1. Expert reviews

The Best Laptops of 2021

Elina Blom

Updated September 20, 2021

The Best Laptops of 2021

1. Asus Rog Zephyrus - BEST CHOICE GAMING LAPTOP 2021

A thin but still maxed out computer

Type: Gaming Laptop Size: 17.3 inch Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-8750H (2.2 GHz) RAM: 24 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM Hard drive: 1 TB SSD Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 (Max-Q, 8GB GDDR5X VRAM) Operating system: Windows 10 Pro 64 Miscellaneous: 144Hz FHD screen (sRGB), 3 ms. response time, 2 x 2W speakers with Smart AMP 3D Mark Basic Edition

ASUS ROG Strix GL703GS-E5011T

The Asus Rog Zephyrus is an ultra-thin laptop. One interesting detail is that the chassis opens up underneath when you open the screen. This means that the computer is extremely thin when it’s folded up – for a gaming computer – but you also get a really nice low angle when you open the screen.

The hinges sometimes get stuck halfway when we try to open it, which means that you have to shut it and open it again. It’s not clear what causes this.

The build quality is generally very good. The construction feels solid and stable while the material choices and design exude a premium feel. The frame around the screen is very thin. The screen itself is bright with a very fast response time. It’s also really sharp and has a very good colour range.

The backlit keyboard works very well when you play at night.

Slightly strange keyboard layout

The major disadvantage of the Zephyrus is the position of the touchpad. It’s down on the right-hand corner. When you’re playing games this doesn’t make much difference, but it’s a pain every time you use the computer for something else. The position means that you end up with your hands and arms on a strange angle that feels unnatural even after several months’ use. The easiest thing is to start to use the trackpad with just one hand, which makes it a more natural position.

Otherwise the solution to this is to buy an external mouse, which isn’t an expensive addition in the context but at the same time is a shame with such an otherwise well-designed computer. On the other hand, anybody who plays a lot is likely to want to use a dedicated gaming mouse to provide programmable buttons, a better response time and so on – so the minus points it gets for this are less important.

Incredibly fast without overheating

The performance of the Asus Rog Zephyrus is top quality. Our example has a full 24 GB of RAM – instead of 16 – which of course gives it a real boost. And we have no problem playing the latest titles on this computer or running 3D programs at the same time that three or four Adobe programs are open and in use. It’s quite simply phenomenal when it comes to performance.

At the same time it’s really quiet and relatively cool even under high load. When the fans are running at top speed it’s noisier, but it isn’t the characteristic sound of many computers – instead it has a less annoying sound profile.

The Asus Rog Zephyrus is perfect for anyone looking for an attractive, slim gaming laptop that’s light enough to carry with you to a LAN. Despite the compact construction, it maximises performance without getting too hot.

Super-thin & attractive designvery high performancesuccessful cooling solutionwell builtcrystal clear & bright screen
Poor positioning of trackpadhinges sometimes lock up

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2. HP Elite Dragonfly - BEST ENVIRONMENTAL CHOICE

Stylish laptop in recycled materials with lots of safety functions

Type: Business computer Size: 13.3 inch Processor: Intel Core i5-8365U 1.6-4.1 GHz 6 MB cache 4 cores RAM: 16 GB Hard drive: 512 GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 Weight: 1 kg Guarantee: 1 year send-in service for material and manufacturing faults Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64 Miscellaneous: Privacy filter, BIOS protection, physical camera cover, 360 degree touchscreen

HP Elite Dragonfly 10U32EA

The HP Elite Dragonfly is a super compact and ultra-light business computer largely made from recycled material. For example, the light but powerful magnesium chassis is made from recycled magnesium, and the speaker system is made from ocean-bound plastic – plastic that wouldn’t otherwise have been recycled, but would have ultimately ended up in the sea.

The build quality is impressive throughout. Everything from the hinges to the chassis exudes quality, and the design is extremely inviting. The thin chassis and the narrow frames around the screen give it an extra appeal. It also has a three-year guarantee.

Despite the fact that HP have chosen to place the speakers on the left and right of the keyboard, it never feels like it limits the space. We can type as fast and easily as on other well-planned keyboards. The response in the keys is fast and they meet your fingers with just the right amount of resistance. It’s a low profile keyboard, but not so low that it's a problem.

Flip screen

Given the size of the computer, it’s not surprising that the ports are rather limited. But at least there’s an HDMI port for those who want to connect an additional screen, and Thunderbolt for anyone who wants to quickly transfer large files to portable SSD disks.

The computer stays relatively cool even if you run several web browsers at the same time with lots of tabs each. Our test example “only” has an i5 processor under the bonnet, but it still does a perfectly reasonable job when it comes to simple graphics editing, basic games and heavy Excel files.

It’s far from the most powerful laptop we’ve tested in this segment and with this price structure, and given the power you get from the computer it’s pretty expensive. But it does a good job with what it has, and it’s perfectly OK for office tasks.

The battery life is reasonable but no more than that. We succeed in getting just under 6 hours of normal use without the energy saving functions running, but with the brightness on a low 50%. In other words, you're still going to need to pack the charger in your hand luggage if you're going on a long-haul flight.

The screen is a touchscreen, and the laptop comes with a pen you can use for drawing, signing documents and so on. The buttons on it can be set as shortcuts to different commands. You can also use your finger on the screen.

Because you can rotate the screen 180 degrees, you can also use the laptop as a tablet or set it on edge to watch films.

The touchscreen has rather limited brightness and doesn’t feel as good as some of its competitors. It’s also a bit on the yellow side, although this is the kind of thing that doesn’t bother some people as much as others.

One welcome detail is that the Dragonfly has physical camera protection that you can move over the camera lens. Another safety feature is the separate built-in chip that gives very good BIOS protection, because the computer can repair itself before the operating system starts running, without your help. It also makes it easy to restore the computer. In addition, it has a privacy filter. If you press the function key for this, it's difficult for people sitting beside you to see the screen. And this works pretty well.

The HP Elite Dragonfly isn’t exactly a high-powered machine, but it’s a good alternative if you do a lot of travelling and are looking for a very light computer that’s easy to type on. It can cope with rough handling, is extremely portable and has several useful safety functions. It’s also ideal for the environmentally aware user who wants a computer with high build quality and an attractive design.

Good Environmental ChoiceMany reassuring safety functionsCompact design & high build qualityVery lightGood keyboard
Limited performanceNot very bright

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3. Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano

Incredibly impressive build

Type: Work computer Size: 13 inch, 2160x1350 pixels Processor: 11th gen Intel Core i7 11th gen RAM: 16 GB DDR4 Hard drive: 512 GB NVMe M.2 SSD Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Weight: 0.9 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Miscellaneous: Windows Hello camera

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano 20UN002WMX

There are portable computers and then there are those that are ultraportable. The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano belongs to the latter category. Can you get equivalent specifications for significantly less money? Yes. Can you get them in a package that weighs only 900 grams? Probably not.

Great build quality

Give its hefty price tag, the X1 Nano is hardly a computer for everyone. But in addition to the impressively light weight, there’s actually a lot more to that hefty price tag.

Starting from the outside, this computer feels solidly built with an impressive magnesium chassis and carbon fibre lid. Despite the light weight, it’s also a really stable computer.

If you like lots of ports on your computer, however, this is not the machine for you. You get a headphone plug and two Thunderbolt 4 ports in USB-C version, largely because not much else could have fitted.

Under the lid, everything looks pretty thinkpad-ish. In the middle of the keyboard is the characteristic red mouse control, if for some reason you don’t to use the really good touchpad underneath the keyboard. The keyboard is generally up in Thinkpad class, but with a slightly shorter stroke length, which still means an amazingly good typing feel. Due to the overall size, however, the keyboard has shrunk to just below standard size, which may take some practice to get used to. Depending on how you feel about that, that’s probably also the main disadvantage of this computer.

A working day’s battery life

Above the screen there’s a rather dull webcam, but one that offers mechanical lens protection, Windows Hello and the new proximity detector. The latter causes the computer to automatically lock when it can’t see anyone sitting in front of it. The screen, on the other hand, has really good resolution and image quality on par with the price class.

Inside, you get Intel’s 11th generation processor along with a decent amount of storage and fast internal memory. The Intel processor, together with the new built-in graphics card Iris Xe provides plenty of speed for the office chores for which the computer is intended.

Finally we mustn’t forget the battery, which in this case is almost the most impressive feature of the computer. Despite its size, we had no problem getting the battery to last a full working day and still have some power left at the end.

The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano is a premium laptop that gives you today's sharpest performance in a package that hardly weighs anything at all.

Battery lifegood screenthe light weight and overall construction
Dull webcamthe keyboard takes some getting used to

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4. Apple Macbook Pro (M1)

Runs rings around the competition

Type: Office computer Size: 13 inch, 2560x1600 pixels Processor: Apple M1 RAM: 8/16 GB Hard drive: 256/512/1024/2048 GB Graphics: Apple M1 8 core Weight: 1.4 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: MacOS

Apple MacBook Pro (2020) M1 OC 8C GPU 8GB 256GB SSD 13

A lot has already been written about the new Apple Macbook Pro featuring Apple's own M1 chip. You’ve probably already read some of it. But beyond all the initial shouts of joy, what’s it like in practice to live and work with a Mac and Apple's new system chip? Six months into our tests, we’ve found both advantages and disadvantages.

Same as it ever was

Ever since Apple scrapped all ports on its Macs in favour of one or two USB-Cs, there have been rumours of things going back to how they were before. But the M1 Macbook Pro doesn’t offer that, and if you’ve missed out on all the debate about Apple’s keyboard, you won’t see any direct visual differences between this model and any other one from the last couple of years.

That’s where much of the criticism lies, too, because whilst we understand that the focus should be on the inside, the design, the number of ports and the pitifully dull webcam could have done with an upgrade. The latter has actually been updated to an extent thanks to the image processing inside the M1 chip, but the camera itself is still very boring.

It’s also disappointing that the M1 chip has difficulties dealing with dual screens.

Not just fast

Leaving aside those criticisms, it’s the inside that really matters. And here it’s a two-part story. The M1 chip is based on ARM architecture and not the X86 as before, the same as in all mobiles and tablets. Of course, this requires a translator for those programs that are still adapted for the X86. That particular piece of Apple's Rosetta 2 technology is perhaps the most impressive. Even though there are some programs that don’t work, most things start fine without you having to think about it. Oddly, the Chrome browser actually works better in emulated form than the variant is adapted for the M1.

In terms of performance, the M1 chip runs rings around most competitors, which effectively makes Apple’s computers some of the best value for money in terms of performance per pound spent. The Macbook Pro can do a little better compared to the Macbook Air due to active cooling. But on the other hand, it’s barely noticeable and very rare that the fan even runs at an audible level.

At the same time, file management has paradoxically become slower. You can render 4k videos in a matter of seconds. And the only place we found a real lag was where we had to handle lots of files in terms of renaming, moving and deleting.

The very biggest advantage, however, is the battery life. You probably won’t get Apple’s claimed 18 hours, but a working day with lots of image and video editing is never a problem in terms of battery life. And even when it’s flat, the battery charges so quickly that you don’t find yourself waiting for ages.

That Apple would make, in some respects, the most affordable laptops on the market in 2021 sounds almost absurd. But if you can do without Windows and have no gaming needs, the levels of performance and battery life you get for your money are insane. The Macbook Air is clearly the more affordable of the two, but if you want a Touch Bar and a slightly brighter screen, Apple's Macbook Pro is an excellent alternative.

Incredible battery lifeoverall really fastgood keyboard
Dull webcamold designtoo few ports

5. Asus Zenbook 13 Oled

One of the best in its price class

Computer type: Mid/Premium laptop Chip: 4-core Intel Core i7 1165G7/2.8 GHz Cache: 12 MB Graphics Card: Intel Iris Xe graphics Storage: 1TB SSD RAM: 16 GB (Integrated) OS: Windows 10 Pro Guarantee: 1 year Miscellaneous: Shockproof hard drive, OLED screen,memory card reader, HDMI, USB-C (2), USB socket (1), micro SD card reader, high resolution webcam, Harman Kardon speakers

ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325EA-PURE8

The Asus Zenbook 13 is a compact, light, thin computer with a very functional design. The screen automatically lifts the chassis when you open it, which allows air to flow underneath and keeps heat generation down. The computer is both quiet and well built. Despite its small size, it still has quite a few ports.

