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“Something in this world must change faster than the Windows PC laptop market…,” my friend Mark Kellner, a 20-year computer columnist for The Washington Times said to me, “but I can’t seem to think of what it is.”

In one sense, that’s good: you can get much more bang for your portable computing buck this year.   But, on the other hand, it makes choosing a good fit-for-you model more difficult.

Mark favors Acer, which packs a lot of value into its products; Hewlett Packard, for overall quality and features; and Toshiba, also for quality and innovation.

All three models he recommends (below) feature the latest Intel Corp. processors which means they have enough power to run photo-editing programs like Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom without issue. And, all have 4GB of RAM and are expandable to at least 8 GB, which is more than enough for most photo-intensive tasks.

Wi-Fi is a standard.  And some models accept Internet cards that give you web access anywhere you have cellular coverage (at an extra charge, of course – call your cell phone company for details).

Here are a few Mark recommends…

Yesterday, I said Mac laptops are well regarded for their monitors and screens.  Well, Acer’s just-announced (June 7, 2011) new Acer Aspire TimelineX models have what the company calls “HD Widescreen CineCrystal™ LED-backlit display[s]” that offer “1366×768 resolution,” which is also great for photo-editing.

Coming in at half the price of a Macbook Pro, the $600 Acer Aspire TimelineX AS5830T-6862 has a bigger screen (15.3-inch display), 4GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive, and a camera card-reader that handles SD cards, Compact Flash, and other models. If money is tight, this is a good option.

Hewlett Packard’s newest laptop, the ProBook 5330m, lists for $899 and has been dubbed the “MacBook Air ‘killer,’” because of its value in comparison to the Air.

There’s a 13.3-inch HD screen, an SD memory card slot, 4GB of RAM, and a 500 GB hard disc drive. Battery life is rated at “up to” five hours and 45 minutes.  And it weighs only 3.99 pounds (about 1.5 pounds less than the Acer, although the heavier machine promises as much as nine hours of battery life).

Toshiba’s Satellite E305 can be ordered through Toshiba’s website for $1,099, which is a bit pricey, but it’s worth it. It’s got a fast Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500 GB hard drive that’s augmented with 4GB of solid state memory which means programs load faster.

It has a camera card slot and a 14-inch HD screen. Weight is just under five pounds, and the keyboard is full-sized. It also features WiMAX which is a wireless standard coming online in many places around the world including parts of the United Kingdom, Spain, Costa Rica, Ireland, South Korea, and Russia.

Another bonus: you can get a wireless adapter to beam photos from the Satellite E305 to your flat-screen TV, giving you a super-cool slideshow.

Depending on your tastes and needs, you are likely to find something that meets your needs among these three.

Happy shopping!

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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