Performance is right where you would expect, solidly in the middle of the Ultrabook class. Ultrabooks are approaching CULV levels of dull performance metrics—all of them perform roughly the same, because there are only a handful of CPU parts (only three of which are commonly seen in review units) and they’ve all got roughly the same baseline performance specs otherwise (the differences between 4GB and 6GB RAM are rarely statistically significant in our benchmark suite). Obviously, some Ultrabooks come with optional dedicated graphics cards, like the ASUS Zenbook UX32Vd and Acer TimelineU M5, but other than that, the spec sheet a lot of times boils down to SSD vs cached HDD. Here's our current list of candidates:

Laptop Configuration Overview
Laptop CPU Graphics Storage Battery
Acer TimelineU M3 Intel i7-2637M GT640M/HD3000 256GB SSD 55Wh
AMD Trinity Prototype AMD A10-4600M HD7660G 128GB SSD 56Wh
ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A Intel i7-3517U HD4000 256GB SSD 35Wh
ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Intel i7-3517U HD4000 256GB SSD 50Wh
ASUS Zenbook UX31E Intel i7-2677M HD3000 256GB SSD 48Wh
Clevo W110ER Intel i7-3720QM GT650M/HD4000 750GB Hybrid 62Wh
Dell XPS 13 Intel i7-2637M HD3000 256GB SSD 47Wh
HP Envy 14 Spectre Intel i7-3667U HD4000 2x128GB SSDs 56Wh
HP Folio 13 Intel i5-2467M HD3000 128GB SSD 60Wh
Ivy Bridge Ultrabook Prototype Intel i5-3427U HD4000 240GB SSD 47Wh
Toshiba Satellite U845 Intel i5-3317U HD4000 500GB+32GB SSD 54Wh

The U845 falls at the midlevel of the class, with the i5-3317U, a 1.7GHz dual core 17W Ivy Bridge part with a max turbo clock of 2.6GHz and a GPU clock of 1.05GHz. This is the standard CPU in sub-$1000 Ultrabooks, and typically the only step lower would be the SNB i3 or i5 that’s used in the base U845 and other entry level systems. Performance is adequate if uninspiring, with the lack of a dedicated SSD definitely being noticeable during regular use.

Cinebench R11.5—Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5—Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD Benchmark—First Pass

x264 HD Benchmark—Second Pass

Toshiba has always been pretty bad at bloatware, so much so that I once wrote them a letter about it halfway through my review of the Portege R700. Unfortunately, things have not gotten too much better since then, with Toshiba loading the U845 with a Norton Internet Security trial, NetZero, and about 30 different Toshiba utilities that are for the most part pointless. (Okay so I went back and counted—the actual number is 29, but close enough right?) Of those 29, I’d say they could dump about 18-20 of them. This is 2012, bloatware should not be acceptable as standard operating procedure when selling a computer. Microsoft’s Signature optimization on PC hardware sold at the Microsoft Store proves that. There is simply no excuse.

Toshiba Satellite U845: Design Toshiba Satellite U845: Battery Life
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  • chrnochime - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Why bother coming to the comment section anyway if the product disappoints you so much? Reply
  • flashbacck - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    because we have the very slimmest of hopes that laptop designers will see the comment and consider for their next design?

    Probably not. But we can hope!
    Reply
  • Galcobar - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Count me in on the thin hope of a manufacturer reading the review and noticing the universal disdain for such a poor screen.

    I'll pay the extra $50 to get a decent screen. Workloads vary, but what makes for a good user interface really doesn't. I want thin and light, but I refuse to purchase a computer with a screen which will so greatly hamper my productivity.
    Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately, we AT readers are the 1%. 99% of people don't really care about screen quality.

    Infact 90% of them don't even know what screen resolution even is.
    Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    I agree. This trend will never be mended unless the people that spec new laptops hear people's complaints about these things. Reply
  • howneat - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    1366x768 just doesn't cut it these days. If the low end ultrabooks had 1440x900 displays they'd be worth a look. Reply
  • KillerFry - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    Agreed!

    I too saw the resolution and moved along, nothing to see here.
    Reply
  • Marburg U - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    I know it sounds boring, but i stopped at "768p".

    My Acer from 2004 came with a 1280x1024 screen, which is 1.25 times more than 95% of modern laptops displays.
    Reply
  • The0ne - Monday, October 08, 2012 - link

    The first thing I look for is the display spec. Nothing else matters as much to me anymore. It is a shame but what can one do. Reply
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - link

    My workplace has a Toshiba laptop floating around, screen size in the vicinity of 15", that has a resolution of 1600x1200. I'm happy with my 1600x900 14" laptop, but you look at what used to be out there and you're like, "WHAT HAPPENED!?" Reply

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