Laptops: How to buy the best laptop Buying the best desktop replacement laptop

Desktop replacement laptop lifestyle

You want a main computer for your home but you don't want to give up a whole room to it. That's where a desktop replacement laptop could prove a perfect solution. Though you aren't likely to be moving them from room-to-room too often, they can still be tidied away in a drawer if you wanted. 

These laptops are ideal for those who want the power and features you'd get from a desktop PC but without the bulk. 

We've got reviews of desktop replacement laptops with prices ranging from as little as £400 to £900. 

Take a look at how they are rated by the Which? experts in our desktop replacement laptop reviews. 

What makes a good desktop replacement laptop?

  • Top of the range processor To compete with desktop PCs you'll need to invest in a powerful processor. Look out for Intel's dual or quad-core Core i5 chips as a minimum, but if you can afford it Intel's Core i7 processors offer a lot of raw power.
  • 1TB storage A true desktop replacement laptop will have 1TB (1,000GB) of storage - enough for a number of user's files, applications and programs, and thousands of songs, photos and videos. But if you want to save, 750GB of hard disk space would probably be sufficient. Remember you can always invest in an external hard drive if you want to expand this at a later date.
  • 6GB Ram Plenty of memory is particularly important if you're running several programmes at once, aim for 6GB, but 4GB should be sufficient if you want to cut costs.
  • Large display A desktop replacement laptop will need a good size screen to compete with a traditional PC. A 17-inch laptop is ideal.
  • A well-laid out keyboard You're more likely to be spending long periods of time in front of a laptop of this type than any other. That means it's more important than ever to make sure the keyboard is well-laid out and spacious and that the trackpad is large and feels responsive to use. 
  • Range of connections Desktop replacement laptops tend to stay in one place in the home, so well spaced and well-placed connections to add peripherals are very useful. You might find it easier to have the ones you use most often on the side. Look out for faster USB 3.0 ports, and at least four USB ports in total.

Features you don't need

  • Portability Being slim and light isn't really a priority for desktop replacement laptops. You aren't likely to be taking it outdoors, but the only time you might want to consider weight and bulk is if you think you'll be using it in different rooms around your house - you might want to consider a family laptop if this is the case.
  • Graphics A separate graphics card would be a bonus but, if you're not looking for a multimedia laptop, you'll do better by investing in processor power instead.You should still be able to watch the odd film every now and then but unless you want to play more advanced games this is a feature you can save on.
  • Extended battery life Unsurprisingly, battery life tends to be worse on these larger models. Two to three hours on battery power while browsing the internet is common, but it's not too much of a consideration for a larger laptop that will normally be in reaching distance of a plug. 

To see our top recommendations for all laptop types, take a look at the Which? Best Buy laptops

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