Best laptop: 25 top laptops for every budget

27th Feb 2014 | 15:45

Best laptop: 25 top laptops for every budget

TechRadar's complete guide to the top laptops to buy today

Overview

Choosing the right laptop is even more confusing than ever - so we're here to help with our regularly updated guide to the best laptops.

The release of Windows 8.1 has pulled the OS further towards the touch and tablet future, even if the Start menu has returned. This, along with the performance boost Windows 8.1 offers, is a boon for the vast array of laptop-tablet hybrids now flooding the market.

Apple's range of MacBooks still continue to impress and we've even seen Chromebooks gradually emerge as not only affordable laptops but as fashionable coffee-house companions.

Thankfully, cheap laptops are more powerful and capable than ever before as the likes of ARM, AMD, Intel and Nvidia continue to squeeze and integrate both processor and graphics for optimum performance. This has meant that high-end devices are becoming perfectly good replacements for your desktop computer, able to cope with more intensive programs.

Those after a fast boot up time and a lightweight machine to carry might drool over an Intel Ultrabook, which is essentially a marketing name for a thin and light laptop with an Intel Core processor, but there are also plenty of manufacturers pumping out ultraportable equivalents.

Serious gamers will want a machine tailored to their processing needs, which will still generally means discrete graphics, while those after flexibility might fancy a convertible laptop-tablet hybrid.

Here we look at some of the best laptops from the last six months - those that really excel themselves in our extensive testing processes this year. We've arranged them into categories to help you find the best one to suit your needs.

We also list the current selling prices in the UK, Australia and the US, although in some cases a laptop listed here may not be available in every territory.

All of the machines listed here are laptops. We have also listed the convertible laptop-tablets that fall more on the side of laptop than tablet, and that includes devices, such as Microsoft's Surface Pro.

Similarly, all-in-one touchscreen computers and other desktop PCs are in our PC and Mac desktop reviews page.

Laptop pricing

The prices listed here are for guidance only and aren't guarantees of availability at a certain price. Because of the wildly fluctuating availability of certain models, we often review laptops by series. As a consequence it may be that there are tens of models with similar or the same name, available at various price points.

When considering what to buy, think about your needs and your most important factor, be it laptop battery life or screen size. The most important part is to be honest about what you need, and you could save a fortune on getting the best laptop for you.

Since this article seeks to round up the best laptops available, we are only listing those we have fully tested and reviewed in real life situations. More laptop-tablet hybrids will be reviewed as soon as we get them in for testing, so we expect to add more impressive convertible tablets to this list later.

For now, here are the great machines we have tested and loved so far:

Best budget laptops

There's been a surprising number of good budget laptops available recently, and a lot of them are Chromebooks. Since the release of the first Google cr-48 prototype in 2010, each batch of Chromebooks has gradually improved to the point where they can cater for most day to day demands and unless you really need full HD playback, video-editing options and gaming chops they generally do fit the bill. You'll also note that some of the budget portables now have touchscreens as the line between what's a laptop and a tablet continues to blur and will ultimately not matter anymore very soon.

1. Acer C720 Chromebook

£189/AUS$350/$314

Acer C720 Chromebook

It comes as no surprise that the first and most affordable budget laptop we're highlighting is a Chromebook. If you're after something that will handle basic word processing and spreadsheets, browsing the web over Wi-Fi and watching YouTube clips then the Acer C720 is a steal.

At this price you also have to expect compromises: the 1.40GHz Intel Celeron processor and Intel HD Graphics are up to a lot of tasks, and also help to secure 8.5 hours of battery life, but can't cope with intensive tasks such as video editing. Storage is scarce too: a 16GB SDD is supplied, but then you're expected to embrace the cloud and suck up the 100GB of free Google Drive space that comes with the purchase.

The 11.6-inch TFT screen is also on the dull side with a limited viewing angle, and the keyboard refuses to offer decent feedback. But these are to be expected and the overall package is a bargain.

