Sharp Actius MM20
As laptops thin toward the vanishing point, we half-expect to see people pulling out rulers in airports and coffee shops, crying, "See? Told you it was just 0.62 inches thick at its thinnest point!"
If you hear that line, meet the happy owner of an Actius MM20, the first notebook powered by Transmeta's Efficeon processor, an ultralow-power chip set that offers faster performance and longer battery life - up to nine hours. Unlike some ultraportable 'tops, the Actius is designed for business uses beyond e-mail. Hence the connection cradle and advanced synching software that facilitates file-shifting between office and road.
Panasonic Toughbook CF-73
Toughbooks are for people who don't tread plush carpet all day - think engineers, military personnel, and building contractors. They need truly mobile machines that take a licking and keep on computing.
This ruggedized notebook comes with magnesium alloy casing, spill-resistant keyboard and touchpad, internal shock absorbers in case of a hard drop onto an airport floor, and a display that's remarkably easy to read in sunlight. Turning from work to play, the 73 also carries a top-loading DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive for music and movies. And when you're done for the day, just toss the Toughbook in the back of the Humvee and get on down the road.
Toshiba Satellite M35-S320
If the notebooks above are featherweights and lightweights, the M35 is more a middleweight, or maybe a junior welterweight if you want to split hairs.