The only thing we didn’t like in terms of build quality is that the screen’s hinges need to be marginally stiffer, as the screen is prone to slumping a bit when you carry the computer around open.

There’s nothing wrong with the experience of the screen in general, and it’s razor sharp. The screen is FHD OLED type, which means it really delivers in terms of brightness, colours and contrast. Having a really good screen is extra important when you have a slightly smaller computer, and Asus have truly succeeded here.

Asus-Zenbook-13-Oled

Surprisingly good graphics performance

The keyboard offers a good response, but the keys have very little travel and require some practice before you get used to them. The Enter key is also very small, and that too takes a while to feel right.

Our test example was equipped with an Intel i7 processor, 16 Gb RAM and Intel Iris Xe graphics. The graphics card delivers much better than we expected. Of course you can’t max out the latest games, but you can definitely play popular games like Rocket League or League of Legends on high graphics settings and still get a decent FPS.

Considering the price, we also think it’s positive that you get such a large SSD disk.

The battery lasts for just over a working day if you use high performance software, and you easily get ten hours or so out of it when running simpler everyday tasks.

The computer speakers provide decent sound quality, but you’ll probably want to buy a headset if you intend to listen to music.

The Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is a really great laptop for anyone looking for a well-built computer in a convenient format. It’s powerful, stylish and portable without being too expensive.

Powerful componentsthin & lightweightgreat image quality
Keyboard not greatscreen a bit floppy

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6. ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425

Excellent battery life and cleverly designed computer for those who want to avoid cables

Computer type: Study/business computer Chip: Intel Core i7 10th gen 1065G7/1.3 GHz (Max 3.9 GHz) 4 core Storage: 512 GB SSD RAM: 16 GB Graphics card: Intel UHD Graphics OS: Windows 10 Home (64-bit) Guarantee: 1 year Miscellaneous: IR camera, Wi-Fi 6, Harman Kardon speakers

ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425JA-PURE13

This slim laptop from Asus is an incredibly small and neat computer with a great battery life. Its 14-inch screen has thin frames and a sharpness and resolution that make it easy to work on, even for longer periods. The screen is a matte IPS variant, which allows you to see well even in daylight. The aluminium chassis gives a premium feel even though the computer's price is more mid-range.

What we are a little hesitant about, however, is that the Zenbook 14 UX425 lacks a 3.5-millimetre port. This gives us mixed feelings. Of course, you could get an adapter for USB-C to 3.5 mm, and that would solve the matter. But adapters are easy to forget. So we’d rather have seen a dedicated port. However, there are dual USB-C ports, HDMI etc., so the computer is certainly well equipped in that sense. It’s about what you’d expect in terms of price class and competition.

Something we really liked about the ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425 is that the screen, in the open position, allows air to flow underneath. When you unfold the screen, it pushes up the base slightly, allowing air to flow through underneath the computer. This is a pretty ingenious solution. Laptops do tend to get hot when they’re on a flat surface, so reducing the contact with this surface means the computer stays relatively cool even when pushed.

Zenbook-14

The Zenbook has an Intel processor. Our test copy had a Core i7, but you can also choose an i5 variant. The computer generally delivers what you'd expect in terms of price and the hardware you get. What we were most impressed by is the battery life. Doing normal office work and with the screen at relatively low brightness, we got around 17 hours. That’s incredibly good.

The ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425 is an affordable computer, suitable for both students and those who work a lot when travelling. If you’re looking for a computer that you don’t have to keep charging, this one allows you to be mobile most of the day, and the computer easily fits in your bag.

Great battery lifeeasy-to-read screen both day & nightneat & lightweightwell designed
Lacks 3.5 mm port

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7. Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Luxury Chromebook for those who can afford it

Type: Chromebook Size: 13.5 ins, 2256x1504 pixels Processor: 2.1 GHz (Max Turbo 4.1 GHz) Memory: 8 DDR4SD Hard drive: 128 SSD Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics Weight: 1.45 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Chrome OS Miscellaneous: Touch screen, 2 USB-C USB 3.1, USB-3.2 Gen 1, HDMI, Micro SD card slot, headphone socket

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 CP713-2W-36LN (NX.HQBEK.001)

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a solid and well-built Chromebook – and one of the more luxurious models we tested. Its sharp edges and matte metallic finish give it a modern look. Even though it wasn’t the lightest computer we tested, at 1.45 kg it’s still very easy to carry around, and the size means that it fits in either a briefcase or a backpack.

The screen is a rotatable touch screen. For example, you can tilt it back and use the computer as a tablet or as a monitor when you watch films. The surface is very responsive and picks up commands quickly. However, the touchpad on the computer is a bit hypersensitive, and too easily picks up commands you didn’t make.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Our trial version of the Spin 713 is equipped with an Intel Core i3 processor. For a simpler computer like this, that processor is good enough – you can stream, watch films and write at the same time without any problems.

Thanks to its performance and construction, the Spin 713 is also a very quiet computer; the fans only rarely run at higher speeds, which is kind on your ears. Given that Chromebooks are often used as student computers and the like, you really want peace and quiet to be able to focus. You're often in a public space when you're studying, such as a lecture theatre or library, where a low noise level is even more important.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Thanks to the fact that this computer is so easy to use, it does well in most contexts. This is a Chromebook with almost unnecessary good performance, a real luxury model.

As a family computer where streaming or studying are the main tasks, or for someone who works from different places at home and wants a light, compact computer, this model works perfectly – even if the price is very much on the high side. This isn’t a gaming computer or a computer where you can edit big files, but the Acer Spin 713 is still a fantastic little computer for anyone who writes a lot or works in the cloud.

Nice designlightweightgood touch screensimplegood battery life
Clumsy touchpad

8. Lenovoa Yoga Slim 7

Very good computer for a broad target group

Computer type: Multimedia premium Chip: AMD Ryzen 7 4800U 1.80 GHz Cache: 4 MB Storage: 1 TB SSD RAM: 16 GB LPDDR4X SDRAM Graphics card: AMD RADEON graphics OS: Windows 10 Home (64-bit) Guarantee: 2 years Miscellaneous: Dolby Atmos speakers, impact-resistant hard drive, 14” IPS glare 1920x1080, memory card reader, HDMI, USB-C x2, USB x 2, high-resolution 720p cam

Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 14ARE05 82A20013UK

Are you looking for a good all-round computer? If so, you should take a look at the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7. This relatively compact laptop from Lenovo fits nicely both in your hand and in your bag. It weighs in at 1.4 kg, which isn’t impressively light but it’s still highly portable.

The construction gives a nice premium feel. The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 has a metallic surface with minimal logos, making it quite discreet in the meeting room. The keyboard is relatively quiet when you type on it. However, the touchpad isn’t 100%, and feels a bit flabby.

Lenovo-Yoga-Slim-7-3

The Ryzen 4 processor performs perfectly. We have no problems running lots of programs at the same time and aren’t disturbed by the fans when we push the computer performance. But the computer does get quite hot.

Because you get a full terabyte of SSD storage, Windows and your other programs start up quickly and there’s plenty of space for pictures and other media. If you run out of space, however, it’s very easy to upgrade to add more because Lenovo have made it very easy to unscrew the back and connect an additional hard drive. We give it major plus points for this.

The Yoga Slim 7's screen is really good. This IPS screen has great colour reproduction with authentic colours. The screen brightness makes it nice to use regardless of whether it’s daylight or night-time. And you can see the screen well in sunlight.

Lenovo-Yoga-Slim-7-2

With Dolby Atmos speakers, the sound is actually a little better than you get with many other laptops. It has good bass pressure and nice depth.

The Yoga Slim 7's battery is really good. We got about 14 hours’ worth of web browsing from a single charge, which is among the best results for the models we’ve tested in this price class, and makes the Yoga Slim 7 a computer you can rely on when you’re on the go and don’t have any way of charging it. It took about two hours to fully recharge the battery, which is good but not enormously impressive.

Lenovo-Yoga-Slim-7-1

This computer is ideal for anyone looking for a really good value laptop that’s suitable for a bit of everything. It has a great battery life and enough performance for work and pleasure. The great screen also makes it a pleasure to watch a film after work, but it’s just as good for typing a work email at an outdoor table.

Great battery lifefantastic screeneasy to upgrade
Touchpadgets quite hot

9. MSI GL75 Leopard

Fantastic performance but noisy fan

Type: Games Size: 17.3 inch (IPS screen) Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-10750H (2.6-4.7 GHz) RAM: 16 GB DDR4 (2x8 GB) Hard drive: 512 GB SSD Graphics card: NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2060 6GB Ports: 1 x HDMI, 3 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.1 type C generation 2, 1 x DisplayPort

MSI GL75 Leopard 10SFR-279

With a 10th generation i7 processor, 120 Hz IPS screen and a powerful RTX 2060 card, the MSI GL75 Leopard ticks many of the boxes for a top games computer, but does it go the whole way?

The GL75 Leopard has MSI’s classic red and black colours. The black finish gives a stylish, matte feel to the machine. The computer will blend in wherever you put it in your home.

It weighs around 2.5 kg, which is a lot in the computer world, but not necessarily when it comes to games computers as they tend to contain heavier components. The screen is a full 17.5 inches, but has narrow edges around so it never feels particularly chunky.

If you're after a really powerful computer that can cope with more advanced games, the GL 75 delivers effortlessly. You can play pretty much all the games on the market with a high FPS rate, which is fantastic given that this is a laptop.

The GL 75 comes with a program called Dragon Center, which gives you several different modes where you can choose options ranging from maximising battery life to maximising performance.

The built-in “Giant Speaker” doesn't exactly deliver, and the sound is at best acceptable. But this is a games computer, so most people will be using it with headphones and this doesn’t seem like a major problem.

The screen gives fantastic depth. It has excellent richness of colour. If you enjoy playing colourful games or single player games where the graphics are crucial to the experience, you’ll love playing them with this screen.

The screen brightness is good and it resists daylight well. From the side too, the screen has good depth.

The MSI GL75 has many ports of different types and also a memory card slot, which is a bit of a bonus these days.

What’s often a problem in gaming laptops is the fan, and this one's no exception. The sound of the fans is loud and you can hear them even through the best headphones, which can be frustrating particularly if the game relies on good hearing.

As the GL 75 has two fans, you can switch off one fan with the press of a button when it starts to run fast, but that doesn’t help much when game performance is affected, and unfortunately this is the biggest disadvantage of this computer.

As it’s primarily aimed at gamers, we’ve tested popular games.

  • League of Legends

- Highest setting - 200-240 FPS The GL 75’s fantastic IPS screen really came into its own here. It highlighted the colours in the game and provided depth – and with a fantastic 200-240 FPS there wasn’t much to complain about.

  • CS:GO

- Highest setting - 155-200 FPS The laptop also coped with CS:GO without major problems. The frame rate held up and nothing felt like a struggle. The computer and screen quickly felt comfortable, and there were no problems performing headshots or flickshots. But when you reach higher level players it gets more difficult for the GL 75’s screen (120 Hz, 25 ms) to keep up. So for the discerning player we recommend an external screen at 144 or 240 Hz.

  • Fortnite

- Highest setting - 130-160 FPS If we’re talking about colourful games, Fortnite is a good example, and here the GL 75 really shines with its colourful, sharp screen. The game plays really well, and even at Epic settings you don’t notice any disruption, lag or major frame drop.

The MSI GL75 Leopard is ideal if you’re looking for a really powerful games computer with an excellent screen but you don’t need maximised refresh rate on the screen and you can live with a bit of fan noise. This machine will give you performance you can boast about, with really good construction into the bargain.

