is therefore possible to double the internal storage, although at present these SD cards are pretty expensive for 128Gb.
+ HDMI output, to connect with a monitor or TV.
+ There is a Near Field Communications area next to the touch pad. NFC is likely to become more important in the near future, so it is nice to see this feature.
+ The keyboard is backlit (this can be turned off to save power). Very useful if the room is dim.
+ Toshiba includes an Eco software utility that really makes it easy to change the power setting. It shows the power drain in real time so one can see the effects of settings as they happen.
+ There is a power setting for people who keep the device connected to the power connecter more frequently. It places the maximum charge at 80%, to lengthen battery life. I tested the battery with this feature off, so that I actually got to 100% of the battery, but it is nice to have the ability to choose to have a longer life on the battery, especially since it is non-removable.
What I'm not so fond of:
- The Windows Experience Index is a bit low overall: 4.7 (limited by the business graphics score). Processor is 6.9, RAM is 5.9, gaming graphics 6.2, and hard disk 8.2.
- The device does not have built in DVD or CD-ROM capability, but that not surprising in a portable this thin.
- There is no standard DVI or Video output. This is due to the thin design, but it reduces the business utility of the device.
- It is heavy for a tablet. It weighs in at around 50 ounces (1.4 kg for those outside the US). That makes it a bit heavy to carry around. However, I find in use that it is distributed well due to the large size, and it is acceptable.
- There is no built in Internet jack. I'm not sure one could be fit into the thin case, but they could have provided some kind of proprietary solution so that when on the road, the device could plug into the more secure 10-Base T connectors rather than rely on WiFi. One has to buy a USB to RJ-45 device to connect via wires.
- Due to the large screen size, it is pretty bulky. I bought a sleeve for it (no one would want to lug around something this size, and this expensive, without some protection), and it it much more trouble to carry than a standard 10.1 inch tablet. I may well decide to use a carrying case with handle instead of the sleeve.
- The battery is not removable. I realize this was done to keep the device thin, but it means that one has to keep a sharp eye on the battery level when using the laptop function - and recharge is the only option when power is low.
- The power strip is customized for this individual device, so standard power mini bricks (even from Toshiba) apparently won't work. This one uses a 4mm barrel size, whereas other Toshiba ultraportables use a 5.5mm (or so) size. So the only place I've seen a replacement is direct from Toshiba, at a high cost. I usually have a brick at home and at work, but I don't with this model; I carry the small brick with me.
- To take pictures with the rear camera, one has to partially slide the screen up. It is not a big deal, but a bit inconvenient. I really don't think people will be using something this big to take a lot of pictures!
- The GPS is not supported on the desktop side; only on the Windows 8 interface. I've seen some comments that GPS doesn't work, but the Win 8 Maps seems to work fine with it; it shows my location exactly. I think that some of the confusion lies with people not understanding how Microsoft designed Windows 8. The new Windows 8 workspace is completely separate from the desktop, which runs as a single Win 8 process. The GPS is controlled on the Win 8 side, and therefore desktop applications can't communicate with it. That is not really Toshiba's fault, in my opinion; Microsoft designed it that way. I think the design intent of the device is to use tablet while mobile, and the laptop mode otherwise. Having GPS on the Win 8 side is completely understandable from this perspective.
- At this price point, I think a 256 Gb SSD would have been better. 128 GB isn't much room these days.
An excellent compromise between a tablet and laptop. It has it's drawbacks, but I highly recommend this if you need a device that can switch between tablet and ultrabook - and if you can afford it. If you simply need a portable small laptop, there are cheaper devices available that may suit your needs.
Additional comments about the concept:
What exactly is it? With the screen slid closed, it can function as a tablet, but the fast processor and relatively small 3-cell battery mean that it won't last 8 - 10 hours like an RT, Android, or Ipad. Also, it cannot be charged except by the power brick that comes with it, unlike other tablets that can charge from a USB cable. The screen size is 12.5 inches, which doesn't seem too much larger than a 10.1 inch tablet, but I found that it is exactly twice as wide and tall as the 8.9 inch screen HP windows tablet it is replacing. It is portable, but not really mobile.
