A buyer’s guide to the top 10 laptops

Buying a laptop can be a tricky business. We run down our top 10 favourites to give you a starting point for your purchase.

As the festive season approaches, and with Windows 7 finally here, the thoughts of many will naturally turn to buying a new computer - and in a large number of cases that will mean a laptop.

Of course, laptops come in all shapes and sizes, so to ensure you make the right choice you need to have a good idea of what you intend to use your machine for.

Will you want to carry it round with you all the time? Will performance be the priority? There will always be compromises, but it's a case of balancing them appropriately.

To help you on your way we've taken a look at a range of laptops that should meet a wide variety of needs from ultra-portable powerhouses, to workstations on a budget.

Sony Vaio X-Series Price: 1565 ex VAT

Sony has a reputation for technology that's impossibly thin and svelte, and it's right back on track with the Vaio X-series laptop. This is one of those laptops that screams, you want me but you can't afford me'.

Weighing a mere 655g with the standard battery, it packs a 1.8GHz Atom processor, and a 128GB SSD hard drive and the 11in display is remarkably thin even for an LED backlit model.

Despite this, it offers two USB ports and Ethernet so you can at least plug things into it. It's expensive, but also beautiful and exclusive in other words a return to form for Sony.

sony x-series

Sony Vaio VGN-Z51WG Price: 1,592 ex VAT

This is what ultra-portables used to be like before people seemed to forget about them and go gaga over netbooks.

This Sony is small and lightweight, yet includes an optical drive and has enough power for you to get real work done on the move, all made possible by its impressive battery life, which delivers 10 hours in our light use test.

It does this partially by combining two graphics chips, integrated and discrete. Along with all the other tech, such as an LED backlit high resolution 1,600 x 900 display it all adds up to an expensive machine but at least it's a really good one.

sony z51
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