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This is one of the cheapest "real" PDAs you can find around. Palm introduced Zire (2 MB) for around $90 USD. The Palm m105 for the same money is pretty good too (8 MB).
For now, those who really need a PDA have one. So I suggest you hold off from PDAs this year. Wait till the new ARM-based PDAs from Palm, and cheap PocketPCs from Dell. Buying now would only gurrentee you kicking yourself in the ass a month or two later.
Now, this one is great! It costs more than the Zire, but it is not just a PDA, but also a T-Mobile cellphone and it is even able to send and receive email, IM and web content. In fact, we have special support for the SideKick/Hiptop device that renders OSNews beautifully and with no ads or the vertical left sidebar (just use the special link above)! Great value for the features included, at $199.
I actually suggest you try the Hip Hop, after using it, you probably won't want it as a phone+ PDA combo. Plus, mobile Internet service plans, except maybe in the bay area (*grin*) is quite expensive. Unless of course, if you are living in Japan, which would anyway mean you already have one or planning to get on similar from DoCoMo.
So, check out this HP ze1210 for the affordable one. Its list price is $1,049 after rebates, but I found it at Frys a few days ago as low as $999. I believe for what it offers, this is a great (branded) laptop for the price. It has a combo DVD/CD-RW drive, 20 GB disk, an AthlonXP 1400+ CPU, 15" 1024x768 LCD screen, NIC, modem, 256 MB RAM, ALi chipset with integrated gfx chipset etc. Another great choice for $999 is the HP ze4102 with a Radeon gfx card and a Celeron 1.6 GHz.
I would suggest neither. The first, using Athlon XP 1400+ have very little battery life, while the second very bad power management (meaning low battery life anyway; caused by lack of SpeedStep). I would suggest getting anything with a Pentium III-m. Oh, stay away from HP-branded laptops, believe me, they suck (I have one here, the support is terrible). My brother's Compaq laptop has better support, but now they are the same company, I guess we would never know until my bro breaks his laptop...
For the less affordable, but absolutely amazing for the features laptop (and in fact this is the one my husband wanted to buy for me for Christmas), I would highly recommend this Compaq Pressario 1525us
I would suggest this for people that don't really travel much. Then again, I would much rather suggest a desktop. AlienWare's laptop in this field is way better (an looks better too).
But for a high-end laptop, I would suggest something with a long battery life, comfortable keyboard, light, among others. CPU power comes least on my check list. Which is why only Apple laptops are the only Macs that appeal to me.
Of course, the Proview VM541, 15" LCD monitor @ 1024x768, is a great first LCD monitor at only $250 USD.
As cheap as it may be (believe me, I've seen cheaper), I would direct my recommendations to either Phillips, LG and ViewSonic. I would suggest Sony higher end ones, but they are certainly not in the 15" range. They may be a little more expensive, but I would say the money spent is worth it.
or get the lowest end PowerMac, for $1699.
Unless you really really want a Mac, I would direct users away from PowerMacs to PCs. Dual-processor Xeons or Athlon MPs.
On the other hand, you might want to wait a month before buying a Mac, as at the MacWorld at San Francisco in January, new models will surely be announced.
I think the PowerMac and iMac line would be upgraded a bit, but nothing would be too fanstatic about it that you should put off buying now. What MWSF would probably showcase is Mac OS X 10.3, OS X-only Macs, among others.
Can't make up my mind which one is best. Some days I prefer Red Hat 8, other days I prefer SuSE 8.1. Just get the one you like and support the leading Linux distro of your choice.
Unless you are giving a present to a geek friend (which would be using Linux if he/she is interested anyway), I would highly recommend NOT giving them OS presents. If they are particulary interested in Linux, either Xandros, LindowsOS (oh no! someone brainwashed me) or Lycoris, not because they closely imitate Windows' UI but they are more targeted and orientated towards the home user rather than SuSE and RH the corporate one.