Best laptop: 30 top laptops for every budget

26th Jun 2014 | 14:45

Best laptop: 30 top laptops for every budget

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

Choosing the best laptop for you

Our continually updated list of all the best laptops available today.

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 and its subsequent update 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 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.

What's in this list

Here we look at some of the best Windows, OS X and Chrome OS 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.

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

But standard tablets running iOS and Android aren't here - these are covered in our tablets area of the site. Similarly, all-in-one touchscreen computers and other desktop PCs are listed in our PC and Mac desktop reviews instead.

Our list contains the best laptops that really excelled in our extensive testing processes this year. We've arranged them into categories to help you find the one that best suits your needs. You can also see the best deals on these laptops through a future update.

Key things to consider when buying a laptop

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.

Crucially, set yourself a budget and stick to it. You could always get something that costs "a bit more" - but is it right for your needs?

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 - this list does not include our hands on reviews. For more detail on what this means, check out our TechRadar Reviews Guarantee.

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

Best budget laptops and Chromebooks

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. Dell Chromebook 11

Best laptops

Best laptops

The Dell Chromebook 11 is an affordable machine that does not feel or look like it was made on a budget. Compared to its competitors, this Dell falls in line with the specs already set by other Chrome laptops on the market.

At the same time, it also has two USB 3.0 ports. What sets it apart, though, is its impressive longevity, which makes it perfect for anyone who wants to get away from the outlet with a mobile hotspot in tow.

We even recommend checking out what Dell has on offer before the Acer or HP offerings. For school and/or leisure, the Dell Chromebook 11 is a no brainer. For now, Dell leads the Chromebook class with the best-looking and longest-lasting Chrome laptop yet.

2. Asus X102BA

Best laptops

At this price point, the Asus X102BA is surprisingly good. We fully expected a similar performance to that of its closest rival, the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11, but it betters it in almost every respect – its in-Windows performance is better, the screen is superior and it's much lighter too.

It's not the ideal option for business users, but for students or young kids this is almost the perfect device, thanks to its ability to function as both tablet and useable laptop when needed.

Your only dilemma now, thanks to competition from Acer, is whether you buy this or go for the almost identical offering – both in spec and price - in the form of the Acer V5-122P.

3. Acer C720 Chromebook

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.

4. Toshiba Chromebook

Best laptops

Best laptop

Surprisingly, the build quality on display from the Toshiba Chromebook is impressive, managing a sturdy build in a plastic frame with even a bit of style. So the lid is a tad wobbly with its two plastic hinges, but what do you want for under $300? Besides, the keyboard and click pad don't disappoint – something that's common in the budget space.

Even for such a low-power system, 6 to 7 hours of endurance is longer than most Windows laptops can claim. Another plus is how quickly this Chromebook charges, meaning less time tethered to an outlet overall. As far as software goes, Chrome OS has an answer for almost all of your everyday apps and services. The Chrome Store is slowly growing to meet needs beyond that of the general user.

The Toshiba Chromebook is the perfect Baby Boomer laptop, not to mention the mileage students would get out of this machine. Looking for an incredibly affordable mobile computer that does, well, what you do most on the computer? This Chromebook is a wise choice.

5. HP Chromebook 11

HP Chromebook 11

Even if you're used to high end computers such as the MacBook Pro or Samsung ATIV Book 9, every time you pick up the HP Chromebook 11 you get a little jolt of pleasure.

It feels solid – light yet sturdy. The keyboard is genuinely very good. The IPS screen's colors are rich and vibrant. The styling feels fresh, simple, clean and friendly. It feels, in short, like a beautifully made, simple to use computer.

Our only major complaint was about power. It's not unreasonable to be demanding a full eight hours' use from a laptop today, though the microUSB charging is a nice touch. It's a quarter of the price of even the cheapest 11-inch MacBook Air and it's far more than a quarter as lovely.

6. Acer Aspire V5

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.

7. HP Pavilion 15

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.

8. Asus V550CA

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.

9. Lenovo G500s

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.

