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The best laptops of 2021 in Australia: our picks of the top laptops on sale now

Included in this guide:

best laptops
(Image credit: Future)
PRICE
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

For those working at home that are starting to notice their laptop might not be quite up to the task (whether that's work or play), this page will help you find the most appropriate portable machine for your needs, and at a reasonable price.

Here at TechRadar, we get to review the full breadth and width of currently-available laptops, so we're well and truly across what's worth the dosh and what's not, helping you get a deal ahead of the 2021 Black Friday sales.

Whether it's Apple's freshest M1-powered MacBook Air, the latest winner in the Dell XPS range, or one of HP's sleek Spectres, we've painstakingly compared and contrasted each one in order to give you a rundown on the laptop with the best value.

We've taken into account ultrabooks, gaming laptops, 2-in-1s, and every other shape and size that laptops come in these days – so don't worry if you're in it for work or play, we've got you covered.

For those that aren't sure what type of laptop would suit their needs best, scroll down to the foot of the page to find a guide comparing the different types.

Best laptops in Australia 2021 at a glance

  1. Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
  2. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
  3. Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)
  4. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)
  5. Razer Blade 14
  6. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
  7. Acer Swift 3
  8. Microsoft Surface Book 3
  9. HP Elite Dragonfly G2
  10. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook
  11. Asus TUF Dash F15
  12. Asus VivoBook S15

The best laptops of 2021:

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Apple MacBook Air

(Image credit: Apple)
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Apple MacBook Air

(Image credit: Apple)

1. Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The best laptop of 2021

Specifications
CPU: Apple M1
Graphics: Integrated 7-core /8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)
Reasons to buy
+Silent to use+Amazing battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No new design-Fanless design could impact performance

The new Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) isn't just the best laptop Apple has ever made, it's also the best value laptop money can buy right now. This is definitely the highest placement an Apple laptop has ever found itself in one of our lists, but the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is worthy of this spot. Thanks to the revolutionary ARM-based Apple M1 chip that powers the new MacBook Air (Apple has ditched Intel for these new laptops), this is a stunning achievement: a thin and light laptop that offers great performance, even with 4K video editing, while also offering incredible battery life. Easily managing over 11 hours on a single charge, this is a laptop you can easily carry around with you at work or school, and its price is decently competitive compared to Windows 10 rivals (for once). Running both new and old Mac apps, the new MacBook Air can now also run iOS apps for iPhone and iPads, giving it access to hundreds of brilliant mobile applications and games as well.

Even if you've only ever used Windows laptops before, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is well worth getting and making the jump to macOS. Yes, it really is that good.

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review

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Best laptop 2021: Surface Laptop 4

(Image credit: Microsoft)
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Best laptop 2021: Surface Laptop 4

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Best laptop 2021: Surface Laptop 4

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Best laptop 2021: Surface Laptop 4

(Image credit: Microsoft)

2. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

The best Windows laptop

Specifications
CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 /AMD Ryzen 5 - 7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe / AMD Radeon
RAM: 8GB – 32GB
Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (2,256 x 1,504) touch
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable keyboard+Beautiful screen
Reasons to avoid
-Not enough ports-Alcantara fabric might get gross over time

While Apple blew us away with the new MacBook Air (above), arch rival Microsoft has also impressed us with its new Surface Laptop 4, landing straight in at number 2 of our best laptops 2021 list. As with previous Surface devices, build quality and design is absolutely top-notch here, and its gorgeous PixelSense touchscreen really sets it apart from the competition (a touchscreen is something we've yet to see on an Apple laptop, as Microsoft likes to remind us).

It also comes with a brilliant keyboard that's a joy to type on, and some pretty great specs as well, which ensures that Windows 10, and all your favourite apps, run extremely well. Battery life is also very impressive – lasting over 13 hours in our tests – and the price is impressively competitive as well. If you're looking for the best laptop of 2021 that runs Windows 10, this is it.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

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MacBook Pro 14-inch

(Image credit: Apple)
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MacBook Pro 14

(Image credit: Apple)
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The MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) featuring a model wearing vivid, colorful clothing

(Image credit: Apple)

The best laptop in 2021 for productivity

Specifications
CPU: Apple M1 Pro 8-core – M1 Max 10-core
Graphics: Integrated 14-core – 32-core GPU
RAM: Up to 64GB
Screen: 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
Storage: Up to 8TB
Reasons to buy
+ Brilliant performance+ Best screen on a laptop
Reasons to avoid
-14-inch screen may be a bit small

The brand-new MacBook Pro 14-inch is easily the best productivity laptop you can buy in 2021. For creative professionals such as photographers, video editors and music producers, the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) is a dream to use, thanks to a choice between powerful new M1 Pro or M1 Max chips that can handle even the most intensive workloads with ease.