2. HP Chromebook 11

£205/$AUS380/$341

HP Chromebook 11

Light, sturdy and really quite stylish, our reviewer went a little squishy over the HP Chromebook 11. Setting aside the limitations of ChromeOS and the Chromebook concept itself, this is HP being as clever as possible with the specs.

Instead of an Intel processor, HP chose the ARM-based Samsung Exynos 5250 and slotted in 2GB of RAM and 16GB of solid-state storage (bolstered by the usual 100GB of Google Drive space). When set to work together with a vibrant 11-inch IPS screen running at a decent 1,366 x 768 pixels, the overall effect is a smooth and responsive experience.

The only surprising result - considering the low-power and efficient choice of specs - is the battery life, which was a head-scratching three hours on full load and then five hours after a few fine adjustments.

The touchpad isn't top notch either, and suffers from being oversensitive on occasion, but you'll find the key connectivity ports are all there, such as USB 3.0 and HDMI, and the HP Chromebook 11 adds up to surprisingly well-built laptop.

3. Asus X102BA

£286/AUS$530/$475

Asus X102BA

On the face of it, the Asus Z102BA looks like a no-frills lightweight laptop, but it's actually packed with a few surprising features that make it a good general purpose portable.

First off, it's kept the choice of OS fuss-free and pre-installed a full copy of Windows 8. Second, it comes bundled with a version of Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student Edition. Finally, its otherwise unremarkable 11.1-inch screen, which has a resolution of 1,366 x768 and a limited viewing angle, is also a nicely responsive touchscreen.

In fact, combine all these factors together with a good isolation keyboard for lots of typing, all the connectivity you need (including an Ethernet port) and plenty of space for photos, files and videos on its 500GB hard drive, and the Asus Z1023BA becomes a shoo-in for a student on a tight budget.

The only major thing letting it down is that the battery lasted three hours in our intensive test. A mediocre result considering the Asus is geared towards energy efficiency with its AMD A4-1200 APU, which combines CPU and graphics on a single chip.

4. Acer Aspire V5

£299/AUS$554/$497

Acer Aspire V5

Looking at the quality build of the Acer Aspire V5-122P, it's easy to fall into the trap of comparing it to the Aspire's high-end siblings and end up grumbling over its performance. Its budget limitations are squarely reflected in the internals: AMD's A6-1460, which includes Radeon HD 8250 graphics, backed by 4GB DDR3 RAM and capable of dealing with HD video playback, basic productivity tasks and some simple editing software, but not much more.

Equally, the 1,366 x 768 native resolution of the 11.6-inch TFT screen is, as you may have spotted by now, pretty standard on budget laptops and in this case benefits from a bright LED backlight.

Yet again, battery life rears its ugly head and only briefly, as the Asus achieves a measly 92 minutes against our Battery Eater test, and slightly more respectable two hours of general use.

The Aspire V5 is a stylish looking budget portable but very much a mixed bag. Ultimately, it's an adequate budget laptop running Windows 8 and, therefore, worth considering.

5. HP Pavilion 15

£329/AUS$610/$547

HP Pavilion 15

Sports car manufacturers might disagree, but its yet to be proven that the colour red will make a thing go faster on it's own, but it does make the HP Pavilion 15 stand out from other less stylish laptops at this budget price.

Make no mistake though, this is a budget laptop powered by an AMD APU, which combines both the graphics and the processor into one chip.

The overall experience is still peppy in Windows 8, and unless you plan to use it for video editing, the Pavilion 5 will handle all the usual document and spreadsheet work, film watching and web browsing you can throw at its way. It will also give you a respectable 5 hours of battery life in the process.

The 15.6-inch TN display isn't going to make film watching an earth-moving experience, though and the keyboard, as is often the case at this price, isn't very responsive.

Take a look, if you're looking for a tidy portable on a tight budget and need a full Windows 8 OS.

