Recently, I was in the market for a good but economical saute pan. As a graduate student, I currently can't afford to buy All-Clad, Calphalon or Mauviel, so I decided to buy a 3 qt. stainless steel saute pan from Sur la Table. Supposedly the pan has 3-ply construction (aluminum sandwiched between stainless steel), and it's currently on sale for about $80.
So far, I have done some sauteing and prepared a few tomato sauces. I have not had extensive experience with high-end cookware, but I had several observations about the Sur la Table model: 1) the pan is certainly an upgrade on the cheap hand-me-down pan that I had earlier, but it doesn't heat up quite as quickly as I had hoped (assuming we're only comparing this to other stainless steel 3-ply models, and not to copper). 2) The SLT pan is comparatively a little heavier than the similarly-sized All-Clad pan. 3) The SLT pan has a thinner, more rounded handle, which makes the pan more awkward to pick up and tilt. 4) The handles themselves don't appear to be as heat-resistant, and can get quite hot to the touch.
Anyway -- does anyone else have any experience with the SLT brand, and any thoughts about its performance compared to All-Clad, etc.? So far it seems you get what you pay for -- overall, the pan seems to work reasonably well for the price, but there are some possible disadvantages as listed above. Thanks.