Not only that, but its Liquid Retina XDR display with mini-LED technology is absolutely stunning, and the best screen you can get on a laptop right now. Add in a 1080p webcam and boosted port selection, and you have a brilliant business and productivity laptop. It won't be for everyone – the price and power will be too much for most people's needs – but if you want a killer laptop to do creative work on, this is the laptop to get. For everyone else, check out the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) at the top of our list.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

Dell XPS 13 9310

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020)

Return of the king

Specifications
CPU: 11th generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB – 32GB
Screen: 13.4-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4K (3840 x 2160)
Storage: 512GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous design+Big CPU and GPU boost+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

This is the second XPS 13 that Dell released in 2020 (also known as the 9310, being more recent than the 9300 launched earlier in the year), and thankfully it does a lot more to offer excellent value for Aussies than its predecessor. This 'New XPS 13' packs in the 11th-gen Intel Core processors as well as as the superbly impressive Iris Xe integrated GPU – an upgrade that almost doubles its graphical prowess. This means that, not only is the XPS 13 9310 a great option for business and everyday use with its gorgeous, sleek design and powerful innards, but it's now viable for casual gamers. It's also sporting the upgraded 'Infinity Edge' display which dramatically reduces bezels and the overall size of the unit. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020) review

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Razer Blade 14 laptop open showing desktop wallpaper

(Image credit: Razer)
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Razer Blade 14 laptop partially opened and shot from behind

(Image credit: Razer)
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Razer Blade 14 laptop closed on white background

(Image credit: Razer)

The top laptop for gaming in 2021

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 - RTX 3080
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 14-inch 144Hz Full HD – 14-inch 165Hz QHD
Storage: 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful chassis+Thin and light
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive despite its performance-Not the most powerful gaming laptop

This luxurious thin and light gaming laptop from Razer just oozes class, and is an ideal laptop for people who want a gaming device they can take around with them. It's solidly built, so you won't worry about it getting damaged during your travels, and it's one of the nicest looking modern gaming laptops we've seen.

It's not all about looks, however, as the Razer Blade 14 comes with cutting edge components as well, including the awesome AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and up to an RTX 3080 graphics card. This means you'll be able to play any AAA game you want in all its glory. It's by far the best gaming laptop you can buy in in 2021, but it does cost a lot of money.

Read the full review: Razer Blade 14

Asus Zephyrus G14

The Asus Zephyrus G14 is an absolute beast of a laptop. (Image credit: Asus)

6. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The ultimate blend of work and play

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS – 9 4900HS
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
RAM: Up to 32GB
Screen: 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-level panel, 120Hz – 14-inch Non-glare WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS-level panel, 60Hz
Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Best battery life in a gaming laptop+Excellent performance+Thin and light
Reasons to avoid
-No webcam-Fans can get loud

We know, this is technically a gaming laptop, but for those that want to balance work and play, there's little else out there that's better value than the Zephyrus G14 right now. It's worth noting that it's missing a webcam and a Thunderbolt 3 port, so if that's a concern this isn't for you, but its solid battery life, compact form, and powerful specs do a fine job at balancing everything that you'll need from a laptop. This is an absolute beast for performance, with its AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card, best-in-class battery life that will last you all day long, a fast display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a lightweight, ultrathin design. The best part is that you’re getting all that without burning a hole in your pocket. Don’t get us wrong; it isn’t cheap. However, for a laptop this impressive, we’re surprised Asus isn’t asking for more.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 

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Acer Swift 3

(Image credit: Acer)
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Acer Swift 3

(Image credit: Acer)
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Acer Swift 3

(Image credit: Acer)
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Acer Swift 3

(Image credit: Acer)

7. Acer Swift 3

The best budget laptop in the world

Specifications
CPU: up to Intel Core i7-8565U
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX150, Intel HD Graphics 620 or AMD Radeon Vega 8
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Screen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) ComfyView IPS – 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Storage: 128GB – 1 TB HDD, 16 GB Intel Optane Memory
Reasons to buy
+Superb keyboard and trackpad+Excellent performance+Very reasonably priced
Reasons to avoid
-Looks a little plain

Beyond the Acer Swift 3's modest exterior, you'll find an excellent laptop that boasts plenty of power for work and study. The Swift 3 (not to be confused with the Switch 3 another laptop from Acer) is an inexpensive laptop; however, that plain chassis is all-aluminum and packed with beefy components. 

