Smartphone: Motorola Droid

Laptops and cell phones are merging. Here's the new range of options for connected travelers.

SMARTPHONE

Smartphone: Motorola Droid

BEST FOR: Mountaintop Facebooking
Surfing the Net on most smartphones is tedious. But MOTOROLA's DROID ($300 with contract; verizonwire­less.com) has the processing power and razor-sharp touchscreen for true Web use—and in far more remote areas on Verizon's network than the city-bound iPhone on AT&T. You can scroll fluidly through maps, zoom in on hi-res satellite images, and breeze through complex Web sites. The keypad is flat and typo-prone, but the brilliant 3.7-inch display more than makes up for it.

Laptop: Toshiba NB205

Laptop: Toshiba NB205
(Photograph by Inga Hendrickson)

NETBOOK
BEST FOR: Budget travelers, backup
If you don't want a claustrophobic screen or you're going to spend a lot of time typing on the road, pick up a netbook, like the sub-three-pound TOSHIBA NB205 (from $350; laptops.toshiba.com). Most netbooks cost $300 to $500 and almost all have the same weight, screen size (ten inches), and efficient but multitask-averse Intel Atom processor, so you should buy based on battery life, keyboard feel, and connectivity options. The NB205 does well on most counts: Though its raised keyboard takes getting used to and the speakers are tinny, it comes with integrated 3G, for surfing on your cell network, and an impressive nine-hour battery.

Laptop: Sony Vaio P

Laptop: Sony Vaio P

MINI-NETBOOK
BEST FOR: Backpackers
Like packing the abso­lute minimum? SONY's VAIO P (from $900; sonystyle.com) weighs just 1.4 pounds and is a little larger than a page of our magazine folded in half. It falls somewhere between a cell phone and a netbook, but it crams in the best features of both, like 3G and Wi-Fi connections, Bluetooth, 2GB of RAM, and full-power software. The drawbacks: a narrow, hunch-inducing eight-inch widescreen, a 3.5-hour battery, and the price tag. But if you just want to surf the Web, type with MS Word, or send an e-mail in Outlook—and then stash it in your bag—you can't beat it.

Laptop: HP Mini 311

Laptop: HP Mini 311
(Photograph by Inga Hendrickson)

NOTEBOOK LITE
BEST FOR: In-flight movies, work trips
This is the best option for travelers who want a nearly full-size laptop with netbook-like portability and price. HP's MINI 311 (from $400; hp.com) has an 11.6-inch screen and weighs 3.3 pounds, with a smooth, roomy keyboard and a powerful graphics processor for glitch-free HD video playback (the best option here for HD camcorders). The sleek looks and surprisingly rich speakers say "I'm a real computer," but the finicky touchpad buttons and lack of a DVD drive will remind you how much you saved.

Filed To: Cell Phones / Laptops
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