6. Asus V550CA

£399/AUS$739/$663

Asus V550CA

The Asus V550CA does a good job of balancing power and price, and at this price It's no surprise the Intel Core i7 packed isn't the latest: it's an Ivy Bridge, which means its last gen but still very capable.

There are no frills here in spec terms as it's designed to be a straightforward laptop for covering the needs of office work with good storage, web browsing and a bit of casual gaming.

You shouldn't expect to use the V5550CA for anything more as the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 are mediocre befitting the low resolution of the 15.6-inch TFT screen on offer.

But this a capable laptop with a nice brushed aluminium lid and a generally appealing style, if you want cutting edge performance, you'll need to pay more.

7. Lenovo G500s

£449/AUS$925/$829

Lenovo G500s

Lenovo has a habit of pumping out similarly named products at a brisk trot and the G500s is essentially an update to the Lenovo G505.

The G500s comes with an Intel Pentium 2020M processor, 8GB of memory and integrated Intel HD graphics, which means it will handle Windows 8 and day to day use smoothly enough, along with the likes of HD video playback on it's sizeable screen.

That's 720p HD, however, not full 1020p HD as we're still looking at a native resolution of 1,366 x 768. Demanding tasks are firmly off the table, though. You won't be playing games like Titanfall on this portable.

The G500s isn't the most portable of devices at 2.5kg, which amounts to hefting around a small bag of potatoes, which makes it more suitable as a stay at home device.

We also didn't find that keyboard gave much feedback when typing, which caused a bit too many mis-types for our liking. But overall, this is a steady but mundane workmate with a good battery life.

Best laptop-tablet hybrids

While a few of the budget laptops have included touchscreen technology, it's now time to sing along to Diana Ross' 'Touch me in the Morning' and get those screens all smeary with a look at the best of the laptop-tablet hybrids.

8. Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 Touch

£439/AUS$813/$729

Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 Touch

If you're looking for a 15.6-inch touchscreen laptop and like to play the odd game, then the Z500 could be a contender.

Even without the latest Core i7, the Z500 still performs well as an all-rounder. But the biggest surprise is that it has discrete graphics, which paired with a low-resolution screen means the Z500 Touch could be in our gaming section, too. For example, we found that it manages a very solid 36fps in Bioshock Infinite on Medium settings.

This is no ultraportable though, it's a little too chunky to be carried everywhere, and the performance comes at the cost of battery life, which averages about three hours.

There a better gaming machines, but they cost more and there are lighter laptops but they don't offer as much performance or, indeed, as much storage. A well-designed machine from Lenovo, then, which probably explains why the company is doing so well.

9. Lenovo Yoga 11S

£549/AUS$1,017/$912

Lenovo Yoga 11S

The Lenovo Yoga 11S is quite versatile, we admit the clue was in the name. It's extremely portable and its solid hinge quickly turns it into a slate for browsing the web from the sofa or a tablet with kickstand for checking recipes while you're in the kitchen.

The Intel Core i7 processor and solid state drive ensure a quick and responsive Windows 8, but we'd have liked Lenovo to include the latest generation of Core i7, Haswell, for preference. We also can't understand why at least one USB 3.0 port wasn't included.

You can easily tuck this system into a carry bag and aside from more than casual gaming, it'll bend over backwards (sic) to do most things you'd ask of it. Very versatile and worth considering.

10. Microsoft Surface Pro 2

£719/AUS$1,332/$1,195

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

First, lets not get confused about which Surface this is. The Surface Pro 2 is actually packing closer to laptop specs. It comes with the full Windows 8.1 OS and not the 'optimised' Windows 8.1 RT that limits you to Windows Store apps. It's also powered by the latest generation of Intel Core i5 processor and not a Tegra 4, which you'd normally associate with smartphones and tablets.

In fact, the main selling point of the Surface Pro 2 is that it has improved across the board: from a more vibrant display and better performance and graphics to seven hours of battery life. With these increases, the Surface Pro 2 does find itself sitting in an awkward halfway house between laptop and tablet, particularly as its gained weight and chunkiness that doesn't compare favourably with other tablets. It's also still expensive at £719 without the keyboard.

