Springtime laptop and tablet buying advice

There's never a bad time to update some basic laptop-buying advice, and with this spring's new crop of laptops and new components (and some left-field competition from Apple's iPad), we decided it was a good opportunity to create a new version of our laptop buying guide video.

There's never a bad time to update some basic laptop-buying advice, and with this spring's new crop of laptops and new components (and some left-field competition from Apple's iPad), we decided it was a good opportunity to create a new version of our laptop buying guide video. Think of this as a video compendium to our more-detailed Laptop Buying Guide, which covers the ins and outs of laptops across different size categories and price ranges.

To get into the laptop mood, we went down to the new Best Buy location in New York's Union Square (ironically, the former home of a Circuit City store) to shoot, and below is a quick rundown of some of the topics we cover in the video.

Netbooks are still available for as little as $299, but the new generation of Intel Atom N400-series CPUs provide much improved battery life, even if the actual application performance is about the same.

Mainstream laptops -- those 14 and 15-inch models in almost every den, office, or dorm room, now default to Intel's new Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPUs. We always keep an eye out for Core i3 models -- they seem to provide excellent performance at very reasonable prices.

Apple's MacBooks have also upgraded to the new Intel CPUs, at least in the 15 and 17-inch models. They still occupy the higher ends of the laptop price range, but for specialized tasks such as video editing, these are still the go-to machines for most people.

Finally, you may or may not consider Apple's new iPad tablet to be a computer, but many consumers are using it to take the place of laptops for basic PC tasks, from Web surfing to e-mail to media playback. In the end, it's more of an add-on to your current computer arsenal than a replacement for anything, but don't be surprised if you end up seeing more of these tablets in your local coffee shop and fewer Netbooks.

> See all the latest laptop reviews here.
> Read more at our Laptop Buying Guide.
> More laptop talk every week on the Digital City video podcast.
> Need more? Follow Dan and Scott on Twitter.

 

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