What sort of laptop should I get?

I’m going off to college in a month or so, and I’m going to get a laptop before I go. I know approximately nothing about laptops, so I need some help from tech-savvy Dopers.

Here is what I want: I need to be able to write papers (Corel WordPerfect is my preferred program), get online (Wirelessly, sometimes) and email and instant message, play music and update my iPod (so I guess it needs speakers), maybe watch DVDs, it has to be light enough to carry it around all day, and not too expensive (up to $1000, I’d guess). A fairly long battery life would be nice, too.

This is way out of your price range, but it may give you some ideas.

ANY new PC laptop is going to be more than capable of running any of your requirements.

Check out getting your laptop sans middle man. For example, I just bought a new laptop from m-techlaptops.com

For a company like Alienware, they buy their laptops from somebody else (company in China, Clevo I think), slap their Alienware name on it, and sell it for a rediculous marked up price. m-tech just eliminates that process, and sells the laptop for a slightly higher than factory direct price.

For example, the setup I got was $1850.00 From Alienware, the exact same setup would have been ~$3550.00

Keep in mind though, when dealing with a company like this, it might not always be the easiest of things. m-tech, for example, required my to print out my invoice, sign it, and fax it back to them as a verification that it was my credit card I was using. Still, I received my new laptop in a timely manner and have not had any problems with it at all.

On a side note, my laptop looks exactly like the picture on the Alienware website, minus the Alienware laptop look on the top of the monitor casing.

On another side note, if you search this issue on Google, you can find articles explaining this middle-man thing in greater detail. That’s how I found out about m-tech in the first place.