What's New in Technology for November 2003

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If you are in the market for a new computer and conduct business in various different locations, you might want to check out the latest generation of “desktop replacement” laptops. “Desktop replacements” give you the same power and memory that a traditional desktop PC offers with the portability of a notebook. If you currently use a PC in your place of business, a laptop for travel and a PC at home for work projects, a “replacement” might simplify your life, allowing you to dispense with the cumbersome array of PC hardware in your house. This new powerful hybrid may be the right choice for you if you need a workhorse computer at the weekend and at the office, or if your desk time alternates between your business and your home office.

Bear in mind that the powerful systems and top-notch performance that these “replacements” offer come with some trade-offs. Their battery life is limited and they are really intended for people who plan to use them at home or in a location where they can be plugged in to a handy power source. These extra-powerful laptops would not be a good buy for the executive who likes to pass the time in airport lounges or on plane trips at the keyboard. Weighing in at an average of 8 pounds, this new breed of laptop would add considerable heft to your carry-on luggage, too.

Here’s a quick run down of the advantages and drawbacks desktop replacements offer:

Powerful systems. Speed and memory rivals desktop models; can run various applications, play DVDs etc.Battery life is limited—to about 2 or 3 hours
Portable and travels wellHeavier than laptops. Most weigh in between 7.5 and 10 pounds (laptops run about 3 pounds)
Latest models can provide multimedia options that rival or beat performance of desk-top modelsKey boards may vibrate when CD player is working
Designed for working for long periodsNot all have full-size keyboards; check out mouse and key board operations before you buy

The Right Model
Finding the right model for you will require you to balance how much power you require with portability (or weight) considerations. You will also want to determine how many multimedia options you want and at what price. Expect to pay from $1,300 to $2,000 or more for “replacement” MS-DOS laptops featuring at least a 2 GHz processor, 256MB of RAM and a 40GB hard drive. If the latest generation of “replacements” with all the “bells and whistles” interests you, check out models from Sony, Fujitsu and Toshiba. If a portable workhorse is your preference try IBM’s ThinkPad G40 (

If you can’t live without a full range of multimedia options, you might want to give the Sony GRT160 a try (, or Fujitsu’s LifeBook N Series (
If top-of-the line multimedia is your passion, the fully loaded Toshiba Satellite P25 model (( offers truly impressive performance with great visuals and sound, but weighs in at almost 10 pounds.

As with any computer purchase, make sure your new buy meets everything on your “must have” list and offers only the features and options you truly need. Before you part with your hard-earned money, check that the keyboard design and mouse configuration are right for you.


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