Christmas buying guide

Looking for the perfect laptop for a loved one? Then look no further…

We’re not going to ask your reasons. Maybe they’ve been in your ear. Maybe they’re constantly using your computer. Maybe your kids need a machine for ‘homework’. For whatever reason, you’re purchasing a new laptop and it’s for someone else. However, it pays to make the right choice. Invest in a weak machine and it’ll be broken by Boxing Day.

We’ve picked out our four top portable choices – not necessarily the newest or the most powerful, but perfect for a Christmas gift – from extreme luxury to gaming power to well-appointed budget hardware. Wrap one of these up and you’ll be sure to see a happy face on Christmas morning.

1 Surface Book

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Microsoft absolutely knocked it out of the park with its first ever machine with a laptop form factor, the Surface Book. Though it has a peculiar 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen that’s outside of the norm for most Ultrabooks, it’s one of the best designed convertible laptops ever created. As a standalone tablet, otherwise known as the Clipboard, it’s among the most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 computers in the world. Docking the screen into the keyboard base affords it even more performance, adding a discrete GPU to handle 3D graphics. It’s pricey, but nobody will be disappointed to find one of these under the tree.

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Microsoft Surface Book (128 GB, 8 GB RAM, Intel Core i5)

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$751.01 $1,499.00

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2 HP Spectre 13 x360

One glance at the HP Spectre (and its price tag) might make you think it’s the sort of thing that belongs in a mansion. And there’s good news: not only does it boast a premium appearance, but this convertible laptop is actually more powerful than the latest MacBook and comes in at a lower price. From the beautifully designed gold hinge to the optional Intel Core i7 configuration to the trio of USB-C ports, your lucky recipient will not only look like they have one of the most capable and future-proof) laptops around, but they actually will. Although it only boasts a 1080p screen, this is a work of supreme industrial design.

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Hp Spectre X360 2-in-1 Intel Core I7 512gb Solid State Drive 8gb...

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3 Lenovo Ideapad 500

Moving towards the lower end of the price spectrum, Lenovo‘s solidly constructed full-HD laptop certainly works for its keep. This is mainly thanks to its inclusion of a Radeon R6 graphics card, which should do a bang-up job of dealing with most gaming graphics. There’s no skimping elsewhere either; 12GB of RAM is more than enough for most tasks, there’s an 8GB SSD so Windows 10 boots smoothly and quickly, and there’s a terabyte of storage for all your files. All this plus Dolby Home Theatre sound for under £500. A great entertainment machine at a great price.

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Lenovo Ideapad 500 15.6-Inch Laptop (Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB...

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$819.88 $849.99

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4 Asus X540LA

Powered by a proper Core i3 processor, and designed with something Asus calls ‘IceCool Technology’ – it effectively cools itself so it doesn’t get over-hot in use – the X540 is not the most powerful laptop around but it is portable and perfect for web browsing or office work. It’s also very reasonably priced, slipping in (at the time of going to press) just under the magic and affordable £300 mark. There’s 1TB storage on board, 4GB RAM, and a nice large (but not outrageously high-resolution) screen.

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Asus X540LA-SI30205P 15.6-Inch Laptop (Intel Core i3, 4GB Memory,1TB Hard Drive, Windows...

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$439.97 $799.00

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A modern machine perfect for most potential users, and one that won’t break the bank this Christmas.

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