Sharp & colourful screenpowerful componentswell-built & effective construction
Noisy fansslow screen when movements are fast (high ms)

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10. Asus ZenBook UX430UQ

Compact and sober 14-inch machine with high build quality

Size: 14 inch Processor: Intel Core i7-7500U Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 940MX Graphics performance: CPU: 2,116 Graphics card: 441 (3D Mark Basic Edition TimeSpy) Memory: 16 GB DDR4 Hard disk: 512 GB SSD Weight: 1.3 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64 Miscellaneous: Full HD screen, fingerprint reader, full size keyboard, Harman Kardon speakers

ASUS ZenBook UX430UQ-GV048T

The Asus ZenBook UX430UQ is a very interesting computer for business users because it combines a sober design in a very small chassis, despite having a 14-inch screen. It both looks and feels like a premium computer. There's hardly any dead space around the screen. The computer is also extremely thin and weighs only just over a kilo, which makes it easy to carry with you. And it's amazingly fast. Opening windows and shifting between programs is incredibly quick even if you have lots of programs running. The only thing we'd have liked to see is a better graphics card. There is actually a dedicated card, which is very unusual in the ultrabook segment, so to that extent it stands out. But the results for graphics performance are still unfortunately rather disappointing. This isn't a computer to use for games. Nor is it good for anyone working with 3D visualisation or similar tasks, but then if that's you, you're probably not looking for an ultrabook either.

Overall, the ZenBook UX430UQ is a really good computer. The screen is top quality, with excellent sharpness, great colour reproduction and a really good viewing angle. The brightness can be adjusted automatically based on the room you're using it in. It also keeps itself cool under heavy loads and the fan noise isn't obvious. For normal use, the battery life is just on 6 hours, which is 2 hours shorter than stated, but still pretty good. Given that the computer is so mobile, we'd have liked a longer battery life, for example for long flights. Otherwise, the UX430UQ is lacking a few little extras. Things like being able to flip the screen or a really good battery life – something to make it stand out and give it that bit more added value. But if these aren't things you need, this is a very good value for money computer. It's ideal for anyone working with figures and documents, or if you want a fast computer that oozes quality but without costing too much. It would also suit the well-heeled student looking for a computer with good build quality.

Amazingly fast, very good screen, compact and light, high build quality
Poor graphics performance, lacks a few functions

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11. Lenovo Yoga 910-13IKB

Flexible in many aspects

Size: 13.9 inch Processor: 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7-7500U Graphics: Intel HD 620 Performance measurement: CPU: 1943 Graphics card: 313 (3D Mark Basic Edition TimeSpy) Hard drive: 1000 GB SSD Weight: 1.38 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64 Miscellaneous: 4K IPS screen (3840 x 2160 pixels), ISO keyboard, fingerprint reader, JBL speakers, 3 x USB (1 x "always on")

Lenovo Yoga 910 (80VF00H3UK)

The Lenovo Yoga 910-13IKB is a very good business computer due to its well-balanced mix of performance and versatility. This computer may have a hefty price tag, but on the other hand it's got tons of functions too. For example, you can flip the screen and use it as a tablet. The fact that the computer is so incredibly thin means that the keyboard underneath doesn't get in the way – you actually don't even notice it. It's also got a touchscreen, which means that you've got a great way to give presentations. This works well with Windows 10, which has touchscreen technology in focus. The possibility of flipping the screen 180 degrees backwards also means that you can set it up on the desk on its long side, and have Skype meetings using the webcam. This means that the computer takes up very little space and is extremely practical if you often have meetings on the go. But the computer isn't particularly big, so size is rarely a problem even when it's in laptop mode. The hinges are also very good. It doesn't fold back up unless you want it to. The webcam is also crisply sharp and excellent for video meetings.

The Yoga 910-13IKB has a really good screen with phenomenal image quality. We didn't encounter any problems with light bleed or similar. Image quality is also razor sharp with excellent colour reproduction. But this computer isn't perfect. We felt that the graphics card was a bit disappointing, given the price tag. This is simply not a computer that you can play games on or use for graphics heavy tasks. We'd also have liked more exclusive material choices – it doesn't feel as expensive as it actually is. Nor does the stated battery life of 12 hours agree with what we actually get out of it. We managed half of that when we put the computer in normal energy mode and ran programs that we used actively. But 6 hours is still pretty good. It's also fast, thanks to the extremely good processor. If you're an Excel fan who tends to have lots of windows and programs open at the same time, you have no need to worry about waiting times when you change between or start new programs. And it's a clever idea that you can charge your mobile phone via the USB port even though the computer's lid is closed. If you're a business user who wants to give presentations, often has digital meetings and travels a lot, this is really the computer for you.

Phenomenal screenintelligent designgood webcamtouchscreen functionality
Boring choice for graphics performance

12. Dell XPS 13 9300

Powerful computer for a broad target group

Computer type: Premium/All round Chip: Intel Core i7-1065G7, 1.3 GHz four core Hard drive: 512 GB SSD RAM: 16 GB DDR4 Graphics card: Intel Iris Plus Graphics OS: Windows 10 Home (64-bit) Battery life: Approx. 10 hrs Webcam: 720p Miscellaneous: fingerprint reader, 13 inch 4K touch screen, impact resistant hard drive, 2 x USB-C, 1 x Micro USB reader, 1 headphone/stereo socket

The Dell XPS 13 9300 is a 13-inch computer full of pleasant surprises. When you hear a computer has a 13-inch screen, you might hesitate because of the size, but the XPS impresses with its 4K screen. It's hard not to be sucked in by the incredible sharpness and depth. Whilst not uncommon today, the fact that it’s also a touchscreen adds an extra dimension.

The XPS 13 9300 is a fast and powerful small laptop. The built-in RAM in the standard version is good enough for most tasks you’d do on a smaller screen, but if you want to, you can up that to a full two terabytes.

Overall the design is slim, and the computer gives an elegant impression. The frame around the screen is relatively thin and the hinges are strong but you can still flip open the computer with one hand.

The inside of the XPS is black, with a carbon-patterned bottom. The keys are illuminated with a blue, clear light that gives a good overview when it gets dark. Essentially, Dell got it right when it comes to the design, as everything feels stylish yet simple!

xps-dell-4

The graphics card is Intel's Iris Plus Graphics. This is a perfectly acceptable graphics card that works well for those who intend to use the computer for work, browsing the internet and watching films. The 4K screen is a really good feature when you want to look at pictures and videos.

But the computer is far from sufficient for advanced gaming or 3D tasks. Then again, such users aren’t really the target group. However, it’s powerful enough to play simpler games like Minecraft and so forth.

xps-dell-6

The keyboard is incredibly easy to get used to. And it feels professional to type on. The keys follow your fingers and are very responsive, it never feels plasticky and there’s no delay.

The touchpad is decent enough. But what might be a little annoying is that the touchpad is more sensitive the lower down your finger goes, and a little less responsive as you work higher up on the pad. You do get used to it, however, and the percentage of the plate that’s a little stiffer is so small that it never really becomes a major problem.

This computer is ideal for anyone who wants a compact and powerful computer that’s suitable to take with you on the move. It’s a good choice if you move around a lot at work. It’s nice to type on and has a really good screen

4K touch screenwell-planned designpowerful processornice keyboard
Few ports for mouse etc.slightly annoying touchpadlow Hz screen

13. Lenovo Legion 7i

Discreetly designed gaming computer

Computer type: Gaming Chip: Intel Core i7 10750H RAM: 16 GB Graphics card: GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB OS: Windows 10 Hard drive: 1 TB SSD Miscellaneous: 240 Hz screen, network socket, 1 HDMI, 3 x USB-A, 2 x USB-C, 3.5 mm socket

Lenovo Legion 7i-15 81YT001MUK

The Lenovo Legion 7i is a light gaming laptop. Many gaming computers are rather heavy and bulky, but the Legion is impressively the contrary. Apart from the RGB effects, it feels much more like a work computer. It’s only when you start the Legion that you really notice who the computer is targeted at.

Performance is good. True, you don’t get quite the same speed as with a Ryzen 7 processor, but the i7 still offers high level performance. The graphics card is a maxed out RTX 2070 Super Max-Q which is ideal for anyone who plays graphics-heavy games, or FPSs like COD, PUBG and Fortnite. So, overall, there's really not much to complain about.

However, the computer does tend to get quite hot, which means the fans are often pretty busy, more so than in its sister model, the Legion 5. Unlike that computer, the Legion 7i also has a number pad. If you need one, because you also use the computer for work, this is a welcome addition. But we’d have preferred more macros instead. The keyboard is quiet and very easy to type on. It’s also backlit, which is good if you usually play in the dark.

Our test model came with a 240-hertz screen of the LED type. The colours are rich and deep.

We clocked battery life at around eight hours for everyday use.

The price of the Legion 7i puts this computer in the premium segment. In terms of performance, it lives up to that price, and provided that you can live with the fact that it makes a lot of noise and gets too hot to rest on your lap, you get a decent gaming computer for your money.

Relatively lightpowerful componentsgood battery life
Gets hot quickly with some gamesquite noisy

14. Acer Helios 300

Quiet well-designed gaming computer

Computer type: Gaming computer Chip: Intel Core i7 10750H, 2.6 Ghz 6 core Storage: 1 TB SSD RAM: 16 GB DDR4 Graphics card: Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 OS: Windows 10 Home Miscellaneous: Impact-resistant hard drive, 15.6” 240 Hz 3 ms screen, HDMI, USB-C x 1, USB x 3, network port, 3.5 mm socket, USB-B

Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-53-772T (NH.Q7YED.002)

This year’s upgrade of the Acer Helios 300 doesn’t involve any major changes on the outside. The biggest changes are two silver details on the lower part of the computer, and the fact that the charging socket has been moved from the side to the back. The latter, however, is a welcome adjustment. Now the cable works regardless of whether you’re left or right handed.

Another improvement is that, in addition to charging with the included power cable, you can also charge the Helios with USB-C. This is the ideal solution if you’re travelling and want to pack light.

Our test example of the Acer Helios 300 is equipped with the 10th generation i7-10750 H; the same processor that you’ll find in its big brother, the Triton. Together with 16 gigabytes of RAM and a Geforce RTX 2060, you get an alert computer that copes with pretty much anything you throw at it. This is primarily a gaming computer, and despite the fact that we pushed it, the fans remained relatively quiet and the computer was cool enough. Compared to its competitors, it’s more than acceptable in this regard. It was only when we pushed it to the very limit that the fans started to be audible.

Acer-helios-300

The battery life is probably the Achilles' heel of the Helios 300. But this is often the case when it comes to gaming computers. If you work with 25-30% brightness, you get about three hours and that’s pretty low. So you need to always have some kind of charger nearby.

The screen is 240 Hz. If you play CS:GO, Minecraft and the like, you’ll benefit from this, but it still feels a bit unnecessary because you really have to push the computer to get up to 240 fps. We’d probably have preferred a 144 Hz screen with a faster response time and a slightly lower price.

Apart from the poor battery life and the unnecessary 240 Hz screen, the Helios does really well. It has a fast SSD and is clearly a powerful and well thought out gaming computer. It’s ideal for players who place slightly higher demands on their laptops and don’t insist on having a desktop computer; someone who wants to be mobile with their gaming station. But don’t forget to take the charger with you.

Alert gaming computerlow fan noisegood placement for power cable
Poor battery lifeunnecessarily high screen Hz

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15. Huawei Matebook X

Incredibly portable

Type: Ultra-portable Size: 13 inch, 3000x2000 pixels Processor: 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-10210U 8 MB cache 4 cores RAM: 16 GB DDR3 Hard disk: 512 TB GB NVMe M.2 SSD Graphics: Intel UHD 620 Weight: 1.02 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Pro Miscellaneous: 2 x USB-C, headphone jack

Huawei MateBook X 13 i5 16GB 512GB (2020)

The Huawei Matebook X is a kind of middle ground between the real heavyweight Pro X that was released in the spring and the slightly cheaper computers that are just called Matebook. Instead of pure raw strength, the focus here is on mobility. It only weighs 1 kg, and even though it’s a laptop with a 13-inch screen, the surface area is just below A4 paper in size.

