6. Kobalt GS150 Optimus – £950
The quad-core processor can easily handle multiple tasks and we were blown away by this laptop's speed, although we did find the same processor performed marginally better in the Alienware M17x and Sony VAIO VPCF21Z1E/BI. The Nvidia GeForce GT 540M GPU is strong enough to run the latest games and multimedia software thanks to its support for DirectX 11.
We were truly impressed by the Kobalt GS150 Optimus, which provides stunning performance, comprehensive features and excellent build quality, all at a realistic price. With next to no flaws to speak of, we can highly recommend this laptop to anyone after a bit of power.
7. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (Core i7) – £1,299
The power of this machine will just leave you gaping. It's 13 inches. It's 2kg. It's desktop-class CPU power. This doesn't just come through in pro applications. This is an incredibly snappy and responsive machine to use for general browsing and casual use. Programs open quickly and there's no waiting when multitasking.
Intel and Apple are on to a winner in this 'small notebook, massive power' form factor. The speed and capability on offer are just superb.
8. Kobalt G150 – £1,700
We can only describe the performance of both the 2630QM and the GTX 485M graphics as utterly outrageous. Many a time has a laptop been described as offering desktop-replacement performance. The Kobalt G150 actually delivers.
It makes for a system that just breaches the £1,700 barrier, but if you want the best, you have to pay for it. If you can afford it, we doubt the Kobalt G150 will disappoint you.
9. Sony VAIO VPCF21Z1E/BI – £1,799
The 16-inch screen is this laptop's strongest point. While not the brightest panel we've seen, colours are vibrant, with sharp contrast and deep black levels. The matt finish eliminates reflections, while the full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution means you can watch high-definition Blu-ray movies in all their glory.
Home office performance is also staggering, however. Using a processor from Intel's cutting-edge Sandy Bridge range, complex multitasking is handled effortlessly and few laptops can match this level of power.
10. Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Core i7) – £1,849
At £1,849, the new 15-inch quad core Intel Core i7 MacBook Pro isn't cheap, but given the quality and the improvements it has enjoyed over the previous model, it represents very good value for money. It's the most capable MacBook Pro to date, and a real joy to use.
The new Sandy Bridge Core series processors make significant advances over their predecessors, offering simply superb power.
11. Apple MacBook Pro 2011 - £1,919
The 2011 MacBook Pro refresh is far more radical than it might seem. At a glance, the aluminium unibody Apple MacBook Pro line-up – including this top-of-the-range 17-inch model – look pretty much the same as their predecessors. But under the hood, they feature significant and very welcome advances.
12. Alienware M17x - £2,000
Alienware's gaming laptop range has consistently set the benchmark, winning our award for best gaming laptop of the year in 2009 and 2010. The M17x has now been updated with a new design, Intel Sandy Bridge technology and full 3D functionality.
The anodised aluminium design of the original model has been replaced by an eye-catching and hard-wearing rubberised coating, and the design looks great.
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