The new Toshiba Satellite range includes some extremely cheap 15.6in machines, but check the specs carefully to see what you're getting.
If you're looking at new laptops, including the new Toshiba Satellite laptop range announced today, it pays to keep in mind the mix of old and new Intel CPUs on the market right now.
Case in point: new C660 Toshiba Satellites announced today. At $599 to $699, Toshiba's pitching the new models as "value packed" for people on a budget. At 2.54Kg they're anything but light, but with a 15.6in screen and Core i3 chips they're an alternative to a tiny Atom or Fusion netbook.
It is interesting to note that of the five budget priced Satellite C660s on the Toshiba site - including several with Core i3 chips - not all have the latest generation Intel Core i3 (Sandy Bridge) versions.
At $699 the C660/00J has the newer Intel chip. The C660/03C machine (which is listed on the Toshiba site at $799, but can be found online for $699 or less) has the older chip technology and was announced in Toshiba's last Satellite refresh (though is clocked faster).
You'll find the newer Intel chips appearing at the cheap end of the market in mid-size laptops from the likes of Toshiba (who confirmed to us all of the new Satellites have the new Intel chips), Dell and HP. But anecdotal evidence suggests there's still a lot out there with previous generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, if you can pickup a discounted model.
For those wanting more power, Toshiba has also announced the Satellite L750 - an $899 laptop with 15.6in screen, Core i5, 640GB HDD, and a "cool grey" pattern on the lid.