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Best Laptop 2016 – 13 best laptops right now

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With Windows 10 now very much established, there's never been a better time to buy a brand new laptop. Follow our guide to get the best kit you can buy.

Our list of best laptops starts with three proper bargains and then moves up into the higher reaches of the laptop market. We hope we'll be able to offer something for everybody.

Of course, it's not all about Windows: we've included three MacBooks and two Chromebooks, too, as they offer premium performance and budget value respectively.

Our latest update includes the addition of the exciting Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, which upsets the 2-in-1 crowd with its Microsoft Surface-beating price and amazing Super AMOLED screen. Turn to page 12 to find out more.

You might think the laptop market is a constant force, with unchanging, boring designs and nothing that leaps out. Quite the opposite is true, from the cheapest netbooks to top-end workstations, improvements in design and manufacturing processes means that each laptop manufacturer has a distinctive design style that adds some serious look-at-me power to the full range of devices.

There are lots of exciting developments taking place in the world of CPUs and GPUs. We're months away from both brand-new Nvidia graphics chips and 7th-gen Intel "Kaby Lake" processors. You can read more about them in our Nvidia Pascal and Intel Kaby Lake explainers.

The new Intel chips should have a decent amount more power than the current generation of "Skylake" chips, but it doesn't look like it's going to be a huge selling point, so don't expect huge discounts on Skylake-equipped laptops.

Nvidia's new Pascal architecture could be a much bigger deal, although it still remains to be seen how much more powerful this generation will be.

Read on for more information about the laptop market today.

Watch – Trusted Explains: Laptops vs Tablets, which is best for you?

Windows 10 – Should you upgrade?

Windows 10 has landed, and comes as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. That means that each and every one of the Microsoft-powered laptops and tablets listed below will be bumped up to the new operating system without you having to part with any extra pounds. It’s a huge improvement over its predecessor too, with the revamped Start Menu and the addition of Cortana particularly impressive.

However, they’re not the only major new features. Internet Explorer has (at last) taken a back seat, with Microsoft Edge the native Windows 10 browser. You should be pleased with Windows 10’s assortment of gaming features too, especially if you’re a cross-platform player. The new Xbox app plays a central role. You can now stream Xbox One games to your PC and even record your gaming sessions.

What kind of laptop should I buy?

A lot will depend on how much you have to spend and how you intend to use your laptop. Consider how often you'll actually take your laptop out of the home, and if you do for how long. These kinds of questions will dictate what size laptop you need, and how important battery life is to you. With that in mind, here's a quick guide to the different types and how much they could cost.

Laptop Tablet Hybrid – (£300 to £1,000 or more)

If you’ve ever been tempted by an iPad, but still need a Windows laptop, then a hybrid is a good choice. There’s a huge amount of choice in both size and price. The main things to consider are how much you want to spend and how you’re going to use it. Need a laptop more than a tablet? Go bigger and more expensive. The opposite is true if you really want a tablet that you can use as a tablet.

Convertible Laptop – (£500 to £1,000 or more)

This is a twist on the hybrid that differs in execution. Pure hybrids have detaching tablet segments that connect to a keyboard, while convertibles are normal laptops with clever hinges that rotate. They’re a good choice if you mainly need a laptop but would like a little flexibility.

Thin & Light Laptop – (£700 to £1,000 or more)

Sometimes referred to as ‘Ultrabooks’, a thin and light laptop will have an 11-inch or 13-inch screen and… well, be thin and light. The MacBook Air is a thin and light laptop, and there are many Windows alternatives.

Multimedia Laptop – (£600 to £2,000 or more)

These are for more serious users who want to regularly edit video and RAW photo files. These laptops are about all-out performance and have high-quality screens. If you’re not sure you need to spend this much, you probably don’t.

Google Chromebook – (£150 to £350)

If you’re a big Google user then its cheap laptops are worth considering. They use its Chrome OS operating system and rely heavily on web apps. They’re simple and cheap and lack the bloatware, such as anti-virus, that often plagues cheap Windows laptops.

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