In design terms, the Surface Pro 2 is a celebration of what Microsoft can do when it's cornered and needs to come out fighting, and it's a form factor that may just fit your needs perfectly and with no small amount of style.

11. Asus Transformer Book TX300

£1,159/AUS$2,147/$1,925

Asus Transformer Book TX300

Asus sees this 13-inch model as a showcase for what the company can achieve in design and performance terms, and there's a lot to like about this stylish brushed aluminium hybrid.

True to it's name this powerful laptop can be turned into a tablet quickly by unclipping the keyboard.

Although it's Intel Core i7 (3rd gen, not Haswell) and 4GB RAM offer a snappy Windows 8, this isn't where the TX300 stands out. It's features like the lush screen which supports full HD playback, the dual batteries (in base and tablet) and dual-storage of a 500GB drive and 128GB SSD respectively, which distinguish it from the crowd.

There are few caveats, no HDMI, for instance, only USB 3.0 ports on the keyboard but not on screen and the fact it weighs 2kg. That weight also doesn't reflect that it's a graphics gaming powerhouse and battery life isn't sparkling at around 5 hours, but then you are getting a gorgeous screen for your movies.

The Asus Transformer Book TX300 may not beat an iPad or a Apple MacBook Pro but it may well be the most comfortable compromise between laptop and tablet that we've seen.

High-end laptops

In stark contrast to the budget and hybrid laptops, top-scoring high-end laptops are scarce right now. Most manufacturers are either attempting to out skinny the MacBook Air with their ultraportables or are focusing on complying with the Intel marketing requirements to get an Ultrabook stamp.

12. HP EliteBook 820 G1

£899/AUS$1,666/$1,494

HP Elitebook 820 G1

If thin is your only form of beauty then look away now. The HP's EliteBook 820 G1 is a solidly built, well-specified and powerful laptop.

When we say solid, we mean in a 'throw it around a warzone' way as it meets military specifications. And when we mean well specified, the G1 has, for instance, the latest generation of Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. The integrated graphics isn't up to intensive gaming, but productivity is the priority here, as reflected in the firm but comfortable isolation keyboard.

Battery life is reasonable, in general use it achieved five hours, but this could be improved by slotting in a bigger battery thanks to the tool-free access to the internals. It's straightforward approach doesn't have space for a touchscreen either, which is unlikely to be a missed feature as it has an excellent trackpad with twin sets of buttons.

Overall, this is straight-shooting, good value laptop that will take a fair few knocks on the road and keep on rolling.

13. Fujitsu Lifebook E743

£937/AUS$1,736/$1,557

Fujitsu Lifebook E743

Fujitsu has chosen the modular route for the Lifebook series. The 14-incher has a bay on the left that enables you to swap modules out for different uses: Need a Blu-ray writer? Slot it in. Running out of power? Then grab a second battery module, and if you make a lot of presentations, it has a handy LED projector module too. We'd call this the Swiss Army knife of laptops, except we wouldn't recommend trying to open a tin of beans with one.

The E743 has an Ivy Bridge Intel Core i5 processor, which means it loses out on the battery boost the latest Haswell chips offer, but it does offer adequate integrated graphics for the business user. Connectivity is well taken care of, particularly when it's connected to the supplied dock.

We found its battery life adequate, around 4 hours in a working day, but a little heavy at 1.9kg. The lack of juice could be resolved with a second battery module, however.

This is a very versatile business laptop though and a not too shabby looking system either, with its smooth metallic finish and red trim around the keyboard.

14. Toshiba Satellite P70

£1,199/AUS$2,222/$1,992

Toshiba Satellite P70

Here's another 'bigger boned' high-end laptop powered by a top-end Haswell Intel Core i7-4700MQ processor - and it's a fast machine.

