Which? tests reveal the best laptopsAnd some models which will give you a warm feeling

28 May 2011

Sony Vaio laptop

Some laptops wouldn't look out of place on the beach. This Sony didn't get too hot

If you're planning to use your laptop outdoors or even on the beach this summer, take care if you're wearing shorts. According to the results of our latest laptops test, some models could leave you feeling distinctly uncomfortable.

As part of our real-life programme of laptop tests, we measured the temperature of the underside of each laptop when it was idling and also after it had performed demanding tasks and found that one model reached a rather warm 44 degrees Celsius at its hottest point. While this won't scorch you, it could irritate already sunburnt legs.

Latest laptop tests

We've tested 12 new laptops from major laptop manufacturers including three from Sony, two from Samsung and new models from Lenovo and Dell. Every laptop was put through our rigorous series of tests and only two models came out the other end with Which? Best Buy awards.

Stacked USB ports

Most laptops have more than one USB port . We note in our tests whether they're too close together to use simultaneously.

Real-life tests

Our temperature-on-the-lap assessment is just one example of our real-life laptop tests. We design our laptop tests with a typical consumer in mind by thinking about how people will use their machine every day. So, as well as finding out how comfortable it will be on your lap, we identify other laptop niggles that could really start to annoy you after a while. 

For example, it's great to have plenty of USB ports on your laptop for plugging in peripherals like a hard drive or a phone charger. It's not much good, though, if they're so close together that plugging a bulky USB stick into one of them obstructs the adjacent sockets.

Find out more about how Which? tests laptops

More than just benchmarks

Some laptop reviews talk a lot about benchmark tests. Running these programs on a laptop gives you a score for different aspects such as processing power and 3D graphics capabilities. While we run these tests to give us an indication of the capabilities of each machine, we place much more weight on our real-life performance tests. 

For example, we play a demanding game on every laptop, we transfer large amounts of data using different kinds of data connection, we burn a DVD and we watch a movie. Each of these tests not only shows us how well a laptop performs but also highlights any strengths or weaknesses that won't show up by just running a benchmark program.

Not sure which laptop to choose? Get help with our interactive laptop choosing guide.

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