Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

World's 50 best computers and gadgets: From Apple to Samsung

Chillblast Fusion Dimension

OK, so you've never heard of the brand, but this is a great 3D desktop system that comes with active 3D glasses. Beyond watching movies, the computer is blisteringly fast so gamers can be sure they have the power they need. Lots of memory, a huge hard drive and Blu-ray as standard make this a great PC for the committed geek.

Where www.chillblast.com 

How much £2.039
Chillblast Fusion Dimension
OK, so you've never heard of the brand, but this is a great 3D desktop system that comes with active 3D glasses. Beyond watching movies, the computer is blisteringly fast so gamers can be sure they have the power they need. Lots of memory, a huge hard drive and Blu-ray as standard make this a great PC for the committed geek.
Where www.chillblast.com
How much £2.039
Sony VAIO F21Z1E
A laptop with 3D.The 16in-screen VAIO out next month,is powerful and fast,so you can do all your work. But you'll really love it for its audio and video chops,including a 3D-Blu-ray drive for movie and photo playback. It can even convert 2D content to simulated 3D. Powerful,innovative and very cool.
Where Sony (www.sony.co.uk)
How much £1,800
Advent Vega
The great-value Vega has a 10.1 in screen but only weighs 700g. It's an Android tablet (version 2.2), which supports Flash, meaning that it can display almost every site on the internet. The touchscreen is fast, responsive and enjoyable to use. Wi-fi only (no 3G connection).
Where PC World (www.pcworld.co.uk)
How much £255.31
Acer Aspire One D255
The latest netbook from Acer has a fast processor and decent (250GB) hard drive. It runs smoothly and offers over seven hours' battery life. And it comes in a stylish-looking red casing with black keyboard. Acer has a strong reputation for good build and reliability.
Where PC World (www.pcworld.co.uk)
How much £280
BT Home Hub
Broadband is a home essential and it's important to choose wisely. BT's Home Hub is a powerful modem and router combination with extensive reach. It's easy to set up and control and even comes with a cordless handset for internet phone calls.
Where www.bt.com
How much Free on BT's monthly plan
Toshiba Portege R700
The chic R700 manages to squeeze a DVD writer into its svelte proportions. Its 13in screen is bright and pin-sharp, the keyboard is comfortable and it even has a fingerprint reader for extra security.
Where www.toshiba.co.uk
How much From £755
Acer Aspire Revo 100
Don't be deceived by the Revo's slim looks, it contains a Blu-ray drive, is 3D-capable and has plenty of power. You need to supply your own monitor, mouse and keyboard, though it comes with a very cool trackpad.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £499.99
MacBook Air 11-inch
Apple's latest super-light, super-thin laptop is spectacular: it has an 11in screen and, miraculously, a full-sized keyboard that's completely comfortable. Flash memory instead of a hard drive makes it speedy.
Where Apple (www.apple.com/uk)
How much From £867
Motorola Xoom
This is the first gadget to use Honeycomb, the latest version of Google's Android operating system, optimised for larger screens. It's an accomplished and snazzy piece of kit with anodised metal casing and a large screen (10.1in).
Where www.motorola.co.uk
How much TBC
Lexmark Genesis S815
This new inkjet printer has a great design (it sits vertically to save desk space) and can copy, fax and email. Plus, it can scan a one-page document in just three seconds. Print quality is very strong and fast, to boot (up to 33 pages a minute).
Where www.lexmark.com
How much £399
Apple MacBook Pro
Apple's Pro range dazzles in its aluminium casing. Processing is fast, battery life is exceptional and it has pleasing details like a backlit keyboard to aid typing in low light.
Where Apple (www.apple.com/uk)
How much From £1,020
Sony VAIO VPC-L13M1E/S
This Sony all-in-one has a multitouch- sensitive display ? it's a high-definition 24in screen so it's as useful for entertainment as hard work. It comes with a 1TB hard drive and 4GB memory.
Where John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com)
How much £1,119
Toshiba NB550D
Many are under-powered and have short battery life, but the 10.1in-screened NB550D will run for over nine hours between charges, has a powerful processor and even stereo Harman Kardon speakers.
Where www.toshiba.co.uk
How much From £300
BlackBerry PlayBook
RIM, the company behind the best email phones around, has launched a larger-screen BlackBerry. This one has a 7in touchscreen display and a powerful processor so it is nippy and responsive. Out in April.
Where www.blackberry.co.uk
How much TBC
Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse
The new Arc Touch mouse packs flat and has a touchsensitive scroll tab. It looks strikingly different, and uses a technology which means you can use it on a variety of surfaces.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £46.40
Samsung ZX310
Samsung's latest laptop, due in March, is dressed in a metal alloy called duralumin, regularly used in aircraft design, that looks and feels great. The 13in display is super-bright and vivid.
Where www.samsung.com/uk
How much £1,399
Dell Inspiron One 2310
The Inspiron One 2310 has a great all-in-one desktop design. The multi-touch 23in display makes it easy to interact with the machine. The Inspiron is also easy to set up.
Where www.dell.co.uk
How much £579
Samsung NF210
The gentle curves and scoops of the NF210 make for a cool design. The dual-core processor makes for a nimble, speedy machine and the battery will see you through a full working day easily.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £307.92
Samsung Galaxy Tab
The 7in-screened Galaxy Tab is light and small enough to fit in a (large) pocket. A 3G connection means it works well anywhere.
Where Orange (www.orange.co.uk)
How much From £199 on contract
HP Photosmart Q8444B Wi-fi
This printer has print quality that's especially strong for photography. It scans and copies as well as prints.
Where Tesco (direct.tesco.com)
How much £69.97
Lenovo IdeaPad Z560
Lenovo is known for high-quality, reliable laptops. The IdeaPad Z560 looks neat and has slightly convex keys that make it easy to type. The 15in screen is glossy, which means colours are bright but you need to angle it carefully to avoid reflections.
Where www.play.com
How much £569.99
Advent Firefly FP9004
It may not win any prizes for looks but the Firefly is impressively affordable - if you have a monitor already, the tower unit itself is £339. The processor is fast andthe hard drive is reasonably big (320GB).
Where Currys (www.currys.co.uk)
How much £409 with monitor
Nokia Booklet G3
Nokia's well-connected laptop is one of the most elegant and attractive netbooks around. It has, as you might expect from a phone manufacturer, a phone sim card slot so you can connect to the internet almost anywhere. Excellent.
Where www.nokia.co.uk
How much £589
Archos 10.b1
This 10.1in Android tablet is slim and light and comes with either 8GBor 16GB of storage. You can add extra memory using the memory card slot. The display is impressively bright and a kickstand pops out of the back so you can watch video easily.
Where www.archos.com
How much From £269
Buffalo BR-PX68U2 Blu-ray Drive
Most computers lack a writable Blu-ray drive, but its use for data back-up is outstanding. This external drive is sleek, effective and particularly good for Mac users.
Where Comet (www.comet.co.uk)
How much £194.03
Panasonic Toughbook CF-31
The Toughbook series is designed for the super-clumsy. The case is toughened so if you drop it you shouldn't lose all your data. The CF-31 has a 13.1in screen and the machine is vibration-and shock-resistant.
Where www.dell.co.uk
How much From £529
iMac 27-inch
Apple's latest iMac has a huge, bright screen and lots of power under the hood. It's also the bestlooking desktop system, thanks to its brushed metal case and black gloss plastic screen trim.
Where John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com)
How much £1,684
Sony VAIO PCM13M1E/P
The M13 is liveried in an unmissable shade of pink. It's light and slim. The LED-backlit screen is bright and easy to use without troublesome reflections.
Where Dixons (www.dixons.co.uk)
How much £336
Asus Eee Pad Slider
The Slider has a pin-sharp 10.1in screen but, if you want to type on a more conventional surface, a regular physical Qwerty slides out from behind the screen. The Pad will use the latest edition of Android.
Where www.asus.com
How much to be announced
Epson Stylus SX125
Epson's printers promise outstanding quality and this one has four ink cartridges meaning they're better value when it comes to replacing them. It scans and copies, too.
Where PCWorld (www.pcworld.co.uk)
How much £40.99
Dell XPS 15
Dell's XPS range comes with 15- and 17in options. The screen looks great and an advanced graphics card and hi-fi speakers add to the multimedia capabilities.
Where www.dell.co.uk
How much From £529
Alienware Aurora
Onelook at the Aurora tells you this is not your average business computer. This is a gaming machine with super-fast processors, advanced graphics capabilities and the option for 3D gaming.
Where www.dell.co.uk
How much From £999
Dell Inspiron Mini 10
The 10.1in display is a bright, detailed widescreen. The battery life is great - a full day's use - and the keyboard manages to be reasonably usable despite the small overall size.
