Which laptop should I buy? I get this question a lot, from CNET readers, friends, neighbors, friends of friends, and assorted relatives. Makes sense, since a large chunk of my workday is spent reviewing laptops.
I typically respond to this inquiry by first asking about one's intended purposes for a new laptop. Gaming? Serious design work? Heavy travel? Just getting on the Web at home? Then my follow-up question: how much do you want to spend? My line of questioning undoubtedly frustrates the questioner, who is looking for a single laptop recommendation from me.
Since there is no one answer to this question, I thought it might be helpful to tell you which laptop(s) I would buy should I be in the market today for a new laptop.
The last laptop I bought was my first Apple product outside of an iPod when I bought a
I've been pretty pleased with it so far, other than the fact that I have had to send it in for repair--broken mouse button (thankfully, I called a few days before the warranty expired).
But if I were do it again and had roughly $1,350 to spend on a laptop (I bought my MacBook last year for $1,348), I might buy two. Instead of one, general-purpose 13-inch laptop like the MacBook (or the $1,099
Then I'd want a roomy desktop replacement for home entertainment, a system I could use to store, manage, and enjoy my multitude of media: music, movies, photos, and home videos.
Disclaimer: there are plenty of good budget laptops that would do the trick for mainstream buyers for half of my proposed budget, of course. The above argument presupposes you have $1,350 to throw at a laptop.
For $649, the
OK, back to the two-instead-of-one plan.
For a Netbook, I'd select
I would then pair the Mini 1000 with
Though its HDMI port would make outputting Blu-ray movies to my HDTV a snap, I wouldn't list a Blu-ray drive as a must-have on my next laptop. I'm relatively pleased with Comcast's slowly expanding HD offerings for my living room hi-def movie needs. And for movie watching on the Gateway MC780u itself, I personally don't see much of a difference between Blu-ray and DVD image quality on a small, 16-inch screen. Plus, the screen resolution falls short of 1080p anyway. And since my gaming needs are met by an Xbox 360, the integrated graphics aren't too great a disappointment, especially given the price.
So, there you have it. Go big. And go small.
What do you think of my two-laptops-under-one-roof idea? And if someone were to ask you this very question--which laptop should I buy?--what would you tell them?