The Toshiba booth at this year’s IFA was filled with Ultrabooks, convertible tablets and hybrid laptops which were all designed with Windows 8 in mind, but we didn’t see much in the way of traditional laptops for anyone not yet convinced to switch to a hybrid design in time for Microsoft’s latest operating system. That’s where the Satellite P845 slots in – it’s a traditional laptop with touchscreen and Toshiba Keyboard , so you get the best of both worlds. Toshiba was kind enough to bring one over to our offices this morning so we could bring you our hands-on impressions.
Already available in 15 and 17in screen sizes, the P845 is the first P-series Satellite laptop available with a 14in display. It’s also the first to support 10-point capacitive multi-touch, so you’ll be able to use the new touch-based gestures built into Windows 8. The 1,366x768 resolution is fairly standard, as are viewing angles and screen tilt, but we’ll wait until we’ve seen a retail model to judge image quality.
Thankfully Toshiba doesn’t appear to be skimping on build quality, using aluminium to craft the chassis. The textured finish felt much nicer than other, plastic moulded laptops, and it certainly gave the impression of a premium product. It’s well equipped too, with an optical disc drive, three USB3 ports, Ethernet, HDMI and VGA video outputs, 3.5mm audio jacks for headphone and microphone, and a multi-format card reader and many other Compatible Parts .
Like several other premium Toshiba laptops, the speakers are Harmon Kardon-branded - as long as you have charge in the system, you'll be able to use them as a portable speaker even when it's switched off, saving you the need to carry extra speakers when on the move.
Toshiba’s standard Chiclet-style keyboard like the Asus K Series K72F Keyboard makes a reappearance – it felt virtually identical to the recently reviewed Satellite U845, with bouncy keys that could use a little more travel. It also didn't appear to be backlit, so you might struggle working in the dark. At least the touchpad was a decent size, and even though it lacks physical buttons, instead opting for an all-in-one design, it fully supports Windows 8 multi-touch gestures.
Although Toshiba has yet to confirm which models will be available when the P845 goes on sale, we do know of at least two variants - an Intel Core i3-3217U powered model with 6GB of RAM and a 640GB hard disk for £699, and a Core i5-3317U system with 6GB RAM and a 640GB hard disk for £799. Both will use Intel's HD 4000 graphics rather than a dedicated GPU and include DVD re-writers as standard rather than Blu-ray players.
We liked what we saw during our brief hands on, but only time will tell whether Windows 8 will turn more people towards tablets and away from traditional laptops - leaning over a keyboard or Toshiba Keyboard Cover to use a touchscreen isn't exactly comfortable. We've been told to expect online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores to have stock in time for the Windows 8 launch date on the 26th of October, so you won't have long to wait if you want to get your hands on one.