It's not the most stylish number, however, with a top and bottom of brushed aluminium and the rest being a cheap-looking plastic. The visible seals around the edges aren't that appealing either, but it does offer a stunning screen, a whopping 2TB of storage, discrete graphics and a Blu-ray writer.

Where the Toshiba falls over is battery life - a mere 77 minutes chains it firmly to a desk. That compromise may be satisfactory for many who want a powerful portable-type machine with a vivid 1920 x 1080 screen and speakers, but it doesn't excuse the choice of Nvidia's mid-range discrete graphics, which delivers more than integrated GPUs but not much more if you're after a true desktop replacement.

Ultraportables

Who needs a DVD or Blu-ray writer when you can put your laptop in an envelope? Ultraportables have become incredibly popular, thanks in part to the MacBook Air and Intel's $300 million marketing fund for developing Ultrabooks.

While ultraportables don't have any specific requirements other than being thin and light, a manufacturer has to follow a defined specification to be able to use Intel's Ultrabook brand. This is based on the particular Intel chips being used and has become quite restrictive.

Some of the requirements, for instance, for a 14-inch Ultrabook using the new Haswell processors are that it's 23mm thick or less, has a touchscreen and can hit six hours of HD video playback. What this means is that the Ultrabook trademark offers a certain level of quality and performance, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee that you're buying the best ultraportable, so lets have a look at some good ones.

15. Samsung Series 7 Ultra

£699/AUS$1,295/$1,161

Samsung Series 7 Ultra

The slim and sharp exterior of the Samsung Series 7 Ultra screams quality, and that's echoed in the premium internals as well. The Ultra is powered by a Core i5, which is to be welcomed, but one of its standout features is the AMD Radeon HD 8500M graphics chip, which gives the Samsung some real graphical clout, while aiding the Full HD display in providing a pin-sharp viewing experience.

The overall package is pulled down slightly by its weight. At 1.6kg it's not as portable as others in its price range, and the small 128GB SSD isn't enough if you intend this to be your main computer.

The whole Series 7 Ultra experience is stylish and the performance is nippy nonetheless. If a quality screen is a priority and you need a little more graphical punch from your portable this is worth a spin.

16. Dell XPS 13

£849/AUS$1,573/$1,411

Dell XPS 13

The XPS 13 is Dell's answer to the MacBook Air, but has a more compact rather than thinner and lighter design than its rival.

Due to it's Core i7 processors, decent amount of memory and SSD storage, the XPS 13 will handle whatever tasks you wish to throw at it outside of power gaming, but for not as long as we'd hoped. The battery lasts for around four hours, which isn't even half as long as the battery on the MacBook Air.

If you're after a 1080p viewing experience on a portable this is a crowd-pleaser too - it's 1,920 x 1080 touchscreen is fantastically sharp. But there are few caveats, most notably the lack of an SD card reader. But all told, this is a capable and desirable, luxury laptop that will turn heads in your local coffee shop.

17. 13-inch MacBook Air

£891/AUS$1,651/$1,480

13in Macbook Air

This is the sixth generation of the MacBook Air, and although its regal position in the ultraportable world may not be on the wane yet, it did take a few tiny missteps this time.

Apple's decision to pony up for the latest gen, Haswell processor isn't one of them, although opting for the lesser Core i5 is. We would have preferred the faster Core i7, especially at this price, and the performance results aren't better across the board, as they should be, because of it. We note that the Core i5 chip does offer better integrated Intel HD Graphics than the previous MacBook Air though, offering a 40% boost to graphics performance.

But it's the battery life that astounds - 10 hours of movie playback and 12 in general use - incredible results. And we mustn't fail to mention the Wi-Fi support for the ac standard.

The 13-inch MacBook Air is still working its winning ways. It's still an oh-so very light and portable laptop with a responsive multi-touch trackpad and backlit keyboard, and everyone will love its staying power on a single charge.

18. Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus

£1,200/AUS$2,223/$1,994

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus

The 13.3-inch ATIV Book 9 is on the business end of Samsung's Ultrabooks, which means performance and staying power are a crucial part of its sell. Fortunately, as well as being highly portable it also manages a solid nine hours of battery life.

