04.How we tested
We used an expert tester, an expert user panel, expert LCD assessment panel and a general user panel to evaluate each laptop. Here’s what they considered.
The expert user panel rated the design of each laptop, looking at:
- Ease of opening/closing and stability when open.
- Status lights/indicators – type and visibility.
- Ease of removal/insertion of DVD/CD and battery.
- Connection placement, labelling and ease of access.
- Design flaws and advantages; overall style.
The general user panel judged the laptops for comfort and usability, looking at:
- The touchpad and keyboard – including comfort, ease of use, responsiveness, position, angle, key size and shape, overall size and other factors.
- Wrist rest comfort.
- Laptop handling (comfort/grippiness) and weight.
- Quality of display screen (additional to the expert LCD assessment panel.
Our expert tester assessed each laptop for:
- Performance, including benchmarking.
- Battery life.
- Security (hardware and software).
- Power consumption – active and standby.
- Ease of transferring/synchronising data.
Monitor visibility indoors and outdoors, controls.
- The manuals, help files and support options.
- Recovery systems (disc, partition).
Our expert LCD assessment panel assessed each laptop screen for:
Sharpness/focus, colour accuracy, brightness, contrast, glare/surface reflection, distortion, evenness/hot spots and viewing angles (screens were assessed ‘out of the box’, no colour calibration was done beforehand).