In our current roundup of retail-specific laptops, we've divided our 30-plus systems into four different price categories, from sub-$500 entry level models to high-end ones that .
In that budget level category, covering laptops between $500 and $699, we we found systems that in many cases offered only modest improvements from their slightly less expensive
Two important notes -- on this particular page we're *only* talking about a handful of retail-specific models that cost between $500 and $699. For a roundup of retail laptops in all price ranges, check here; for our latest MacBook reviews, .
Check out details of each system below:
The good: Good keyboard and touch pad; decent 16x9 screen.
The bad: Worse-than-average AMD processor and battery life; no Bluetooth.
The bottom line: For $549, the HP Pavilion G60-445dx has a mediocre processor and performance in a package that's not much of a bargain.
The good: Long battery life; solid performance for the money; great-sounding speakers; HDMI out.
The bad: Glossy design is fingerprint magnet; slick keyboard; no Bluetooth.
The bottom line: Good components and a big battery push the Toshiba Satellite A505-S6960 in front of other retail budget laptops.
The good: Good speakers; decent screen for music/video playback.
The bad: Uncomfortable touch pad and keyboard; outdated processor.
The bottom line: Equipped with great speakers and a good screen but an inferior processor and keyboard, the Toshiba M505-S4940 just isn't a good enough buy for the money.
The good: Good speakers; decent all-around performance; included 3G antenna.
The bad: Uncomfortable touch pad and keyboard; no Bluetooth.
The bottom line: Positioned as an affordable design-conscious Core 2 Duo laptop for less than $700, Toshiba's Satellite M505-S4945 is better for media than it is for all-day office work.
The good: Attractive design; large LCD for the money; touch multimedia controls; great speakers.
The bad: Slow performance; short battery life.
The bottom line: The Toshiba Satellite P505D-S8930 is perfect if you need a large-screen portable computer, but you're not too much of a multitasker or in need of a long battery life.