PCWorld does a good job testing and reporting on laptops by function. Often they report on best high end units, smallest units, best ones for gamers etc. They just released another list of Top 10 All Purpose Laptops.
I like these lists, but the laptops tend to be too expensive for small businesses. The range in this list starts at about $830 for a Sony Vaio (surprising that they’ve made such progress with their new entry level line) and tops out at $2519 for a Fujitsu LifeBook. Interestingly, the Sony was #7, while the Fujitsu ranked #10.
Earlier I explained why their ranking system may rely on the need for more laptop horsepower than many small business people ever needed. I still beleve that to be true. You can now get laptop in the $500 range with 1GB of RAM and 80GB or larger hard disk. Unfortunately, most of those come with Vista. That means you’ll get the same performance as an older laptop with 512MB of RAM if you’re lucky.