Make sure you’re up to speed on the Centrino notebooks. Within a year it’s likely that they will completely dominate the notebook market and you’d regret having bought anything else. The Pentium M processor at 1.6GHz is as fast as desktop systems running at 3.06GHz, and battery life is nearly double other high end notebooks. The Centrino notebooks are lighter and thinner than conventional notebooks, and the price difference is turning out to be negligible. Here’s a good article about the Pentium M processors and Centrino brand.

Dell currently has four Centrino notebooks: Inspiron 600M, Latitude D500, Latitude D600, and Latitude D800. The Inspiron is a nice package, reasonably priced, packed with features. It only has a touchpad for mouse control – fine for most people, but not the right choice if you’re looking for a pointing stick in the keyboard. The Latitude notebooks have a touchpad and a pointing stick, with the option to use either or both.

The Latitude D600 was my choice – small and light but no compromises on features. For gamers, the D600 only has a 32Mb ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 and I would have preferred the 64Mb video card on the D800 – but that was a small price to pay when everything else was so appealing. The Latitude D800 has a wonderfully large screen (proportioned a bit like a movie screen), but as a result it’s a little wider and heavier.

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