Laptop computers are fast becoming a must-have accessory for students, while the amazing growth of the netbook category over the past year shows people are eager to get their hands on a portable computing bargain.
But you don’t have to sacrifice size and speed to buy a cheap laptop. There are plenty of full-sized models in the student/budget category that won’t break the bank. For not much more than the cost (sometimes less) of a netbook, you can have a larger screen 15-inch laptop with a fast dual-core processor, built-in dual-layer DVD burner and 320 gigabyte (GB) hard drive.
In fact, the performance and storage capacity of our selection of budget laptops in this test rivals many of the more expensive multimedia powerhouse models we tested only a year ago! We tested 10 that that provide a good combination of power and features at a reasonable price.
Please note: this information was current as of August 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
Laptop models tested
- Acer Extensa 4630Z
- Apple MacBook
- Dell Studio 1555
- Dell Inspiron 1525
- Fujitsu L1010
- Hewlett Packard Compaq Presario CQ61-115TU
- Lenovo Thinkpad SL500
- MSI MSI VX600
- Pioneer DreamBook M761S
- Twinhead Slimnote J13S
Video: What to look for - Notebooks
Georgina talks us through the basics of buying a new laptop computer.