What is the latest word on notebook computers these days? I have just received a budget of $15,000 from my company to buy a notebook to use in the office and while travelling. This is not a huge amount, but certainly will cover a couple of machines I have been checking out. One was the Toshiba Libretto, but I decided it was just too uncomfortable to work with. The other is the new Acer TravelMate 311T, which is one of the smallest yet relatively comfortable machines I have seen. At the same time, I have been tempted by machines such as the old Digital HiNote Ultra 2000, which come with big 14-inch screens. However, the extra screen real estate is very attractive, but the price is higher than my budget. Whether I'm in the office or travelling, I'll mainly use my laptop for word-processing, spreadsheet calculations and presentations. What would you buy if you were in my shoes? DIAN WELLS Hong Kong Machines such as the HiNote Ultra 2000 - soon to be released in Hong Kong under the Compaq brand as the Armada 6500 - and Dell's Inspiron 7000 are attractive. They are nice machines, but I just wouldn't get the most out of them, making the money spent a waste. Taking your budget into consideration, I would recommend the Acer. It is a nice, light machine, and although it has only a 200-megahertz processor, it is not something to be laughed at. It is on sale for about $12,000, and for the remaining $3,000 you can at least double its standard 32 megabytes of memory, and buy an external full-size keyboard and a desktop monitor for use in the office. It will function as well as a desktop, and is good for working on the road because of its size. The 8.4-inch screen is a little small, but is a lot more than that on a Libretto. One important point - no matter what you decide to buy, make sure you buy it from an authorised dealer, unless you are willing to put up with a lot of trouble if it breaks down. Most of the large computer-makers - IBM is the latest - are refusing to support parallel imports, such as notebooks imported from Japan. The last thing you need is a machine no one will fix without charging you the earth.