Laptop Buying Guide

From petite netbooks to massive desktop replacements, laptops are made for different needs. Follow the tips in this buying guide, and you can meet the notebook of your dreams.

Of course, to find your ideal travel companion, you have to be honest about your personality. So here's a little quiz–what kind of laptop user are you?

Q. Do you want to write a few e-mail messages or surf the Web while listening to some music? Figure out the family budget? Watch a DVD movie or two?

A. You're an average Joe. Read our recommendations for all-purpose laptops.

Q. Are you on the lookout for a no-compromise laptop that will power through the day while staying true to the bottom line?

A. Mr. or Ms. Corporate Raider, your meeting with the perfect business laptop starts now.

Q. Regardless of whether you're on permanent vacation or traveling for work, do you want power and a light load? Above all, must it be stylish?

A. Jet-setter, your ultraportable laptop is ready for takeoff.

Q. Late to class? Again? Are you faced with overstuffed bags and an understuffed wallet?

A. Student, it's time to do your homework and learn about netbooks.

Q. Forum know-it-all? Multimedia junkie? Action addict? Do you want only the best of the best? Is "Nerd" printed on your business card?

A. Gamer, find out more about desktop replacements that are prepared to play.

Q. Do you want a tough portable that can work well outdoors and handle unusual conditions? Are you searching for a convertible PC that can offer a stylus- or touch-based interface for taking notes?

A. You have specialized needs. See our advice about ruggedized laptops and tablet PCs.

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