Your Favorite Notebooks

James A. Martin
PC World
Friday, February 10, 2006; 12:10 AM

The awards season is in full swing. We've got awards for bad movies (The Razzies) and genuinely wretched writing (the Bulwer-Lytton awards). In fact, any minute now, I expect to hear "and the award for Best Plea Bargain by a Politician goes to..."

On a more positive note, and in the spirit of the awards season, I've asked you, dear readers, to nominate your favorite notebooks for inclusion in this newsletter. But rather than single out one particular portable for an award, I've excerpted the comments you e-mailed to me, explaining why you like your notebook. And so, without further ado, here are your picks for the best notebooks.

Oh, one last thing worth mentioning: All of the readers quoted below assured me they have no personal or professional relationship with the company whose product they praise

Apple's portable earns high marks for both substance and style. Richard Due of Huntingtown, Maryland, left the Windows world when he bought his first iBook in 2001.

"It changed my computing life," Richard writes. "I had become timid when using my Wintel machines, trying not to upset their delicate balance of stability. With the iBooks, I just throw anything and everything at them."

Richard, who owns two iBooks, loves the preloaded Apple software (such as iMovie and iDVD) and has never had a problem with either notebook.

Tom Rusch of Sherman Oaks, California, recently purchased his second iBook. In Tom's opinion, Apple's consumer portables offer the best value among notebooks. Though he's had some technical issues, he's found Apple's tech support to be "superb." As someone who works without an IT department, solid tech support "is of great importance" to him.

Visit our Product Finder for the latest prices on Apple's iBook G4.

Dell's ultraportable is Coal City, Illinois-based John Hawkinson's pick for best notebook.

"The 700m is compact and light, yet it has many features of a desktop replacement," he writes. "For example, it has great screen quality, good battery life, a built-in DVD burner, and a fast-enough processor." The only drawback, John writes, is the "scaled-down keyboard" that could make typing for "large-fingered" people difficult.

Dell offers the 700m for sale on its Web site. However, the newer Inspiron 710m recently earned the number-five slot on our Top 5 Ultraportable Laptops chart. The notebook earned a rating of "good" in our review . Go to Dell's Web site for pricing.

Alan Kay of Scottsdale, Arizona, loves the ThinkPad T43's "gorgeous" style, "great" performance, and "tough-as-nails" reliability. Having previously owned and loved the ThinkPad T30 and T20 models, Alan is an avowed "ThinkPad bigot."


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