With a lineup of perfectly serviceable, but not exactly standout mainstream laptops, Toshiba's Satellite line has long played second-fiddle to the company's excellent Qosmio multimedia laptops.
Aiming to correct this, Toshiba today unveiled an entirely redesigned Satellite line, with what is being called a new "Horizon" pattern in a "Fusion" finish. Toshiba describes it as, "gray pinstripes set upon a field of black." We checked these out in person a few weeks ago, and they had a distinct metallic sheen, quite different from the current black-and-red flamed look.
The new models are the Satellite U400, the Satellite M300, the Satellite A300, and the Satellite P300, with 13.3-inch, 14.1-inch, 15.4-inch and 17-inch displays, respectively. Apart from the 13-inch U400, these new models include touch-sensitive media controls, a flush-mounted touch pad, and Harman Kardon speakers (which are already available on some higher-end Toshiba laptops).
Perhaps the most interesting new development is something called Sleep-and-Charge, which means you can plug in and charge USB devices (iPods, mobile phones, and so forth) even if the laptop is in sleep or hibernate mode, or is totally powered off, as long as it's plugged into an outlet. Most laptops provide power to USB ports only while they're turned on.
All four are available today, starting from $826 to $999. Also new, but lacking most of these high-end upgrades, is the Satellite L350, positioned as a budget 17-inch AMD-powered desktop replacement, starting at $749.