Alternatives

If you're willing to spend a little more money there's a whole variety of very well appointed machines that are worth your attention. Here are a few options worth thinking about.

More Portable – Samsung R20

If you're after something that's a little smaller, the Samsung R20 is a good port of call. With a 14.1in display and a weight in the region of 2.4kg – depending on configuration – it's more portable than a 15.4in based notebook but is still a very comfortable size for general use. The version we reviewed back in March featured a Intel Core Duo T2250, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive and is available for around £535 inc. VAT and delivery.

However, there are a number of other configurations out there, many coming in at less than £500. More Computers, for example, has a model that sports a Core 2 Duo T5500, 1GB RAM and a 160GB hard drive for less than £500. That's by far the best deal we've found, but it's worth searching around for others – just try to avoid anything with less than 1GB of RAM.

Ultra-Portable – Samsung Q45

If you want something even smaller, then Samsung is again your best value port of call. We recently reviewed the new Q45, and it walked away with a well deserved Recommended Award and a ten out of ten for Value. Not only is it very light, weighing just 1.86kg, but it's a good performer too with a new Santa Rosa spec Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 clocked at 1.8GHz, 2GB DRR2 RAM and a 160GB SATA hard drive.

Coming in at as little as £760 inc. VAT and delivery it's a great deal, and that extra portability will certainly come in useful provided you can afford the premium you pay for having something smaller.

Fashion Item – Apple MacBook

No laptop feature would be complete without mentioning the Apple MacBook. The stunning design and benefits of OSX are well documented and, though image plays a role, the knowledge that your MacBook won't crash while writing an essay at 1am in the morning is just as important.

It can't be denied though that you pay a significant premium. The entry level MacBook comes with disappointing 80GB hard drive and a CD/RW+DVD combo drive – not even a DVD Re-writer drive – and costs £700, while the whole range starts with only 1GB of RAM. Still, they are awfully pretty aren’t they?

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