High class build

In addition to the obvious slim lines and light weight, the machine feels really well-built. Huawei's solution with the fingerprint reader in the power button works quickly and contributes to a positive feeling about this computer.

The computer itself is fanless, with a cooling solution that, in theory, should dissipate heat through the shell and up into the screen. While fanless is nice, we can’t exactly say that the solution works flawlessly, as a lot of the heat instead accumulates at the back edge of the computer.

The screen itself is rather nice. The razor-thin edges allow it to take up almost the entire lid of the laptop. It also means that the design is a slightly more square 3:2 instead of the more elongated 16:9. That ratio, plus the resolution, means more text when on the internet or working, but also thicker black edges when watching a film.

Colour and blackness are close to professional levels, but brightness is only OK, and nothing special. The laptop also comes with a touchscreen.

Frog perspective

For it’s size, the computer performs pretty well. It's not something you're going to play games on, but for office work there’s plenty of power and speed.

The battery life may be enough for a working day for lighter work, but you’ll usually have to charge it at some point during the day. Which you can do conveniently using either of the two USB-C ports you want.

The keyboard is reasonable, but the format means there’s hardly any travel distance on the keys and the whole thing feels a bit stiff. Because the touchpad runs all the way down to the bottom edge of the computer, it’s a really good size. But while two-finger commands work well in all situations, we sometimes have problems with single clicks for some reason. This can be fixed by taking your finger off the touchpad completely and trying again, but it's a bit of a pain.

Even more annoying is the webcam. The sound during video calls is absolutely phenomenal in both directions and at least the idea behind the webcam is equally phenomenal. Because it’s hidden under a button on the top row of the keyboard. Click on it and the camera angles up. Unfortunately, the angle is far too narrow and so any online meeting is inevitably is spent holding up the whole computer so you can be seen properly. But because of the thin frames around the screen, it wouldn’t fit there.

The Huawei Matebook X is all about being extremely thin and light. In that respect, it succeeds really well, and it also offers a decent stable performance and battery life. On the other hand, things like cooling, the keyboard and the camera have been somewhat sacrificed to that ultra portable format.

Lightweight and portablevery reasonable battery lifegood screen
Stiff keyboardpoorly placed cameratouchpad not great

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16. Lenovo Yoga S940

Powerful work computer for a broad target group

Computer type: Premium/Allround Chip: Intel Core i7-1065G7, 1.3 GHz four core Hard drive: 512 GB SSD RAM: 16 GB DDR4 Graphics card: Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 OS: Windows 10 Home (64 bit) Webcam: 720p Miscellaneous: Dolby Atmos speaker system, impact resistant hard drive,14 inch UltraHD screen, 2 x Thunderbolt 3, USB 3 Gen 2 Type A, headset

Lenovo Yoga S940-14 81Q80017GE

The low weight S940 is both light and slim. The design is minimalist and feels nice, both in your hand and when you slide it easily into your bag.

Lenovo’s 14 inch ultra-HD glass screen gives the S940 a colourful, full-bodied and extremely sharp display. The blacks are really black, and in films with dark sequences with little light, it still produces good depth and clarity. The screen is perfect for photograph and film editing.

The built-in speakers are Dolby Atmos. They provide detailed sound and deep bass for a laptop, but unfortunately the sound level is very low even if we set it to maximum.

The built-in graphics card works well with lighter games like Minecraft and similar indie games, but if you want to play more demanding games this isn’t the right computer. But the powerful processor together with the decent RAM gives the machine all the power it needs, for example when using Photoshop, where you can edit bigger photos, or even if you like to have several tabs where you're streaming video, studying, consulting share tables and so on. It copes with this type of task with no problems.

The hard drive provides plenty of space and is fast. Because it’s an SSD, the drive is more impact resistant/durable and reduces the risk of future damage.

The keyboard can feel a bit plasticky. Once you've used it for a while you get used to it and it feels natural.

The pressure sensitivity in the touchpad works so that when you click, the lower part of the pad is dominant, and the higher up you move the more resistance there is. This is annoying because you have to adapt your clicking to where your finger hits the touchpad. On a premium computer we’d have liked a more efficient solution.

There are ports for plugging in both a mouse and extra screen.

You could complain about the fact that the S940 only has USB-C, but the way things are going this is the natural next step, so although it’s not entirely convenient now it’ll be an obvious choice in the future.

The built-in fan is quiet even when it’s running at top speed. It produces a soft sound and is quieter than, for example, a Macbook, which makes a more distinct sound at higher speeds. There’s also a rubber strip on the underside of the S940 that lifts it up, optimising the air flow.

The S940 has many smart functions such as the option to allow the computer to recognise your face and log you in without you needing to enter a password, and the ability to make the background blurred during video chats using BackBlur.

In a test using the BEP benchmark, which is a program that tests battery life, at full capacity and use the battery life was about 2 hours and 20 minutes. When we were only using the internet and streaming films, the battery life was around 7 hours. So the battery life is perfectly OK – in fact slightly better than OK.

With the 65 W charger that comes with the computer, the charging time on standby is around 2 hours and 15 minutes. We think this is a bit long.

If you want a games computer, of course, this isn’t the one for you as the integrated graphics card isn’t up to the job. And if you only want to use the internet, you can get a cheaper machine, as the price tag on this computer is on the high side. The Lenovo Yoga S940 will primarily suit anyone looking for a powerful PC where they can easily edit images or work with several programs or tabs open at once. Quite simply, a work computer.

Powerful componentsfantastic screenminimalist designlow weight
Long charging timeclumsy touchpadonly 2 x USB-C outlets

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17. Asus Rog Zephyrus S17

Solid build quality, high-end performance

Computer type: Premium gaming computer Chip: 8-core Intel Core i7-10875H with base frequency 2.30 GHz (5.10 Ghz with Turbo Boost) 8 cores 16 threads Cache: 16 MB Storage: 1 TB SSD RAM: 32 GB DDR4 Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super With Max-Q Design OS: Windows Pro (64-bit) Guarantee: 1 year Miscellaneous: Shockproof hard drive, 17.3” IPS Full HD 300 Hz 3 m/s screen, memory card reader, HDMI, USB-C (2) and 3 USB ports, network port, 3.5 mm socket

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17 GX701LXS-HG032T

It’s impossible to miss the fact that the Asus Rog Zephyrus S17 is a premium computer. The well-designed metallic exterior really sets the tone. The design is well thought out and the computer is solidly built.

The Rog Zephyrus S17 comes with a highly responsive 300 Hz screen with very good colour reproduction. The only question is what does this refresh rate do for the price? It would have been powerful enough at 240 Hz, and that would have made the computer cheaper. The reason for this is that the FPS in some games we played still didn’t reach a stable 300 FPS if we didn’t adjust the graphics quality to medium/low. Don’t get us wrong – this is a fantastic screen, but it does feel like overkill.

That aside, the computer offers great performance and our copy was supplied with maxed out RTX graphics – the whole computer is a real powerhouse in terms of price. The Zephyrus will easily cope with most games.

Asus-Rog-Zephyrus-S17

The Zephyrus keyboard is very good with both full RGB backlighting and a clever system whereby the mouse pad works like a numerical pad with a simple keystroke.

But unfortunately, the Zephyrus keyboard is placed very far down on the laptop, which means your wrists end up off the computer, and the thing with gaming laptops is that if you move the keyboard, the screen follows. So the placement of the keyboard is of the utmost importance. Thanks to this positioning, it’s difficult to have long gaming sessions without taking breaks to rest your wrist – though of course you can always buy a dedicated keyboard.

In terms of both design and components, the Asus Rog Zephyrus S17 is a pure and simple gaming computer, but in practice it would also work well as a more powerful computer for editing or simpler 3D work. It’s ideal for anyone looking for high performance, provided you don’t mind buying a mouse and keyboard separately.

Awesome performancesolid designgreat screen
Poor keyboard placementcould just as easily have had a 240 Hz screen

18. MSI GS66 Stealth 10SF

Maxed out gaming computer in discreet packaging

Computer type: Gaming laptop Chip: Intel Core i7 10750H, 2.6 GHz 6 cores Storage: 1 TB SSD RAM: 16GB DDR4 Graphics card: Geforce RTX 2070 Max-Q 8GB OS: Windows 10 home Miscellaneous: Shockproof hard drive, 15” matte IPS 240 Hz screen, HDMI, USB-C (2), and 3 USB ports, network port, 3.5 mm socket

MSI GS66 Stealth 10SF-049NE

The GS66 Stealth 10SF is one of MSI’s flagships when it comes to lightweight gaming computers – and it doesn’t disappoint. With the Geforce RTX 2070 Max-Q 8B, you have more than enough performance – this graphics card will leave few people dissatisfied and we play most things on max.

The GS66 Stealth is also equipped with a 15-inch 240 Hz IPS screen, which is ideal for fast-paced games such as CS:GO, Call of Duty and the like. But it also works well for single player games because it has great depth and realistic colours.

MSI-GS66-STEALTH-10SF

The GS66 Stealth 10SF is well named. This is a discreet computer. The GS66 Stealth doesn’t have that typical gaming computer design, and you only get that feeling once you start a game. The minimalist design together with the premium quality of the construction is pretty impressive.

The GS66 Stealth keyboard works well for both gaming and traditional tasks such as taking notes or writing essays. MSI have collaborated with Steelseries which, for example, means that when you start a game, the keyboard senses that and changes colours, which is a fun feature.

Fan noise is something you often have to get used to when it comes to gaming computers and the GS66 Stealth is no exception. However, it actually feels like the GS66 fans have a higher sound than their competitors and that this starts at a much lower load. Despite this, the computer quickly gets quite hot. All of which is a bit of a shame.

This computer is suitable for the gamer who wants that little bit extra, and in more stylish packaging. It’s minimalist enough to use even in the workplace or during meetings. It’s a bit pricey to achieve a top score, but if you can afford it, you do get a computer with great performance that works for a good range of tasks.

Thoughtful & discreet designpowerfulclever functionsgood gaming screen
Loud fan noisegets quite hot

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19. Surface Pro 6

Yet another engineering demonstration...

Type: Ultra-portable Size: 12.3 inch, 2736x1824 pixels Processor: 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-8250U 6 MB cache, 2 cores) (also available with Core I7) RAM: 8/16 GB DDR4 Hard disk: 128 GB-1TB SSD Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 Weight: 770 g Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Miscellaneous: 1 USB 3.1, Mini Displayport, micro SD card reader, headphone jack

Microsoft Surface Pro 6 i5 8GB 256GB

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is still a demonstration of the art of engineering, despite the fact that this hybrid computer has looked pretty much the same since the third generation. It’s thin, light and really convenient to use. But at the same time, age is starting to catch up with it in other ways.

Requires accessories

In its standard version, the Surface is just a Windows tablet. The packaging contains the device plus a charger. The Surface Pen used to be included with it, but this is now a separate accessory.

Another accessory that’s synonymous with the Surface is the removable keyboard (in versions with or without a fingerprint reader) which is pretty much an essential buy at the same time as the tablet. This means that the price of a Surface is quite a bit higher right from the start, unless you have an old Surface keyboard handy, because they work with the newer model too.

As we’ve already mentioned, the appearance is almost identical to how it’s looked in recent years. Very attractive, but also starting to feel a little old-fashioned. But the steplessly adjustable stand on the back is still as magically good as it’s ever been.

Other than the convenient format, it’s also the outside that’s the biggest minus point with this device. The slim format makes it obvious that there won’t be a lot of ports, but even when the Surface Pro 6 was released it felt really mean not to have one or two USB-C ports. And this is a complaint that only got more justified over time.

A fantastic work machine

The format means the Surface Pro has never been a games machine. But despite that, the hardware is good enough to cope with most everyday tasks and some lighter gaming. The battery life during normal office work is a nice surprise, and it lasts pretty much an entire working day without much fuss.

You buy the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 because you want something really attractive and convenient to take with you when you’re out and about. At the same time it has enough power to cope with most everyday tasks. However, if you can live with a more traditional computer of ultralight type, there are much more powerful machines for the same money that mean you don’t need to buy an extra keyboard.

