20. Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 4 July 14
  • RRP: £1499 inc. VAT

Battery life is disappointing, especially as the XPS 15 is intended as a lightweight Ultrabook, although as a desktop replacement system it ticks more of the right boxes. It provides outstanding display quality and high-end performance at a competitive price, while still being slim and light enough to slip into a bag for the occasional business trip or weekend away.

Read our Dell XPS 15 review.

19. Aorus X3 Plus

Aorus X3 Plus
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 7 November 14
  • RRP: £1550 inc. VAT

The Aorus X3 Plus works well as a portable games station, providing fast framerates with modern games at high details settings. Its high-resolution screen is less obviously useful for its gaming role as fewer games may benefit from its high 262 ppi pixel density, and the Windows platform does not support absurdly high resolution displays well. When it does work you're rewarded with a pin-sharp image but remember that for gaming there's arguably little need to exceed 2560 or even 1920 screen pixel widths. Overall there's definite room for improvement by its maker but the X3 Plus should prove popular with Windows gamers looking to combine performance and portability.

Read our Aorus X3 Plus review.

18. Dell Precision M3800

Dell Precision M3800
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 9 June 15
  • RRP: £1978 inc VAT

The Precision M3800 is Dell’s take on the ‘Ultrabook’ portable workstation notebook. It’s made from a mixture of materials, and has an undersized battery in order to stay fashionably trim. In its favour, the quad-core processor and midrange pro-certified graphics chipset provide useful performance, and without too much histrionics from the cooling fans. This year’s model now has a UHD 4K display although this still serves to exaggerate problems in some Windows programs, while the overly reflective touchscreen facility results in a heavier panel with poorer viewing that drains the battery faster. For professional users even more so than with consumer laptops, we here question the real worth of a touchscreen on a laptop. Ultimately the Dell’s circa-3 hour battery life means the M3800 is seriously compromised as a mobile productivity tool. If you don't mind staying tethered to the mains, it is a good clothes horse.

Read our Dell Precision M3800 review.

17. HP ZBook 15u G2

HP ZBook 15u G2
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 20 May 15
  • RRP: From £1320 (this model price TBC)

Hewlett Packard has done well to build a lighter weight 15-inch mobile workstation laptop with much of the strength and integrity of its traditional models that are far less mobile in real terms. Sacrifices have been made to the main CPU by fitting dual-core rather than quad-core, and the AMD GPU is a middleweight part rather than fire-breathing FirePro. But importantly the 15u runs cool and quiet enough not make itself a nuisance, even under load. Assuming the version we tested will cost under £2000 it could provide decent value, majoring on resilience more than style and sheer performance, but well enough equipped to prove attractive to the target professional audience.

Read our HP ZBook 15u G2 review.

16. Aorus X7 Pro

Aorus X7 Pro
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 29 January 15
  • RRP: £2100 inc. VAT

With the help of nVidia's recent push to make powerful mobile graphics processors that consume less energy, the Aorus X7 Pro now turns in gaming performance once only available to desktop machines. Just make sure you pack some sound-deadening headphones to block out the white noise of high-speed fans required to keep this slim chassis cool. If you can deal with the noise you'll be able to enjoy incomparable mobile gaming.

Read our Aorus X7 Pro review.

15. Gigabyte P37X

Gigabyte P37X
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 13 May 15
  • RRP: £1750 inc. VAT

The Gigabyte P37X is built for gaming speed, based on a large 17-inch display chassis but in a thinner than traditional case. With the help of the best single-chip mobile graphics processor currently on the market it can play any game you want, up to very high rendering quality. It may not stand out in style but it gets the job done, albeit at a high price.

Read our Gigabyte P37X review.

14. MSI GE62 2QD Apache Pro

MSI GE62 2QD Apache Pro
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 11 August 15
  • RRP: £999 inc VAT

Sensibly powered for great games action, while remaining portable and comfortable to use, the GE62 is only compromised by tricky upgrade potential and disappointing battery life. It has a great display and respectable keyboard for gaming, and crucially plays games at high detail without distress.

Read our MSI GE62 2QD Apache Pro review.

13. MSI GS60 2QD-470UK

MSI GS60 2QD-470UK
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 14 May 15
  • RRP: £1299 inc. VAT

While still not especially petite by the standards of some 15-inch laptops – its footprint is 14 percent larger than a MacBook Pro despite its smaller display – the MSI GS60 2QD-470UK does manage to keep within the magic size and weight figures of 2.0 kg and 20 mm, making it the most totable gaming laptop in its category. It has the graphics processor to take on modern games up to their highest detail settings, and is only let down by noisy fans and a relatively short battery life.

Read our MSI GS60 2QD-470UK review.

12. Toshiba Kira-10D

Toshiba Kira-10D
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 6 August 15
  • RRP: £1000 inc. VAT

The Toshiba Kira-10D is a well-balanced premium ultraportable, carrying off a great display, good magnesium build quality and a fast Core i7 processor. It’s thin, very light to suit anyone needing a more satisfactory Windows ultraportable.

Read our Toshiba Kira-10D review.

11. 13-inch MacBook Air (early 2015)

13-inch MacBook Air (early 2015)
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 22 April 15
  • RRP: £849 (with 128GB storage), £999 (with 256GB)

After some extensive testing, we found the MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2015) to be little different overall to the 2014 model. The Thunderbolt 2 update will prove useful for connecting to high-resolution UHD displays, and a few percent of added processor power is never unwelcome. But hoped-for improvements in graphics performance and battery longevity did not arise in our testing, in spite of a new Intel processor which was expected to shepherd benefits in both areas. Launched at the same price as last year’s model it still deserves attention as one of the finest ultraportable laptops available - doubly so now that its flash-drive speed has shot up another 100 percent - and it will remain the more affordable option in lightweight notebooks when the new MacBook launches this month.

