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Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: laptops

This year's best laptops to give as presents

A laptop is a great present, whether you're looking for a powerful desktop replacement, a light machine for computing on the go or a brightly coloured netbook for the kids.

Packard Bell EasyNote

Social butterflies will appreciate the dedicated social-networking key Packard Bell has included on its Packard Bell EasyNote range of laptops. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and more can all be accessed with no need to fire up your web browser. Instead, simply press the social-networking key to instantly post comments, play games, update your profile and view or share photos and videos.
 
There are three EasyNote TM models to choose from. The 15.6in-screen version comes in at £449 but there are also 14in- and 17.3in-screen models available. An Intel processor, up to 8GB of memory, a hard drive up to 640GB in capacity and a choice of nVidia and ATI graphics processors whet the appetite. You can also choose between silver, black, white or red finishes. Adobe Photoshop Elements 7.0 comes as part of the package.

• £449 inc VAT (15.6in-screen model)
packardbell.co.uk

Samsung NB30

The Samsung NB30 is a revised edition of the N120 netbook we raved about last year (tinyurl.com/2uwrfj8). The 10.1in-screen machine is powered by an Intel Atom processor, has a 60GB hard drive, three USB ports, 1GB of RAM and a webcam.
Usefully – and unusually – it has an internal accelerometer that will automatically lock the hard disk if the netbook is dropped. This means the data on the drive can still be extracted, even if the PC is a write-off following the drop. Furthermore, the casing features embossed curved ridges in a bid to prevent the netbook slipping from your hand.

• £294 inc VAT
samsung.com/uk
Samsung NB30 review

Apple MacBook Pro

If you can't treat yourself at Christmas, when can you? Apple's 13in-screen MacBook Pro occupies the pricier end of the laptop market, but it's an excellent buy. You get to choose between a 2.4GHz or 2.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Apple has boosted the memory allocation in this latest line-up to 4GB. This is paired with a 250GB or 320GB hard drive. A new battery and nVidia graphics processor extend the battery life to 10 hours.

• From £999
apple.com/uk
Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010) 2.66GHz Core i7 review

Dell Latitude Z

The Dell Latitude Z is one of the priciest laptops we've looked at. There's a good reason for this, though. As well as turning heads with its super-sleek design, the Latitude Z is also the world's first laptop that can be charged using wireless, inductive technology. Place the laptop on a special stand that generates an electromagnetic field and it will recharge its batteries wirelessly. A full charge takes around the same time as a standard AC adaptor.

Available in either black or burgundy, the 16in-screen laptop is just 20mm thick. The 1600x900 display has a thick anti-glare matt finish, while white LED backlighting illuminates the keyboard automatically from below. It's available with a choice of Intel Core 2 Duo processors, and comes with 4GB of RAM, two 128GB solid-state disks and Windows 7 Professional.

• £2,769 inc VAT
dell.co.uk
Dell Latitude Z review

Acer Aspire One Happy

Netbooks are still proving popular, and they're not quite as identikit as some critics would have you believe. Take the Acer Aspire One Happy, for example: this 10.1in-screen device comes with two operating systems.

The dual-boot netbook runs both version 2.1 of the Google Android mobile OS and Windows 7 Starter Edition. Customers can choose between an Intel Atom N550 or N540 processor, and either 1GB or 2GB of RAM.

Firmly aimed at girls, the Aspire One Happy comes in a range of pastel colours. A 250GB hard drive, an Intel 3150 GMA graphics chip, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and a webcam and microphone are all included.

• £249 inc VAT (1GB)
acer.co.uk

See also: Group test: what's the best laptop?

Ultraportable laptops reviews

Christmas gift guide index:

PC Advisor's Christmas 2010 gift guide:

sponsored by Misco

  1. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: all-in-one PCs    
  2. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: laptops
  3. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: cameras    
  4. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: satnavs and GPS    
  5. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: photo printers    
  6. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: media players    
  7. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: audio accessories
  8. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: keyboards & mice
  9. Christmas 2010 buyers' guide: gaming kit

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