It is impossible to keep up with the flood of new devices onto the market. Technology is appearing everywhere, in every form factor, faster than anyone can hope to keep up with it. The most you can hope to do is be generally aware of how many choices are out there, so you don’t settle for something in the belief that you can’t get what you want.

Take a look at this article, which covers 17 new notebooks. The manufacturers are familiar but I’ve never heard of most of the specific models – and I read about new devices constantly. They range from Sony’s 1.6 pound Vaio X to an ultra-powerful Toshiba, from a carbon fiber Asus netbook to a green notebook with a case lid made from bamboo. HP has the designer netbook pictured above. Dell has the expensive, luxurious Latitude Z, with a huge screen and a vanishingly thin profile.

My shopping advice can be condensed into a few points.

  • With very few exceptions, every notebook and netbook on the market is good enough. Processors are fast enough to run Windows 7 with dignity, manufacturers are not skimping on memory, and you’ll almost always find the typical features that you want.
  • For that reason, the important considerations for your next notebook are size and weight. You can get big or small, thin or thick, heavy or light. The prices don’t change all that much from one to the other, although it’s possible to pay a bundle for style. Most people get a 14” or 15” screen laptop that weighs 6-7 pounds; there are roughly 10 gajillion laptops on the market like that. But if you want something thinner and lighter or more stylish, you can have it if you look a bit harder.
  • If you want something thin and light, I’m still entranced by my Dell Vostro V13. I’m not aware of anything on the market that matches its combination of light weight with just the right size screen and keyboard, for under a thousand dollars.
  • If you’re tired of shopping and just want me to arbitrarily pick a midprice, midweight laptop for you, take a look at the Dell Vostro 3500 – nice sturdy notebooks with a 15” screen and all the right features.

Happy shopping!

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