Five new laptops with direct access to Cortana
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The July 29th release of Windows 10 is fast approaching and with it manufacturers are starting to show off their latest hardware built for the upcoming operating system. Toshiba recently announced five new laptop lines that have dedicated functions to improve the Windows 10 experience.
The most prominent of these functions is the inclusion of a dedicated key to access the Windows 10 voice assistant, Cortana. Situated on the F1 key, what looks to be a normal magnifying glass search button instead is a direct link to a small window that can be used to speak or type to Cortana.
Cortana—much like Siri and Google Now—can respond to commands and perform tasks across the new operating system—such as asking questions like “What’s the weather?” or dictating messages. These capabilities will be improved by the use of dual array microphones in each of the laptops, which will also improve the quality of audio and video calls.
While the inclusion of a dedicated key for Cortana might be the most interesting feature of these laptops as Windows 10 nears, each has the typical improvements you’d expect from the latest line of laptops.
Satellite C Series
The Satellite C laptops are built for the average user and therefore are priced for the budget-minded individual. It comes in 15- and 17-inch configurations (with options for a touchscreen), uses either an Intel/AMD processor, has up to 1TB of hard drive storage, and up to 8GB of RAM. Pricing for the C Series starts at $349.99.
Satellite L Series
The L series is billed for “media junkies” and is available in either 15- or 17-inch sizes (which can be configured to a full 1080p HD display). It uses stronger Intel/AMD processors, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of hard drive storage. The L series also comes with a built-in disk drive, Skullcandy audio, 4K HDMI output, and a Sleep and Charge USB port. The 15-inch version starts at $530 and the 17-inch at $570.
Satellite S Series
Next up is the Satellite S series, which features extra power for gamers and content creators. It’s also available in either 15- or 17-inch variants, but is a multi-touch IPS display (1600 x 900) with upgrade options for FHD (1920 x 1080) and 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160). The S series has a nicer aluminum design and comes with fifth generation Intel processors, up to 2TB of HD storage or 1TB HD and 128GB of SSD, up to 16GB of RAM, and optional discrete graphics from NVIDIDA. Pricing for the S series starts at $719.99 for the 15-inch model and $874.99 for the 17-inch.
The new Fusion series functions similarly to Lenovo’s Yoga series and features a specialized hinge that allows the lid to bend back so the laptop can be used like a tablet. It’s only available with a 15-inch screen—which can be upgraded to a 1920 x 1080 resolution—and includes a fifth generation Intel Core processor, up to 12GB of RAM, and either a 1TB hard drive or a 128GB SSD. The Satellite Fusion starts at $649.99.
Generally speaking, the Radius is similar in features to the Fusion except for a few key areas. It’s also a convertible that can go from laptop to tablet, but the 15-inch variant features a 4K Ultra HD display (3840 x 2160). The 14-inch model has a plastic chasis with a metal palm rest while the 15-inch has a much nicer looking aluminum enclosure. The only catch is that the Radius models will only be available through Best Buy and start at $584.99 for the 14-inch model and $842.00 for the 15-inch.
These laptops—except for the S series and the 17-inch Satellite L—will be available June 21st and will ship with Windows 8.1. But, like all Windows 8 machines, a free upgrade to Windows 10 will be available when the operating system launches on July 29th. The S series and the 17-inch Satellite L will be available the same day as the Windows 10 launch—July 29th—and, like the others, will be available online and at retailers.