If, like me, you're always on the go and barely have time to slurp your latte in between meetings, you'll want to avoid travelling around with a massive laptop. But you'll also need a machine that's powerful enough to plough through all your work. Here, I've rounded up a handful of great laptops for a life on the move. Note that I've chosen regular laptops, rather than smaller and less powerful netbooks.
The first thing to consider is size. A massive 18-inch gaming laptop hardly qualifies as portable. At most, you should be looking for a machine with a 15-inch screen, but 14 or 13 inches would be even better. The laptop should also be as slim as possible so it can slide into a backpack, without needing its own carrying case.
If the laptop's going to withstand a life on the road, it will need to be as tough as possible. A laptop with a metal chassis will survive a rough-and-tumble lifestyle far better than one with a flimsy plastic casing. Some of the plastics used on the better models are made to withstand a good battering though.
The new wave of ultrabooks aim to offer seriously slender bodies (of which some are carved from tough aluminium), while still packing potent power. They're a tempting option for work on the go, but they tend to come with high prices so they won't always represent the most economical choice.
Don't be afraid to give a laptop a good poke and squeeze before you part with your cash. If the shell flexes and creaks under pressure, it's not likely to take knocks and bumps too well.
Note that hard-wearing metal-shelled models usually weigh more than plastic machines. I think it's worth accepting the extra weight for the reassurance that the laptop will likely survive your excursions. I find that anything under 2.5kg is light enough to carry around for a while.
How much power you'll get depends on what you can afford to spend. Intel's top Core i7 processors provide a serious amount of power but will drain the laptop's battery -- and your bank balance -- more quickly than lower-end CPUs. Core i5 chips provide a more balanced option. If you don't need a huge amount of power, a Core i3 chip can be yours for a reasonable price and will allow your battery to last longer away from the mains.
In terms of RAM, most models tend to offer 4GB, which will be enough to handle multi-tasking pretty well. If you can stretch to 6GB though, it will be a worthy investment, as it increases the chances your laptop will handle demanding applications that have yet to be released.
I've selected five of the best portable laptops, but don't forget there are plenty more in our laptops review section. Make sure you have a good old butcher's before you splash your cash.