Either I just made an incredible blunder in judgement or I made a brilliant move in frugality.

I just took advantage of a triple-punch rebate offer for a laptop through Best Buy… saving me about $450.  That’s right… welcome to the 20th century, Dave; I finally took the plunge and got the #1 toy off my wishlist.

I know what you’re thinking, “David, you can’t afford a laptop!!”

You’d be right.  I’m not following the “spend less than you make” of Personal Finance 101 in this case (although, I wonked my budget so that I can pay it back down in 3 “easy” installments and be back on track for my 2003 one third debt reduction plan).

However, I’ve been hypersensitive to 27 occasions this month alone (and yes, I’ve really been keeping count) where a laptop would have saved me enormous amounts of time and effort or where having a laptop would have just been handy and cool.  Because my job keeps me on the go unlike anything I’ve experienced before, being productive anywhere has distinct advantages.

So here’s the thing… I didn’t go for a high-end laptop… I didn’t go for a coveted Powerbook (coveted for the form factor, if nothing else).

Ok, brace yourself… I didn’t even go for the name brand machine.  I got a Sotec… not quite your typical dell or thinkpad.

Now before you scold me, rest assured I bought the service plan, just in case.  However, i’ve seen nothing but extremely positive reviews about these little (and I do mean LITTLE) machines; definitely enough to convince me that the price/feature/reliability/usefulness/size equation worked out in my favor.

This little machine, while having more horsepower than any one of my desktop boxes (except for my Mac), is mediocre compared to the beasts available in the $1400+ range.

As I was shopping around, I made an honest assesment of why I needed/wanted a laptop.  My needs, while away from the office, revolve around document editing in MS-Office (excuse me, Open Office, rather), checking email, reviewing calendars and to-do lists, and browsing the web.

Quite a few of the machines out there advertise themselves as “Desktop Replacements.”  What?!? I don’t think I could justify doubling the cost and almost doubling the weight (the Sotec is a svelte 4.4 lbs (inc. battery)) so I could have a more macho machine.  I mean, it’s not like I’ll be rendering 3D animation at the coffee shop.  While it would be cool to have a monster machine, if it broke my back and wallet, it wasn’t necessary.

If size and price were my facets of decision making, I think I found an awesome deal.  I had a two day window to decide (for one of the rebates), and I went ahead and pulled the trigger.  If I play with it and decide I hate it, I’ll just bring it back to my friendly neighborhood best buy and wash my hands of the whole situation.

I’ll definitely write about how well it works.

Now, I’m keeping my attention piqued for a wireless card (which I’ve seen in the $25-40 for name brands (with requisite rebates and deal-finding).  And then an Wireless Access Point for the home… and then, finally, an LCD monitor to compliment the Mac’s flat panel… actually, then, some components for a new desktop, etc, so I have spare machines for art projects.