You can easily get under the $1300-$1400 range with the Compaq X1000/HPZT3000 (when ordering custom with $100 eebate through 9/1/04, possible 12% employer EPP discount, 5% Fatcash discount, etc (see X1000forums.com) and the 15.4" widescreen is great for DVD's but they are 6.5 pounds due to the 15.4" widescreen (Pentium M Centrino).
Believe it or not, it is more expensive to get a smaller LCD (14.1" is still business standard) as they are in the business and not consumer lines.
You might like the 13.3" Fujitsu models - the only drawback is they have integrated (Shared) video but if you really won't play games or use other demanding programs these are nice. They are made in Japan and are at Fry's Electronics (Southwest) or online. They have the Crystal View Screen technology similar to Sony Xbrite --but you are probably looking at $1500 at least.
The HPnc6000 (business line) 14.1" LCD is 5.5 pounds and has everything the models above have except a firewire port and they are lighter (Pentium M) --they have a 1 year international warranty due to the business line category so that might benefit you (could have it repaired worldwide). See the Cnet 8.5 review. For this model you have to go to HP.com and select business notebooks not HPshopping.com where the consumer lines are.
Toshiba has the 14.1" Toshiba Techra (business) line and they have 10% off online on all custom order notebooks.
If you order a HP/Compaq or Toshiba you can save $ by only ordering 256mb of RAM and then adding your own 256mb (less than $50) or 512mb (80 or less if on sale after rebate) RAM stick yourself in the user accessible 2nd slot -- only 2 slots on notebooks.
You might want to go even smaller and lighter if you really are using it heavily on an airplane but then if you are using it also at home you would need an external keyboard and/or monitor.
One of the 14.1" LCD's above would be the best compromise for all around use if you don't want to plug in extra stuff all the time at home (the smaller the LCD the more likely the keyboard keys will be smaller and more cramped).
Also, consider the IBM's (online) as they are extremely durable, have great keyboards, and have a good reputation (but that is out of your pricerange as well).
I think you could get a HPnc6000 though for around or under $1500 if you get the 256mb of RAM upfront.
I am shopping for a notebook, and I have managed to narrow down a few parameters that I want...
Centrino (for the battery life and weight savings, and integrated wireless)
under 5.5 lbs. max. / preferably thinner than 1.1 inches
internal DVD ROM/CD-rw
As a pilot who commutes and spends an enormous amount of time on airplanes (as a passenger...), I primarily want the ability to watch DVD's on longer flights.
I am a very light user for all other tasks. I do nothing more than basic email and web surfing. I rarely even use business tools like MS Office.
But my old desktop has died, so I want this machine to be my home computer as well, even though i am only home 2-3 days per week...When at home, I would rather be on a laptop anyways, particularly with a wireless router setup to check basic things online.
FInally, my concern is also $$, of course... I would really like to find something under $1300, going up possibly as high as 1400.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, not only in terms of potential models to buy, but also what specs would be enough (not overkill) for a simple user like me...Just email, some websurfing, and DVD's on the plane...No games or business use...
Thanks in advance...