With the screen slid open, it functions as a netbook, but again, it is heavier and bulkier than the original netbooks (and the battery does not last as long). As a full-time laptop the screen is a bit small. Cost wise, it is more expensive that even the highest end Android, and around 400 more than a comparable ultra portable that doesn't morph into a tablet.
I think this device will appeal to techies, but also be suitable for people who need more computing power and the Windows platform. A real estate agent would find it useful, and it would be good for business presentations when traveling (it could lay flat on a surface) - provided the business projector supports HDMI, of course. The higher resolution camera on the rear of the screen would make a nice video conferencing solution, using Skype and the HDMI output.
EDIT: I found a decent screen protector that covers most of the screen), and I'm using this sleeve.
EDIT Jan 28, 2013: I reviewed this ultra portable hybrid under the Amazon Vine program, but somehow that review, and the entire product page, got removed from the site. I am reposting this review so that people can have some information on the product.
on March 14, 2013
The computer is very light and the new Windows 8 operating system runs fast compared to older versions. Well, I have to admit Windows 7 is great also but this offers much more with the tiles. You have to get this touch screen because trust me, I loaded the trial version of 8 on my other laptop and it's just not the same using a keyboard and mouse.
Granted, it is lacking some apps but more and more are getting added daily. I have tried iPad and this operating system is going to create havoc for the Apples system. They made many improvements with security with Defender and other parts of the system. I love the way it slides back and forth where you can use it as regular laptop or tablet and it feels solid.
The battery life is good and 5 to 6 hours life is good enough for me. It is solid and has a great feel to it where you can take it with you with no worries of dropping it. The 128 GB SS drive plus the Sky drive will hold all my work files and more. Also with Sky drive, you keep all those offline where they are safe in case something happens. If you are in to music it will work for you also.
I am not in to gaming that much but it does most of my games good like words with friends and angry birds. The keyboard is great and lights up only when you using it to conserve battery power. One of the negatives I can find is that the battery is internal and just can't be replaced unless you take apart the computer. Another negative is that I have had to restart the computer 10 times in the 6 months I have owned it. The computer will lock up for some reason and I am not sure if it is a Windows problem or the computer. I am leaning towards Windows and I am sure they will fix that one day
Once you start learning Windows 8 you will get the hang of it quickly because I am learning different things every day. One thing I just recently learned was in the apps you can find all those other items programs that are offered in Windows 7 like word pad and media player and maintenance functions. I also installed Microsoft Office 2007 which has no problems and has been working well. The screen size works for me because I watch movies on it when I am on the road from HBO, Netflix and Hulu and definitely like to see it on a bigger screen than say a 7 inch.
Newest Update: Computer continues to stop working on the touch screen. It stops working but you can go to the laptop mode and then it is fine that way. It looks like the computer is having trouble distinguishing between laptop mode and tablet which is causing me allot of headaches. I sent the computer to Toshiba to try and fix the problem but they found nothing wrong. It is definitely a software issue that has not been fixed yet. At this time I cannot recommend this computer unless you plan on just using it as a laptop. I will keep everyone updated
7/17/2013 The latest update on the computer! The computer seems to working good now and doesn't get locked up anymore. It seems it must of been a windows update or the video update because I downloaded updates recently from Windows and it is working great. I will keep everyone posted if anything comes up
8/28/2013 Continues to work great with no lock ups anymore. The internet locks up sometimes but the problem there is my internet which is DSL and at a slow bandwidth. Love the computer and love Windows 8. So much better than iPad
3/23/2014 Touch Screen totally stopping working all together, did a complete reinstall of the operating system but no touch screen anymore. Warranty ran out of course so now it is just another laptop but sent it for repair which turned out to be the ribbon cable and cost $110 total to fix. Running Windows 10 and have to say I love it. I did not look at other labtops instead of fixing this one but nothing out there beats this for the price. Battery only last 2 1/2 hours and plan on getting that replaced in the future
on April 25, 2013
Update 3/14/15: Reading the increasing number of 1-star reviews mentioning touchscreen and screen troubles and outages from ribbon failure or other causes (known and unknown) I feel very lucky now because mine continues to work so well. The included instructions urged slow, careful sliding on the hinge, I recall, and I will continue to change screen positions very slowly and gently, since this design apparently leaves vulnerabilities--or maybe Toshiba's quality-control is spotty as other suggest--or both. But I'm still very happy with mine and it has functioned reliably and adequately, so far. This doesn't feel heavy to me at 3.2 pounds and the relatively short up-to-4-hours battery life (which I knew about before I purchased, so I didn't subtract stars) serves me okay because I'm rarely far from an outlet, but ultraportables are getting lighter and lasting longer and when I buy another I will seek longer battery life and lighter weight. Those thin buttons on the side are easy for me to feel and operate without having to look and I've gotten used to the smaller, stiffer touchpad too (didn't even try to adjust the settings, just kept working, growing accustomed, but I understand it could frustrate).
