Best Computer 2010: and the nominees are...

The past year has seen plenty of innovation on the computer front, not least the introduction of an entirely new sector - tablets, with Apple's iPad leading the charge. Add to that the ever-increasing range of portable and affordable netbooks and a wide selection of more powerful laptops, and there's a hell of lot of products for us comb through. All the same, we've managed to whittle down the products to form a shortlist.

With the Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2010 just days away, it's time to take a look at the five products fighting for a spot on the podium as the Best Computer 2010. Which will get your vote?

 

Apple iPad

Type
Tablet
Price
From £429
Released
April 2010
PL review score
8/10


Earlier in the year, Apple unleashed its iPad tablet which was met with characteristic gusto by Apple fanboys, and shrugged shoulders by everyone else. The initial consensus was that this was a device that combined the features of a smartphone and a netbook to make something that wasn't as good as either. However, a quick play with an iPad, or any other tablet, was sure to convince even the most ardent of sceptics. As soon as you see the ease and speed with which you can surf the web, or play around with your apps - you'll be converted.

In particular, Apple's iPad impressed us with its slick design, intuitive navigation and the fact that it made us feel like we were in some sort of Minority Report-style futuristic reality. While tech enthusiasts will no doubt be able to point out its faults until they're blue in the face, this is a great product for the man on the street who doesn't give a fig about spec lists and just wants something that's easy and fun to use. But does it show enough technical capability to be crowned Best Computer 2010?

 

Toshiba NB305

Type
Netbook

Price
£349

Released
March 2010

PL review score
8/10



With increasing numbers of us now online, and even more of us wanting a portable device on which to access the web, netbooks continue to grow in popularity, thanks to their pint-sized designs and affordable prices.

Not only does Toshiba's chic NB305 come in fancy Mocha Brown or Snow White (dwarves not included), it also sports a more than reasonable 250GB hard drive. Pre-loaded with Windows 7, the netbook has a compact 10.1-inch screen that's LED-backlit for extra brightness. It may not be the cheapest netbook around, but it's certainly one of the most stylish and it offers exceptional battery life - a must for any top-tier netbook.



Apple MacBook Pro

Type
Desktop replacement laptop

Price
£1899

Released
July 2010

PL review score
9/10



If you want a computer that's large and sturdy enough for comfortable everyday use, but you still want it to be portable, then a substantial desktop replacement such as the Apple MacBook Pro is the way to go. If you're a Windows fan and you can't let go of your beloved OS, then fear not, as you can install Windows on the Macbook Pro because all Macs have Intel chips that can run both systems.

Sporting a high 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution, the glossy screen looks awesome, while the speedy 2.53GHz Intel i5 processor and 4GB of RAM mean that operation is very swift and slick. It's not cheap, but those with cash to splash are unlikely to be disappointed.

 

Alienware M11x

Type
Portble gaming laptop

Price
£1184

Released
March 2010

PL review score
8/10


The laptops used by gamers are notoriously large and powerful, and also pretty heavy. But, what are gamers to do if they want to play games on the move? When gaming PC specialist Alienware first announced its 11-inch Mx11, we weren't entirely convinced that the combination of high power gaming and portability was possible. How wrong we were.

The Mx11 offers outstanding performance for its size, albeit with a slightly cramped keyboard. Sporting a dual core Intel U7300 CPU running at 1.3GHz, along with 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a Nvidia GeForce GT 335M graphics card with 1GB of GDDR memory, the laptop is able to handle pretty much any game you can throw at it. Sure, it's not quite as impressive as its larger and more expensive siblings, but it certainly packs a mean punch for its size.

 

Packard Bell EasyNote TM

Type
Social netoworking laptop

Price
£549

Released
August 2010

PL review score
9/10




This distinctive laptop from Packard Bell is aimed at those for whom social networking is an everyday necessity. The EasyNote TM has an extra key, emblazoned with smiley faces, underneath the power button. Pressing it will take you directly to your chosen social networks. A window appears which will log you into Facebook, YouTube and Flickr - so that you can keep all your updates where you can see them.

The glossy 15.6-inch screen sports a high resolution of 1368 x 768 pixels, which is set into the blue and white, Facebook-like finish of the chassis. We were particularly impressed by the comfortable keyboard, along with the speedy operating times and the inclusion of an above-average 1.3-megapixel webcam, compared to the usual 0.3. All of this adds up to one fine machine that would be a worthy winner in the Best Computer category.



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