Every week, it seems, some enterprising vendor decides it can make a gadgetto replace a laptop. The first 75 times, we waited with bated breath. Andwhy not? What we wouldn’t give to be able to sail through airport security(okay, shuffle along amiably) without the weight, bulk and inconvenience oflugging that Targus notebook bag. The vendors promised, we preordered, andlook at what we got: the PDA that can surf the Internet, poorly. The phonethat can play videos, poorly. The device that no one quite understands butcosts $3,000 anyway.

Just as we were about to give up, more vendors appearedand more promises were made. Their products hit the market — but did they hitthe mark? We took a look at a couple of the most hyped laptop alternatives(one, technically, is a laptop, but it’s so unique that we think it warrantsits own product category), along with an unusual product that, under certaincircumstances, might succeed where so many others have failed: giving us theability to leave our laptops — but not our productivity — behind.

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