In terms of performance, it gets surprisingly close to the far more expensive Microsoft Surface Laptop. Its display is a little lower-res, but the two are otherwise strikingly similar - other than the price. 

This laptop is incredible to use as well, with its roomy trackpad as well as its backlit keyboard that offers a comfortable typing experience with decent travel. If you're going to be writing a lot – whether you’re traveling or at the office, this is one of the best budget laptops 2021 has on offer.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 3

Microsoft Surface Book 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

8. Microsoft Surface Book 3

An extremely premium piece of kit

Specifications
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G7 – i7-1065G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q Design
RAM: 8GB – 32GB 3733Mhz LPDDR4x
Screen: 13.5-inch 3000 x 2000 (267 PPI) – 15-inch 3240 x 2160 (260 PPI) PixelSense Display
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB PCIe SSD
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful design+Comfortable keyboard+Gorgeous screen
Reasons to avoid
-Weak U-series processor-Tiny trackpad-Lackluster speakers

In many ways, the Surface Book 3 is an example of just how far the best laptops have come in just a few short years. It has an extremely premium piece of kit – with one of the best displays we’ve used in a laptop, a keyboard that will put the MacBook Pro’s new Magic Keyboards to shame, and a hybrid design with a removable screen. At less than an inch thick, and only 12.3 x 9.14 inches for its 13-inch model and 13.5 x 9.87 inches for its 15-inch version, this is also among the best Ultrabooks 2020 has to offer. It doesn't necessarily have the strongest processor when compared to many rivals on this list, so you'll need to weigh up this delightful form factor against your more intensive computing needs.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 3

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Image of the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 laptop from behind

(Image credit: HP)
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Image of the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 with screen folded back

(Image credit: HP)
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Image of the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 laptop in tent mode

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Image of the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 in tablet mode with stylus

(Image credit: HP)
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HP Elite Dragonfly G2

(Image credit: HP)

9. HP Elite Dragonfly G2

One of the best 2-in-1 laptops for 2021

Specifications
CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i3 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8GB - 32GB
Screen: 13.3-inch diagonal BrightView LED FHD, 400 nits – 13.3-inch diagonal BrightView LED 4K UHD HDR-400 550 nits
Storage: up to 2TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable keyboard+Excellent screen
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-USB-C ports on only one side

The HP Elite Dragonfly G2 takes everything that we loved about the original HP Elite Dragonfly, and adds cutting-edge Intel technology and a gorgeous 4K screen. This means HP has once again made one of the best 2-in-1 laptops money can buy in 2021, and it's a worthy inclusion in our best laptops 2021 list.

You get that gorgeous 2-in-1 design, which allows you to turn this thin and light laptop into a tablet-like device, plus one of the best battery lives we've experienced on a Windows 10 laptop. It also comes with more powerful 11th-gen Intel Core chips, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and now a 4K display, upgrading from its previous Full HD models. There’s a lot to love here, and it might just be as close to being the perfect business laptop as any manufacturer can get. If you can afford it – it's super expensive, and the Australian pricing is especially harsh with this model. 

Read the full review: HP Elite Dragonfly G2 

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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

(Image credit: Lenovo)
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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

(Image credit: Lenovo)
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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

(Image credit: Lenovo)
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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

(Image credit: Lenovo)
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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

(Image credit: Lenovo)
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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

(Image credit: Lenovo)

10. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

The best affordable Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T Processor
Graphics: ARM G72 MP3 800GHz
RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4X
Screen: 10.1" FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, glossy, touchscreen, 400 nits
Storage: 64 GB eMMC
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and portable+Long battery life+Very affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Tiny keyboard and finicky trackpad-Charger and headphones share a single port

Lenovo doesn't just make some of the best laptops in the world, it also makes some of the best Chromebooks as well, and the brilliant Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook proves how good these Chrome OS-powered laptops really are. It can be used as a laptop or a tablet, and it's backed up by some very impressive specs.

Is it a Chromebook or is it a tablet? Well, luckily, you won’t have to decide with the brilliant Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook. True to its name, this Chromebook delivers two form factors in one, while utilizing the versatility of the Chrome OS and setting you back much less than many of the top Windows tablets out there. 

Like all the best Chromebooks, its battery packs an incredibly long life of almost 22 hours – so you could pull an all-nighter, work through the day and mid-afternoon, and you’ll still pass out before it runs out of juice. 

