Take a stroll through the laptop section at Best Buy recently? If you have, you know Toshiba's got a firm stronghold on the cheapie notebook market. The thing is, $400 systems don't exactly offer high margins -- a problem when people aren't buying that many PCs to begin with. And besides, who wants to be known for shoddy build quality and ho-hum designs? Not Toshiba, anyway. The suits in Tokyo were so fed up with the company's low-rent reputation that they decided to launch a premium line to prove Toshiba is indeed capable of making high-end machines. That line is called Kira, though for now there's just one product to speak of: the Kirabook, a 13-inch ultraportable starting at $1,600.
For the money, you get a mix of modern design, top-shelf components and a whole lot of sucking-up from Toshiba's technical support. Topping the list is a 2,560 x 1,440 display, making this the first Windows Ultrabook to sport such a high-res screen. (We've already seen similar panels on the Chromebook Pixel and the Retina display MacBooks.) Additionally, users receive two years of warranty coverage and a dedicated support line, with near-instant pick-up times and a US-based staff (something customers have been asking for, says Toshiba). Also included: full versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 and Premiere Elements 11, along with 25GB of online storage and a two-year Norton subscription -- something HP already bundles on select machines. The Kirabook will be sold in the US, Japan and Australia, with prices ranging from $1,600 to $2,000. It'll ship May 12th and go up for pre-order on May 3rd, but for now, we've got a detailed walk-through video waiting after the break, along with some early impressions. So come join us -- because who doesn't enjoy laptop porn?