You have to decide on what LCD size and resolution you want. The HPZT3000 (and sister Compaq X1000 series I have -- see X1000forums.com for pricing discounts, specification, and technical issues for both notebooks)
has the 15.4" widescreen and weighs 6.5 pounds. It is great for Excel (more columns to left and right and ability to open two 8 1/2/11 screens at times side by side) and widescreen DVD movies.
You just missed out on a $100 instant discount (expired just this week at end of back to school) on the hpshopping custom order site but you can still get a $100 custom order rebate through 12/1/04 and a free upgrade on one of the hardware items.
The IBM's are a bit more durable and the hard drive parks when you drop it or tilt it severely. Also, they are #1 in PC notebooks in Tech support (#2 to Apple overall) by both the PCmagazine and Sept 2004 Consumer report ratings. For repairs, IBM is #3 in PC notebooks (Apple #1 again) to Toshiba and Sony.
The IBM costs more and you may end up with a 14.1" LCD so the key thing is to decide if you like the 15.4" widescreen on the HPZT3000.
If so, they just got the Briteview XGA LCD screen option for $50 over the regular matte XGA last week online (similar to Sony Xbrite and Toshiba Trubrite). Or, you can order SXGA or UXGA resolution custom on the HPZT3000 as well.
Also, consider the Toshiba M35 series (retail M35S456).
Get at least a Pentium M 725 1.6 Dothan -- (the 705 is not a Dothan)with the doubled 2mb L2 system cache.
Get the most dedicated video memory you can (64mb for most of these notebooks) as you cannot upgrade it later as on a desktop (shared or integrated video limits your uses and uses system RAM).
Get at least 512mb RAM (but you can order less from the manufacturer if you leave 1 slot of 2 open and put in your own for less later (Crucial, Kingston, PNY, etc).
Get the 5400 rpm hard drive option or higher (5400 rpm is 50% faster seek times versus 4200 -- 7200 adds another 20% boost).
As another person on this board today is considering, IBM does have better case construction and hard drive durability (parks itself) but it costs more and the LCD size is often smaller also (but 1 pound less) and square.
The HPZT3000 has been a great option and has a great keyboard also (but IBM is somewhat better) but the decision falls onto whether you want the most features and options or whether you want the better service and somewhat better reliability.
Am looking at the HPzt3000, IBM thinkpad 42, or IBM thinkpad T-51. Which is best to be used for a home business? need cable connection for internet. Want a 5400 hard drive,with at least 40 gig. From what I can read, a pentium M is best. Thanks