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3. Samsung Series 3 Chromebook - £230/US$330 (around AU$350)

Cheaper than some tablets, the Samsung Chromebook doesn't run a typical operating system such as Windows, OS X or even Linux. Instead, it is designed just to run Google Chrome, the web browser, and related web apps.
If you think you could do all your computing using Google web apps, you could well benefit from the good battery life, silent operation, light weight and portability, simplicity and implicit security of the Chromebook, not to mention its low price. However, with no 3G connectivity, it is pretty much limited to use only in Wi-Fi areas.
Read our Samsung Series 3 Chromebook review
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4. Acer Aspire V3 - £450/US$500 (around AU$685)

The Acer Aspire V3-571 is an excellent all-round affordable laptop, with a vibrant 15.6-inch screen that's great for movies and an Intel Core i5-2450 2.5GHz processor that scored extremely highly in our lab tests. A laptop double the price would struggle to top this in terms of raw grunt for photo editing, dealing with large files and multitasking.
The Acer Aspire V3 is a solid, capable laptop with power that belies its budget price. The keyboard is the only let down, with low travel, and the screen does suffer from glare a little. If you're looking for a good family laptop, this is seriously worth considering.
Read our Acer Aspire V3 review
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5. Acer Aspire V5 - £450/US$500 (around AU$685)

The slim and attractive Acer Aspire V5 is a stylish alternative to Intel's Ultrabook platform, with less power than an Ultrabook, but offering a reliable computing experience for a much lower price.
It lacks a Full HD screen and doesn't have a great battery life, but connectivity, usability and performance are strong. If you want portability and speed without the Ultrabook price tag, then this could be the perfect compromise.
Read our Acer Aspire V5 review
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6. Asus VivoBook S200 - £450 (around AU$685/US$715)

The Asus VivoBook S200 offers supreme good looks, touchscreen operation, slick performance and excellent portability, all for a reasonable price.
This laptop runs on an Intel Core i3-3217U processor, which means it provides more than enough grunt to power Windows 8 through any day-to-day tasks, while keeping power consumption to a minimum.
Read our Asus VivoBook S200 review
7. Medion Akoya P6635 - £550/AU$799 (around US$830)

The Medion Akoya P6635 is the perfect laptop for the budget conscious. Lacking a Full HD screen, coming in with a shorter battery life and a bulkier build, it makes a few sacrifices to keep price down.
But the easy to use chiclet keyboard, impressive connectivity options, dedicated graphics and Core i7 processor combine to ensure all-round excellent value for money.
Read our Medion Akoya P6635 review

8. Toshiba Satellite P855-32G - £650 (around AU$1,000/US$1,030)

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The Toshiba P855 is one of the better conventional laptops we've seen of late, offering a lot of performance for a relatively small price tag. Though it's in the high-end section of this roundup, it's really more of a mid-range laptop in terms of its price.
Sporting a third-generation 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3201M and 8GB of RAM, the P855 is certainly no slouch. Its bright screen, Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics card and clear Harmon Kardon speakers mean this is the perfect home entertainment powerhouse.
Read our Toshiba Satellite P855-32G review
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9. Asus N56V - £800/US$900 (around AU$1,220)

Beneath the stylish exterior of the Asus N56V, there lies a sleeping beast - a brand new Intel Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz processor. This new hardware means staggeringly fast load and response times, unfaltered HD video playback, seamless photo editing and even high frame rate gaming.
It features dedicated graphics and a strong battery life compared to its rivals, along with clear Bang & Olufsen speakers and easy to use input options. An impressive high-end machine that handles multitasking well.
Read our Asus N56V review
10. Sony Vaio S Series 13P - £950/US$1,000 (around AU$1,450)

The features of this laptop, not to mention the asking price, establish the Sony Vaio S Series 13P in the top tier of ultra-portable, ultra-premium notebooks. The boxy, executive design might not appeal to all, but usability and portability are enviable.
If you need a powerful, portable business machine, the Sony Vaio S Series 13P should be topping your list. But if you want a media machine for streaming movies and so on, look elsewhere.
Read our Sony Vaio S Series 13P review
11. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch - £1,000/AU$1,350/US$1,200

