6 top laptops for less than £699

14th Aug 2009 | 11:50

6 top laptops for less than £699

Tidy laptops ideal for school or taking to university

Cheap laptops: overview

cheap laptops

A range of laptops with a variety of features to guide you through college

Choosing a laptop to accompany you through college is harder than you may think.

There are so many options in terms of price, features and functionality that it's easy to get confused.

The most important thing to decide is what you'll be wanting from your laptop. Are you solely interested in a machine that will help you complete your essays and projects, or are multimedia or even gaming capabilities important?

To help you make the right decision, we've brought together six machines that offer everything from portability to power. Whatever your needs, we can help you make an informed decision that is sure to benefit your studies.

Acer Aspire 3810T

acer aspire 3810t

Acer Aspire 3810T

Compact, well-made and with an excellent battery life, there's lots to like here

The Aspire 3810T is the second laptop we've seen from Acer's Timeline series. As with the Aspire 4810T, it features a compact and slim design and provides all-day battery life.

The chassis features a 13.3-inch screen, and offers a good compromise between size and usability. It provides sharp image quality and is one of the brighter screens around. It uses LED backlighting to good effect, with accurate colours and contrast, while also conserving power

Read: full Acer Aspire 3810T review

Asus K50IN

Asus k50in

Asus K50IN

A great laptop which should cater for most of your school or college needs

The Asus K50IN is a large, widescreen laptop that is one of the most comfortable machines we've tried, although as a result it is also one of the least portable. Nevertheless, its moderately powerful processor and dedicated graphics card should ably cater for most of your study needs.

The chassis is dominated by a wide 15.6-inch screen. Detail is great, thanks to a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution which makes it possible to work with multiple windows open. Colour reproduction is good – if slightly over-saturated – and this laptop is ideal for watching films on

Read: full Asus K50IN review

HP Compaq 6735b

HP compaq 6735b

HP Compaq 6735b

A good laptop with some nice features but, ultimately, poor performance

With the Compaq 6735b laptop, HP is looking to target those after an affordable work notebook that also want basic consumer features to keep themselves entertained. To a certain extent they've succeeded, and the machine could have been a good all-rounder, but performance is lacking.

Due to its size, the 15.4-inch screen is great for working with multiple windows, making multi-tasking easy. The panel is brighter than many, but has a very average 1280 x 800-pixel resolution.

Read: full HP Compaq 6735b review

MSI X340

MSI x340

MSI X340

One of the most portable and stylish laptops available in this group test

If your needs are simple and you're content with a machine which happily lets you create documents, reports and presentations, the MSI X340 may be just the machine you're after.

MSI has managed to squeeze the components into a truly thin and tiny chassis, providing one of the most portable laptops around.

The slim chassis weighs just 1.4kg, making it ideal for transporting it around the workplace or university. At just 21mm thick, it'll slip conveniently into almost any bag or sleeve you may have. The three-cell battery does a reasonable job when working on the move, and you'll easily get more than four hours of mobile use

Read: full MSI X340 review

PC NEXTDAY Zoostorm 84-5200

PC nextday zoostorm 84-5200

PC NEXTDAY Zoostorm 84-5200

Good multimedia functionality from this well-specified multimedia system

PC Nextday has recognised that, to be truly attractive to the demographics that is most interested in PCs, a laptop must be capable of doing more than word processing.

As such, it has created the Zoostorm 84-5200 which features a powerful processor and graphics card, and caters for students and workers looking for that little bit more from their machine.

Standing out from other laptops, it features a high-end Intel 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, combined with 4096MB of memory to provide great performance for the price. In daily use, this machine is hard to beat

Read: full PC NEXTDAY Zoostorm 84-5200 review

Toshiba Tecra A10-16E

toshiba

Toshiba Tecra A10-16E

A very usable laptop, but performance is poor, as is portability

The Toshiba Tecra A10-16E targets corporate users, offering great build quality and comfortable controls that make it an ideal machine for everyday business use.

Unlike many consumer laptops, the Toshiba features a standard 15.4-inch TFT screen. The matt finish is a lot better when used out and about, as it doesn't highlight reflections or fingerprints, and it's also fine when used near a window or directly under a light.

It doesn't offer colours quite so vibrant as its rivals, but it's still one of the brightest panels, making it an excellent choice for home and office work

Read: full Toshiba Tecra A10-16E review

TechRadar Verdict

With so much on offer from this group of laptops, picking one winner, let alone two, was never going to be easy.

However, medals aside, every single laptop impressed us in a variety of ways, be it portability or value for money, and we're confi dent that whichever machine you choose will benefi t your college work and help you achieve the best results possible in your studies.

WINNER:

PC nextday zoostorm 84-5200

PC NEXTDAY Zoostorm 84-5200

It isn't the smallest or lightest laptop here, but the Zoostorm impressed us by covering all the bases well.

There's enough office performance here to ensure college work goes smoothly, and there's also good 3D power and bags of memory for carrying out multimedia tasks. A worthy winner.

Read: full PC NEXTDAY Zoostorm 84-5200 review

RUNNER-UP:

acer aspire 3810t

Acer Aspire 3810T

Portability is the name of the game here. Its compact shape means you can slip it into a bag and forget about it, as it is a pleasure to carry between home and college.

The great battery is another benefi t, helping you work all day. It faced stiff competition from the MSI, but won through in the end.

Read: full Acer Aspire 3810T review

laptop notebook TRBC
Share this Article
Google+

Most Popular

Edition: UK
TopView classic version