With the holiday shopping season in full swing it's time we give our Laptop Buying Guide one last pass before the year is over to make sure it's packing enough punch. For the most part, the market has remained stagnant in the past few months. Netbooks have lost their lure to simply become smaller, entry-level notebooks, while other categories are only seeing minor spec bumps -- and in some cases slight price hikes as the ongoing HDD shortage takes its toll on PC makers.
But if you are looking into the ultraportable market, a new breed of devices has emerged. Intel is pushing the Ultrabooks as thin and light systems with plenty of power, fast SSD storage, long battery life, and a price that won't break the bank. They're essentially the Windows version of Apple's MacBook Air and they're supposed to take over the notebook market in the coming years. For now we're seeing a first generation of devices, with plenty more to come.
|Ultraportables Thin and light laptops balance portability, performance and battery life.||Business Mid to high end components with an emphasis on durability, security and battery life.|
|Desktop Replacements The most complete set of features, often forgo battery life and portability for extra horsepower.||Gaming If mobility is a priority, there are some solid choices for gaming on the go.|
|Budget-oriented A good blend of price and features, but slim form factors are not necessarily a priority.|