I'm new to laptops and was wondering what difference the CPU would make as this seems to affect the price. My usage would be mainly as a home office dealing with photographs (Adobe Photoshop). Out of the 3 CPU's (celeron, centrino and AMD) I know nothing about performance and more importantly reliability. Any help appreciated.
The CPU will make no difference. I use a Dell Inspiron with a Celeron 1.4 chip and it copes well with photoshop 7 and Office XP. Go for the cheaper chip and spend any extra on an external HD for backup/storage.
As with Gandalf -IMHO Choice of CPU at this level is unimportant -since all laptops are designed as a package and given the brand and your budget - you get what you are given. I sometimes wonder if we do not all get a little bogged down with all the technicalities. OK OK I await review writers and other now to burn my ears off[or eyes out]!
A more important choice than CPU is the keyboard, some of the cheaper laptops have very poor keyboards that flex in the middle. If I were you I'd pop round to PC world and try a few out to see which keyboard works best for you.
Also check the screen, some have very poor viewing angles (the picture deteriorates badly if you view from the side or above) and the lighting can be inconsistant, which can be annoying when viewing or editing photos.
In my opinion you can't beat IBM or Dell laptops, but HP / Compaq and Fujitsu Seimens are also very good.