The 11 very best laptops to buy in 2014

Discover the best laptops to buy in 2014 from £230 to £1,499

Best laptops to buy in 2014

Page 1 of 2The 11 very best laptops to buy in 2014

With so much choice on the market, finding the perfect laptop for your needs can be hard. That's where we come in, with our definitive list of the best laptops that we've reviewed and are available to buy in 2014. To help make your choice easier, we've split this article up by type. On this page we have the best general-purpose and gaming laptops. If you're looking for either a super-powerful desktop replacement or super-light and long-lasting ultraportable laptop, then check out page two of this article. Each laptop we recommend has a link to the full review for full information, plus the latest live prices. No matter what your needs or requirements, then, you'll be able to find your perfect laptop.

Good-value general-purpose laptops

You don't have to break the bank to get a laptop that does the basics well. These are the laptops we think present great value for money for students and families who want to be able to browse the web, send emails, write documents, watch movies and perhaps play a few games.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 - A top-notch general purpose laptop for familes and students

Our Expert Opinion Laptop manufacturers are constantly trying to find a niche, with crazy hybrid devices and fancy form-factors that suit Windows 8. In the Inspiron 15 5000, Dell has rekindled our love for the basic general-purpose laptop. Not only does it have the signature Dell build quality and a reasonable screen, it also has a surprisingly powerful processor and even squeezes in a dedicated graphics chip. Not only that, it survived more than six hours in our battery burn test, which is important for working on the move.

Priced at less than £600, this is a terrific buy for anyone looking for a jack-of-all-trades laptop for a bit of web browsing, video watching and essay writing.

Price when reviewed: £549. Fort the latest prices, see our full Dell Inspiron 15 5000 review.

Key specs
Processor Dual-core 2GHz Intel Core i7-4510U
Size 380x259x21.8mm
Weight 2.38kg
Screen size 15.6in
Screen resolution 1,366x768
Graphics adaptor AMD Radeon HD R7 M265
Total storage 1TB hard disk
Operating system Windows 8.1
Parts and labour warranty One-year collect & return
Part number Inspiron-15-5547

Toshiba Chromebook CB30-102 - Bigger Chromebook, low price

Toshiba CB30-102 Chromebook

Our Expert Opinion Chrome OS will be shock to the system for anyone moving away from Windows, or OS X, but this browser-based operating system is brilliantly lightweight for those with modest laptop usage ambitions. Use Google Docs, Sheets and Slides to create and share documents, and embrace the cloud with generous free Google Drive storage. The Toshiba Chromebook CB30-102 has similar specifications to most of the other Chromebooks on the market at the moment, but it has the added advantage of being a little bigger, at 13.3 inches. The Intel Celeron processor isn't powerful, and the 16GB hard drive is tiny, but if you are a light user, this is a great choice.

One thing to bear in mind now is that later in 2014 and in early 2015, Chromebooks will be going on sale with more powerful Intel Core i3 processors on board, and others will be getting new Nvidia Tegra K1 processors, so it may pay to wait a little while to see whether these new devices pack the promised punch while maintaining an attractively low price.

Price when reviewed: £230. For the latest prices, read our full Toshiba Chromebook CB30-102 review.

Key specs
Processor 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U
Dimensions(HxWxD) 328x227x20mm
Graphics Intel HD Graphics
Weight 1.5kg
Screen size 13.3 in
Screen resolution 1366x768
Total storage 16GB
Operating system Chrome OS
Parts and labour warranty one year RTB
Part number CB30-102

Gaming laptops

You pay a premium for the portability of gaming laptops, but they offer freedom to gamers that a 15kg desktop PC simply can't match. You can play Splinter Cell on your sofa, Fallout at your friend's house and LoL at a LAN party without being constrained by the size of your rig. If you're looking to play games on decent settings, you'll probably want to spend at least £800, although you can spend well in excess of £3,000 if you want desktop levels of performance. 

Chillblast Defiant 2 Mini - A petite powerhouse gaming laptop 

Chillblast Fusion Defiant Mini

Our Expert Opinion Chillblast's  laptop is a superb 13-inch gaming system with a powerful quad-core Core i7 i7-4710MQ processor and a super fast 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics processor. It not only manages to combine all the speed and power of larger gaming systems into its smart 13in chassis, but it does so at a competitive price without any compromises in performance. The quality of the chassis is perhaps the biggest surprise; off-the-shelf chassis almost always put function over form and are boxy and plain. The chassis in use here is a nice break from the norm; its matt lid and spaceship-style vents at the rear are a refreshing change.

It's a terrific little machine perfect for regular LAN party attendees of simply for those who wnat to game while sitting on the sofa.

Price when reviewed: £899. For the latest prices, see our full Chillblast Defiant 2 Mini review

Key specs
Processor 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4710MQ
Dimensions(HxWxD) 32x330x227mm
Graphics 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M
Weight 2.1kg
Screen size 13.3in
Screen resolution 1,920x1,080
Total storage 1TB
Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
Parts and labour warranty one year RTB
Part number Defiant Mini

Scan 3XS Graphite LG156 - A great value gaming laptop

Scan 3XS Graphite LG156 3/4

Our Expert Opinion The Scan 3XS Graphite LG156 typifies gaming laptops with a boxy and fairly plain chassis. While it's not pretty, it's certainly not offensive and is evidence that your money has been spent mostly on its smouldering performance rather than superfluous visuals.

It has the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M mobile graphics chip on board, along with a quad-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710MQ and 8GB of RAM. These are the perfect ingredients for a powerful, yet good-value gaming laptop, and it powered through our standard benchmarks with ease. We also tested it with the likes of Watch_Dogs and Titanfall and were impressed to see how far we could turn up the graphics settings. This is certainly a gaming machine you'll be able to rely on for years to come.

Price when reviewed: £899. For the latest prices, read our full Scan 3XS Graphite LG156 review.

Key specs
Processor Quad-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 4710MQ
Dimensions(HxWxD) 42.7x374x250mm
Weight 2.7kg
Screen size 15.6 inches
Screen resolution 1,920x1,080
Total storage 1TB hybrid hard disk
Operating system Windows 8.1 Enterprise
Parts and labour warranty Two-years RTB
Part number 3XS Graphite LG156

Aorus X3 Plus

Aorus X3 Plus

Our Expert Opinion Aorus gaming laptops are the definition of premium performance, but we were so blown away with the performance of this super-light and ultra-thin gaming laptop, we can't help but recommend it. With a top-end Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M GPU and high performance SSD storage, you'll be able to play any current game in Full HD at high settings. The "3K" screen is incredible, too, although if you choose to run your games at its native 3,200x1,800 pixel resolution you'll be sacrificing a fair amount of performance for not that much extra quality. Still, the screen is great for photos and movies when you're not gaming. It's expensive, but hugely desirable.

Price when reviewed: £1548. For the latest prices, read our full Aorus X3 Plus review.

Processor Quad core 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-4860HQ
Size 330x263.5x22.9mm
Weight 1.8kg
Screen size 14in
Screen resolution 3,200x1,800
Graphics adaptor Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M
Total storage 512GB (2x 256GB SSD)
Operating system Windows 8.1
Parts and labour warranty Two-years RTB
Part number X3PLUS-CF1

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