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Toshiba launches 19 new laptops for back to school

The new Satellite laptops include face recognition security

Toshiba Canada is going big for back to school with 19 new laptops for its Satellite lineup that run the gambit from ultra portable models to true desktop replacement models.

“If there’s a screen size or a form factor we have one for everybody,” said Mini Saluja, product manager with Toshiba Canada.

With 19 new models, available now thru the Toshiba channel and its retail partners, the selection can seem overwhelming. However, Saluja says it’s easy to quickly narrow the selection down based on what you’re looking for: an ultra-portable for note-taking in lectures, a machine with some multi-media heft, a desktop replacement, or a more general-purpose machine. Within each form factor category, there are choices with different hardware configurations.

“All of them are targeting different markets,” said Saluja. “Once you decide what you need you go in and tweak within that series of products.”

In the ultra portable category Toshiba has two families, the Satellite M300 and the Satellite U400. The m300 comes with a 14.1” display, HDMI-CEC ports for digital connectivity, and a mercury silver casing. It includes three models, from $829 to $1049. The U400 is a little smaller, weighing 4.6 lbs. with a 13.3” display, mercury silver casing, and DVD drive. It includes two models, at $879 and $999.

The meat of the line-up, says Saluja, is the all-in-one Satellite A300 line that aims to balance portability and functionality. The form factor includes a mercury silver casing, glossy black keyboard, 15.4” display and HDMI-CEC ports. Suggested pricing on the four models in the family ranges from $849 to $1,149.

“With the A300 you get the performance you need and it’s not too heavy, and it has a nice screen size,” said Saluja. “It’s a perfect balance between the three components.”

For the more multimedia-intensive users Toshiba offers the P300 line, which boasts a mercury silver finish, a super-multi double layer disk drive, and a 17” screen. It includes three models from $899 to $1149.

And finally, in the desktop replacement category Toshiba has the Satellite L300 and the Satellite L350 lines. The L350 features an onyx blue casing and a 17” display, weighing-in at 6.9 lbs. The L300 has an aluminum silver case and a 15.4” display, weighing 5.49 lbs. These lines include seven models priced from $629 to $849.

The various models include an integrated Web cam and Toshiba’s Face Recognition software. It’s the first time facial recognition has been brought to the Satellite line, says Saluja, and it brings an added level of security.

“It works so well, I think it works even better than fingerprint scanning,” said Saluja. The software takes a 3D model of your face and stores it to your profile, so you don’t need to remember a password or scan your finger. It needs to be a 3D model, she adds, so holding up a picture of someone’s face won’t beat the system. “It’s an added measure of security, if it doesn’t see you in the database it will say face not recognized.

Select models also include Toshiba’s Sleep n’Charge ports, which allow users to charge their USB devices even when the computer is turned-off or in safe mode.

“When I talk to people they say ‘yep, that’s what I need,’” said Saluja. “As long as my computer is plugged in it will charge my device; it’s really practical.”

With the back to school season really starting to heat-up next month, Saluja says more and more students are turning to laptops as their computing choice, leveraging the benefits the mobile form factor allows.

“They’re starting even at younger ages, some of the high schools and private schools are encouraging students to have notebooks on loan for the year,” said Saluja. “It’s becoming more and more popular. We do see there’s more of a demand for notebooks.”