10. Lenovo Yoga 11S

Lenovo Yoga 11S

The 11.6-inch Lenovo Yoga 11S laptop is a flexible machine that can fold over from a typical laptop stance to a stand position, to a position with the keyboard behind the screen, ready for delivering presentations.

It comes with HDMI, SD card and USB ports, and boasts a surprisingly impressive Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for storage. The screen is sharp and bright, though not full HD, and works well with Windows 8. It's also nicely light and small for portability.

You can easily use the Yoga 11S as you would any other laptop, replete with a full QWERTY keyboard.

11. Microsoft Surface Pro 2

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.

12. Asus Transformer Book TX300

Asus Transformer Book

Best laptop

The Asus Transformer Book TX300 is encased in brushed aluminium, giving it a quality sleek finish, enabling it to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the MacBook Air in the looks department.

However, it has a hidden trick up its sleeve. The screen unclips from the keyboard base to turn this 13-inch laptop into a 13-inch tablet, for playing games, surfing the web or watching movies.

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.

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.

13. Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

With the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, we can now confirm that 3,200 x 1,800 pixels is delicious indeed. On top of the winning Yoga form factor, we loved the solid performance, backlit keyboard, and the snappy SSD, creating mobile device-like response times.

However, in our experience, a Haswell-based ultrabook this thin should run twice as long as the Yoga 2 Pro does on a full charge; we got about five hours in our testing. Even with cloud services like Google Drive, a 128GB SSD is hard to recommend for even your grandparents.

Drawbacks considered, the Yoga 2 Pro is a winner of a laptop, pure and simple. At the $1,000 price point, you could put the Yoga 2 Pro in just about anyone's hands and make them feel quite pleased.

14. Sony Vaio Duo 13

Sony Vaio Duo 13

From the slim line and attractive design to the top-notch components included, the Sony Vaio Duo 13 looks every inch the expensive product. We also really liked the improvements to the sliding design, which makes it much easier to open and close.

While the sliding design has improved, it still feels a tiny bit delicate around the hinges, which isn't great for such an expensive product. Having the hard drive filled with bloatware is also an avoidable annoyance.

Regardless, the Vaio Duo 13 is one of the best laptop-tablet hybrids we've seen yet. Just be prepared to pay the big bucks for that experience.

Best Ultraportables (including Best Ultrabooks)

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

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. MacBook Air

MacBook Air

Best laptop

Like most recent MacBook Air refreshes, the mid-2013 update brings us four new models; two with 11-inch screens and two with 13-inch displays. All use Haswell 1.3GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processors, replete with Intel HD Graphics 5000, the latest version of Intel's integrated graphics chipset.

The cheaper model in each of the two screen sizes has 128GB of solid state storage, the more expensive version has 256GB, and all offer 4GB of RAM.

The benchmarks weren't as great as we hoped but the newest MacBook Air is a definite step up from last year's release. The battery life is little short of incredible - business travelers taking long flights and students who need it all day for lectures, and then throughout the evening for writing an essay will love its all-day power.

17. Acer Aspire S7

Best laptops

Best laptop

While I'm torn on the utility of such a sharp display in 2014 on the Acer Aspire S7, it's purpose is clear. This 2560 x 1440 panel is prepared for the day when hyper-HD content is finally viable to watch over wireless internet. In the now, text looks gorgeous, as do images – thus adding to the near-future feel of this device.

The build quality on display here, from the Aspire S7's aluminum and Gorilla Glass frame is palpable. That goes for the snappy keyboard, with its fancy electroluminescent lighting, too. And that the Aspire S7 never gets uncomfortably hot is a major plus. Frequent travelers and bathroom laptop users (you know who you are) need not worry about scorching their laps here.

The Aspire S7 truly feels like a machine built for the now, 2014, and one that you won't mind using well into 2016, possibly longer. So love the Aspire S7 for its cutting edge build, fine typing experience and premium specs.

18. Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus

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. Samsung Series 9

Best laptops

You'll be amazed at how thin the Samsung Series 9 actually is when you hold the 13-inch laptop. It looks every bit as stylish as rivals like the MacBook Air, and competes favorably on price.

