Feeds

Ten 15in notebooks for under 400 quid

Back to school, boys and girls

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Product Round-up As much as Intel would like us all to rush out and buy an expensive new Ultrabook, the fact remains that the top-selling laptops for most manufacturers are still low-cost 15.6in models. Laptops for £400 or less have back-to-school appeal written all over them, but the mix of components varies enormously to appeal to different needs.

There are some basic similarities of course – a resolution of 1366 x 768 seems pretty much standard on these 15.6in models, and battery life rarely edges past the 3-4 hour mark. Yet the devil is in the detail and you'll need to check the processor, memory and storage options to get your money's worth at this end of the scale. With a keen eye on the specs, we've been shopping around to find 10 budget laptops that merit pride of place in the backpack this autumn or, if needs must, doing the business for undemanding office work.

Acer Aspire 5733

RH Numbers

If Acer can manage an Ultrabook for £500 then it should have no trouble producing something worthwhile for less than £400. The Aspire 5733 certainly gets off to a good start, with a 2.53GHz Core i3 processor – albeit the 2010 Arrandale model – and respectable four-hour battery life. However, the 3GB memory and 320GB hard disk are a little disappointing – even at this price we’d expect any Windows 7 machine to have 4GB of RAM.

The screen and keyboard are perfectly adequate, but the machine is a bit hefty and won’t be very backpack-friendly at a full 2.6kg.

Acer Aspire 5733 15in notebook

Reg Rating 70%
Price £350
More info Acer

Advent Monza S200

RH Numbers

Advent is the in-house brand of laptops produced by the Dixons group, so you’ll find these low-cost laptops in most high-street branches of PC World and Currys. Available in smart red and blue colours, the S200 feels quite solid for such an inexpensive machine, and has a bright, attractive 1366 x 768 screen. My only complaint is that the trackpad is rather small and felt a bit fiddly.

The AMD-E450 processor only runs at a modest 1.65GHz, but it’s backed up by integrated Radeon HD6320 graphics, so should be perfectly adequate for running MS Office and other routine computing tasks, such as playing video or a spot of photo-editing. Battery life isn’t great, though, only rated at a maximum of three hours.

Advent Monza S200 15in notebook

Reg Rating 70%
Price £360
More info Advent

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Asus A54C

More from The Register

next story
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.