Toshiba’s New 21:9 Widescreen Ultrabook Is All About Entertainment

Most laptops are all the same these days, with very few exceptions. But when those exceptions creep up, we can’t help but take a closer look. So is the case with Toshiba’s Satellite U845W, which oddly sports a display aspect ratio of 21:9 on a 14.4-inch display. Now, this means that movie buffs will be able to watch 2.35:1 movies on this puppy without any black bars. So it’s clear right off the bat: this thing is built for entertainment.

But is it comfortable when you’re doing everything else?

We went hands-on with the laptop earlier this month and found a few features that make such a fat, stodgy screen a little more usable. For example, there’s a split-screen type feature built in that allows you to arrange windows based on pre-determined tiles, or custom tiles if you have the time to personalize a bit. So you drag and drop a Firefox window into one tile, and it automatically sizes it to cover the right-hand third of your screen, while maybe a movie plays in the left-hand two-thirds of your screen.

The issue is that you basically need to buy these new movies, download them (in whatever way you see fit) or watch YouTube. Most of our other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu don’t yet support the ratio. However, you can still watch a movie on Netflix in the standard 16:9 ratio with enough room for a little light browsing on the remaining real estate of the display. And certain programs like TweetDeck give you the most comprehensive view you’ve ever experienced, displaying 7 columns at once.

The notebook is powered by Intel’s 3rd gen Ivy Bridge processor, and promises at least 7.5 hours of battery life, complete with backlit keyboards and either 32GB SSD or 256GB SSD. It sports a display resolution of 1792×768 and comes equipped with Ethernet, HDMI, and 3 USB 3.0 ports, plus a sleep and charge port, meaning you can power up your smartphone or whatever else while the laptop is closed and asleep.

It’s a tad heavier than most everything on the market right now, at 3.5 lbs, but with that texturized rubber finish it is certainly comfortable in the hand. This is clearly a niche notebook but an interesting approach for Toshiba to take in a land of monotony.

The Satellite U845W will be available for purchase on July 15, 2012 starting at $999.99