Good battery lifeConvenient formatBuild quality
Keyboard could be includedNo USB-CNot enough ports

20. Lenovo Thinkpad X390

Lots of security features and very good performance

Type: Business computer Size: 13.3 inch Processor: Intel Core i5-8265U Hard drive: 512 GB SSD Graphics: Intel HD 620 Performance measurement: CPU: 2861 Graphics card: 390 (3D Mark Basic Edition TimeSpy) Weight: 1.2 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64 Miscellaneous: Full HD IPS screen, fingerprint reader, physical webcam shield

Lenovo ThinkPad X390 (20Q0003VUK)

The Lenovo Thinkpad X390 is the latest model in a series of business computers that have looked roughly the same for many years now. In one way, that's a winning concept, because anyone who's familiar with the Thinkpad series will recognise this laptop. The compact, matte black chassis, the neat hinges and the sturdy build quality dominate the visual design. At the same time, it gives a slightly old-fashioned impression.

But despite its appearance, there are lots of modern things about this computer. On the plus side, we note things like the fingerprint reader, plenty of ports given its compact size, a physical shield you can slide over the webcam and technology that means nobody can see what's on the screen from the side. If anyone tries to shoulder surf, the laptop warns you.

In other words, security levels are high – as is functionality in the form of being able to connect an external screen, memory card, USB accessories etc.

If you do a lot of writing, programming and so on, however, the position of the Ctrl key on the keyboard will feel unfamiliar. It's also difficult to reach from an ergonomic perspective – particularly if you're going to use it in combination with the Shift key, for example.

The screen is also a bit dull compared to other manufacturer's lighter, brighter screens.

Plenty of power

There's certainly nothing wrong with the X390's battery. We clock the battery life at around six hours under a normal load, which is really good even if – just like every other manufacturer – it's a good bit less than what's stated in the specification. And in energy saving mode you can squeeze another 2-3 hours out of it.

At the same time, the X390 performs really well. It has really impressive capacity when it comes to calculations, and it's very rare that the fan needs to start up and disrupt our peace and quiet. It copes with pretty much everything we'd want a business computer in this price class to be able to do.

On the odd occasion when the fan is running, the low-pitched but high-frequency sound can be annoying. It's the type of sound that easily penetrates noise-cancelling headphones. Fortunately it's very rare that we need to experience it, because despite working in demanding programs and with several processes running at the same time, the computer stays cool, so the fan is quiet most of the time.

The keyboard has nice haptic feedback, but it's quite noisy when we type on it. Some people prefer this type of keyboard, while others prefer lower profile, quieter keys.

The Lenovo X390 is a classic business computer with the primary focus on security, performance and battery life. It's perfect for anyone looking for a workhorse but who perhaps doesn't place so much importance on a flashy design. If you're already a fan of the Thinkpad series, you'll probably like this compact but still easily accessible size.

Very fastlargely silentvery high security levels
Noisy keyboardslightly boring designdull screen

21. Asus Zenbook Duo UX481FL

Two screens but still a really good battery life

Type: Business computer Size: 14 inch Processor: Up to Intel® Core™ i7 RAM: 8GB/16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 Hard drive: 512 GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® MX250 (2 GB GDDR5 dedicated) Weight: 1.5 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64 Miscellaneous: Two screens (12.6” FHD touchscreen), ErgoLift hinges

ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481FL-HJ093T

The Asus Zenbook Duo UX481FL is a laptop with two screens. As well as the normal screen, half of the horizontal part of the laptop is also devoted to screen space, either as an extension of the first or an entirely separate screen. The lower screen can also be divided up into several areas. For example, you can run your Spotify playlist in one section and a numeric keypad on another.

If you have a MyAsus account, you’ll also get access to AppDeals, where you can find more apps for the second screen. There aren’t currently many of these, but if you're a gamer Overwolf is an interesting option. Here you can see your stats in Fortnite, CS:GO or Dota 2 on the lower screen while you're playing on the upper one.

We find the lower screen very useful when we’re working on research or where we want to be able to quickly enter data in an Excel sheet while simultaneously looking at the data on the second screen. But whether you’ll find the extra screen useful will entirely depend on your own needs. Over time we realise that we use it relatively rarely and actually run the laptop with the second screen switched off.

Long battery life

Running two screens obviously also means that the laptop uses more battery. But despite this, the Zenbook Duo has an amazingly good battery life. Not as good as it states in the specification, but far better than expected. We clock the battery life with both screens running, three different web browsers, loads of tabs, Excel documents and playing music with brightness at 50% on both screens...at 10.5 hours.

The upper screen has a really good viewing angle and very reasonable brightness. It’s nice and sharp and has really good colours. The fact that the computer rises up along the back edge when you lift the lid also means that you get good ergonomics when you're typing on the keyboard, and also that you can see the lower screen better. The lower screen also has a good viewing angle and sharpness.

The resistance in the keys on the touchpad is perhaps a little soggy, and we’d have preferred a bit more response in the keyboard too. The touchpad is located at the bottom right of the keyboard. Initially, this is unusual, but you get used to it. But it never really feels as natural as a central touchpad, and it completely excludes left-handed users.

The Duo has good performance levels and can cope with playing many of the latest graphics-heavy games. It isn’t a dedicated gaming laptop, but it’s a good all-round choice for someone who plays games sometimes but also uses their laptop for work and films. It’s also quiet and stays cool.

The Zenbook is also available in a smaller model where the touchpad doubles up as a screen. But the Duo has a significantly better battery life, and the twin screens are also more useful because they're bigger and better positioned.

This isn’t the laptop you’d choose if you wanted a portable option, because it’s relatively heavy. Nor is it suitable for left-handed people who don’t want to have to carry around extra accessories. But it's ideal if you primarily intend to use your laptop at home and want a powerful computer for all-round use. Particularly if you often work with several windows running and want to quickly get a good overview.

Great battery life despite two screensHigh quality screensHigh performance levels
Rather soggy resistance in keystouchpad positioningrather bulky

22. MSI Summit E14

MSI steps into the business computer segment

Computer type: Premium/Notebook Chip: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7, 3.00 GHz (Max turbo 4.8 GHz) 4 core Storage: 1 TB SSD – PCIe Resolution: 1920 x 1080 60Hz RAM: 16 GB DDR4 Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti With Max-Q Design OS: Windows 10 Home (64 bit) Webcam: 720p Miscellaneous: High res audio, Windows Hello,14 inch 1080 screen,2 x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, USB 1 gen 2 type a, headset. Mini-SD reader

MSI Summit E14 A11SCST-069NE

Are you looking for a powerful and portable business computer or a laptop for editing? If you don’t mind splashing out, this small but powerful laptop may be right for you. The Summit E14 is MSI's first step into the business computer segment. Usually when you think of MSI you think of gaming computers. So it’s interesting to find this compact, discreet laptop which goes completely against what we’re used to seeing from MSI.

When you pick up the Summit E14 for the first time, you immediately notice its relatively low weight. Sure, it's not a test winner in this respect, but at 1.3 kilos it’s still pretty lightweight.

At the same time, the build quality is solid. The Summit E14’s keyboard is impressive, it’s easy to type on and the keys feel centred with a good response. Unfortunately, the touchpad isn’t as good. It feels clumsy and not all that functional. So in the end, we preferred to plug in an external mouse.

This computer has a touchscreen. However, unlike the touchpad, we actually like the touchscreen. It responds well and is easy to navigate around.

The design of the Summit E14 is also functional. When we rotate the screen, the computer lifts up off the table, much like with ASUS computers, and this helps the air to flow freely underneath. If you have the laptop on a desk rather than on your knees, this keeps the heat down in and also means the fans have to work that bit less.

The battery life of this computer is an impressive ten hours or so, which of course may be affected by the settings you choose. However, this is really good given the components in the computer.

The power we got from our test model was enough and then some. With an eleventh generation i7, you have a lot of speed to look forward to. Combined with this, you also get a Geforce GTX 1650 Ti card, which works very well if you want to play games on your laptop when the working day is over, but also works well for heavier editing.

This laptop is ideal for anyone ready to splash the cash who is also looking for a really powerful, small and flexible business laptop. It’s excellent at handling heavier files during image and video editing, but at the same time it also works very well for gaming.

Plenty of powerlow weightgood battery life considering its powerful components
Clumsy touchpad that reduces portability

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23. Acer Predator Triton 500

Poor battery life but great performance

Computer type: Gaming computer Chip: Intel Core i7 10750H, 2,6 Ghz 6 cores Storage: 1 TB SSD RAM: 16 GB DDR4 Graphics card: Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070 Super OS: Windows 10 Home Miscellaneous: Impact-resistant hard drive, 15” 300 Hz 3 ms screen, HDMI, USB-C x 1, USB x 3, network port, 3.5 mm socket

Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-52-70GK (NH.Q6XEK.002)

The Acer Predator Triton 500 is a relatively expensive gaming computer that means we have high expectations. It’s a real powerhouse and at the same time very functional in most modes, so it’s hard not to be impressed.

The construction is solid. The laptop feels robust, and its black metal surface is a pleasure to look at. However, like many gaming computers it’s quite heavy. Not the heaviest in the segment, but far from the lightest. It actually looks lighter than it is.

The RGB keyboard is a nice touch. It’s comfortable to use, and you can easily configure it to your own needs. The lightshow when it starts up can be irritating, however.

One major plus point is that the Triton’s touchpad is very responsive without registering false clicks, feels natural and has high levels of precision. This is quite uncommon in this segment.

Acer-Predator-Triton-500-2

Our test computer comes with an RTX 2070 Super and a Core i7 processor. A solid setup with a lot of power. This has been combined with 16 GB of RAM, which is pretty much standard for this class today. And the configuration is plenty if you play the latest games with high graphics settings. It’s extra fun with the 300 Hz screen too. If we were being fussy we might think 300 Hz was a bit much for this segment, as you don’t get much benefit from it in practice. If the computer had a 240 Hz screen for a lower price that would have been a better balance.

Instead, they should have invested in a bigger battery. Because the Triton 500’s battery is far from the best we’ve tested. During stress test, it only lasted for 2 hours and 30 minutes, which is pretty bad.

And as always, we tried the computer with a selection of different games. Everything from open world games to FPSs like CS:GO. And they worked well. The frame rate is high and the fans stay at a relatively low level despite us running everything on max. With their specially shaped fan blades, Acer have really reduced the fan noise, which is otherwise an Achilles heel in the gaming computer segment.

Acer-Predator-Triton-500-3

This computer will work for most people. It gives you a strong foundation and a relatively discreet design that will work for everything from hard-core gamers to people working with 3D. Unfortunately, the battery life is pretty poor so it’s no use if you’re often on the move.

Good mouse and keyboardpowerful componentsquiet fan system
Disco keyboard on startshort battery life

24. Surface Laptop 2

Xxx dirt magnet with a short battery life

Type: Ultra-portable Size: 13.5 inch, 2256x1504 pixels Processor: 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5-8250U (up to 3.4 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology) 6 MB cache, 2 cores) RAM: 8-16 GB DDR4 Hard disk: 128GB-1TB GB PCIe M.2 SSD Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 Weight: 1.25 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Miscellaneous: Touchscreen, Hello camera, 1 USB A, 1 Display port

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 for Business i7 16GB 512GB

The Surface Laptop 2 is a trimmed-down, light laptop with a fantastic screen and really great build quality. Microsoft build good computers, and perhaps unsurprisingly Windows 10 shows itself off to advantage on these machines. These are often hybrid computers in the interface between a laptop and a tablet (Surface Pro and Surface Book). But for those who’d rather have a normal laptop without frills, that means the Surface Laptop.

Microsoft did a pretty good job with its predecessor, and have chosen to retain a lot of the external appearance in the Surface Laptop 2. Among the new features is the matte black colour. The computer has also been equipped with a really quiet and responsive keyboard with a good stroke length on the keys.

The area around the keyboard and touchpad is neither plastic or metal, but is covered in synthetic suede called Alcantara. This provides an incredibly soft and pleasant surface to place your wrists on, at the same time that it’s a terrible magnet for all kinds of grime, which means it quickly looks dirty.

