£700 buys you a great laptop, in fact if you shop around it’s currently possible to buy a laptop packed with the latest technology for less than £700.
To help you decide, we’ve picked out a few of the very best laptops currently available for under £700 and have detailed them below.
Whether you’re looking for an all-rounder, something ultraportable or a gaming machine we’ve found a laptop that’s right for you.
Best Multi Purpose Laptop Under £700 »
What we like – HDMI, USB 3.0, 2GB Nvidia GT540M, i7 CPU
Best deal – View Deal at Dell.co.uk
Details – The XPS 15 is Dell’s current mid-range laptop positioned between the lower spec Inspiron and the more compact XPS 15Z and represents great value for money. We custom configured an XPS 15 starting with the base £599 model and then added a 2GB GT540M graphics card and an i7-2670QM processor which totalled £704.
The result is a multi purpose laptop that’s just as comfortable performing everyday tasks as it is playing the latest games.
In fact, it’s the ability to customise the XPS that gives it the edge over it’s competitors. For example, if your not into gaming but like to watch movies you could add a Blu-ray drive instead of a graphics card. Alternatively, if you’re away from mains power a lot you could add a larger 9 cell battery.
Key features include (our custom build):-
i5-2670QM – The i7 range of processors tops Intels current line up. They are true quad core CPU’s capable of processing 8 threads simultaneously and provide plenty of processing power. For many, an i7 processor is overkill and if you’re only ever likely to be using your new laptop for web and office based tasks an i5 will suffice. If you’re into gaming, video encoding or other CPU intensive tasks an i7 CPU is worth the extra.
Nvidia GT540M - The XPS 15 we configured contained both the standard integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics system and also a dedicated 2GB Nvidia GT540M graphics card. The HD 3000 system takes care of standard tasks and uses less battery power but when you load up a game the GT540M kicks in and takes over.
USB 3.0 – With so many new laptops still shipping with slower USB 2.0 ports it’s great to see the inclusion of two USB 3.0 ports on all XPS 15 models. USB 3.0 is set to become the standard for data transfer to and from external devices and should be considered if you’re looking for a new laptop.
WLED Screens – All XPS 15 models use WLED (white LED) screens which use less power than traditional LED screens resulting in a longer battery life. A full HD 1080P screen can also be added to the XPS 15 but will take you considerably over £700.
Best Ultrabook Under £700 »
Toshiba Satellite Z830-10T
What we like – Great design, proper 128GB SSD
Best deal – View Deal at JohnLewis.com
Update 28/03/2012 – John Lewis have increased their price but Amazon have reduced the Z830 by £200, click to visit Amazon.co.uk for more details.
Details – If you’re looking for an Ultrabook but don’t have the budget for the more expensive Macbook Air or Asus UX21E the Toshiba Z830T-10T is a great alternative. In fact, it’s currently one of only two Ultrabooks available for under £700, the other being the Acer Aspire S3.
We’d go for the Toshiba over the Acer whilst they are the same price simply because the Toshiba uses a proper 128GB SSD drive whereas the Acer uses a slower 320GB drive for storage and houses the operating system in a smaller cache area.
Whilst the Acer might have a faster processor the Toshiba will feel generally snappier thanks to all data being housed on it’s SSD drive.
Key features include:-
SSD Drive – SSD stands for “solid state drive” and refers to a type of drive that contains no moving parts. Unlike traditional hard drives that house a spinning disk SSD drives store data on silicon chips. The result is much faster read, write and access times which greatly improves system responsiveness.
Best Portable Gaming Laptop Under £700 »
What we like – Nvidia GT540M, Stylish and compact
Best deal – View Deal at Dabs.com
Details – The Asus U46SV slots in neatly between the XPS 15 and the Toshiba Ultrabook above and is perfect for those on the move that need the convenience of a DVD drive (Ultrabooks don’t have them) and enough power for some casual gaming.
It can’t match the raw power of the i7 equipped XPS 15 above but does have a great specification that includes an i5-2410M and 1GB Nvidia GT540M graphics card. But it’s the look of the U46SV that makes it stand out from the crowd, what it gives away in power it makes up for with style and convenience.
The use of a 14 inch screen means that the U46SV comes in a more compact chassis than the XPS 15 but gives nothing away in terms of pixel count with both machines running a resolution of 1366 x 768.
If you’re looking for something compact that’s more versatile than an Ultrabook the Asus U46SV is a great choice.