This isn’t the ho-hum Toshiba Satellite you’re accustomed to seeing. Sporting a dazzling new design, the 4.6-pound Toshiba Satellite U405, the company’s successor to the U300 line, strikes a fine balance between sweet looks and portability. Any discussion about this machine has to start with its stylish new digs. Measuring 12.4 x 9.0 x 1.0 inches and weighing 4.6 pounds, the U405 is roughly the same size and weight as the 12.2 x 8.9 x 1.3-inch, 5-pound U305. We love the new in-mold Fusion Finish design that serves up a glossy gotta-touch-it, black-and-gray gradient color scheme; it even extends across the face of the touchpad for a more unified look. While the U405’s styling looks like it was taken straight from the HP school of design, Toshiba adds its own unique visual flair by embedding the power button, touch-sensitive multimedia keys, a section of the touchpad, and the Satellite logo on the base of the system with a cool-looking white LED light that radiates a futuristic feel. The keyboard is equally attractive with its super-glossy keys, but they were too spongy for our tastes. Still, we liked the small, but serviceable keyboard that offered enough room for users with large hands to touch type. The U405’s beauty extends to the absolutely gorgeous 13.3-inch (1,280 x 800-pixel resolution) display that served up vivid, crisp colors when we popped in our Bobby DVD. The viewing area is quite wide as we were able to enjoy the visuals from all but the most extreme angles. The twin stereo speakers produce surprisingly loud volume, but like most notebooks, they lack sufficient bass. We also liked that the deck contains small white icons that indicate where the ports are. You’ll find symbols for the three USB 2.0 ports, an ExpressCard slot, Ethernet, and VGA port without having to lean over the side of the system or pick it up—very handy. Don’t fret, multimedia heads; an HDMI port is also included for outputting video to a big screen. Toshiba also includes a biometric fingerprint reader nestled between the mouse buttons. Although our preproduction unit didn’t have it, upon release, the U405 will sport Labelflash technology for burning images onto discs. The system’s 1.7-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB of RAM handled Windows Vista Home Premium with aplomb, while the 250GB hard drive offered plenty of real estate of storing gobs of music, photos, and videos. The integrated Intel 965 graphics chipset should be sufficient enough to handle casual gaming. Final production models (depending on configuration) will contain 802.11n Wi-Fi, but our unit’s b/g connection let us stream Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” from Slacker without a hitch. All in all, the Toshiba U405 looks like another winner for Toshiba. Check back shortly for a full review of this slick notebook.