That's quite a remarkable feature in its own right but when married with it's near-silent operation and a screen that has a native resolution of 3,200 x 1,800, it becomes an astonishing spec. Unfortunately, as our reviewer noted it's not entirely practical. The default desktop icons were tiny at this resolution. Note this should be resolved in Windows 8.1 as the DPI is automatically set and icons will look their normal size. As our reviewer noted though, it's likely you'll drop the screen down to 1080p, especially as this is the norm for watching films. This means that unless you particularly like the fact that the chassis can be laid flat for some tabletop touchscreen brainstorming with colleagues, the screen's full resolution becomes more of a bragging point.

We found the overall look and feel of the ATIV to be excellent, particularly the touchscreen and multi-touch trackpad, and it has all the connectivity you'll need for business purposes, including Ethernet.

19. MacBook Pro 15-inch

£1,276/AUS$2,364/$2,120

15in Macbook Pro

The Pro edition means, of course, a Retina display. That's a native resolution of 2,880 x 1,800, and while the basic form of the MacBook Pro is unchanged, there's been a lot removed and upgraded internally.

As with the MacBook Air, the Pro has moved to a Haswell processor for the added battery performance. The optical drive has also been dropped completely and the hard drive has been switched for an SSD. These changes amount to Apple being able to shave the laptop down to a thickness of 18mm in pursuit of even greater sleekness. FireWire has also been replaced by two much faster Thunderbolt ports.

As you might expect, the main gripe with the MacBook Pro, even with the most fantastic of screens, is the price. This is especially noticeable when compared with its own lesser siblings. But for professionals, such as graphic designers and video editors. it's still an excellent solution and the battery life is even better than before.

20. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga

£962/AUS$1,782/$1,598

Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga

The Yoga series from Lenovo are capable and stylish hybrids, but in this setting they can also be accomplished business ultrabooks too.

Snappy performance is guaranteed with a Core i3 (Haswell) processor, 4GB of RAM and an SDD (albeit a small one at 128GB). The ThinkPad Yoga will have no trouble dealing with complicated spreadsheets or the kind of productivity tasks required at work.

And while it's versatility may not be necessary for some business settings, the fact it has a sturdy hinge means you can flip it over into a tablet when needed or just stand it up for useful reference during a meeting.

Where the Yoga's performance gets all bent of shape is in its battery life, which amounts to only 3 hours. Some of that result is likely sucked away by the Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) 12.5-inch touchscreen. The storage is a little sparse too, most business users will need more than 128GB of SSD for all their presentations, docs and spreadsheets.

The ThinkPad Yoga maybe a step too far removed from the original business-class ThinkPads, but its stylish and could do well, particularly as a commuting sidekick.

Gaming laptops

Battlefield 4? BioShock Infinite? DOTA 2? Titanfall? World of WarCraft? If your eyes latched onto any of those game names we've just mentioned, then welcome - you've reached the right place in our 25 best laptops feature. Here we're interested in how many frames per second we can achieve in what contemporary games and at what settings - and everything else is a little less important. Accepting a chunky beast in exchange for a mobile gaming machine used to be the norm, but these days we're beginning to see much thinner yet incredibly powerful laptops trickle through right at the top end.

21. Alienware 14

£899/AUS$1,666/$1,494

Alienware 14

Alienware's gaming laptops have vastly improved since the company was bought by Dell and the Alienware 14 is no exception. The style of Alienware products haven't changed much, the angular focus of their designs remains as too does the excessive customisable lighting, but they are very well-built machines.

The core specs of this 14-inch laptop are solid too, a 3.4GHz Core i7-4700MQ, 2GB Nvidia GTX 765M graphics and 16GB of RAM suggest that it will fly. The results, however, were slightly down on what we expected and in real-world terms it will handle the likes of Crysis 2 adequately at 1,920 x 1,080 on Ultra settings, but not perfectly.