The mid-2012 MacBook Pro 13-inch is a significant step up from its older brother. The new processors and their improved graphical capabilities give it a considerable power boost over its predecessor, and USB 3.0 ports enable it to connect with high-speed storage peripherals.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is ideal for those who need a little more configurability and storage than the MacBook Air can offer, but also need a very portable machine. Creative professionals and gaming enthusiasts might be better off with a 15-inch MacBook Pro, though.
Read our Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch review
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12. Dell XPS 15 - £1,280/AU$2,000/US$1,600

While the Dell XPS 15 doesn't have the skinny credentials to qualify as an Ultrabook, it boasts a huge spec sheet, and an incredible hardware configuration inside a great-looking chassis. We're not sure we've seen anything as impressive on a PC as its Corning Gorilla Glass, Full HD display, though it doesn't quite have the "wow" factor of the MacBook Pro with Retina display.
If you're looking for a high-end PC that marries good looks and superb performance, and are more Windows than Mac, then you really shouldn't look any further than the Dell XPS 15.
Read our Dell XPS 15 review
13. Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display - £1,800/AU$2,500/US$2,200

The new Apple MacBook Pro's most exciting new feature is, of course, its Retina display. With a 2880 x 1800 resolution at 220 pixels per inch, it crams over 5.1 million pixels into its 15.4-inch screen. That's over three million more than an HD TV.
However, it does mean that after-market upgrades are almost impossible, and sacrifices have been made, such as the lack of a hard drive, optical drive and Ethernet or FireWire 800 ports. Clearly aimed at video editors, photographers and graphics professionals, the Retina screen is beautiful, but the laptop's high price tag will put some off.
Read our Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display review

Best ultra-portables

Updated TechRadar's complete guide to the best laptops around

By Ella Taylor
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Page 4 of 5Best ultra-portables

14. Lenovo IdeaPad U410 - £600/US$700 (around AU$915)

Sure, there is plenty of room for super-skinny, super-slick, ultra-desirable machines with hefty price-tags, but there is also a demand for more affordable portable notebooks. That's where the Ivy Bridge Core i5-toting Lenovo IdeaPad U410 comes in.
Ultrabooks aren't great if you're looking to do some high-end gaming or intense HD video editing, but for everything else this is a brilliant machine that is perfectly suited to meet your digital media demands, with an extremely tempting price tag.
Read our Lenovo IdeaPad U410 review
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15. Toshiba Satellite Z930 - £780/AU$1,290/US$1,200

The Toshiba Satellite Z930-10X manages balances power with affordability. Thin, light and powerful enough to handle a wide range of tasks simultaneously, it boasts a wide range of connectivity options and an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor.
If you want an Ultrabook exclusively for entertainment then we'd recommend looking elsewhere, since it lacks a Full HD resolution and has integrated graphics and fairly weak audio compared to other Ultrabooks. But as a mobile workstation for offices, the Toshiba Satellite Z930-10X is an excellent purchase.
Read our Toshiba Satellite Z930 review
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16. MacBook Air 2012 - £930/AU$1,100/US$1,100

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Although not technically an Ultrabook, previous iterations of the MacBook Air were the machines that inspired the creation of Ultrabooks, so we felt it deserved to sit alongside these rivals. The 2012 MacBook Air is just as inspiring, with an Intel Core i5 processor, faster RAM and better connections.
It's easy for us to recommend the newest MacBook Air, because it's a fantastic machine. But, unlike last year, there are other impressive lightweight options out there.
Read our MacBook Air 2012 review
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17. Gigabyte U2442 Ultrabook - £970/US$1,100 (around AU$1,480)

A very strong first laptop offering from Gigabyte, which usually makes components, the Gigabyte U2442 Ultrabook has a lot to recommend it. Gamers and power users will appreciate the Nvidia graphics and 8GB RAM, while everyday users will respond well to the lack of bloatware and clever features such as Smart Manager.
Adding power through boosted RAM and extra graphics while keeping the chassis down to a slim and portable size is what this Ultrabook is about, while the screen is well suited to both entertainment and processing tasks.
Read our Gigabyte U2442 Ultrabook review
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18. Acer Aspire S5 - £1,250/$1,400 (around AU$1,910)

The Acer Aspire S5 is one of the top-end Ultrabooks, packing genuine power and marking a change for the manufacturer. If you're looking for a primary laptop that can handle the rigours of everyday life, but be as light and svelte as humanly possible, you've found your ideal laptop.
But it's not perfect, with some niggles and less impressive specs, including a storage shortage and build quality issues with the MagicFlip I/O port. A powerful Intel Core i7 processor and bright screen make up for such shortcomings, though.
Read our Acer Aspire S5 review
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19. Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A - £1,350/AU$1,700/US$1,420