For this price, sacrifices have to be made, naturally – the keyboard is tiny, the trackpad isn’t as reliable, and the charger and headphones share one port. However, if budget is your top priority, those are definitely not deal-breakers.

Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook 

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Asus TUF Dash F15

(Image credit: Asus)
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Asus TUF Dash F15

(Image credit: Asus)
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Asus TUF Dash F15

(Image credit: Asus)
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Asus TUF Dash F15

(Image credit: Asus)

11. Asus TUF Dash F15

The best affordable gaming laptop

Specifications
CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-11375H
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4-3200
Screen: Up to 15.6-inch WQHD anti-glare 165Hz IPS-level display with Adaptive Sync
Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Long battery life+Strong gaming performance
Reasons to avoid
-No webcam-Keyboard lighting color can't be changed

If the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED above is out of your price range, then the Asus TUF Dash F15 is a decent alternative if you're looking for a machine that can play the latest games, but doesn't blow a hole in your bank balance.

Asus' TUF lineup of laptops have been earning plaudits for their excellent value for money, and the new Asus TUF Dash F15 continues that fine tradition. With excellent build quality, a brilliant battery for a gaming laptop, and an impressively thin and light design, this is easily one of the best gaming laptops money can buy right now.

It also features Intel Tiger Lake processors, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 mobile GPUs, and up to a 240Hz 1080p display.

Read the full review: Asus TUF Dash F15

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ASUS VivoBook S15

(Image credit: Asus)
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ASUS VivoBook S15

The Asus VivoBook S15 is the best affordable laptop (Image credit: Asus)

The Asus VivoBook S15 is the best mid-range laptop

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ASUS VivoBook S15

(Image credit: Asus)
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ASUS VivoBook S15

(Image credit: Asus)

12. Asus VivoBook S15

The best budget 15-inch laptop

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Screen: 15.6-inch full HD (1920 x 1080)
Storage: 512GB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Bright, colorful 15.6-inch screen+Weighs just 1.8kg
Reasons to avoid
-Average battery life-ScreenPad is a bit weird…

The new Asus VivoBook S15 hasn't been out for long, and it's made its way straight into our best laptops list. This is because it combines a thin and light design with great performance and an excellent price. 

If you're looking for a mid-range laptop that doesn't cost too much, but still performs brilliantly, then this is the best laptop for you. 

Thanks to its powerful Intel processor, 8GB of RAM and fast SSD storage, this is a laptop that can handle almost any task with ease – though gaming is out of the question. Its 15.6-inch screen is bright and vibrant, and it has loads of ports that makes it easy to hook up your favorite peripherals. 

However, it doesn't have the longest battery life for a laptop, and the ScreenPad, which replaces the traditional touchpad below the keyboard with a touchscreen, takes a bit of getting used to.

Read the full review: Asus VivoBook S15

Which type of laptop is best for you?

General laptops: This broader category is dedicated to devices that focus more on practicality than style, portability or power. That’s not to say they can’t be fast, but you’ll typically find a non-Ultrabook clamshell laptop with an HD screen and spinning drive-based storage for less than AU$1,000.

Ultrabooks: Where you’ll find thin-and-light notebooks sporting SSD storage and display resolutions that exceed 1080p. Paired with powerful, albeit mobile-centric components and especially long battery life, the best Ultrabooks will cost a pretty penny – closer to AU$1,000 to AU$3,000.

2-in-1 laptops: Where notebooks that double as tablets are located. Outfitted with both detachable and 360-degree rotating hinges, these hybrids are the most versatile way to experience Windows 10 (or Chrome OS) on a touchscreen.

Chromebooks: Where you’ll find the best Chromebooks running Chrome OS. These do much of what Windows and macOS can in the browser, focused on cloud storage over local, while recently getting Android app support for touchscreen models. They generally cost less than AU$500.

Gaming laptops: Need a laptop to play games (almost) just like a shiny desktop PC can? Then you’ll want one of the best gaming laptops. These machines generally cost more than AU$1,000 and can quickly get into the AU$4 – 5,000 range for the beastlier models.


Thinking of insuring your laptop?

While your laptop's portable nature increases its convenience and flexibility, it also means it's at greater risk of becoming lost, damaged or stolen. In Australia, you can often protect against those scenarios (even outside the home) by adding 'personal effects' insurance to your contents insurance. To find out more, check out our sister site Mozo and compare contents insurance offers.

Harry Domanski
Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.