Laptops under £350 are never going to be capable of high end computing. They won’t run the 3D latest games, or edit high-definition video.
But, for stuff like word processing or web browsing they’re absolutely ideal. All the laptops we’ve featured in this round-up include screens of 15.4-inches or above, so they’re great for home use.
Best of all, though, is the price: for around the same cost as a netbook, you’re getting what is pretty much a full-blown PC. Here are 5 favourite notebooks under £350.
1. Compaq Presario CQ62-220SA Notebook (Intel Celeron 900 2.2GHz, 2 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD, 15.6-inch LED display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit) – £319.99
Sleek and stylish, outstanding performance, endless entertainment and great savings
The Compaq presario CQ62 range delivers versatility and quality without compromising on price, and is designed to provide the right set of features at the right price.
Enjoy the quality and comfort of the CQ62 with the full sized keyboard and integrated numerical keypad. The On/Off touchpad allows you to switch it off easily, when not in use, for uninterrupted typing. Outstanding graphics, video and sound performance
Not the greatest laptop in the world by any stretch of the imagination, but we found Asus’ venture into the world of cheap portable PCs pleasing enough. Although it let us down in the performance stakes, its usability more than made up for it, with a lovely keyboard and comfortable 15.6-inch screen making it ideal for internet browsing and word processing. It’s also ruggedly made, and its matt-black plastics mean that it’s not a magnet for dirt and fingerprints.
The Toshiba Satellite C650 features an all-new sophisticated black textured finish. With its subtle yet elegant design the Satellite C650 looks the part at home, school, university, in the office, and out and about. Packed full with smart design and technology such as Toshiba’s multi-touch touchpad, facial recognition software, media controller, and LifeSpace suite, the Satellite C650 is an ideal laptop for work and play.
Maximise your experience of Windows 7 and see the Satellite C650 come alive with LifeSpace. A free productivity application suite, LifeSpace gives you a personalised approach to accessing your files, organising daily activities, projects and more. LifeSpace is a unique collection of apps designed by Toshiba to make computing simple, intuitive and fun and is great for work and home across all age groups. Complimenting the Windows 7 operating system, LifeSpace helps you simplify your PC experience through personalisation and quicker access to the things that matter the most to you, thanks to Bulletin Board and ReelTime.
Bulletin Board is an easy-to-use visual organisation tool that allows you to create a personalised space for managing projects, viewing tasks, photos and more. Organise your day, your events, and your life with a virtual pin board. Stick reminders, photos or tasks onto the board to help you organise or to ensure you don’t forget an important appointment. Bulletin Board is a simple, intuitive and pleasant experience to handle your daily digital life.
Remember that file you looked at a while back but have no idea where you kept it on your PC? Well with Toshiba’s ReelTime, a visual timeline of your file history up to 3 months old is kept so that you can cut through the clutter to find what you are looking for quickly and easily. It sits above the Windows taskbar and the timeline can be easily scrolled through until you find the file you’re looking for.
Performance is actually rather good in HP Compaq Presario. You won’t be editing high-definition videos or playing intense 3D games, but in terms of multitasking it’s actually rather capable. HP’s also bundled CyberLink MediaShow for editing videos and CyberLink PowerDVD for watching movies. Add to this the HDMI output and you’ve got a multimedia machine ideal for usage in the home. Admittedly, battery life could be a little better, but it’s certainly worth the extra £50 over a other laptops in our round-up.
An ideal machine for families, Fujitsu Siemens’ Esprimo V6535 features a matt 15.4-inch screen, which eliminates reflections, and an Intel GMA 4500M graphics chip, which is actually surprisingly capable for 3D application Build quality is impressive, too, and it won’t attract too many scratches and marks. We were also impressed with the large comfortable keyboard, which is very suited to long-term use. Overall, this is a great machine for home use, but with 164 minutes of battery life it’ll enjoy trips outside, too.