The latest laptops have arrived back from the Which? test lab, with big-screen powerhouses from HP taking on cheaper alternatives from Dell.
One of the cheapest models on test is also the largest – the HP 17-ak series. But what do you get when you choose to buy a big laptop, and are there compromises to be made for the larger size?
Read on to find out which models have made it through our tough tests, and for a unique insight into the pros and cons of big laptops.
Only the best models made it into our coveted list of Best Buy laptops.
The latest laptop reviews
Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 – a £700 convertible ultrabook
This convertible laptop from Dell promises all the trappings of a versatile Ultrabook, weighing in at 1.3kg and featuring a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor. This model normally sells for £700, but is currently on offer on Dell’s website for £619, making it an even more tempting proposition. It goes up against recent competition from Lenovo in the form of the 12.5-inch Yoga 720-12IKB. Read our full Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 review to find out how it got on.
HP 14-bs-series – a 14-inch laptop for just £250
The first of four HPs on test this month, the 14-bs-series is part of the company’s range of budget laptops. Priced at just £280 and featuring a 14-inch screen, this model fills a gap in the market for a mid-sized laptop for under £300. With an Intel Celeron processor on board, this laptop is firmly aimed at lightweight users who want to do some document work and light web browsing. It claims to deliver all-day battery life, which, if true, could make it a tempting option. Read our full HP 14-bs-series review for more.
HP Spectre x360 15-ch000na and 15-ch005na – convertible multimedia powerhouses
These two laptops feature identical exteriors but different internals, and we’ve given them both a thorough going over. These are premium laptops, with the HP Spectre x360 15-ch000na starting at £1,399, and the HP Spectre x360 15-ch005na slightly more at £1,599. Both feature quad-core processors and powerful dedicated graphics chips, making them ideally suited for working on multimedia projects, including 3D work and video files. They also come bundled with a stylus, so if note-taking or digital art is your bag, you’ll be well served. The 15.6-inch Ultra HD screens promise a lot, and our full reviews reveal whether these machines live up to their high price.
The £400 HP 17-ak series big-screen laptop
The biggest laptop on test this month, is also one of the cheapest, at just £400. HP’s 17-ak series packs a 17.3-inch screen into a laptop weighing more than 2.6kg. This is not something that’s easy to carry around with you every day, but, thanks to the large screen and spacious keyboard, it could quite feasibly replace your desktop PC, monitor and keyboard, saving you space on your desk. Read our full HP 17-ak-series review to find out if the big size is matched by a big performance in our tests.
Under the microscope: Big laptops
If your next laptop is going to be spending most of its time at home, then you could consider a larger model instead of one that is smaller and lightweight. There are plenty of obvious advantages to buying a bigger laptop, but also some shortcomings.
First, is the weight and battery life of these bulky machines. Laptops greater than 15-inches that we’ve reviewed since 2016 weigh on average 2.3kg, a whole kilogram more than the average under 15-inch laptop. Similarly, you lose an entire star-rating of battery life, as the graphic below shows. That’s the difference between a laptop lasting all day and coming up short at a potentially crucial time.
It might sound counterintuitive that a laptop with seemingly more space for a battery lasts less time, but there are two main reasons for this: laptop manufacturers don’t expect bigger machines to spend much time out of the office, so they don’t spend extra money putting big batteries in. Second, larger laptops have a bigger display and often more powerful, more power-hungry components that will shorten battery life significantly.
But then, these can, of course, be an advantage, if you want more power and something that’s a bit easier on the eyes. Bells and whistles, such as a DVD drive, so you don’t need to buy an external USB DVD drive , can also add to the convenience.
If you need more help picking the perfect model, read our guide on how to buy the best laptop.