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Which? Christmas gift guide – top 5 laptops

The best laptops for all good girls and boys

Want to treat yourself or a loved one to a laptop this Christmas – or bag a bargain in the sales? If so, the range of laptops and netbooks on the market can seem bewildering. 

Luckily, Which? has rated more than 80 laptops and netbooks in our expert lab tests ranging from small, lightweight, highly portable models to big and beefy desktop replacements. 

We’ve picked out some of the best laptops you can buy to help you get started.

Asus Eee PC 1015P

Best laptop for students or commuters: Asus Eee PC 1015P – from £260

Although it may be a little too shiny for everyone’s taste, the Eee PC 1015P is a well-designed, reasonably priced netbook with a clear, well-lit 10-inch screen and a comfortable – if diminutive – keyboard. It’s ideal for surfing the web and other basic everyday tasks. 

Its modest proportions mean it’s a great choice for students or commuters as it’ll happily fit into a rucksack, and it’ll last a lengthy seven hours of web browsing. Santa should manage to squeeze it into his sack, too. Weighing just 1.24kg, he won’t put his back out bringing it down the chimney.

Read the full Asus Eee PC 1015P review.

Dell Studio XPS 16

Best laptop for replacing your desktop – Dell Studio XPS 16 – from £799

This smart laptop has some stylish design accents which are sure to appeal to its lucky recipient. It has a clear, sharp display which, at 15.6-inches, should be comfortable enough for day-to-day computing. There’s plenty of room for a well-proportioned keyboard although there’s no separate numeric keypad. Tipping the scales at over 3kg, this is one laptop you won’t want to cart about too much.

The Studio XPS 16 range starts with a dual core processor but the model we tested is a bit of a powerhouse with some meaty specifications including an Intel Core i5 processor. High specs come at a high price, though. 

Read the full Dell Studio XPs 16 review.

Samsung Q430

Best laptop for families: Samsung Q430 – from £615

Samsung has produced some impressive laptops this year and this 14-inch all-rounder is no exception. It has a great screen for watching all your Christmas DVDs. You may prefer to listen through headphones, though, so as not to annoy granny and because sound quality from the built-in speakers isn’t too hot.

The Q430 handled the day-to-day tasks we threw at it with ease so it’s also a good choice for the kids to use for their homework. It’s not too shabby at playing games either, although it won’t cope with the highest settings.

 Read the full Samsung Q430 review.

Apple Macbook Pro 13-inch

Best laptop for power users: Apple MacBook Pro – from £999

A superb laptop, Apple’s MacBook Pro looks incredibly stylish and feels solid. It’s not cheap but its performance is top-notch and it comes with the excellent iLife creativity suite built in. 

This is a high performer with impressive battery life for a full-sized laptop, a stunning 13.3-inch screen, a comfortable keyboard and a large, responsive trackpad. For maximum power, there’s always the 17-inch Pro with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of Ram and 512MB of separate graphics. It’ll just be satsumas in your stocking for years to come, though, as the 17-inch MacBook Pro will set you back £1,900.

Read the full Apple MacBook Pro review.

Apple MacBook Air 11-inch

Best laptop because you’ve been extra-good this year: Apple MacBook Air – from £849

Ok, so it’s not cheap and there’s no DVD drive but the new 11.6-inch MacBook Air looks and feels simply stunning. Its slimline proportions mean the Air could even slip into an envelope – although we’d recommend delivering it in person…

Not only does it look great, this laptop is highly portable, has an excellent screen and boots up very quickly. Even the sound from the built-in speakers is better than we usually hear from the laptops and netbooks we test. The MacBook Air looks so good and is so nicely packaged that you won’t even need to wrap it. Just stick a big bow on top.

Read the full Apple MacBook Air review. 

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