Choosing a Laptop
Things have changed dramatically in the laptop market. Not so long ago you would need to be paying up to 2000GBP to get a decent laptop which delivered everything that you needed. Chromebooks have certainly been a contributor now with more buying and price options. Chromebooks are now offering cheap portable computing with sufficient features that would satisfy a high number of users, especially for students and users needing something usable whilst out and about. This is boosted by what you can now do with a 500GBP laptop.
With Chromebooks available from 200GBP and even sometimes lower, this has taken the journey of driving laptop prices down. Go to the other end of the scale and there are thin and light laptops that don't provide the same value but quite often will have all metal construction, wafer thin designs and an internal engine good for anything at high speed.
Here are some ideas for what options are out there:-
HP Spectre 13
This is a windows laptop providing the sleekness of a MacBook
PU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 3.1GHz with Turbo Boost Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (1,866MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS UWVA BrightView Corning Gorilla Glass WLED-backlit display | Storage: 256GB SSD (PCIe; NVMe; M.2)
This provides an ultra thin laptop with a tactile keyboard that makes your fingers feel like they are dancing on a table. One big advantage over the MacBook is its Intel Core-series processor inside, giving it top computing muscle. With the increased use of peripheral devices this comes with three USB-C ports. A great option at the 1000GBP budget level.
Dell XPS 15
A true powerhouse laptop packed into a 15 inch size.
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 6700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (with 2GB GDDR5) | RAM: 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 (2,133MHz; 8GB x 2) | Screen: 15.6-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) InfinityEdge touch | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
Like its's siblings it boasts an almost bezel-less InfinityEdge display, bringing the added benefits of making whatever you are doing on the 4K 15 inch screen bringing everything to life whilst lending itself to the dimensions of a 14 inch laptop. Just as powerful is the Nvidia GTX 960M mobile graphics card that can handle just about any game as long as you stick to 1080p. Its only weakness is the battery life so don't expect for the battery time to run into double figures, make sure you take a booster pack but still a great laptop for 1199GBP.
Asus ZenBook UX303
Slim yet extremely sturdy
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 12GB (8GB DDR3L 1600MHz SDRAM, on-board memory 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch IPS FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 256GB SSD
Asus have definitely upped their game with this laptop which has taken everything we have loved from previous laptops and put them in a strong metal body complete with Intel's full-fat Core i-series processor. You can also opt for it to be fitted with Intel's Core i7-65000U, backed up with 8GB of RAM and 500GB hybrid solid state drive which delivers a powerful combination punch of capacity and speed. It is on offer with touchscreen or a non-touch 1080p display and early indications suggest that you can squeeze around seven hours of battery life out of the laptop. A great advantage is that it wakes up from sleep in just two seconds, saving time. Priced about 800GBP it's a great option.
Apple 12-inch MacBook
Most say it is the most fashionable laptop around
CPU: 1.1GHz or 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch 2,304 x 1,440 pixel-resolution Retina display | Storage: 256GB or 512GB PCIe-based flash storage | Connectivity: USB-C (USB 3.1) | Camera: 480p FaceTime camera | Weight: 0.92 kg | Dimensions: 28.05cm x 19.65cm x 1.31cm (W x D x H)
This is the most portable of the MacBooks, it is impossible to find another compact laptop with the same high-resolution display. This is just a gorgeous and attractive machine but it does come with the pitfall of the ability to use a combination of peripheral devices. Unfortunately it comes with just one USB Type-C port making this impossible without buying an adapter. If you are happy to carry an adapter with you this is an exceptional machine which comes with punchy speakers, good battery life and fun and chic laptop to say the least. Pricing isn't bad in comparison, coming in at about 903GBP.