Top Budget Laptops For Christmas

Christmas is getting closer and closer, so we thought we would run through the best PC laptops we’ve come across over the last 12 months. We decided to be sensible and only include laptops in the £500 to £700 range – we’ve collated the best best from Samsung, Asus, Toshiba and Dell. Whether your looking for something to replace you old desktop or looking for a new laptop for school check-out our Top 5. And with the VAT increase just weeks you’d be mad to wait until after Christmas. These prices are only a guide as you can get different specs depending on your needs – so please shop around as you’ll be able to bag a bargain before the VAT increases in the new year.

Dell Studio 15 Price: £529

There’s no denying that the biggest winner with the new Dell Studio 15 is its all-new Intel chip and of course the looks. The Core i5 aims to take things up a notch from the Core 2 Duo, and it sure does. Giving this lappie an extra push when it needs to handle loads of multitasking without breaking a sweat. Apps load within seconds, and the 4GB of RAM on board definitely helps things tick over nicely.

As with other similar models, the Dell Studio 15 is built to last. It’s arguably the PC maker’s best looking effort, at least as good as the XPS. It’s practical too, with a softer chassis not picking up any scrapes in the same way a regular hard-backed laptop would.

The 15.6-inch panel is HD Ready and also crams in power-saving LED backlighting. It’s good enough for upscaled DVDs and downloaded HD content, but while it is bright, we have seen better on laptops. If watching flicks is what you’re buying a new laptop for, then you may want to shop around.

Toshiba R700 £634

For anyone looking for a desktop replacement the whole family can use, the Toshiba Portege R700 is a perhaps a bit too underpowered, and more obviously, too small. But for individual use, whether as a student or on business it definitely packs a punch for the price, if you ever plan on taking your next laptop out of the house regularly, the Toshiba Portege R700 really should be on  your list. Perfect for a business traveler or for a university halls.

The plastic casing has a brushed metal-type finish, and is a world away from the smeary cheap efforts from the likes of Acer and Asus you see floating around at the bottom end of the price range. This is a laptop you could happily pull-out to takes notes in a lecture hall or a boardroom (And the security features like face and fingerprint recognition will certainly please the suits too).

Full performance processor and the Airflow Cooling technology provide more power and reduced heat for best-in-class computing, and a robust magnesium design protects against system damage and PC down-time. With a 2.26 GHz Intel Core i3 processor, 13.3 in TFT active matrix display, Microsoft Windows 7 Professional / XP Professional downgrade and it only weighs 1.28 kg weight, and expect it to last 8.9 hour on one single battery charge.
The Samsung Q430 Price: £500

The Samsung Q430 is the latest in Samsung wannabe MacBook, low price laptop line, and with decent quality, good design and loads of features, there’s a lot to like.

As with Samsung’s other laptops, the Samsung Q430 features a 720p, 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, which offers enough space to display a couple of windows side by side. It’s also sharp on a screen of this size, although icons and text may appear a little too large on the bigger Samsung Q-series models. But your never going to get 1080p at this price range.

Features include a 320GB hard drive, and cutting-edge Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity – offering faster connection speeds between the Samsung Q430 and other digital devices. 802.11n Wi-Fi is also provided. A very good laptop, with Apple looks – Samsung look like the dark horse of the PC laptop range.

Asus Eee 1201n PC Price: £400

The Asus Eee PC 1201N is almost unrecognisable from the Eee PC 701 that kick started the netbook market two years ago. Instead of a WVGA, 7-inch display, Windows XP and puny hardware, you’ve got a 12.1-inch screen capable of 720p video, 250GB of hard drive space, 2GB of RAM, Windows 7, a dual core Atom 1.6GHz chip, and a HDMI out port for hooking it up to an HDTV.

12 inches is bordering on the full on laptop size, but the Asus Eee PC 1201N’s light weight (1.46kg), and slim form factor mean this will still sit snugly in your man bag. It looks like the the Seashell design of the 1005HA and 1008HA, with a tapered, thin case, with some traces of sparkly blue glitter, that’s still surprisingly sturdy. Like the 1005HA, it’s got open ports on the side, and a removable battery, which we found lasted a full four hours even with Wi-Fi on, screen brightness up, and plenty of video guzzling and web surfing.

The Asus is the cheapest to make our list, but we just love the bang for your buck – and with the look to match it, it would be an ideal present for a son or daughter who is going to university.

Samsung R530 Price: £400

The Samsung R530 may be a budget laptop, but that doesn’t make it a bad machine. It’s quite the opposite, actually, a decent all-rounder and offering excellent performance for the money.

The Samsung R530 is a decent 15.6-inch laptop  There’s not a great deal that’s exciting about the exterior, but at around £500 it’s highly affordable, and it’s worth a second look if you’re in the market for an entry-level machine, with some stunning looks.

Vibrant red plastics on the top of the Samsung R530 help to set it apart from other budget laptops, and the colourful design stretches through to the inside of the machine. Open it up, and you’ll find a brushed silver finish. It replaces a glossy finish on older Samsung laptops, and looks great. It’s also relatively hard wearing, hiding fingerprints and scuffs well. The R530 also provides enhanced usability with a 17-key numeric keypad that is the same as a desktop. Not often found on many laptops.

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