Notebooks come in a remarkable array of sizes and weights. That’s become the most important decision before going shopping – there’s a far wider range than you’d guess from the lineup of similar 5-6 pound models at CompUSA.

At one end are the 9 pound behemoths with huge screens for movies and games that will have you calling for a chiropractor before you finish carrying it down to the plane.

And at the other end is a category that must be seen to be appreciated, the ultraportable. This new Toshiba Portege R500 is just amazing – 8 1/2″ by 11″ by 0.7″, weighing 2.4 pounds. That’s seriously small and light! Yet it has a 12″ screen, a nearly full-size keyboard, 120Gb hard drive, and a built-in DVD burner. Definitely a conversation piece. Here’s a longer review of the Portege.

Personally I just ordered a Dell Latitude D630 – still small and light (4 1/2 pounds), but a little thicker to accommodate a 14″ screen.

Happy shopping!

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