Stories by Darren Gladstone, PC World

HP Compaq 6530b all-purpose laptop

If you're in the market for an affordable portable work system, the HP Compaq 6530b might deserve a place on your short list. This solid, standard-issue <a href=" http://www.pcworld.com/article/123678/top_10_allpurpose_laptops.html">all-purpose laptop</a> sells for US$1195 and houses a thoughtfully arranged software bundle that will quickly help you get down to business.

Acer Aspire One Mini-Notebook

Asus, watch your back. You've been coasting for a while on the Eee PC. Oh, sure, it's cheap and tiny, but you've got serious competition waiting in the wings. <a href=" http://www.pcworld.com/tags/Acer+Inc..html">Acer</a> provided us with a preview (preproduction) unit of the upcoming Aspire One, which may be priced as low as US$400; and after kicking the tires for about a week, I'm ready to shed my high-end portable in favor of a sub-$500 netbook (as some people call this class of basic mini-notebook).