05 Tech
By Wilson Rothman

(MONEY Magazine) – When it comes to laptops, there's a notorious trade-off between performance and mobility. If it's lightweight and portable, it's probably also light on hard-drive capacity and processing power. If it boasts a cinema-quality wide screen and enough power to support graphics-heavy games, it's probably too heavy to carry to the office every day. We can't change that, but we can recommend two top-shelf $1,700 machines that give you one advantage without shortchanging you on the other: a Dell that's as light as a bunch of bananas but performs well, and a powerful HP that fits under your arm. --WILSON ROTHMAN

Money $1,700 BUDGET


SCREEN SIZE 12.1 inches HARD DRIVE 30GB BATTERY LIFE 2.5 hours (with three-cell battery) WEIGHT 2.5 lbs.

Dell Latitude X1

PROCESSOR 1.1GHz Intel Pentium M

The X1 is hardly noticeable until you need it--but when you do, it gets most jobs done almost as well, if not as fast, as the big boys. It also lasts as long as the HP on a battery a fourth the size. The biggest downside: The optional CD-burner/DVD-reader combo drive is external, which means it probably won't fit on an airplane tray table. DELL.COM $1,718


SCREEN SIZE 17 inches WEIGHT 9.5 lbs. BATTERY LIFE 2.5 hours (with 12-cell battery) HARD DRIVE 100GB

HP Pavilion zd8000

PROCESSOR 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4

Almost as thick as two of the Dells glued together, the HP isn't so much portable as merely movable. It was designed as an entertainment powerhouse, and indeed Microsoft's Windows Media Center Edition operating system lets you record TV shows and burn them to DVD. You can even pull up shows and music with a remote control--the 17-inch high-contrast BrightView screen means everything will be easy to see from 10 feet away. HP.COM $1,748