Debating a widescreen laptop? Most run at 1024x768, but if you have extra money and desire such things you can get high resolutions from a laptop, akin to those you're used to running on your desktop. For a small amount of money you can get a WXGA display that runs at 1280x800. That's not much taller than the standard resolution, but adds substantially to the width. For even more money you go up to the SXGA+, WSXGA+, UGXA, and WUXGA.
There's just enough extra room on the sides to allow positioning a small window while still focusing exclusively on the main window. Indeed it alleviates my main pet peeve of having to minimize my main window just to see what's behind it.
Just keep in mind that LCD displays must physically mimic their native resolution, so WXGA laptops are a couple inches wider than their XGA counterparts.