Here's our Hardware Tip for.. March 23, 2007
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Notebook vendors typically choose processors, chipsets, drives, and the like from the same major suppliers. These components aren't enough to differentiate brands from one another. One Intel Core2Duo running at 2.16gHz is much like the other.
Each manufacturer has its own unique multimedia offerings, like high-gloss LCDs and media players that don't require a system boot to play movies or music. They also tout proprietary solutions for things like hard drive protection, security, physical design, and wireless options. The tricky part is deciphering which vendor has implemented better technology, especially when that "technology" might be as simple as the use of a different metal for the chassis or placing the wireless antennas in a different location.
Its not easy. The best thing you can do is go to your local super store and spend time with each model you're insterested in; and then pick the one you like the best. With similar components, the performance benefits of one over another may be negligable.