Laptops

Toshiba Satellite U505

Price: $799.99

Screen size: 13.3 inches

Operating system: Windows 7

Specifications: Core 2 Duo P7450 processor, 4-gigabyte memory, 500-gigabyte hard drive, DVD drive, microphone, Web cam, memory card reader, DVI/HDMI video outs.

Pros: High performance and lots of memory, 4.5 hours of battery life, large display for a small book, has eSATA port and facial-recognition security. At 13.3 inches and 4.9 pounds, it's roughly the size of a big netbook.

Cons: A moderately priced laptop but a costly netbook alternative. Cheaper models get clunkier and strip away memory and functionality, though the recently released Satellite T115 weighs 3.5 pounds, has an 11.6-inch screen and 9 hours of battery life, and starts at $450 for a hard drive with half the capacity. The A505 is larger at 16 inches, but costs nearly $150 less and gets 6.75 hours of battery life.

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