Original review: Yes, the Touchpad is stiff and the On/Off, Volume and Screen-rotation buttons (on the left side toward the back, as I face the laptop) are tiny, as a reviewer somewhere noted, but these minor inconveniences haven't slowed me down yet. So, I'm unlikely to push any of those buttons inadvertently and the pad works well enough alongside the Touchscreen, which is suitably sensitive.
Yes, the Touchscreen is highly shiny and becomes "fingerprinted"--of course it does--like most tablets I've seen. Wiping it clear (using a lint-free cloth designed to clean eyeglasses) is easy enough.
And yes, as tablets go this is rather big and heavy--but it's less awkward than I expected. I hope to take it traveling often.
Also, this aside: Yesterday, when I fired this up, was my first-ever hands-on whirl with Windows 8 and I was relieved to realize I could catch on, pretty much, within an hour, though I don't consider myself terribly-techy. The hybrid nature of this little critter and/or Windows 8 must/might be partially behind the double-keyboard effect that distracts occasionally (that I read about somewhere), but I know my confused input, hit-and-missing while learning the new OS and getting used to switching between tablet and laptop modes, caused this weirdness also. Anyway, it's no big deal for me--easy to fix and move on.
Right away I found the hinge mechanism sturdy-enough-feeling and pleasantly-surprisingly easy to work during mode-switching.
The device is too new for me to rate at 5 stars and this 4-star rating is provisional (I didn't subtract a star just for the slightly stiff Touchpad and buttons or glare or smudge-proneness or any weirdness I've mentioned because that's all minor, in my view, considering my purposes); I'm still exploring the features and testing; and I will update this review with further details, probably.
UPDATE February 23, 2015: Finally, I've added the fifth star. I'm still very happy with this and no problems have cropped up thus far.
on November 21, 2013
Bought this product at the end of June 2013 and it has worked for a complete total of POSSIBLY 6 weeks (and that's being generous). The touch screen suddenly stopped working and the techs all tried different methods to fix it. Even logged into my system with the same response "Oh I don't know why it;s doing that..." After my 3rd and FINAL return, they (TOSHIBA) were again of NO assistance whatsoever. Told me that do not do refunds. Thank you AMAZON to the rescue because they were so much more help than Toshiba ever was.
Toshiba tech support was (there were maybe 2 that were maybe somewhat helpful - and I talked to quite a few of them believe me!) mediocre and NOT very helpful at all. Repeated return calls were never returned.
