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With your children quickly moving into high school, university or even a trade, the need for a laptop increases and with Christmas creping up on us very quickly – now is the perfect time to purchase a laptop for a present.

We’ve set some conditions for our laptops and made 3 categories (much like our Budget/Pre-Paid Smartphones gift guide) – the budget laptop (cheapest laptop), the beast (does everything you need it to be) and the All-rounder (best laptop overall). Another condition is that it cannot be a netbook. We are taking prices from top Australian retailers such as Officeworks, JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith Electronics.

Budget Laptop: Compaq Presairo CQ43

The Compaq Presairo CQ43 has made it into our Budget laptop category. This laptop features the new AMD E-300 1.3GHz APU with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 320GB hard disk and a 14″ LED Display. We have chosen this laptop because it features a relatively powerful processor, a sufficient amount of RAM and hard disk space and it’s small enough to fit in most back packs. It has a 6-cell battery which should last around 3 or 4 hours if you doing light web browsing or word processing. Weighing just 2.5KG, it’s a perfect pick for High School or University.

JB Hi-Fi: $295
Officeworks: $348
DSE: $349

The Beast: Acer Aspire AS8950G


If your looking for something to perform either when browsing the web or gaming, we cannot go past the Acer Aspire AS8950G – this year’s beast. Featuring an Intel Core i7-630qm 2.0ghz (can boost up to 2.9ghz) with 8GB of DDR3 Ram, a 1.5TB hard disk, an ATI Radeon HD 6850 with 1GB of Dedicated Memory, Blu-Ray player and a 18.4″ LCD Display – this laptop is set out to impress. The graphics card can play most new games such as Skyrim or Starcraft 2 and the built in Blu-Ray player will be able to play movies in Full 1080p native resolution. Weighing in at 3.8KG, It’s a laptop for just around the house (or you can move it around.. that’s okay too).

JB Hi-Fi: $1698
Not available anywhere else.

All-rounder: Acer Aspire AS5750-2434G64Mnkk

If your looking for something that performs well with everything you set it out to do with a cheap price tag, this Acer is great for the price. Featuring an Core i5-2430M 2.40ghz (with 3.0ghz burst) with 4GB of DDR3 Ram, 640gb hard disk, an Intel HD Graphics 3000 graphics card with 128MB dedicated memory and a 15.6″ LED Display. It has a 6 cell battery meaning you should get around 2 to 3 hours out of this machine. Paired with a card reader and Wireless-N, this laptop is a great all-rounder with decent performance with demanding programs. Weighing in at just 2.6KG, this laptop should be easy to carry around in a backpack or around the house.

JB Hi-Fi: $593
Officeworks: $594
DSE: $598

Think we missed a laptop, or have your own suggestions? Add them to the comments below – we’d love to hear it. Also, stay tuned for our picks for the best smartphones and tablets.