This is not an endorsement of any particular computer brand, although I will be comparing a Toshiba and Compaq model in order to suggest some things to watch for should you decide to add a portable computer to your equipment list. There are some good buys on the market these days and often the cheaper model is the best bargain. In my case the Toshiba cost over $2000. and the Compaq half that.
Things like screen size, case size, what the capacity of the hard drive is, how much memory are standard and other hardware are decisions you have to make according to your needs and financial committment.
For example two things I think are just as important are the number of input and output jacks and keyboard layout. Here are some of the differences between the Compaq and the Toshiba that I use on a regular basis.
Keyboard & Connector Layout: If you touch type, these can be most important.
1) Windows Key(s); Toshiba has only one, located at the top right of the keyboard. Compaq has two windows keys located where they would be on the average desktop computer.
2) Delete/Insert keys; Toshiba has these located on the right side of the spacebar. Compaq has them at the top right closer to where they would be on a desktop.
3) The Compaq has a row of quick start keys at the top near the bottom of the screen. Two of these push buttons control the volume. Toshiba has a rotary control on the outside left side. The rotary control is more accurate.
4) The Compaq has S-video out for feeding the signal to TV. The Toshiba has an RCA analogue type connector for TV out. S-video is the only way to go if you are connecting to a home theatre system.
5) The Toshiba has two slots for add on cards, the Compaq only one.
6) The Compaq has a built in floppy drive, the Toshiba does not.
7) The Compaq has a door over all the connectors on the rear for protection, the Toshiba does not.
8) Both have CD writers and ample USB connections.
9) Toshiba has a round thumb operated volume control. Compaq has two - + buttons at the top. Toshiba's round knob is easier to set accurately.
Both of these portable units do the job and do it well for average computing on the move. The thing that gets me the most is typing on each one. I touch type fairly fast, and switching from Desktop to Compaq is much easier than from Desktop to Toshiba due to their weird keyboard layout.