Irvine (CA) – Ok, we got it : Stylish and especially ‘stunning’ notebooks are the trend in the notebook industry this year. Following the MacBook Air, the Lenovo Thinkpad X300 and Acer’s Gemstone notebooks, Toshiba now also has ‘stunning’ notebooks that provide a “premium blend of modern style, performance and affordability.” But then, design is really a matter of taste and we may be stretching the meaning of ‘stunning’ these days.
Toshiba today launched four renovated and two new Satellite notebooks to update its spring product line. These days you don’t have to have lots of industry insight or forecasting talent to predict that new mainstream and high-end notebooks will have some look-enhancing features, either referring to their form factor or features such as lighting effects.
Toshiba continues that trend with updated Satellite U400, A300, P300 and M300 models with screen sizes ranging from 13.3” to 17”. Among those new models it is the 300-series that caught our eyes. Offering screen sizes of 14.1”, 15.4” and 17.1”, Toshiba said that these notebooks are a “stunning new line of Satellite laptops, which have been completely re-imagined.”
Among the new design features a “brilliant high–gloss Fusion finish, attractive Horizon design pattern, sleek flush–mounted touchpad and feather–touch controls.” According to the manufacturer, the Fusion finish is “more than just a graphic element”, but a “is a unique combination of appearance and texture” (…) “sealing the laptop casing in a clear, glossy treatment”.
The feather touch feature is a set of multimedia control keys located beneath the Fusion finish “subtly bathed in a cool glow of white LED light,” Toshiba said. We will leave it up to you to decide whether these two new features justify the description of “stunning” but we believe that Toshiba’s marketing may be going a bit overboard here.
In our opinion, there are much more interesting features in these notebooks – “Sleep-and-Charge” USB ports and facial recognition. Instead of having to turn on the notebook to charge an external device via USB, you don’t have to turn on the notebook anymore. But, of course, that also means that if you forget to unplug such devices from your laptop, the battery will be drained, if the device isn’t plugged in. The integrated webcam has been combined with facial recognition software that “provides users with a unique and fun and convenient way to gain access to the laptop based on a recorded digital image of the user’s face.”
Standard equipment of the A300 includes an AMD Turion X2 TL-64 processor, 3GB of memory and a 250 GB hard drive. The P300 comes with a Core 2 Duo T5550 CPU, 3GB of memory and a 200 GB hard drive.
The 15.4” A300 is available from $950 and the 17” P300 from $827. The M300 has not been listed yet.
The company also introduced a low-end version of its 17.1” product line : The L350 sells from $750 with an AMD Turion X2 TL-60 processor, 2 GB of memory and a 200 GB hard drive. Starting at $600, the company now offers the A200 with a Turion X2 TK-57 CPU, a 15.4” screen 1 GB of memory and a 160 GB hard drive.