Read our 13-inch MacBook Air (early 2015) review.

10. MacBook Air (11 inch, early 2015)

MacBook Air (11 inch, early 2015)
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 14 April 15
  • RRP: £749 (128GB model), £899 (256GB model). More expensive build-to-order options available

Available at the same price as last year, the new 11-inch MacBook Air has the same super-fast storage as before, and around 10 percent increase in processor performance. Gaming performance was always borderline, and now we find it no better and even fractionally slower. But overall battery runtime increased by almost a third in our tests, a very useful upgrade on the already very decent 10 hour-plus battery life of the previous generation.

Read our MacBook Air (11 inch, early 2015) review.

9. Asus ZenBook UX305F

Asus ZenBook UX305F
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 1 April 15
  • RRP: £650 inc. VAT

The new ZenBook is a great home for Intel’s new Core M processor, which proved up to basic daily tasks in Windows with no obvious lag in the interface. Good battery life and decent screen quality are further plus points to a well-made case with a familiar design to Apple fans. At a price of £650 this is an attractive package as a carry-anyway Windows laptop.

Read our Asus ZenBook UX305F review.

8. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 31 October 14
  • RRP: From £639 inc VAT

A very decent laptop replacement, and an okay tablet, the Surface Pro 3 is undeniably impressive. If you need a single device to do everything we can't think of any better device. And when you consider the cost of buying a discrete laptop, tablet and desktop PC the Surface Pro 3 is priced to shift. The question remains as to whether people want a single device rather than multiple gadgets that are better at their individual tasks. Microsoft's latest results suggest that Surface Pro 3 is winning hearts and minds. Has it won yours?

Read our Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review.

7. Acer Aspire V3-574G

Acer Aspire V3-574G
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 24 August 15
  • RRP: £579.99 inc VAT

For under £600 the Aspire V3-574G is easy to recommend. It's a commendable balance of virtues from the IPS screen, to the precise trackpad and highly regarded CPU. Nvidia graphics allow fluid gameplay up to 720p. The five-hour battery life, while half that of the best, may even get you through half a day’s use away from the mains.

Read our Acer Aspire V3-574G review.

6. Dell XPS 13 9343

Dell XPS 13 9343
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 30 March 15
  • RRP: £1099 inc. VAT

The Dell XPS 13 9343 stands as a shining beacon of hope in the world of Windows laptops, a compact laptop that outdoes the obvious competition in some key respects like screen quality and near-borderless display. Here is a 13.3-inch laptop that takes up little more space than an 11.6-inch model. Poor thermal management needs to be improved, while a non-touchscreen version could answer other outstanding issues.

Read our Dell XPS 13 9343 review.

5. 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (early 2015)

13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (early 2015)
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 30 March 15
  • RRP: From £999

While it looks just like every Retina-screened 13-inch MacBook before it, the Early 2015 revision is streets ahead of earlier models. Its storage speed is up to double the already ground-breaking speed of the 2013 model. The new Force Trackpad brings tangible benefits in touch control, with an intelligent coprocessor that helps interpret our digital movements. And the Broadwell processor, with other running changes too, has spearheaded just about the greatest upgrade any mobile computing user could ask for, namely insanely long battery life. Improvements in graphics performance were less emphatic in our tests, but at least always positive changes. The world’s finest 13-inch notebook is now unassailable, especially given it’s kept the same sub-£1000 price point as its predecessor.

Read our 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (early 2015) review.

4. HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1

HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 13 January 15
  • RRP: £2116 inc. VAT

Most ultraportables we test are dumbed-down MacBook Air clones with cheap construction and low-grade components. That's why it makes a particularly refreshing change to find a Windows laptop that not just matches but surpasses Apple's popular ultraportable in a key area like screen quality. The price is much higher than even the Retina-display 13-inch MacBook but if you must have a laptop built for Windows that can make a statement in build quality and top-class components, check out EliteBook Folio 1040 G1.

Read our HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 review.

3. Retina MacBook Pro review (15in, 2015)

Retina MacBook Pro review (15in, 2015)
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 8 June 15
  • RRP: From £1,599

We must admit to feeling a tinsy bit short-changed by the no-show of quad-core Intel Broadwell processor in this year’s 15-inch MacBook Pro model. However this refresh sees two aspects expanded that are always in demand – faster graphics and longer battery life – while also introducing to the machine the highly versatile Force Touch trackpad interface. Meanwhile the uplift in flash storage speed may look like a nerdy numberfest but will reward any user with some real-life leaps in daily productivity. The 15-inch maintains its place as the premium mobile workstation laptop, and puts that much more clear distance between it and the Windows tributes.

Read our Retina MacBook Pro review (15in, 2015) review.

2. Alienware 13

Alienware 13
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 13 May 15
  • RRP: £1100 inc. VAT

The Alienware 13 is a compact yet very powerful laptop, suited to playing all modern Windows games. It’s chunky thick but relatively light in weight, and has been well designed and equipped to be a premium yet still portable powerhouse.

Read our Alienware 13 review.

1. Aorus X7 V2

Aorus X7 V2
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 14 October 14
  • RRP: £1725 inc. VAT

The Aorus X7 v2 is a sturdily made all-metal gaming laptop that keeps its waistline to around 1in, even if it still tips the scales beyond 3kg. With its dual-GPU setup it proved itself the fastest gaming laptop in the group, albeit with an unsurprising price premium.

Read our Aorus X7 V2 review.