Needless to say, I will NEVER, EVER again purchase a Toshiba product. More than likely, you will see this sucker on eBay in the near future.
on August 30, 2013
I did a fair amount of homework before making this purchase, including several trips to the Microsoft Store near my house to see what the options were for these hybrid laptop/tablets (some people refer to them as laptablets). This product was not available at the Microsoft store but they just happened to have a test unit on site and let me tinker with it (folks at the MS store are extremely helpful btw). I was sold on the slider form factor, its just barely light enough to be a tablet when you need it and its great to slide out the keyboard when you need to crank out some type. I have an iPad but I find it just too limiting in order to really get the best of both worlds which is mobility and productivity. This is marginally bigger, so its not quite as mobile as the iPad but its close. The ability to have a highly mobile, full-blown Windows device that performs as a tablet and as an ultra book intrigued me and I began to research the models available at the time. I looked at the Surface Pro, which I thought was terrific but the battery life was just a tad too short for me, I needed a battery that could last a cross country flight NY to LA. Also the Surface kickstand does not adjust so its tricky to type on your lap to laying in bed, which was a deal-breaker for me.
Other devices I compared:
-Lenovo Yoga 13" - just a tad too big and it was weird to have the keyboard exposed in the back when folded into tab mode.
-Dell XPS 12 - probably the coolest form factor of all with its flipping screen, nearly all the same feature but more expensive and heavier at 3.35 lbs.
-Samsung ATIV Smart PC PRO - very comparable but did not care for the docking station type keyboard. I did not want it separated (Surface Pro suffered from this as well). I've always found with the iPad that the blue tooth keyboard was never around when I needed it.
MSI S20 - Another slider form factor, which is really what I was looking for, but not available in the US at the time. No track pad on this device either.
My requirements were:
- Battery life in excess of 5 hours
- Good screen resolution, HD not a deal breaker though
- Backlight keyboard
- NFC (this was the only device I looked at that had this, though at this time there is no practical use for it until NFC matures and becomes more common so this was more of a future consideration for me).
- Track pad for gestures when using the touch screen is inconvenient
- USB 3.0 ports (U925T has two)
- HDMI out - for connecting to external monitors and TV's while on the road
- Must weigh 2.2 lbs or less
- Full integrated keyboard
- Touchscreen (love Windows 8 on touch, I know it's a learning curve for some folks but once you get it you mostly dig it).
- B/G/N Wifi
- Front and rear facing cameras (720P FF)
- MicroSD Card reader (only the surface pro, Samsung, and Yoga offered this)
- Wireless Display (Widi) - send your screen to a TV equipped with a Widi adapter
- Decent speakers
- Adjustable display - must be able to tilt the display in different directions to suit your posture/seating
The U9225T is the only device that had all of the above at the time I purchased it about 6 months ago. I have very little to complain about other than I find the keyboard (Chiclet type) at times seems to not always pick up my hits on the space bar, which could just be my typing style but it does drive me bonkers a bit. The price point was a in the middle of the pack and it had more features than any of the others. The battery life has lived up to expectations but of course depends on much wireless you are using. The wireless adapter could be a bit better from a range perspective but its fine otherwise. I definitely recommend purchasing a sleeve to keep it in when transporting it so as to avoid scratching the screen (hard to do with gorilla glass but given you paid a fair chunk of change for this the 10 dollar investment to protect it is worth it).
on June 7, 2014
I purchased this computer after my college-bound daughter received one. I saw how cool it was, how fast it ran, and she received it from her father who is meticulous in his research on these types of things. I loved it, and still do when its working. Everything was great until the touch-screen stopped working (my daughter's computer had the same problem about a week before mine did). After Toshiba's tech made me completely wipe out all the stuff I had put on it, finally they decided it had to be repaired. I had it back about a month when it would shut off whenever the power cord was removed, even with a 100% full battery. After several calls, they decided it needed to be repaired again. I had had it about 6 months at this point. I sent it in and they sent it back unrepaired, which I found out after another series of calls (every time you call, you have to go through the entire automated system, even if you have a case number - takes about a half hour) was because the serial number was not printed on the back of the computer - it never was to begin with and they repaired it the first time! Finally, they had me send it to an outside repair outfit called Tristar. They have had my computer since May 21, 2014 and today is June 7. They have been waiting for a part, which is scheduled to arrive June 11 - how is it being shipped, rowboat? Needless to say, I will never purchase a Toshiba product again, and I hope you don't either!
on June 8, 2014
Purchased this laptop as a manufacturer refurb from woot. Included a 3mo warranty.