Where www.dell.co.uk
How much £279
Pocketbook IQ701
This ebook reader also works as an Android tablet, though it only has a wi-fi connection, not 3G. Still, the 7in touchscreen is great to use and the dedicated reader software is exceptional.
Where www.greenreader.co.uk
How much £158
Crucial Computer Memory
The most cost-effective way to speed up a slow computer is to increase the memory. Crucial has a wide range of chips and can identify exactly the chip you need.
Where www.crucial.com/uk
How much From £10 per GB
HP Pavilion dm4-1050ea
HPexcels at solid, powerful machines with especially effective keyboards. This 14in-screen model is a great all-rounder: it's subtly designed and though it's not the lightest laptop has plenty of memory and a fast processor.
Where PC World (www.pcworld.co.uk)
How much £611.74
HP Pavilion p6795uk
HP may not have made the cutest machine in this Pavilion workhorse but it's very well specced with lots of memory (a whopping 6GB), 1TB hard drive and a fast processor. A powerful graphics card makes this computer a great gaming option.
Where HP (www.hp.com)
How much £749
Asus Eee PC 1015PEM
Asus created the first netbooks and it's still pretty adept at making stylish and effective models. This one has a white keyboard that's easy to use, even at length. It's well-connected and lasts nine hours between charges.
Where PC World, (www.pcworld.co.uk)
How much £339.99
Samsung TX100
This tablet uses Windows 7 as its operating system, and if you feel you need a keyboard to make the most of that OS, the TX100 has one that slides out. So it's a little chunkier than some. A custom Samsung overlay works with the Windows system. Out in March.
Where www.samsung.com/uk
How much £599.99
Kodak ESP9250
Kodak's printers stand out because they have exceptionally low replacement ink costs. This machine has two paper trays so you can keep photo paper loaded in one. As well as copying and scanning, it works as a fax and answering machine as well.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £199
Sony VAIO E series
The E series VAIO laptop has outstanding design with a choice of eye-popping colours. There's also a high-resolution screen (14, 15, or 17in), a comfortable keyboard, and a Blu-ray drive.
Where John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com)
How much From £449
Packard Bell OneTwo LA6524
Another all-in-one touchscreen, the OneTwo has a 23in screen, 4GB of memory and a massive hard drive (1TB) so you shouldn't run out of space in a hurry.
Where Currys (www.currys.co.uk)
How much £689.99
Packard Bell Dot sb16
The Dot sb has a stylish design and comfortable white keys. It has a memory card reader that's more versatile than most so you can plug almost any camera card in. There's also a great display.
Where Comet (www.comet.co.uk)
How much £329.99
Apple iPad
The iPad may lack a camera but it has the most intuitive operating system, hundreds of thousands of affordable applications (apps) ready to be downloaded, and looks and feels gorgeous.
Where Apple (www.apple.com/uk)
How much From £439
Vodafone R201 Mobile Wi-fi
This shiny lozenge is barely bigger than a credit card but connects to your computer wirelessly and through it you can connect to the internet - it has a Vodafone data sim inside it.
Where Vodafone (www.vodafone.co.uk)
How much From free on contract
Alienware M11X
Alienware is a brand aimed at gamers. This model has a powerful processor and graphical capabilities that make the high resolution 11.6in widescreen display look especially impressive.
Where Dell (www.dell.co.uk)
How much From £749
Lenovo IdeaCentre A310
Lenovo has delivered a deeply stylish machine in the IdeaCentre A310, with a great HD display (and an input for a TV tuner). The computer components are buried in the stand underneath.
Where www.lenovo.com
How much £799.99
HP Mini 210
Oneof the best keyboards - apart from the MacBook Air - plus a large hard drive and sturdy build quality make this an outstanding netbook with a sleek feel to it.
Where Comet (www.comet.co.uk)
How much £255.31
Asus Eee Pad MeMO
This 7in tablet uses Android and will run version 3.0. Most capacitive touchscreens are incompatible with styluses but this one has a suitable one attached.
Where www.asus.com
How much TBC
Canon Pixma MG5150
Canon's printers excel at photographs and this one, with five ink cartridges, two paper trays and the facility to print on both sides of a sheet of paper is fast and capable.
Where www.canon.co.uk
How much £75

From sturdy desktops to sleek laptops, David Phelan selects the latest in hot hardware

>> Click on the image to launch the guide

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