Now playing: Watch this: Mainstream gets thinner with Toshiba Satellite S955
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Nestled in the middle of Toshiba's spectrum of laptop lines, the Satellite S has represented the larger-screened mainstream: a solid set of specs in a bigger chassis for a reasonable price, with a heft that's a far cry from "ultrabook."

Toshiba

Are thinner laptops and tablets changing our expectations for laptops? I know it's affecting me. I prefer that bigger systems get thinner if possible, and that's exactly what the new Toshiba Satellite S955 aims to do.

Toshiba

The 15.6-inch laptop is less than an inch thick and weighs as little as 5 pounds, clad in a brushed-aluminum finish. The S955 lays flat and has a notable lack of any bulge when closed, a change from previous, more-curved Satellites. Inside, a wide, spacious keyboard and touch pad use the ample space wisely, and the whole laptop has a clean design.

Two USB 3.0 ports (one of which has USB Sleep and Charge), a single USB 2.0 port, HDMI, a DVD drive, and Bluetooth 4.0 are all standard. Processor options include either a third-gen Intel Core i5 ULV or AMD A8, accompanied with up to 8GB of RAM and up to a 750GB hard drive.

Scott Stein/CNET

The Satellite S955, like other Windows 8 launch laptops, has been optimized with gesture support, as well as a few new Toshiba apps aimed at aiding the Windows 8-apprehensive, including a launcher-like Desktop Assist. If this is a look at where affordable mainstream laptops are headed next, it's smart...and necessary.

The Toshiba Satellite S955 will be available on October 26, for the launch of Windows 8.