dont let the wallpapers and looks fool you . This is probably some stupid netbook .

* graphics :
ALWAYS go for a laptop with at least a low-end nvidia or ATI graphic card   (direct x 11 at least).
I prefer nvidia coz they have a feature called digital vibrance that really enables amazing colors and clarity on the screen , TRUST ME  it makes a lot of difference (especially for watching HD movies).
ATI card enabled laptops  generally have slightly more power and are cheaper . but screen clarity is often sacrificed .
The graphic card can contribute a hefty amount of processing power to the laptop .
Other than games and videos , graphic cards are also used to  run the aero and visual features of  windows 7
Graphic cards usually come in 3 ranges  low , medium and high-end graphic cards.
LOW end cards  : in laptops usually within 250 kd ,  can play most games , though not in their highest resolutions and without full settings . (geforce 9200 , gt 320m ,  gtx 420 , gtx 530 ..etc) . u need at least , a low-end card to play games like street fighter 4 (the gameplay i posted below this post , im playing it with a geforce 9200m gs)  or call of duty black ops .
MEDIUM end cards : should be in below 400 kd laptops . can play games smoothly in high resolutions and with most settings on high. (geforce 9600 , gtx 450 , gtx 560 ..etc)
HIGH end cards : usually in laptops above 400 kd  ( like alienware , most of them are hard to find in stores , must be preordered ) . For playing games in their highest resolutions (1900X1080) and every setting on HIGH ( even anti aliasing).  (geforce 9800 , gtx 580 , gtx 680 + )
oh and get laptops with at least 15 inch screens .
13 inch screens provide slightly better sharpness and better battery life , but they are terrible to look at and have pathetic aspect ratios and colors .
DO NOT , buy a laptop with intel HD graphics .

*processor :
considering current generation intel processors , anything ” i5 and above” should be sufficient for the next couple of years .
i3 range of processors  are quite underpowered so DO NOT buy  i3 .
I suggest getting a  “medium end”  last gen (core 2 duo) processor than getting an i3 . (people who bought it here encountered slowdowns during heavy tasks)
if u just want to play videos  , documentation and presentation work , play  small games (CS , old need for speed games,fifa)  then the  i3 is more than sufficient .
(processors usually heavily effect tasks such as  multi tasking , file transfers , video conversion , video playing ..etc)

*RAM :
At least  3GB ram is highly required for running windows 7 smoothly.
(I have tried it on a 512 mb ram PC , windows 7 without its aero effects take around 256 mb ram on startup  , so you will only have 50 % (around 200mb) of memory to run applications , plus if you try to multi task apps , expect a lot of slowdowns and hungups )

*disk space :
350 GB is usually sufficient , but more the merrier . I say 1TB if u can afford it 🙂 .
its safer to keep important files in an external hard disk .

*additional features :
security features like face detection and fingerprint scanners are awesome , and works great on most laptops . a bundled anti-virus is also great . new features like USB 3.0 and thunderbolt will be awesome .  more USB ports , the merrier and don’t forget to look for laptops with HDMI ports , so you can easily plug it into HDTV screens .

* operating system  :
If you are technically able , getting a laptop WITHOUT an operating system is actually an excellent choice  as it removes a large amount from the total price tag .
you can install an OS of you choice later 😉
I recommend windows 7 ultimate .

*warranty :
Extremely important in . Things can get damaged or stolen EASILY in India . Get an international warranty if you are buying from abroad   else get a laptop from India with 3 years warranty.

*battery life :
6 cell batteries at least . if u have a powerful laptop , chances are it will have pathetic battery life .
if u want great battery life go for laptops with below 15 inch screens , graphic cards, crappy processors  and net books.

Always try to get a laptop within the 200 – 300 kd mark with the above configurations.
Cause most of the laptops can’t be future upgraded ,  you will feel sorry 3 years later when new powerful systems arrive .
Make sure the price is justifiable .
Sometimes laptops cost a lot (because it is designed well) , BUT wont have  highly desired features (a descent graphic card or a proper OS) and is not comparable to cheaper models .
eg. dell alienware’s are great for gaming , but they aren’t exactly justifiable , since most games do not actually require all that power , most high-end other brand laptops can easily play the games at slightly lesser setting and  cost  much lesser too.
same situation for MAC’s , you can’t play games and software support for the mac is limited compared to the windows laptops .

*important :
Sometimes cheap laptops will have just what u need .
friend of mine bought a Toshiba satellite laptops for 38,000 rs . it has a low-end processor , crappy screen , terrible built-in speakers (headphones are louder)  BUT it had a  “medium end” ATI graphic card  and amazing battery life (6hrs+) .
I have a laptop with a medium end processor , beautiful screen , amazing speakers  BUT   a  low-end Nvidia graphic card  and average battery life ( – 4hrs).
I WANT his laptop . HE can  play new games at high-resolution and all setting on high . I can’t  ;(
( I hope you understand what I am implying here)

*brand  :
chose one with a descent amount of service centers in your area . and with less technical issues .
HP (the current generation models are amazing)  and TOSHIBA (amazing build quality but very few service centers here) are my top favorites .
ASUS is also makes excellent powerful laptops for descent prices .
DELL is great but slightly over priced . friend of mine bought a dell xps  and it was a mess . he had to replace pretty much everything .
BUT they have the best warranty and service centers . they replaced everything except the screen of my friends laptop under the warranty (he didn’t have to spend a dime ).

u have LOTS OF MONEY and DO NOT  want to game or  run powerful applications , get an APPLE MAC BOOK 😛  or a netbook 😀 .

recomendable MODELS :   HP envy and dv6 series , dell xps (only the high-end ones) series , toshiba satellite series (the one my friend got) ,  ASUS g-series