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Find a laptop to match your lifestyle

CNET introduces laptop picks for digital artists, road warriors, and the independently-minded.

One of the biggest challenges when you're in the market for a new laptop can be translating hard specs into something that's meaningful to your life. Should you buy a 13.3-inch screen or a 15.4-inch screen? Do you want a 2.4GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, or would it be better to have a 2.0GHz processor with 2GB of RAM?

The answer to these questions, of course, is that it depends. It depends on your budget, to be sure, but also on how you want to use your laptop. With that in mind, we've developed a laptop buying guide based on user profiles, complete with a list of key specs, component choices, and some specific laptop picks from our catalog.

We're kicking things off with picks for three types of users: The Digital Artist is a photographer, a graphic designer, or a DV filmmaker or editor; the Indie Guy refuses to patronize any of the big-name retailers, opting instead for lesser-known names; and the Lightweight just wants the smallest, lightest laptop possible. We're still developing more user profiles, so if you don't identify with these three, keep an eye out for updates. Or better yet, leave a comment here and tell us your type.