The Best Laptops For Your Needs What constitutes the best laptop is different for everybody. Some people want a simple laptop that will handle the basics: word processing, email and Internet access, and other productivity tasks. Others are interested in a multimedia machine that can handle all the video, music, and movies they can throw at it. We've made an effort to find the best laptops for every kind of user, no matter what you want to do with it. Laptops are so versatile and varied, that there's a model for all types of consumers, it can just be difficult wading through them all to find that needle in the haystack. We've done the wading, and we've found the needles. Just look below and see which category leader suits you the best. The Mobile User: Asus Eee PC If you're always on the go or just don't want a big laptop cluttering up your desk, you should be looking for a netbook. When these appeared a few years ago, they helped to redefine what was a reasonable size for a personal computer--manufacturers previously never thought that consumers would buy a laptop with a screen smaller than 12 inches. Many users buy a netbook as a cheap, ultra-portable complement to their larger, more powerful desktop or conventional notebook. Those who only use their computers for web surfing, email, a bit of streaming video, and easy computing tasks like word processing might find that a netbook is the only computer they need. If you do decide to go with a netbook, the ASUS Eee PC is always a great buy. ASUS was one of the leaders of the netbook trend still make one the best in the market. Eee PCs are available in sizes from 7 to 12 inches, though the most popular models are 10 or 11 inches. The newest model, 1005PE, features a stellar 8+ hour battery life and Intel's newest netbook-optimized Atom processor for $379. The Cool Kid: Apple MacBook Apple MacBooks are ubiquitous in college classrooms and coffee shops and urban centers around the country. This 13-inch, polycarbonate-encased beauty can handle both productivity tasks like word processing, blogging, and web-surfing; multimedia tasks like listening to music or watching video; and a bit of heavier computing, like basic photo and video editing. It's light enough to haul around but the 13-inch screen is much more comfortable to look at. Throw in the easy-to-use, virus-resistant OS X, and it's no wonder why this stylish computer is such a hit at $999. The 'Just the Basics' User: Dell Inspiron Notebooks If you're looking for a laptop that has a fairly large screen and just works, you should try a Dell Inspiron notebook. (Note: The Dell Mini netbooks are technically part of the Inspiron line, but aren't considered here.) These affordable laptops are perfect for simple computing like web-surfing, emailing, uploading and organizing digital photos, and video chatting (some models come with built-in webcams), but since most models now come with reasonably powerful dual-core processors, they can handle gaming and multimedia if you need them to. Inspirons are marketed as mainstream computers for the everyman, and they serve that purpose well. They're available in configurations as small as 11 inches, but we think you'll get the most bang for your buck around 14 or 15 inches. Try the newly minted i1545 model. The Multimedia User: Sony Vaio NW Series Your computer is your home theater, basically. If you need a bright screen, good speakers, and a Blu-ray drive, try the Sony Vaio NW series. This flashy "desktop replacement" laptop is under $1000, which is pretty good for a computer with Blu-ray, plus it has a comfy LED-backlit 15.5 inch screen and decent onboard speakers for a laptop. Try the NW270F/S configuration. With the price already so low, this is a best bet. Don't see what you're looking for? Check out our Buyer's Guide. We break down the shopping segments a bit differently in that guide with different results.