Not many new features, but it works

The touchpad itself is big enough and largely very responsive to use, even with several fingers. It occasionally misbehaves and for example fails to register scrolling with two fingers, but by and large it works better than those on many other Windows computers.

Even though the screen is pretty much the same as last year, we find nothing to complain about. The touchscreen works perfectly and the image quality is among the best for any laptop.

Above this is the web camera, which also provides facial recognition with Windows Hello. This worked very well every time we started the computer except once, when the sun was shining directly on the camera.

Well designed charging and good performance

But what could have been upgraded is the ports on the computer. All you get are the charger outlet, one USB and one Display port and a headset jack. The USB outlet is welcome, but we’d have preferred there to be two. At the same time, it feels like having a Mini Display port instead of the much more versatile USB-C is a bit old fashioned.

But the charger, which you attach to the computer with magnets, is good. This should actually be standard for all laptops. The mains adapter also has an outlet for loading via USB, which is a really nice touch.

The inside of the computer has been updated with modern editions of Intel’s processors, and integrated graphics. Our test computer had an i5 processor that coped with everything we tried it on. But we weren’t completely happy with the battery life, as the computer ran out after about five hours’ normal internet and document use. That detracts slightly from the feeling of an ultra-portable.

If you can live with the stingy array of ports, however, the overall impression of the Surface Laptop 2 is really positive, and quite clearly one of the most interesting options if you’re looking for a light computer with a lot of oomph for everyday tasks.

Great screenquick computerHello camera works really welleffective magnetic charger
Attracts the dirtnot very good battery lifeextremely stingy range of ports

25. Dell Alienware M15 R3

Lots of power but not perfect

Computer type: Premium gaming computer Chip: 4-core Intel Core i9 10980HP with base frequency 2.40 GHz (5.30 GHz with Turbo Boost) Cache: 16 MB Storage: 512 GB SSD RAM: 16 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM OS: Windows 10 Pro Guarantee: 1 year Miscellaneous: Shockproof hard drive, 144 Hz OLED screen HDR 500 with Tobii & non-GSYNC, memory card reader, HDMI, USB-C (1), USB port (3), network port, high-resolution webcam

Alienware M15 R3 (J9PTH)

The Dell Alienware M15 R3 is Alienware's flagship when it comes to gaming laptops. It has a very powerful i9 processor combined with a maxed graphics card from Nvidia. Together, they undoubtedly generate performance that even the most discerning gamer would be happy with.

Dell has taken a different path to other manufacturers. Many manufacturers are reducing the number of ports and, at most, have USB-C. But Dell gives you a large selection of both USB, DVI and the like, which is great news. It’s really nice to be able to avoid dongles, or quickly connect a mouse, keyboard and screen directly to your computer.

The M15 R3's keyboard is centred. This looks attractive, but from a practical point of view it isn’t ideal. When playing, you usually use the WASD keys for movements, commands and other things – and the problem with the Dell set-up is you really have to hunch your shoulders. This gives an awkward playing position, and so you immediately start looking around for an external keyboard.

Dell-Alienware-M15-R3

Gaming computers are known for humming a bit when they get warm, and fans do affect the gaming experience, but the sound profile varies between different models. Some computers have a fan sound that will cut through your headphones, whilst others are more forgiving. The M15 R3's fans belong to the latter category, which is a big plus.

The M15 R3 is a gaming computer in the premium segment. Because of this we expected a more thoughtful design, a higher refresh rate on the screen and a longer battery life. In all those respects, the M15 R3 falls short compared to its competitors. But it does plough through the most demanding games without much effort and for most users that’s the main thing.

Lightweightpowerful componentsmuted fan soundmany ports
Centred keyboardrather low refresh rate

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26. Lenovo Thinkbook 14s Yoga

Flexible workhorse with pen included

Type: Work computer Size: 14 inch, 1920x1080 pixels Processor: 11th gen Intel Core i3/i5/i7 (tested version i5) RAM: 16 GB DDR4 Hard drive: 512 GB NVMe M.2 SSD Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Weight: 1.5 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Miscellaneous: Pen, fingerprint reader

Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga 20WE0001MX

The Lenovo Thinkbook 14s Yoga sticks to the classic Lenovo design tradition, with an angular and industrial design that feels just as much Lenovo as it also feels totally anonymous. In addition to the hinge that allows the computer to easily be turned into a tablet, it includes something that should be standard on this type of computer – namely a pen!

Lenovo-Thinkbook-yoga.14s-02

Plenty of ports

In addition to the pen socket on one side, both HDMI and dual sets of both USB-C and USB-A are available. And this feels pretty generous for a computer in this ultraportable class.

The build quality is consistently very solid. The computer’s weight of 1.5 kilos hardly makes it a heavyweight, but the hard lines together with the build quality do sort of make it feel heavier than it is.

Lenovo-Thinkbook-yoga.14s-03

The keyboard and touchpad both do a good job. The keyboard in particular has a really nice feel, just as you’d expect from Lenovo's "Think" computers. The mouse pad also does its job, but doesn’t always keep up when you use two fingers.

And the pen? The pen has its own compartment on the side and has two buttons. These can be used as mouse buttons if you choose to use the pen as a, rather clumsy, mouse. On the one hand, they offer some extra functions for erasing and so on depending which one you use. Included on this otherwise fairly bloatware-free computer is Lenovo’s own note-taking program, with support for the pen, but of course it also works with other programs too. But the writing feel from the pen isn’t the best, as there seems to be a rather slow response time between what you draw and what’s displayed on the screen.

Lenovo-Thinkbook-yoga.14s-06

Excellent screen

The screen is really good in terms of viewing angles, blacks and colours. A computer in this price range should really have had a slightly higher resolution than the Full HD variant you get here, but given the size that’s a minor complaint.

On the inside, you get Intel's 11th generation laptop processors, i3 to i7 depending on model, as well as the latest Iris XE graphics. These provide good performance for most tasks. But you’d get better graphics performance from AMD's modern built-in graphics if that's what matters to you. Battery life is OK. As long as you do nothing particularly advanced it will last almost a full working day. But that isn’t especially impressive.

The Lenovo Thinkbook 14s Yoga is a very stable computer for people who want to be able to run it in tablet mode as well. The pen is a fun detail, but not much more than that. On the whole, it feels like this computer fails a little due to the highish price tag compared to what Lenovo's Yoga models usually offer, despite similar build quality and performance.

Really good build qualitygood screengood keyboard
A bit expensivethe pen could have had a better feel

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27. MSI Prestige 14 Evo

Very attractive and fast computer with an annoying fan

Type: Work computer Size: 14 inch, 1920x1080 pixels Processor: 11th gen Intel Core i7 1185G7 RAM: 16 GB DDR4 Hard drive: 512 GB NVMe M.2 SSD Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Weight: 1.3 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Miscellaneous: Windows Hello camera

MSI Prestige 14Evo A11M-010NE

The MSI Prestige 14 Evo deserves its name. Because in most respects the computer certainly feels and behaves like a prestige model. But, at the same time, it does definitely have some shortcomings.

Brilliant blue

We regularly think the screen is shining through around the edges when the laptop is closed. That’s how shimmery the blue edges of the computer cover are. In combination with the metal chassis and a really nice black colour, this makes it a really attractive computer – although one that shows fingerprints quickly too. On the underside, the attractively perforated fan grille takes up almost half the surface. But the grille also seems to be quite fragile, something we noticed when our test specimen was already damaged when we took it out of the box.

When you unfold the computer, the back part of the lid is used to lift the computer and increase the airflow. This is attractive and practical, so long as you don’t have it on your lap. On the inside there’s a really big touchpad, with a precision that’s among the best we’ve tested on a Windows computer. The keyboard also has a really nice typing feel, but suffers from rather unconventional placement of the keys.

The screen is a bit of a disappointment. There’s nothing wrong with it overall, but the colours are a bit muted and don’t really come into their own. We’d also have liked a slightly higher resolution. Even the webcam above the screen gives a rather dull result during video calls.

Really fast

On the inside, however, things are very much at prestige level again. The 11th generation Intel Core I7, together with the new Iris Xe graphics, provides pretty much all the power you need for office work and lighter gaming (although AMD graphics do a better job there).

Under normal load, the computer is pretty quiet. But at heavier loads it’s unexpectedly loud. The same noise also occurs, albeit irregularly, even under lighter loads – almost as if the computer is trying to blow something out of its way. And that noise does rather spoil your experience.

Battery life, however, is really good, thanks to the latest Intel chip. It’s not unusual to get a full working day on a single charge, depending on what you’re doing.

The MSI Prestige 14 Evo is a quality player on many levels. At the same time, it feels a bit like parts of the computer are either stressed out or only there to look good, something that lowers the overall impression quite a lot for a computer in this price class.

Attractivefastgood battery life
Loud and irregular fan noisefragile fan grilleodd keyboard layout

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28. Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5

Lightweight with lots of functions

Type: Work computer Size: 14 inch, 1920x1080 pixels Processor: 1.0 GHz Intel Core i5-1035G1 (8 MB cache 4 cores) RAM: 8 GB DDR4 Hard disk: 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD Graphics: Intel UHD 620 Weight: 1.5 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Pro Miscellaneous: Touchscreen

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 81X2008MUK

Apart from having a rather unsexy name, the Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 is a computer that doesn’t seem to lack anything. It’s a nice shape, has a touchscreen, decent performance and a pretty good battery life.

As an added bonus, there’s even a physical plastic cover for the webcam if you’re worried someone’s watching you.

Without being astounding in any way, it has pretty much everything you could ask for and thus belies its price tag.

Nice format but heavy

Lenovo's Yoga laptops have taught us that a tablet and a laptop can be the same machine. The Flex 5 does exactly the same thing, as it’s equipped with a touchscreen that can be folded 180 degrees backwards. The overall shape is rather nice although it’s perhaps not the thinnest or lightest laptop. In fact, in 2020, we began to be so spoiled with such a range of lightweight laptops that at 1.5 kg, Flex almost feels heavy.

One disadvantage of using the computer as a tablet is that your speakers then face the wrong way and so the otherwise nice sound becomes pretty poor.

Touchscreens also mean lower brightness, so in sunlight you won’t appreciate the fact that it's a touchscreen. Resolution is normal and colour reproduction and contrast are OK but nothing to write home about.

Good battery life

There’s scarcely anything wrong with the build quality of the computer. Both the touchpad and keyboard work really well. The latter seems to have borrowed a lot from Lenovo's Thinkpad series, as it's really nice to type on.

The battery life is indeed around the stated 10 hours. If you don’t hammer the machine, you’ll just about get a working day out of it, which isn’t at all bad.

In terms of performance, the model we tested, with the Intel Core i5 processor, does a good job. Of course, it's not a computer you're going to play games on, but for office tasks it works away without protesting during our test period.

Overall, the Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 feels like a pretty well thought out laptop hybrid. At the same time that it doesn’t let itself down anywhere, nor do we find much that stands out positively, given the price tag.

Good build qualitygood keyboardphysical webcam protection
Slightly dark screenthe form factor makes it a bit clumsy

29. Dell XPS 15

Powerful and versatile PC

Computer type: Premium/All round Chip: Intel Core i7-10750H, base 2.60 GHz Max turbo 5.00 GHz 6 cores 12 threads Storage: 1 TB SSD RAM: 16 GB DDR4 Graphics card: Geforce GTX 1650Ti OS: Windows 10 Home (64-bit) Battery life: Approx. 10 hrs Webcam: 720p Miscellaneous: fingerprint reader, 15 inch 4K touchscreen, 2 x USB-C, 1 x Micro USB reader, 1 headphone/stereo socket

Dell XPS 15 9500 (8JX91)

The Dell XPS 15 is a 15-inch laptop with a touchscreen offering 4K resolution. This feels like a luxury configuration, making the Dell a versatile laptop in the premium segment. The 4K screen is responsive and razor sharp. And this sharpness does a very good job of reproducing fine detail.

