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The Replacements

Make your one-and-only a laptop

Notebook computers are expensive, heavy, underpowered bricks with hard-to-see screens and keyboards the size of mole-rats. You wouldn't trade your desktop in for a laptop for anything, would you? What if we threw in a large, bright screen? No? How about a huge hard drive? Not yet? Lots of RAM and a full-sized keyboard? Maybe? You drive a hard bargain. All right, we'll toss in a fast processor and affordability, too. Heck, yeah? Good answer.

Desktop replacement notebooks are the subject of this month's opus. Not just supplemental computers that you dust off when you go on a business trip, but real, honest-to-goodness, move-over-minitower replacement machines. To qualify, a laptop has to have enough oomph in processor speed, RAM, hard-drive space and screen quality to deserve being your one-and-only. We won't be dawdling too much around the bargain basement. It's OK, though: You won't have to drop $1,500 on a desktop system--plus some of these laptops can be had for less than $2,000. And in laptop land, the monitor is always included.

Things to look for when you're ready to kiss your beige beauty goodbye: at least 64MB RAM, a 4GB hard drive and a 300 MHz or faster processor. All the laptops we looked at come with a 56 Kbps modem (with the exception of the Micro Express NP8450), two PCMCIA ports and a bright, active-matrix screen for easy viewing.

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This article was originally published in the December 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Replacements.

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