The guide to the best rated computer laptops

The best rated computer laptops seem to flip flop every computer season. One year, it's Apple at the top of the heap. The next year, Dell, Compaq, or one of the other powerhouses takes the cake. How can you the consumer tell what to believe when there is such volatility in brands and model quality?

The simple truth is, with this sort of complicated and fast-changing technology, there will be such dynamism at the front of the pack. You want that. That means computer manufacturers are competing against each other, developing innovations and better performance at cheaper costs.

Still, you want to be able to differentiate the best of its class from the middle of the pack—even if it's just for a couple months. So to help you determine which are the best rated computer laptops for yourself, here is a guide to help you know which qualities to search for that all top-breed notebooks possess.

First and foremost, keep your eye on the basics: the hard ware. Computers essentially need three things to run. They ought to have ample hard drive room to store vast amounts of files, programs, and other information without fear of running out of space.

Then they need a lightening quick processor to juice up your online experience and the speed of your applications. Finally, do not underestimate the need of RAM. This short-term memory is what essentially runs open applications, so the more of it your computer has, the faster and more multitasking it can do.

Next, assess the accessories that a laptop offers. Accessories should focus on a laptop's main benefit over desktops, which is, of course, mobility. Depending on what you need you notebook for, this mobility could mean wireless Wi Fi technology, USB and FireWire ports, and mobile chip technologies like Intel's new Centrino.

Finally, there are the intangibles that make a computer great. Body weight, chassis style, screen size, battery life—these are the things that some people overlook. But if you want one of the best rated computer laptops, you need to take all of these factors into consideration.