When Ultrabooks were first introduced by Intel, one of the first models to show us that it could stand up to the gauntlet laid down by the MacBook Air was the Asus Zenbook UX21. The Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A continues the styling of its predecessors, and adds a Core i7-3517U processor, Intel HD 4000 graphics and 4GB of RAM.
But the most notable change is its screen - a 1080p IPS wonder that dwarfs its competition's resolution. It falls down on battery life, so you should consider if that's a big issue for you. It's also expensive, but its performance is admirable.
Read our Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A review
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20. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon - £1,500/US$1,500 (around AU$2,290)

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a fantastic business Ultrabook, with one of the most comfortable keyboards we've ever used. Fantastic build quality and lightweight design meet top performance and a range of useful features, such as a long battery life, huge SSD drive, super-fast boot times and blistering processor performance.
A few niggles with the screen and connections aside, if we chose one Ultrabook to be our business companion, we'd pick the comfortable, high performance and long lasting Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon every time.
Read our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review
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21. Scan 3XS Graphite LG5 - £590 (around AU$900/US$935)

Designed from the core up as an ultra-portable gaming laptop, this packs a punch in the processor and graphics. The Intel Core i5 3210M is a capable workhorse of a chip that will handle all the games you throw at it, and chew through more serious work as well. The GeForce GTX 640M GPU and low native resolution enable you to hit great frame rates, but the 11.6-inch screen is small.
The SSD is also too small, but that's easily rectified online. The undersized screen isn't as easy to fix though, and we'd advise anyone looking to do work to look elsewhere. However, as a gaming system there's a lot to love here.
Read our Scan 3XS Graphite LG5 review
22. Alienware M17x 2012 - £1,090/US$1,275 (about AU$1,665)

The Alienware M17x has had an Intel Ivy Bridge flavored refresh for 2012. The most notable addition is the inclusion of a third-generation Intel Core CPU. The model we reviewed packed an i7-3610QM processor, a four-core monster clocked at nominal 2.3GHz, which can be pumped full of Intel Turbo Boost steroids to achieve a top speed of 3.3GHz.
Combine this with a seriously powerful GPU courtesy of the latest Nvidia or AMD graphics technology and you're looking at a top-end gaming machine more than worthy of its hefty price-tag. There's also Intel HD 4000 graphics as part of the Ivy Bridge package, meaning DirectX 11 support.
Read our full Alienware M17x review
23. Samsung Series 7 Gamer - £1,350/US$1,900 (around AU$2,060)

The Samsung Series 7 Gamer laptop has the hardware and performance that gamers care about, and a price tag that we would deem fair. Samsung's custom UI, however, mostly detracts from the overall experience, short of one or two niceties, such as being able to disable the trackpad and Windows keys. It's also quite heavy.
From a purely processor to pennies perspective, the Series 7 Gamer is worth the money. It's a gaming machine capable of playing the latest titles at respectable settings. All its case lights and fancy UI, though, make it a bit like a party guest who arrives overdressed. You're glad they showed up, but the bow tie they're wearing just makes them look silly.
Read our Samsung Series 7 Gamer review
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24. Toshiba Qosmio X870 - £1,440/AU$3,200/US$1,400

The Toshiba Qosmio X870's price renders it the preserve of hardcore gamers and 3D aficionados who require the kind of power this laptop can generate. With both the Ivy Bridge processor and Nvidia GPU firing, the results are astounding.
Graphics are crisply rendered on the 17.3-inch screen and the Blu-ray capability and stereoscopic 3D give this entertainment scope beyond just gaming. This is a fully-featured entertainment machine, and although we quibble at the battery life and divisive design, when it comes down to sheer performance, this has got most other gaming laptops beat.
Read our Toshiba Qosmio X870 review
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25. Razer Blade - £2,000 (around AU$3,050/US$3,170)

The standout feature on the Razer Blade is its Switchblade touchpad interface - a unique feature that turns the Blade's touchpad into a fully functioning small second screen that you can use to check your email, watch YouTube videos or amplify your gaming experience.
The Intel Core i7-3632QM CPU is powerful, and the sound is crisp, but it is expensive, the keyboard is a little stiff and the touchpad placement to the side takes some getting used to. But its long battery life and comparatively lightweight chassis makes portable, quality gaming possible.
Read our Razer Blade review
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