Calphalon, All-Clad, and the like make a pretty good dime marketing space age pans to cooks worldwide. They use words like carbon-fiber technology and solid aluminum transitional core to give people fodder for a dinner party conversation. "Ohh yes, our Calphalon 1820 Dicam can withstand 47 days in a low oxygen environment while still conducting heat on the Kelvin Scale."
Forget it. A saute pan just needs to be tough and durable. You are going to be slinging this puppy around like a stoner with a Frisbee in a college quad. You don't need to spend $100 on a non-stick, anatomically correct saute pan. You want this stud.
Now listen, I realize sexy it aint. That blue handle will likely clash with the color scheme of your inspiring kitchen. But you can hide this in the cabinet. This pan heats in a hurry and is large. Meaning you can cook a large amount of food in one pan rather than using two or worse, doing it in batches (which will result in uneven cooking). Better yet, this pan is stick. That means when you cook, little pieces of food will caramelize on the bottom of the pan. This is called fond. Add some liquid to this, and scrap with a wooden spatula, and you have the beginnings of a beautiful sauce.
Other pans I recommend is a non-stick frying pan. This is perfect for making eggs, omelets, fritattas, and other egg dishes. I pretty much only use it for eggs, but occasionally I have fried a boudin puck in it. This pan has never met detergent. After it is used, just wipe it with a paper towel.
And the grandpappy of them all. A big honking Cast Iron Skillet. I call this one Summer, cause it brings the heat. It can fry catfish, sear a steak, make a mean chicken and dumplings, and still bake a cornbread. You buy this at hardware stores, this brand is made by Lodge. Take it home, wash it in hot soapy water, then pour some veg oil in the beast, and stick it in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours. Wipe it out, treat it as your egg pan.
With those three pans (and admittedly two of them are superfluous), the stove top will be at your command. I would estimate that you could get all three pans for around $120. Treat them right, and you will never have to buy pans again.