When we shop for laptops, the concept of “better, not bigger” always catches our eyes. That said, this trio should turn more than a few heads.


Toshiba Tecra 8200 ($4,463)
This new notebook arrives light (5.5 pounds), bright (a 14.1-inch TFT SXGA+ screen), and smart enough, with 256MB of RAM and 16MB of SDRAM, to throw together a fancy road show. Need versatility? The 8200’s SelectBay accommodates up to nine interchangeable devices (e.g., CD-RW, an Iomega Zip disc, a second battery or hard drive), while letting you reach out and connect via five routes, from a traditional modem and integrated Ethernet LAN to the optional Bluetooth card ($169). (800) 867-4422
Gateway 9500CX Deluxe ($2,728)
Roadies should love this dandy new desktop replacement.
For starters, there’s an in-your-face, 15.7-inch screen, as big as many office monitors, plus 128MB of RAM (expandable
to 512) and an ultraspeedy, 850MHz Intel processor — great tools for putting big projects together on short notice. Other pluses: a 20GB hard drive, two USB ports, 16-bit stereo speakers, Dolby digital sound (think show-and-tell), and a three-year warranty. And with wireless capability, you can check out your stock portfolios anywhere, anytime. (800) 846-2000
HP Omnibook 500 ($2,399-$2,899)
Come July, this nifty notebook will get even better with the addition of integrated wireless LAN technology. That means you can switch on this 700MHz, ultralight slimster, then communicate wirelessly for up to 300 feet. That’s a nice enhancement for on-the-go pros who currently rely on the 500 for its beefy memory and storage, and cool standard features such as a hot key that lets you instantly launch presentations with other programs open. (800) 752-0900

— MARC BOISCLAIR