Compact Confusion

Which Windows

It shouldn't be too difficult to figure out which kind of portable fits your needs. If you're a globe-trotting entre-preneur who roams from hotel to airport and rarely sees your desktop, an ultra-light laptop makes sense. All but one of the notebooks in our table come equipped with 600MHz Pentium III processors. But you might want to upgrade the bare-bones configurations we've listed. Doing so would make any of these ultra-lights a good candidate for a desktop replacement notebook. Yes, Virginia, you really can take it with you.

If you're somewhere between being a world traveler and a homebody, a handheld PC might do the trick. It covers the bases for those of you who just have to have a keyboard, but it doesn't involve the weight and hardware commitment of a laptop. Your desktop will still be your main machine and act as a home base for syncing up your handheld before you hit the road. The less-than-full-blown Windows software and relatively expensive price tag may be a turnoff to some. If that's the case, look to a laptop or a palmtop instead.

Speaking of palmtops, it's hard not to consider these little gadgets as convenient, whether you hang around the home office all the time or are on the road day and night. Easy portability and tight integration with big Windows operating systems put them a step up from just being glorified Rolodexes and appointment calendars. Priced at about $500, they're about half the price of handheld PCs. Their processors (up to 206MHz for the Compaq iPAQ H3650) and 32MB RAM make them comparable to the handhelds on the market.

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This article was originally published in the February 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Compact Confusion.

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