Why should you choose a basic laptop?
If you are highly concerned about cost, portability, battery life and not as concerned about optical drives 1 , screen size, or keyboard size you probably want a netbook. It will probably run you between $300 – $500.2
If cost-be-damned you just must have absolutely everything, well, then get yourself a high end laptop.3 The sky’s the limit with a computer like this. You can configure an Alienware laptop that will make Deep Thought hide its processor in shame for $5,000.00 or so.
If you are concerned about cost but just cannot sacrifice optical drives, screen size, or keyboard size, you probably want a basic laptop. A basic laptop is all about compromises. You get the hardware you need from a desktop, but without the thin, light, elegant, and portable design. These laptops typically weigh between 6 and 8 pounds and cost between $600 and $1000 or so.
There are so many nearly indistinguishable computers in this category, there is no real point in suggesting a particular laptop. Just about every manufacturer has several choices for basic laptops.