1st Place: HP HDX16-1005EA
In truth this award could have gone to one of either the HDX16 or its larger brother, the HDX18. We've gone for the HDX16, though, which provided just about everything you could ever want from a general purpose laptop. A 16.4in, Full HD display was paired with a Blu-ray ROM drive, TV Tuner and some excellent integrated speakers to create an outstanding multimedia laptop, but that's not all it had going for it.
Despite its not inconsiderable size, the HDX16 was a stunning piece of design, too. Its pale blue finish and HP's signature imprint designs gave it stacks of character and all the elements of the design fitted together perfectly. Excellent all-round performance and outstanding value just added to the already tantalising package that made this machine the best of its kind this year.
2nd Place: Dell Studio 1555
Following closely behind the HP is Dell's Studio 1555. It's quite a different effort to the HP, opting for a less flashy, more practical chassis that still retains a sense of style. There were one or two key features, such as the excellent speakers and the backlit keyboard, but really the 1555 is all about a great balance of price, performance and features that will please any potential buyer.
3rd Place: Toshiba Satellite A500-11U
Another 16.4in laptop, the Satellite A500 was a big step in the right direction for Toshiba. Hamstrung by some decidedly dodgy designs in 2008, its new range came complete with a far more cohesive, less polarising aesthetic that complemented the company's existing reputation for excellent value and great reliability. This was also a very powerful machine capable of dealing with intensive applications and gaming, too, making it a very good all rounder.