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Think you want to buy a laptop computer? Which? can help you decide between a laptop and a netbook, depending on your needs – and our independent reviews reveal the best laptop computer models available. Our laptop reviews include Acer, Dell, Toshiba and MacBook models.
Deciding on the best laptop computer will depend on how you're going to use it. The Which? laptops expert explains more in our video guide.
Whether you want a portable computer for the whole family to use around the home, a laptop that's powerful enough to watch movies on long journeys or a model for basic admin tasks as you travel to the office each day, our video guide helps you decide whether the answer lies in a basic laptop or desktop replacement laptop.
When you're deciding between a laptop computer or netbook, consider portability, price and what you'll want to do with it. If you're replacing your home PC, it might be worth investing in a desktop replacement laptop computer. But they can be expensive, so if it's only for tasks such as writing emails, a basic laptop, which can cost as little as £350, should suffice.
If you want a really portable computer – for school or to take to work – the best netbooks are light and affordable, have long-lasting batteries and are great for surfing the internet, among many other tasks. You'll have to cope with a smaller screen and keyboard, however.
If you'll be using your laptop computer while you're out and about, good battery life is vital. You can use our compare laptops tool to find reviews of laptops with the best battery life (click on 'Which? ratings').
Power isn't just about battery life, though – memory and hard disk space varies widely, so consider what you need. If you're aiming to run Windows and use several applications at once, you need at least 2GB of Ram. If you want to store your videos and pictures as well as a music library, ensure that you have at least a 100GB hard disk.
Are you a Mac, or are you a PC? You've probably already got a personal preference for one or other of the popular operating platforms used on laptop computers, but how do they perform in our independent tests?
Which? has tested both Apple's Mac laptops and a variety of PC laptops from the likes of Dell, Acer and Toshiba, so you can find out whether Mac laptops are worth the premium price you often pay for them.
Laptop computer screens vary in size. If you want to watch films, for example, a 17-inch widescreen display might be for you. A 15-inch display is about standard but opting for those two extra inches may also provide useful additional desktop space when running several applications. Or, for more portability, look for a laptop with a 10 or 12-inch screen.
Be wary of deals for free laptops with broadband or mobile phone contracts – compare the costs against deals that don't offer laptops, and check that any laptop offered is really what you want.
Buying a laptop computer over the phone, rather than in a shop, means that you can often get a more competitive price – though you can't try out the laptop first. But it's online where you'll find the cheapest laptop deals – though you'll have to know what you're looking for and understand computer jargon.
We take the strain out of choosing a laptop with our robust tests that assess battery life, day-to-day tasks, wireless connectivity, comfort, ease of use and versatility.
Your laptop may need to withstand long hours of use on the go – so checking out each model's battery is key in the Which? tests of laptop computers. We time how long it takes to charge a battery and how long it takes to drain using a set of everyday tasks. We also time how long the laptops take to complete tasks, such as burning a DVD.