The Series 9 isn't a cheap laptop though, and has the specs you'd expect from a premium machine. It used to be the case that ultraportable laptops were somewhat underpowered, but thanks to processors that use less power but offer higher performance, this is no longer an issue.

Despite some issues, we believe the Series 9 is a good buy, if not a truly excellent one. You won't walk out of the shop feeling like you've been ripped off, but you certainly won't feel like you've got the steal of the century, either.

20. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

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The ThinkPad X1 Carbon does a fantastic job of straddling the line between function and form. An improvement on the previous X1 Carbon in every way, it's the details that might turn veterans away and lure in new fans.

Those with a penchant for aesthetics, here's a brand new design with some fantastic new features. And to keep the no-nonsense business user happy, this is a plenty powerful piece of hardware.

The connectivity on offer through this Ultrabook's super slim design profile alone is impressive. And the adaptive keys, while divisive, add a ton of function in a limited amount of space and an attractive presentation. Look out, MacBook Pro, you're no longer the only thin and light business option on the block.

21. Dell XPS 13

Best laptops

Best laptop

The Dell XPS 13 is a pleasure to look at, and at first glance it's hard to see the differences between it and an Apple Macbook. Thanks to the latest components, this Ultrabook will handle pretty much anything you can throw at it.

Dell has finally added wonderful FHD touchscreens to the XPS 13 line, in addition to slightly larger batteries and 802.11ac networking. However, there's still no SD card slot available on this model, and the battery life we witnessed wasn't all that great for a Haswell machine.

Photography buffs and frequent travelers might want to take heed. Regardless, the Dell XPS 13 is still one of the best laptops you can buy, offering top performance, excellent build quality and superior usability.

Best 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. But basically, these are what used to be called 'desktop replacements' - or, at least, they have desktop-matching components and power. Ultraportables compromise; these don't.

22. HP EliteBook 820 G1

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.

23. Fujitsu Lifebook E743

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.

24. MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina display

Best laptops

Best laptop

The new Apple MacBook Pro's most exciting feature is, of course, its Retina display. With a 2880 x 1800 resolution at 220 pixels per inch, it crams over 5.1 million pixels into its 15.4-inch screen. That's over three million more than an HD TV.

However, it does mean that after-market upgrades are almost impossible, and sacrifices have been made, such as the lack of a hard drive, optical drive and Ethernet or FireWire 800 ports. Clearly aimed at video editors, photographers and graphics professionals, the Retina screen is beautiful, but the laptop's high price tag will put some off.

Best 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.

25. Alienware 17

best laptops

Make no mistake, this is undoubtedly the complete package and then some, offering the glitz and glamor of a boutique gaming PC in the laptop form factor. Not to mention that this AMD graphics chip inches dangerously close to desktop-level performance.

Save for some nagging (but ultimately fixable) problems, the Alienware 17 is one of the best gaming laptops money can buy. From its sharp metallic and soft-touch build to a host of powerful components, this is a one-stop shop for getting into PC gaming with a single click.

26. Gigabyte P25W

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.

27. Gigabyte P34G

Best laptops

Best laptops

The Gigabyte P34G might not look or feel all that luxurious, but after a week with this power-packed gaming laptop, I felt spoiled by its performance. When it comes down to parts for pennies, this system goes uncontested. And that the P34G can play Titanfall at the highest settings with no problem makes me confident in its lasting power.

While you won't get the flashy lights of the Alienware 14 or the slick build of the Razer Blade, you'll pay less for the same gaming experience and then some, framerate wise. You'll want to use a mouse, even when you're just poking around the web, and having a nice mechanical keyboard waiting for it on your desk wouldn't hurt either.

This notebook offers great portability without sacrificing power or ports. All considered, the Gigabyte P34G is an amazing value and a portable beast of a gaming rig.

28. Asus G750JX

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.

29. MSI G570 Stealth

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.

30. Razer Blade

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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