I've been using an old Dell Inspiron laptop (the silver with blue trim model), and its been good but its falling apart (literally, 6 years old too) and its always been a bit big for setting down on a desk in class rooms, and for using on an airplane. So I'm looking for something new to take its place in my backpack/briefcase.

I really want an Intel core I5 (unless there is a compelling reason for a different CPU), and 4GB of RAM, a 7200RPM HD would be nice, any size will be fine.

A dedicated video card would be nice if I ever wanted to use it for 3D modeling work, but most of my CAD and Spice work is 2D and more ALU and RAM heavy work. When I'm not doing that I might use it for videos or reading PDFs (which is where a tablet style like from HP might be nice but thats expensive).

I'd like to keep it in the sub $1k range unless there's a good reason to go over. Battery life is a plus becasue I tend to fly a lot these days and sit in long lectures, or out on tables working with people where there is no outlet nearby.

So here is what my reseaerch turned up.

VIAO CW series

K42JR series

Studio 14 series

dv4i series

The VIAO CW seems to be the most powerful with a dedicated video card and the faster I5 CPU (540M). The K42JR is like a cheaper slower version of the VIAO CW, still with dedicated graphics. The Dell is nice, but a bit pricier than the rest, it can be competitive price wise with the VIAO expect for the lack of dedicated graphics card. The HP is very competitive, and has the option for a 12 cell battery, which is a huge plus IMO.

Does anyone have any experience or feelings about these laptops or any others I should give serious thought to? Speed is a factor for me as well, since I'm leaving for a business trip Thursday I'd like something I can order today/tomorrow and have by the time I leave, but if its worth the wait I do have two more fly outs the following weekend that can benifit from a good laptop to take with me.