If you are an occasional traveler (therefore willing to have a 6.5 notebook with a larger LCD versus a lighter notebook more for travel with lower specifications at 5.5 pounds or less) you should look at the Pentium M (Centrino) family first.
This will allow you to easily set up a wi-fi network at home and have optimal battery life (3.5-4 hours at least or more if using reduced LCD brightness, etc). if not using wi-fi you could get up to 5 hours or more. And, while plugged in you will still get comparable performance to a Pentium 4M cpu due to the 2mb L2 system cache on a Dothan Pentium M processor and the specially designed Intel chipset.
The Pentium 4M cpus have hyperthreading which does give some performance improvement while multitasking but it will not give much benefit at all if you are doing one principal task at a time.
The big performance boost in the future is 2 cpus per chip -- now that will be the big thing (as well as 64 bit moving up from 32 bit) to get everyone lining up to upgrade again.
At any rate, the Apple Powerbook 17" is only 6.9 pounds but a Pentium 4M notebook from HP or Toshiba is 9 pounds plus the heavy adaptor.
Sony has had some good deals lately finally but their notebook and pc technical support is rated dead last in both computer types so Sony does not back up the high prices with the service.
Fujitsu makes some good Pentium M models (and they have the Crystal View LCDS) but most notebooks under $2,000 have only shared video memory which is not recommended.
The Dell 8600 has up to 128mb dedicated video and also the super fast 7200rpm hard drive option (standard notebook hard drives are a much slower 4200rpm) so if you want the best raw performance consider this.
Otherwise, the HPZT3000 / Compaq X1000 twins (see X1000forums.com) are a great value and go up to 64mb dedicated video (I have a Compaq X1000). You can custom order a 5400rpm hard drive which is still up to 50% faster than the 4200.
There is a $100 custom (configure to order) rebate on any HP custom notebook order at hpshopping.
There are also tons of discounts --read about them all at X1000forums.com.
You can easily load one of these up with a 15.4" Briteview XGA widescreen, 725 1.6 Pentium M Dothan processor, CD-RW/DVD ROM (DVD burner for up to $200 more), firewire (only 4 pin on pc's, Apple is 6), built in Intel 2200b/g wi-fi, bluetooth option (internal), 5400rpm 60gb hard drive, 256mb PC2700 RAM (add 512mb more yourself later to 2nd slot under notebook for less), etc for $1500 or under after discounts.
If you really think you are ok with shared video memory then consider the Fujitsu or the HP DV1000 which is brand new (also at hpshopping) and has a 14" LCD, can run DVD's and CD's with the notebook off (increasing the battery life) and a built in remote control in the PC card slot.
The Toshiba M35S456 at retail and the Acer 2025 (Acer 2000 series) are other great choices but the Toshiba appears to be fading to go to another model and the Acer seems model seems to be scarce at this point as well.
I need the expert help on choosing a notebook. I am in the market for a new notebook. I need something that is thin, lightweight, portable, stylish and at the same time offers some power. I do web design and graphic editing and a occational traveler. I like the look and feel of the apple powerbook but I have stick with a PC. So far I looked at 2 notebooks the sony vaio S260 and the fujitsu s6220/s7000. Has anybody come across these notebook or read reviews on them. Which should I buy or is there another notebook out there that i should give some consideration to. My price range is under $2000.