I'm wanting to buy a laptop but not sure which one. Do I go for a PowerBook or are there any other laptops to consider? Apart from the obvious variables such as Processor etc. do any Windows based laptop screens match up to PowerBook?
This topic has been well discussed before... a search of the archives should bring up a lot. You didn't mention how you're planning to use your laptop. A general trade-off is processing power vs weight and heat. Some of the more powerful notebooks out there can weigh almost 10 pounds and create enough heat that you'll want them anywhere but your lap. It also depends on whether this is going to be your 'main' computer or if you're planning to bring it into the field and then copy everything to a (presumably more powerful) desktop when you get home. Are you planning to use an external monitor? If so, then the screen has to be good enough to give you a good view in the field, but you'll be connecting to a better monitor (both should be calibrated) when you're home.
Processing power, cost, size, weight, hard disk size/ type/ speed, removable drives (CD/DVD), type and amount of RAM, graphics card, USB/ firewire ports, PCI slot (for compact flash cards) or other external slots, battery life, screen quality, and a lot
of other factors come into play, depending on your use.
The PC vs Apple thing goes back to the days when Bill Gates brought forth the first version of Windows. Apparently Steve Job told Bill, "I have a better product" and Bill replied, "It doesn't matter." Ferrari, Rolls Royce, GM and Toyota all make great cars. Which one you purchase depends a lot on you. The same could be said of anything.
If you have no idea what you're looking for, try typing 'laptop review' into Google or something like that, then comparing what comes up. Follow up on any products you're interested in, go to the manufacturer's websites, check them out, then do more comparisons. Bottom line is to actually try one, type on it, see how it feels, how it looks to you, etc. Sort of like buying that new camera.