In terms of day to day use, it's a heavy machine but it does offer almost four hours of standard battery life, a responsive trackpad and a nicely backlit keyboard. To get the best performance would require upgrading from the standard model and that's where Alienware products start becoming expensive.

22. Gigabyte P25W

£1,184/AUS$2,194/$1,967

Gigabyte P25W

The Gigabyte sports the same top-end Core i7-4700MQ processor as the Alienware 14, 8GB of RAM and Nvidia GeForce GTX 770M graphics, which means this will play the majority of current game at a high setting. For instance, you should expect Bioshock Infinite to run at around 60fps, but drop to roughly 30fps if you step it up to Ultra.

Overall, performance is good thanks to the core specs, but we weren't particularly impressed with the trackpad. In gaming terms it's irrelevant but for general use it's disappointing.

The battery stood up adequately at around two and half hours, which is good enough to make use of the included Blu-ray drive for a few episodes of House of Cards.

We were disappointed by the TFT screen, which is frankly a little weak, but If you're after solid gaming performance while still managing to maintain a little bit of style then look at the Gigabyte P25W.

23. Asus G750JX

£1,269/AUS$2,351/$2,108

Asus G750JX

The 17.3-inch G750JX is sold under Asus's Republic of Gamers (RoG) sub-brand, which was set up to compete with Alienware, and while this may look like an Alienware it's got decidedly less of the superfluous customisable lights and is bordering on a stealth design for gaming laptop.

It's not subtle in weight terms at 4.6kg though, but this is the kind of gaming machine that oozes raw power without having to shout about it.

The main specs are a Core i7-4700HQ running at 2.GHz, backed by Nvidia GeForce GTX 770M graphics and 8GB of RAM. It's also packing dual hard drives totalling 1TB. In gaming performance terms, this will run current titles, such as Skyrim at 1,920 x 1,080 at High Settings comfortably. But for Crysis 3, for instance, this drops to around 40fps at Medium Settings.

This is a superb gaming laptop, which stays incredibly cool on when being pushed to the max. Worthy then of your attention.

24. MSI G570 Stealth

£1,679/AUS$3,111/$2,790

MSI G570 Stealth

A gaming laptop in brushed aluminium that's little thicker than an Ultrabook - what black art is this?

The build quality of the 17-inch MSI G570 Stealth is excellent, it even has quality speakers hidden on the base that offer clear treble and punchy bass.

The Core i7-4700HQ is used here again, as it was in the Asus G760JX, together with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 765M, which isn't as good as the GTX 770M used in the Asus. Again, storage is plentiful with a 1TB drive and there's plenty of connectivity, including 4 USB 3.0 ports.

In real-world performance terms, the G570 eased through Bioshock Infinite on Max Settings at 1,920 x 1,080. So far, so similar to a few of the other laptops we've mentioned, but bear in mind this is running in a sleek chassis that's 21.6mm thick and that also sports a nice TN screen.

If you've been yearning for a gaming laptop with slick design, then take a look at the MSI GS70 Stealth.

25. Razer Blade

£1,802/AUS$3,339/$2,994

Razer Blade

Finally, we have the matte-black aluminium 14-inch Razer Blade - can it respond to the gauntlet that's been thrown down by the MSI G570 Stealth?

The Razer Blade has a much more compact design and it sports a lower-res but still sharp 1,600 x 900 screen.

Razer doesn't make design changes lightly, and has opted to reduce resolution to enable the discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics and Core i7 4702HQ to offer as much gaming performance as possible.

In a sense the Blade achieves this, for instance, our Metro Last Light benchmark result was almost 23fps at Max Settings. That's an admirable result for a 14-inch gaming laptop but whether that appeals to gamers that want the best performance they can get from a game is another question entirely.

The Razer Blade is a beautifully designed gaming laptop that will enable you to play games like Call of Duty: Black Ops comfortably and in style, but you'll need to decide how much gaming performance you want for your cash.

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