Toshiba Gets Satellite Laptops Ready for School

18 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cortana button, convertibles dominate Toshiba’s upcoming Windows 10 laptops.

The new models get fresh hardware and features, but the real appeal is that all of these systems will be available with Windows 10. All Toshiba’s new consumer laptops will be equipped with a Cortana button and will be equipped with dual microphones to “get the most from Cortana” when they ship in July, it emerged today. Though they will begin selling this month with Windows 8.1, all of the new laptops—from the budget-friendly Satellite C-Series and the high-performance Satellite S-Series to the convertible Radius laptops—can upgrade to Windows 10 for free starting on July 29. The company is going all in with Cortana by integrating a button to summon Microsoft’s personal digital assistant—and perhaps more importantly, dual-array mics, so she can hear your voice commands.

Only one of the pre-production demo units at the launch event I attended was adorned with the new key, and Cortana wasn’t yet active on the machines. Packing some impressive specs as well as exclusive Windows 10 functionality, there certainly looks to be a compelling set of options for anyone replacing their current computer in the coming months. I was told, however, that pressing down and holding the “Quick access” button (the F1 key with a search icon on it), would launch Microsoft’s digital assistant, ready for action. The new systems also boast features made specifically for Windows 10, like a dedicated Cortana search button, which lets you call up Microsoft’s digital assistant with a keystroke instead of having her run constantly in the background. Although it seems like every picture you see in the news is of a class rolling $1,400 brushed-aluminum computers, the vast majority of college kids don’t and can’t spend that much.

The Fusion features a 15.6-inch touchscreen display, and packs up to 12GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive all into a case that is less than an inch thick. The most affordable of the bunch are Toshiba’s Satellite C-Series laptops, which have plastic construction and Toshiba’s new brushed-look resin finish. The Radius – whose lid and keyboard surround is clad in brushed aluminium – has a 360-degree hinge that allows the laptop to be used in a number of different configurations.

One intriguing feature is the Cortana button being included on every keyboard, a physical input method that makes it easy to grab the attention of Microsoft’s virtual assistant — just press it, and she’ll start listening. Its 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch sizes start at $720 and $875, respectively, but you could pay more to get more goodies, such as a 4K (3840×2160-pixel) display, quad-core Intel Broadwell CPUs, or discrete Nvidia graphics. Offered in the same 15.6- and 17.3-inch form factors as the C-Series, the Satellite L-Series can be configured with Intel or AMD processors, up to 16GB of memory, and up to full HD (1,920-by-1,080) resolution IPS displays. The C-series seeks to offer affordable systems that are well-suited to usage browsing the web, working with Office documents and playing casual games, with a set of specifications to match. Toshiba officials said they know most people will use this as a laptop primarily, but having the option of flipping the screen around will appeal to some.

Toshiba said the HDMI port on this model will also support 4K output via its HDMI, but because it’s HDMI 1.4, its refresh rate will top out at 30Hz. An arresting 4K display works in league with the DPI scaling offered by Windows 10 to produce stunning picture quality, which is in turn complimented by stereo speakers by Harman Kardon. Whether you’re watching streaming video and listening to music, or using the system to create content for yourself, the L-series has both the horsepower and the output options to help perfect the experience. Unlike the less expensive plastic construction of the C- and L-Series models, the Satellite S-Series has aluminum for sturdier build quality and a more luxurious feel.

The Satellite Fusion 15 brings a host of innovations that can be used for work or play, making full use of the ways Windows 10 lends itself to this new form of computing. It’s certainly possible to use it much like a standard laptop, but it can easily be transformed into a viewing platform for a group via Audience mode, or a tool for collaborative work thanks to Tabletop Mode.

Versatility is the main selling point here, but it’s no slouch in terms of its specficiations, which include 12GB of memory, a Full HD display and a fifth generation Intel Core processor.

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