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The year's best... laptops

The stand-out notebooks and netbooks

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Standing out from the crowd

Stand-out machines? Acer's Timeline X 4820TG impressed us with its monumental battery life: 12 hours. That's for a Core i5 machine with a 14in screen - other notebooks we tested came nowhere near that.

HP Envy 17

HP Envy 17

The latest HP Envy 17 is a stonking multimedia machine, despite its MacBook Pro 'me too' looks. There's a Core i7, AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5850 discrete graphics, 4GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive and a Beats Audio sound system under the hood. It'll set you back around £1300, but a Blu-ray version will add £300 to that.

Dell's XPS 15 is cheaper, but an impressive performer, packing in Core i3, i5 and i7 processor options, Nvidia GeForce GT 420M or GT 435M graphics - the latter with 2GB of video memory - and 4GB of 1333MHz DDR 3 memory in dual-channel config. The graphics uses Nvidia'a cool Optimus technology to switch between discrete and integrated graphics smoothly and only when needed, the better to balance performance and battery life.

Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15

Running the Core gamut from i3 right up to i7, the Toshiba Portégé R700 is a typical 13-incher. It's a bit chunkier than this once slim Air-alternative used to be, but it's not a bad performer, and it's available in a huge range of configurations to suit almost any pocket.

Toshiba Portege R700

Toshiba Portégé R700

Finally, we were very keen on the Apple MacBook Pro 15in because it's so nice to use, looks the business and packs in a decent spec for what you pay. An don't forget how resilient that aluminium casing is to knocks and bumps.

Reg Ratings

Apple MacBook Air 13.3in 85%
Apple MacBook Pro 15in 85%
Dell Inspiron M101x 85%
Acer Aspire One D260 85%
Asus Eee PC 1215N 80%
Samsung N230 80%
Apple MacBook Air 11.6in 75%
Acer Aspire 5741 75%
Toshiba Portégé R700 70%
Samsung NF210 70%

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