For academic, training, and business purposes, I finally broke down and bought a laptop. My current employer provides a very nice Dell Latitude D800; however, there are limits and strict rules as to how this hardware can be used (no SNORT allowed!). Another motivating factor was my scheduled SANS training in Chicago. For those of you who aren't aware, SANS requires a laptop for most of the "boot camp" style training.
I ended up choosing the Dell e1505 primarily based on features and value. The e1405 is slightly smaller and around $100 more, while the e1705 is interesting, but it's just too big for my needs. From my perspective, the only important additions were the additional memory (2 GB) for running virtual machines and the WSXGA+ display for better resolution (1680x1050) and additional real-estate.
Desktop space comes at a premium while doing lab work.
My next step is to research the newer EVDO services.