1st Place: Alienware Area-51 m15x
Alienware and gaming notebooks in general can polarise opinion, since not everyone is so keen on spending crazy money on expensive gaming notebooks. But, if you can see the value in saving space without sacrificing performance, then you can do little better than the Area-51 m15x.
For starters it's the only 15.4in notebook you can get that can house high performance graphics like the nVidia 8800M GT - since replaced by the 9800M GT. So, though it still weighs 3.6kg, it's not anything like as large and hefty as the great number of 17in affairs out there, but just as powerful.
On top of this, Alienware furnished the machine with an awesome customisable lighting system, including a backlit keyboard, touchpad and accenting around the screen. This, combined the extreme performance and 1,920 x 1,200 screen, makes this the most complete desktop replacement around.
Read the full review of the Alienware Area-51 m15x.
2nd Place: Acer Aspire 8920G
Time has put the Acer Aspire 8920G in a better light. At the time we didn't quite deem it worthy of an award, but as natural competitors are still few and far between its Full HD, 16:9 display, Blu-ray drive, abundance of features and Acer's usual value for money make a powerful argument.
Its screen is undoubtedly the main draw. Its 1,920 x 1,080 resolution makes it ideal for HD content and it's sharp and colourful, too. It's also joined by an impressive speaker setup that delivers some bass and a convincing virtual soundscape thanks to Dolby Home Theatre audio.
Read the full review of the Acer Aspire 8920G.
3rd Place: Samsung R700
Propping up the value end of the market, the Samsung R700 has been one of the sleeper hits of 2008. Ever since launch it has been one of the most popular entries on our shopping site, mainly because it offers such brilliant value for money.
For around £550 you get a large 320GB hard drive, 3GB of RAM and a machine that's deceptively slim and light (weighing just 3.19kg) given its large 17in display. It's also a moderately attractive piece of kit, making it a bargain for anyone that just wants something simple and usable.
Read the full review of the Samsung R700.