My current laptop is about 4 years old. It will not endure for much longer: the power supply has problems, the DVD drive is no longer functional and the body shows several cracks (fortunately tolerable). It is time for me to catch up with new technology and get a new laptop.
Price is still important for me when choosing new laptop. That rules out Macs (the cheaper ones are too expensive for me). Fortunately pretty capable portable computers are inexpensive nowadays, even if you count out netbooks. I will put US$ 700 as the highest limit, but my requirements (see below) suggest I can get even lower.
I also plan to stay with Linux (Fedora) for my operating system. That rules out laptops with NVIDIA graphics. (which also helps with the price). I am not very comfortable with AMD/ATI graphics either, and that means no Brazos/Llano processors. Pity, because they seem interesting and quite cheap. Fortunately new Sandy Bridge Intel HD Graphics is reported to be much better than their predecessors.
Mobile processors are also getting better these days. Mobile Pentiums which are positioned as value processors are now dual-core, 64-bit and support SpeedStep. Unfortunately the don’t support virtualisation technologies, so they are out. I need to test operating systems using virtualisation, and a processor which doesn’t support will be a pain. That means the minimum is the Core i3 line.
Battery life is important for laptops or any portable machines, and better battery life will be always preferred. I am not too bothered by this though: four hours will be adequate for me. I am not that mobile. For the same reason a 14-inch screen size will be perfect. Last but not least: warranty. I require 2-year warranty minimum.
I already have candidates. But if you, dear readers, have suggestions, feel free to chime in.