specs for a laptop this weekend

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Here's the deal: I need to buy a laptop this weekend, which pretty much
rules out online and mail order. My previous 2 laptops have been IBM
ThinkPads; in general, no complaints about them, though I'm not crazy
about the pointing device.

I work with:
huge databases of tagged text (millions of words)
several proprietary online databases, interfacing via a browser
all products in the MS Office suite
an unfortunately slow modem connection when online from home (max: 48K)

I do NOT, or do not expect to:
play games, watch movies, chat online, or listen to music on my
burn CDs (very much, anyway) or DVDs

I would like to:
be able to connect wirelessly, or via a fast hotel room connection,
when traveling.
not rule out the possibility of connecting at home via satellite, if I
eventually plump for that; where I live, it's the only alternative to

Any brands particularly recommended or to be avoided? Features that are
deal-breakers? Advice very much appreciated from people with
experience. Thanks.

Re: specs for a laptop this weekend

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Sounds like you would want something with a large hard drive (over 60 GB),
at least 1.0 GB of RAM and built-in wireless.  The wireless seems to be
pretty standard these days, regardless of the maker.  Since you won't be
running any games or video-intensive applications, the integrated graphics
chips on new laptops should be fine.  But, if it were me, I'd opt for a
dedicated video card anyway, just in case.

I would stick with the known, major brands.  Since you say you have to have
the machine immediately, that rules out Dell products, unless you can find a
store that carries them.  I would shop in this order:  Dell, HP, Toshiba,
Sony, and last Acer.  Get a mouse.  Don't fool around with touch-pads or
pointing sticks.

Re: specs for a laptop this weekend

Kevin wrote:
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Don't rule out the Fujitsu-Siemens laptops like the Amilo serie....


Re: specs for a laptop this weekend

orinkh@carr.org wrote:

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What is your budget for this laptop?

Re: specs for a laptop this weekend

On 19 Jul 2006 06:45:58 -0700, orinkh@carr.org wrote:

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Staples has a heck of a deal going on an Acer with Centrino and a
100gb drive.  I got it for $751 out the door.  It has nothing fancy,
as far as graphics, but a gig of ram and the big drive are all you
really need.  It also has a keyboard that looks to be really nice for
typing, with a layout quite similar to Toshiba and HP.

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Re: specs for a laptop this weekend

Thanks, all, for your comments. Chris, I was looking at the Acer
machine; it's got everything I need, and it's $699 + tax until
Saturday, so that's very tempting. I would be interested to hear what
you think about it, even though it's early days. Kevin: why is Acer
at the end of your list? I've never owned one. Another ranking of
brands I saw had it this way:

1    Dell
2    Acer
3    Toshiba
4    Lenovo
5    hp
6    Sony
7    Averatec
8    Compaq
9    Apple
10    Gateway

But this was on a commercial, anonymous site, so who knows what
influenced the order. I'm going to see what Office Depot has today,
and hopefully buy something local before Saturday; if that doesn't
work I'll venture further from home and check out Best Buy, Circuit
City, and CompUSA, but these are all an hour away from me. As for
budget: not more than $1,000, and the least I can get away with.

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