I used to cringe when folks asked me to recommend a laptop that cost less than $1,000. Granted, there have been laptops at that price for a few years now, but they were generally chunky cases stocked with generations-old components and low-resolution screens--not exactly anything I'd feel good about recommending for use as a primary computer.
Imagine my surprise when computer manufacturers responded to my call for $1,000 laptops with some downright Crave-worthy systems. I expected to receive only 15.4-inch systems, because the larger case provides more room for engineers to work and keeps costs down; but I also found two 14.1-inch systems that didn't break our budget. I expected to receive cases stocked with previous-generation Pentium or Celeron CPUs; on the contrary, all but one of our review units included current-generation processors, graphics, and chipsets. I expected the cases to be leftovers from last year's crop of new laptops; instead, many in our roundup share the same case design as their more-expensive brethren.
One area where my expectations were met: performance. None of the laptops in this roundup sped through our performance benchmarks. But if I'm buying a $1,000 laptop, I'm not expecting to use it for gaming or video editing.
In the end, we were able to round up sub-$1,000 configurations from Fujitsu, Gateway, Lenovo, Sony, and Toshiba. Which ones did I like best? The answer is after the break.… Read more