A thin but still maxed out computer
Type: Gaming computer 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
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")
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Lenovo X390 13.3" Laptop - Core i7 1.8GHz CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Windows 10 Pro
Lenovo ThinkPad X390 Core i7-8565U 16GB 512GB SSD 13.3 Inch Windows 10 Pro Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad X390 Intel Core i7-8565U 16GB 512GB SSD 13.3 Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Core i7 16GB 512GB SSD 13.5 Windows 10 Pro - Cobalt Blue
Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Core i7 16GB 512GB SSD 13.5 Windows 10 Pro - Black
Microsoft LQT-00026 Surface Laptop 2 - Core i7 8650U / 1.9 GHz - Win 10 Pro - 16 GB RAM - 512 GB SSD
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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