Versatile. Tablet / laptop functions are both excellent. Does 2 jobs with 1 machine.
Nice, sturdy feel.
Keyboard feels nice, with some substance.
Screen is bright, full range of colors, and with a wide viewing angle.
Runs very quick, SSD does wonders for it.
Touch works very well.
Touch pad has a hard time right-clicking.
Video cable shoulders wear and tear of the cool dual function laptop-tablet. There is a flat flex cable (search FFC cable) bridging the gap between screen and body of the laptop. Every slide and bend of the laptop requires the cable the fold, stretch, and bend with it. This wear and tear accumulates fast, and after only 3.5 months of use I've experienced intermittent loss of video or 2 inch swaths of missing video / lines. Being that warranty was 3mo, I am left with the choice to try to tackle it myself or send it in and pay for Toshiba to fix it.
The company - Poor customer service. All reps I spoke with were based out of the SE pacific and communication skills were lacking. Made multiple attempts at utilizing warranty to resolve issues, only to be transferred 5-7 times and told that they could not fix the problem. Chat / email options non-existent, and transferring to someone who can effectively communicate with me was impossible.
Would not purchase again. Will likely avoid toshiba all together.
on July 31, 2014
The laptop is good. Pretty fast, doesn't take long at all to get used to the screen design.
DON'T BUY THIS LAPTOP IF YOU WANT TO USE THE TOUCH SCREEN.
There have been several cases just like mine where the touch screen breaks a few months after the laptop goes out of warranty. Mine broke about six months after I bought it.
When you open the screen you can see a ribbon cable that slides along the back of it. This is a FLXOL V2 ribbon cable. What happens is the cable breaks at the fold just inside the screen's back cover. In my case, the whole cable didn't break, just the part on the end. The only way I've found to get a replacement cable is to send my laptop in for repair.
According to Toshiba's own website it will cost me over $250 for a "Minor Repair." https://www.toshibarepairservices.com/WebRma/PriceList.aspx?OpenAccess=
My largest fear is that the cable will break further and I'll have a large and very expensive brick.
on November 19, 2015
Touchscreen works on and off. Monitor stopped working when you open it. It comes on when closed but you can't use the keyboard this way and the touchscreen is limited if it is working at all. I hate this thing!!! It worked okay for about the first year, but then things started going haywire. Big waste of money!
on October 5, 2014
Absolute garbage. I am deeply disappointed by the build quality of this device. I chose this over the much better Surface Pro 2 and realize I have made a grave mistake.
The keyboard is the worst keyboard i've ever used in my life. The finicky keys do not always register a keystroke because the force from normal typing is not enough for the bottom of the key to touch the contacts. This is especially the case for the space key. There is very little surface force that is transferred to the contact so trying to press the space bar by the edges will simply not work sometimes. Touch typing is very difficult.
The battery life is very mediocre. Normal browsing and light media playing gets me up to nearly three hours max. Charging is lengthy and frequent. The fan is very noisy and I cannot even watch videos at a public place without getting strange looks.
However, even above this is has to be one of the worst design faults i've ever seen in a laptop. Had this not been an issue, I would've easily overlooked its minor inconveniences. When the computer is converted to tablet mode, the top screen is pushed down and you pull it towards you to cover the keyboard. A small black ribbon is exposed to stress every time you do this. Over the course of a full year, this black ribbon has been slowly robbing my laptop of features. Most notably, after about three months, the touchscreen starting having problems with reactivity and sometimes didn't work at all. Five months in, the touchscreen failed to work at all. I decided to deal with it since I was in a computer-intensive class at the time and didn't have the time or money to get it repaired. Now about a few weeks ago, the integrated mic on the laptop had failed to work, albeit due to the same black ribbon. It does not work unless I angle it at a dangerous and awkward position.
I have about a month left on my warranty. I have heard horror stories about particular customer service with this product and I hope I don't have to jump through too many hurdles to get this thing fixed.
Three words. Do. Not. Buy. There is much better you can get with your money.