Colour reproduction is also good, but for a premium computer, this could have been better. Colours give a matte and slightly flat feeling. However, this isn’t a big problem and most users may not even notice it unless they're looking very carefully. It may be due to the large touchscreen that Dell have had to compromise a bit. Apart from that small issue of colour reproduction – which should only be important for those who edit photos and the like – it’s a fantastic screen.

Dell-XPS-15

The XPS 15 model we tested was incredibly powerful. The Intel Core i7 processor does an efficient job, and with its 16 gigabytes of RAM and a 1 terabyte SSD, you have everything you need to work with larger files that require real performance.

But given the price, we did expect better graphics. The Geforce GTX 1650Ti is perfectly OK for those who want to do simpler graphic stuff or play lighter games (this isn’t a gaming computer after all) but you won’t be able to maximize the FPS on some newer and heavier games. For games that a require higher resolution, the processor also has to work much more, which results in framedrops and a lower FPS.

Dell-XPS-15-2

Like the XPS 13, its little brother, the XPS 15 is a computer that’s both versatile and functional, but its price tag puts it in the premium segment and that means higher expectations. Our score would have been higher if either the graphics performance had been better or the price lower.

Buyers should ask themselves if they need a 15-inch screen with 4K and touch functionality or if better performance matters most. If you use an external screen, for example, then you probably should ask yourself why you’re buying a 15-inch XPS. On the other hand, if you’re looking for calculation performance and a high-resolution screen, then the XPS 15 does the job nicely.

Sharp 4K screenversatilegood battery
Some colours a bit thinrelatively heavygraphics performance not brilliant

30. MSI Creator 17

Noisy but a fantastic screen

Type: Work computer Size: 17.3 inch, 3840x2160 pixels Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7-10875H (up to 5.2 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology) 16 MB cache, 8 cores) RAM: 32 GB DDR4 Hard disk: 2TB GB NVMe M.2 SSD Graphics: Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Max-Q Weight: 2.39 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Miscellaneous: 3 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), 1 x HDMI, micro SD card reader, headphone jack

MSI Creator 17M A10SD-215

The MSI Creator 17 is in many ways a monster amongst laptops, with all of its specifications being maxed out. But despite the hardware on the inside, it’s the screen – because this is one of the very first laptops with mini LED technology – that’s the star here.

So let’s start with the screen, because there’s really nothing to complain about. The brightness can be turned up to “work outdoors in the sun” levels and everything from colour to contrast is at a level above virtually every other ordinary LED screen. Clearly, this is the highlight of the computer and it definitely won’t disappoint.

Noisy performer

Overall, the specifications for this computer make a very clear statement. It has a tenth generation i7 processor and Nvidia's fastest graphics card for laptops, along with a stable 32 GB of RAM. All of which means desktop performance but in portable format.

The hardware and size of the screen obviously mean that you’re dealing with a relatively heavy machine with a fairly short battery life, but those factors aren’t the sort of thing you’ll be focusing on if you’re looking at buying this computer.

What matters instead is that this is one of the fastest laptops available today for both games and professional software. However, all that comes at a price: the noise level. In standard or performance mode, the fan is on constantly and at a level that requires you to use headphones to avoid being disturbed by it. You can set the computer to silent mode, but for obvious reasons this reduces the performance a good deal.

Good keyboard, cheap chassis

While we can sort of understand why the computer sounds like a jet engine in terms of its performance level, there are several other aspects that don’t reflect the price level. For a start, MSI has put a rather poor webcam in the Creator 17. It generates dull colours and poor quality night images.

Even the sound from the built-in speakers should be able to offer greater fullness than it does. Instead you get a very trebly sound.

The biggest disappointment, however, is the chassis itself. While it’s very nicely designed, it creaks and gives a lot. We’d be hesitant about a chassis like this even if it cost half the price.

Which is a shame, because this is a nice computer otherwise. The keyboard has a really good feel with its chiclet keys, and the touchpad is accurate and smooth. That, in combination with the monster hardware on the inside and the fantastic screen, really boosts the score. But on the whole, the MSI Creator 17 doesn’t feel as well thought out as the price tag would suggest.

Mini LED is a new benchmark for screensIncredibly high levels of performanceGood keyboard
Very noisyCreaky and cheap feeling chassisPoor webcam

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31. Dynabook Tecra X50-F

Reliable workhorse

Type: Work computer Chip: Intel Core i7-8656U (four core 1.8 GHz) RAM: 16 GB Hard drive: 512 GB SSD Screen: 15.6 inch IPS (full HD) Graphics card: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 Connections: 2 x Thunderbolt, 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, Wi-Fi 6, BT 5 Operating system: Windows 10 Pro Battery: 17 hours (stated time – we get max. 13) Weight: 1.47 kg

Dynabook Tecra X50-F-16K

This is the first 15 inch machine we’ve tested from Dynabook, after previously getting our teeth into its smaller brothers, the X30 and X40. As it’s the same series, we’d expected a similar experience. But in fact this computer doesn’t feel quite as accomplished as the two smaller models. It’s still a high performance laptop, still feels well built and with the exception of the rather chunky screen edges it’s an attractive machine. But the first thing that strikes us is that the screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (full HD) isn’t really enough for a screen size of 15.6 inches. The screen is the same type as on the smaller computers, but there’s simply not the same impact in the images, and the colours aren’t as attractive either. Another thing we notice immediately is that the keyboard has more “give” than it does on the smaller units. And the fact that the larger area hasn’t been used to make the keyboard a bit more spacious is a real shame. It feels like the manufacturers had an open goal before them with the X50, but instead hit the post.

Inside, it has an eighth generation four core Intel Core i7 processor. Together with 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD, you're well equipped for most things you’ll need from an office machine. Although this version of the computer also lacks a separate graphics card. You have to be satisfied with built in Intel UHD graphics instead, which isn’t good enough for more advanced games. Less 3D heavy titles work well, however, which is a function of the relatively strong processor. The computer is quite quiet when it's running, and seems to maintain its temperature very well, but when the fans get going they're very noisy. Other than this, we don’t experience any annoyances during everyday work. Everything does what it should do.

Just like the other computers in this series, the X50 actually has excellent sound, only you rarely have the computer in a position where you can enjoy it. The positioning of the speakers means the sound is rather unclear and muddy. The machine gets a bonus for the relatively clean Windows experience, without loads of bloatware.

But given that this isn’t exactly a cheap machine, it’s hard to see how it could compete with more eye-catching laptops with better screens and more attractive designs. The stated battery life of 17 hours could have been an argument in its favour, but we don’t get anywhere near that much out of it. We get almost 13 hours, which is good, but possibly not enough. But the Dynabook X50F is a robust and substantial machine with a very good weight for its size of just 1.5 kg. If you're looking for a stable workhorse, this is a potential option.

Good performance
Screenprice

32. Dynabook Protege X30-F

A slim workhorse with a high price tag

Type: Business computer Size: 13.3 inch Processor: 1.8 GHz Core i7-8565U Hard drive: 1 TB SSD Graphics: Intel UHD 620 Performance measurement: CPU: 1212 Graphics card 332 (3D Mark Basic Edition Time Spy) Weight: 1.07 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64 Miscellaneous: Harman Kardon speakers

Toshiba Portege X30-F-15T

We’ve already reviewed Toshiba’s X40 Tecra here on Pricerunner. And the X30 is like a slightly smaller portion of the same thing.

What primarily distinguishes the X30 from its big brother is the screen size. The X40 has a 14-inch screen, while the X30 screen is 13.3 inches. That perhaps sounds like a negligible difference, but it actually does quite a lot in terms of operation and weight. And this computer is so light that it feels like a bit of polystyrene. Or – perhaps a more relevant comparison – a tablet. The weight is just 1.07 kg, which is incredibly light for a computer with this screen size.

The resolution on the nicely sharp screen is full HD, which is plenty for this size. But despite the sharpness and the high image quality in general, it’s a bit lacking in terms of brightness and impact for us to be able to give it top marks.

And unfortunately the same applies to the sound. Harman Kardon have delivered what’s essentially really impressive sound, with great separation and detail, and even a surprising amount of bass. But the way the speakers are installed means you can’t really enjoy the sound, as it’s projected straight down into the table top or your knees. If you want to get maximum enjoyment from the music, you need headphones – unless you're willing to sit and hold the computer level with your nose.

Good keyboard

Just like on Toshiba’s other Dynabook computers, the keyboard is a really pleasant experience. A good travel distance (slightly longer than average) and a nicely distinct button sound together with pretty much zero give in the casing makes this a really good workhorse for anyone who needs to do a lot of typing.

The performance is also very good, which is what you’d expect for this price level. Given the very limited graphic performance (Intel UHD Graphics 620), however, this isn’t a computer you can play advanced games on, even if simpler simulators and other games that don't require too much in terms of 3D work very well (there’s plenty of processor power, after all).

The fact that there’s 32 GB of RAM will please anyone who intends to use the machine for editing high-resolution video, for example, but you have to wonder whether that’s really the target group for a product like this. In pretty much every other respect, 32 GB feels like overkill. So the question is whether the price would have been lower if Toshiba had got rid of the Harmon Kardon sound and been satisfied with 16 GB RAM instead?

This is a computer for anyone who's looking for a fast business machine. You get a substantial 1 TB SSD and plenty of RAM, but for a relatively high price.

Fastgood keyboardlots of RAM
No punch in the graphicshigh price

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33. Dynabook Tecra X40-F

Solidly built workhorse that doesn’t stand out

Type: Business computer Size: 13.3 inch Processor: 1.8 GHz Core i7-8565U Hard drive: 1 GB SSD Graphics: Intel UHD 620 Performance measurement: CPU: 1212 Graphics card: 332 (3D Mark Basic Edition Time Spy) Weight: 1.22 kg Guarantee: 1 year. Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64 Miscellaneous: Harman Kardon speakers, micro SD card reader, 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C/Thunderbolt3 ports, 3.5 mm audio jack, 1 x USB 3.1 port

Dynabook Tecra X40-F-13V

Dynabook belongs to Toshiba (which is now primarily owned by Sharp). The X40-F is one of the first flagship products released under the name. These are computers primarily intended for the business market and it’s above all the price that makes them competitive.

The X40F is a very neat little laptop. It’s not particularly light or thin, but it is a handy size.

It's also easy to hold and stable feeling, and is classified according to military standard MIL-STD810G, which should mean that it can cope with fairly rough treatment. We didn’t specifically test this aspect, but the build quality definitely feels very substantial.

This is a solid computer and the keyboard is particularly sturdy. You can hammer away on it for long sessions without having any problems, and there’s just the right amount of response in the keys. The case is also rigid and robust under the keyboard, which doesn’t flex at all even if you’re very heavy-handed.

The X40F has a reasonable number of ports, but no more than that.

Tons of power, not great battery or sound

When we open it up, we quickly see that the design of the screen isn’t as attractive as the rest of the computer. Anyone who’s aesthetically minded won’t appreciate the frames around the screen. But on the other hand, it’s a perfectly reasonable 13.3 inch screen with 1080 resolution (and to be honest, it feels like more than that). Toshiba have definitely succeeded with both sharpness and colour reproduction.

Unfortunately the screen isn’t particularly bright, which impairs the overall impression a tad.

The screen is probably not ideal if you want to play games, because this is first and foremost a business computer and there's a bit of lag in the graphics from time to time.

That said, it's not as if you can't play games on the Dynabook X40-F. After all, it does have a Core i7 processor with four cores. Despite the integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics, we succeeded in running Farming Simulator without any problems, but of course that’s a game that doesn’t set any major demands in terms of 3D rendering or involve intense action that requires fast response times.

A Geekbench test also confirms that there’s plenty of power under the bonnet on this computer. And the fact that there's support for up to 32 GB of RAM doesn’t hurt. Whether this is really necessary is another question, and configuring this computer with less RAM is probably sufficient for most users – and cheaper.

Unfortunately the sound is a clear case of a wasted opportunity. The laptop has Harman Kardon speakers, which normally means clear, well separated and powerful sound. But the X40-F has woolly sound with a stifled treble that isn’t at all impressive. It turns out there’s a particularly ridiculous explanation for this, which is that the speakers are located on the base facing downwards. When we try lifting up the computer with the keyboard at face height, the full potential becomes apparent and the sound is suddenly fantastic. But as soon as you put the computer back on your knees again, it sounds awful. Of course the sound isn't likely to be a decisive issue for the typical X40-F target group, but in that case you'd have to wonder what's the point of having Harman Kardon speakers if you intend to put them in the wardrobe with a blanket over them, metaphorically speaking.

The battery is something of a disappointment. We only get it to last for 4.5 hours before it’s time to recharge it. But the charger cable is a good length, which isn’t often the case with laptops.

This computer is a competitor to machines like Dell’s XPS 13 or Lenovo’s Thinkpad. And it’s far from clear whether the Dynabook is up to such tough competition. But if you’re looking for a small, light laptop with 32 GB RAM, it’s at least worth considering.

Attractive designnice keyboardgreat performance
Mediocre battery lifesome graphics lagspeakers underneath

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34. Asus Zenbook 14 UX434

Innovative, extremely compact but still highly usable

Type: Lifestyle computer Size: 14 inch Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-8565U (1.8GHz quad-core with Turbo boost (up to 4.6GHz) and 8MB cache) RAM: Built in 8GB/16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 Hard drive: 1TB PCIe x4 SSD Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250 (2 GB GDDR5 dedicated) Weight: 1.26 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64 Miscellaneous: Two screens, ErgoLift hinges

ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434FQ-AI082T

The Asus Zenbook 14 UX434 is a delight to the eyes. The build quality, design and feel are all excellent, and the computer is light, compact and thin. It exudes quality down to the tiniest detail.

The low profile keyboard gives pleasant, rapid feedback without being too noisy when you type. We love the fact that the hinges make the keyboard angle upwards when we open the screen.

The frames around the screen are very thin, but Asus have still managed to squeeze in a webcam in the top edge. Unfortunately it has no physical camera protection.

What stands out above all in the Zenbook 14 UX434 is the fact that the touchpad doubles up as an extra screen. Initially, it’s a bit odd to have a screen in the touchpad, and we often activate it by mistake which means that the mouse stops working on the other screen. But it’s like a new keyboard – once you’ve got used to it, it works out fine.

The question is what are you going to use this function for? The idea is that you don’t have to change windows if you’re using a particular type of service often, and that you can create shortcuts to commands you use a lot. So, for example, if you have the calculator activated and want to be able to quickly do a calculation and simultaneously see your document at full size, this would be useful. It’s also a nice function if you want to change tracks on Spotify without having to do so on the main screen. And as we’ve already said, you can also add shortcuts to quickly start up particular programs, copy things and so on.

So it’s perhaps not exactly revolutionary from a usability perspective, but as time goes on we appreciate the extra screen more and more. Above all for Spotify and the shortcut function. But it’s a personal choice, and it’s up to you to decide whether or not an extra screen would be useful for you or just a fun gimmick.

A really good computer

The Zenbook is quiet and has plenty of power for your office tasks. Given the graphics card, it’s perhaps not the computer you'd choose if you were playing graphics-heavy games, but it’s absolutely fine for image editing and for anyone who always has lots of tabs open in their web browser – which doesn’t have anything to do with the graphics card but is an important factor for many people anyway.

The computer doesn’t get particularly hot, not even when the fans are running, which is good if you like to have your laptop on your knees.

The slimmed-down design makes the Zenbook very easy to carry with you. The screen also shows plenty of detail and has good colours. Unfortunately, it also reflects a lot of light, which means it’s impossible to work on in direct sunlight. You can see the secondary screen well as long as you’re sitting relatively upright.

But the battery life gets a bit of a hammering as there are two screens. We achieve about five hours before having to charge the computer, which is short given the competition. Particularly given that it’s so portable otherwise.

The format and build quality means that the Asus Zenbook 14 UX434 is ideal for anyone who wants a sturdy laptop to travel with or if you take your computer home with you when the working day is over. The portability is reduced somewhat by the fact that the battery life isn’t great, but it’s still perfectly OK given the fact that the computer has two screens. Despite the compact design, the computer never feels small – instead it feels just the right size. It’s very good to type on and the touchpad is innovative.

Innovative touchpadVery good keyboardSturdy & stylish designCompact formatAngled keyboard
Lots of reflections on the screenRather short battery life

35. Acer Nitro 5

Good performance in classic style

Computer type: Gaming computer Chip: Intel Core i7 10th gen. 10750H/2.6 GHz Max turbo 5GHz Cache: 12 MB Storage: 512 GB SSD RAM: 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 SDRAM Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GDDR6 OS: Windows Home (64-bit) Miscellaneous: Shockproof hard drive, 15.6” IPS screen, memory card reader, HDMI, USB-C (1) and 3 USB port, network port, 3.5 mm socket

Acer Nitro 5 AN515-55-764B (NH.Q7PEK.002)

This handy gaming laptop from Acer is full of surprises. Often when it comes to gaming computers, you need to dig deep into your wallet to get sufficient performance, as they’re generally more expensive than regular PCs. A powerful gaming computer can easily cost £3,000 or more. So we were really happy to see how well this one performed despite its relatively low price tag.

In terms of style, the Nitro 5 has a classic black gaming design. The Nitro 5's keyboard is illuminated, which is great for the evening or in rooms with dim lighting.

In terms of performance, the Nitro 5 does a really good job. You can play most games on it. The screen is a bit dull in terms of colours, but it makes up for that with good sharpness and clarity. The keyboard and screen are very close to each other, which means you feel close to the screen so it feels bigger than it actually is. This also gives you more chance to react faster in performance games.

Well placed keyboard but clumsy mechanics

The Nitro 5's keyboard is pretty insensitive on the outer edges of the keys, which can mean that sometimes a key doesn’t react to pressure if you don’t place your finger right in the centre. The touchpad has the opposite problem; it’s hypersensitive which means you can click the wrong thing sometimes even though you just want to move the cursor.

If you’re looking for an affordable gaming computer, the Acer Nitro 5 is a good buy, but you’ll probably want to connect a separate keyboard and mouse. But if you want a computer that’s also comfortable to write on or that can be used wholly independently, this probably isn’t right for you.

Functional designgood performance
Insensitive keyboardhypersensitive touchpad

36. Lenovo Ideapad S340

Reliable work machine

Type: Work computer Size: 14 inch, 1920x1080 pixels Processor: 1 GHz Intel Core i5-1035G1 (up to 3.6 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology) 6 MB cache, 2 cores) RAM: 8 GB DDR4 Hard disk: 1TB GB PCIe M.2 SSD Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 Weight: 1.4 kg Guarantee: 1 year Operating system: Windows 10 Miscellaneous: 2 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB-C, 1 x HDMI, SD card reader, headphone jack

Lenovo IdeaPad S340-14 81VV0036MX

The Lenovo Ideapad S340 is afflicted by the curse of many medium-class computers. In the generation our test computer comes from, there are no less than three different screen sizes, variants with both Intel and AMD processors, and, as usual, a plethora of different configurations in terms of RAM and hard disk space. And that’s a shame, because on the whole this is a really nice machine.

Our particular model is one of the top Intel machines, with a 14-inch screen and a generous 1 TB SSD disk for a still very reasonable price. Other models in the series are probably similar in terms of function.

Plasticky and square

The S340 has a relatively muted design in matte, metal-coloured plastic and with very clean lines. It’s not exactly competing with ultraportables in terms of form, but it’s still pretty good in terms of thickness and weight.

The keyboard is one thing Lenovo have got better at over the years on their medium class computers, and this one’s nicely responsive. The touchpad too is surprisingly sensitive for the price class.

The screen does its job without producing either poor colours or a lack of sharpness, but nor does it impress on this front either. The camera above the screen has Lenovo’s nice standard feature of a sliding physical cover to shut it off completely. However, the camera isn’t Windows Hello ready.

Performance is on a par with other computers in this segment. The i5 processor has a relatively low standard clock speed to save on battery, but if necessary you can turn this up significantly. This means that normal office work or browsing the internet won’t run into any problems. But if you want to play games, you’ll have to be satisfied with simpler ones because the built-in Intel graphics can’t cope with more complex games like a dedicated graphics card would.

During normal use, the battery life is about five hours – half of what Lenovo state. Of course you can increase this by reducing the screen brightness and so on, but it's still not great.

The Lenovo Ideapad S340 is a computer for someone who simply wants a computer. As a work machine for normal office tasks or to get online at home, it’s more than adequate. The construction is good and it feels like a stable machine throughout, with an ample SSD. But if you have particular requirements in any area it’s not a good choice.

Good keyboard and touchpadsufficient performance for home uselarge SSD
A little heavylow performance for the price, other than the SSD

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Laptop

Buying the best laptop doesn't need to be as difficult as you might think. Most people have an idea of their budget and what the computer will mainly be used for. And yet many people are overwhelmed by the wide range of models, sizes and price classes. The fact that there are so many different models is quite simply because there is now so much choice in terms of hardware and chassis.

There are also a variety of components that affect the computer's functionality, performance and lifetime. Two apparently identical computers can perform differently as a result of just a few factors. For example, if the cooling is ineffective because the chassis is cramped and the components aren't of sufficient quality, the computer will become very hot when it's working hard, which negatively affects both hardware and performance. The computer will also have a shorter lifetime. So how do you know which computer to choose?

Choosing the right computer

The journey to choosing a suitable computer starts with your needs. What type of computer are you looking for? Will you use it for work? Will you play games on it? Is only intended for going online and sending emails? Do you often travel and take your computer with you? Write your requirements down, as this makes it easier to choose between computers. A computer that's only intended for going online, social media and email needn't be particularly powerful, and you should be able to find a good model for a couple of hundred pounds. If you'll also be using it for work and you need to process a lot of data or graphics, the processor and graphics card should be of better quality. If you need to take it with you when you travel or go to school, it's useful if it's light and not too big. If you also want to play the latest games on a laptop, you need a very high quality graphics card, processor, cooling and other hardware.

Simple computers

You can often tell from the computer's name or category what it's intended for. For example, a Chromebook is a very simple form of computer intended for students and other people who primarily need a computer so that they can write and use the internet. It is compact and easy to carry with you. It doesn't run Windows; instead it uses Chrome OS, which is Google's operating system. There are also other forms of simple computers.

Medium class

The next category of computers is probably the most common. These are generally 15-inch models, and are a good alternative if you want a "good enough" computer that will allow you to do a bit of everything. For example, you can play games but not usually on the very highest graphics settings. You can also go online, check your email, work on a spreadsheet or edit images. This type of computer is available in many different price classes and is often affordable.

Premium computers and special machines

Another category of computer is the ultrabook. These are very compact and light computers of around 14 inches, with more powerful processors. They are often also called business laptops and are easy to carry when you're working away from the office. The materials used are usually more exclusive. They can also come with top end functions such as fingerprint readers or flippable screens. These computers cost more than the two categories named above as the combination of hardware and chassis is of higher quality. However, the graphics card is often not a priority – and is sometimes integrated rather than a separate component. This means that these computers are often not suitable for anyone working with 3D images or video, or who wants to be able to play games.

If you're looking for a gaming computer, computer manufacturers produce special gaming series. Some examples are HP Omen, Dell Alienware and Lenovo Legion. These have the latest hardware of the more expensive category and often have a very distinctive design. These computers usually come with programmable buttons, a backlit keyboard and other features that gamers enjoy. They're usually rather bulky from a mobile point of view, but still compact given what's under the bonnet. Laptop gaming computers are normally relatively expensive. It's not unusual to have to pay £1500-2000 if you want to be able to play the latest games with maximum quality graphics.

Save money

Top tip. Laptops can be several hundred pounds cheaper if bought online compared to shop prices. When buying online, you're always getting a newly manufactured computer with the latest processor and graphics card. A laptop from a shop can be several months old, which is a long time in the computer world. Make sure that the computer you're buying is new and that it fits your specifications.

Our buying guide gives you updated tips and advice on the most interesting, best and best value for money laptop computers just now. We also list the most interesting laptop series from manufacturers such as Acer, HP, Asus and more. And don't forget to check out our guide to components and hardware.

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