Saturday, 7 September 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5

Samsung Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5 - which should you get?

Update August 2013 - The heat is on. We've added even more to this comparison, and it sees the Galaxy S4 get more of an edge over its Apple rival. Read on for more.

The Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 are the most successful phones Samsung and Apple have produced. They have sold millions of handsets across the world, and will go on to sell millions more.

If you’re at the end of you contract, there’s a good chance you’ll be looking at buying one of these phones. But which is right for you? Let’s take a closer look as we compare design, features, speakers and software.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 – Price and deals
Samsung Galaxy S4 – 16GB only, From £32 a month
iPhone 5 – 16GB: from £33 a month

There are hundreds of contract deals available for the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5, and they change from month to month. However, at present the phones sell at very similar prices.

Over at Carphone Warehouse, both the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 are available for free on contracts of £33 a month and up. Any lower than that and you'll have to pay an up-front fee for the phone.

Go SIM-free and the Galaxy S4 is slightly more expensive in places. The 'RRP' for the Samsung phone is £579.99, while the 16GB iPhone 5 costs £529 direct from Apple. However, shop around and you can find the Galaxy S4 for a shade less than the iPhone - at the time of writing you can get the phone for £499.99 from Amazon. You'll rarely find a new iPhone selling for much less than Apple's asking price.

iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 - Design

Samsung Galaxy S4 – 7.7mm thick, plastic rear
iPhone 5 – 7.6mm thick, aluminium rear

Unlike comparing the Samsung Galaxy S4 with its Android rivals, where body shapes and sizes are similar at this high-end level, the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 are completely different.

It may sound trivial, but one of the most important design differences is that the Galaxy S4 is over 1cm wider than the iPhone 5. This makes it much trickier to grasp reliably than the iPhone, which is intended to fit comfortably into the hand of just about anyone.
Samsung Galaxy S4 versus 7
When changing the design from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5, Apple elongated the screen rather than making it any wider for precisely this reason.

Although the Galaxy S4 is much larger than the iPhone 5, it’s not actually any thicker – well it’s 0.1mm thicker, but even in the slimness-obsessed phone world that’s not worth crowing about.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a curvier body than the iPhone, which feels harder and more severe thanks to its aluminium shell and immaculate bevelled edges. Conversely, there’s no metal on the Galaxy S4’s exterior.
Samsung Galaxy S4 15
Its front is top-notch Gorilla Glass, but the rest is plastic. The phone uses a removable plastic battery cover that is frequently criticised for being flimsy or cheap-feeling.

There are a few upsides to a removable cover, though. It lets Samsung bung-in a microSD memory card slot easily and means you can replace the rear part if it gets damaged or scratched.

Replacing the housing of an iPhone 5 with an unofficial repairer online will cost you £150. A replacement battery cover for the S4 can be had for a few quid from eBay. 
iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S4 5

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 – Durability

We’re generally pretty nice to the phones we review at TrustedReviews. Don’t get us wrong, we’re as critical as anything – but we don’t tend to destroy the things.

Not everyone is quite so nice. Android Authority staged a drop test, pitting the Galaxy S4 against the iPhone 5 to see which is tougher.

The Galaxy S4 was the phone to crack first, its screen smashing after a few drops. The iPhone 5 remained relatively in-tact, but it’s worth noting that its body will attract dings if you drop it – as it is made of aluminium. 

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 – Internal Speaker

Samsung Galaxy S4 – Mono, rear-mounted
iPhone 5 – Mono, rear-mounted

Unlike the HTC One, neither the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5 put all that much focus on their internal speakers. Both have rear-mounted drivers that point away from you.

The iPhone 5’s speaker grilles are found on its bottom edge, put most out of view, next to the Lightning port. Cleverly, there are two grilles to help you avoid muffling the speaker with your hand.

The Galaxy S4’s speaker output has even less ceremony to it – there’s a grille cut into the bottom-left of the plastic battery cover.

But which sounds better? The iPhone 5 speaker goes that bit louder, but the Galaxy S4 copes much better at higher volumes, where the iPhone 5 starts to sound a little strained nearing top volume.

Both phones output mono sound, though, so aren’t all that great to listen to movies with.
iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S4 1

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 - Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy S4 – Bluetooth 4.0, 4G, NFC, MHL, GPS
iPhone 5 – Bluetooth 4.0, 4G, GPS

The iPhone 5 famously leaves out a few connectivity features, while the Galaxy S4 leaves out virtually nothing at all. However, if you’re not a real hardcore user you may not notice the bits left out of the iPhone 5.

Both phones have the basics – GPS, Bluetooth (with Bluetooth 4.0), Wi-Fi, 3G and even 4G.

So what’s missing from the iPhone 5? There are two biggies – NFC and MHL.

NFC is Near-Field Communication and is a wireless standard that is used in a number of different ways. The most exciting is to pay for things on the high street – although this has hardly taken off. A few coffee shops let you buy stuff using NFC, but it’ll unlikely to gain mainstream acceptance until it’s adopted by the iPhone 5S (as it rumoured).

NFC is also used to connect phones and tablets with audio docks, such as the Samsung GA-F61. These are becoming pretty common, but if your audio system is more than a year old you can be pretty much certain it won’t have NFC.

MHL is a tech that’s crammed into the microUSB slot of the Samsung Galaxy S4. With the right adapter, it lets the phone output HD video and surround sound to a TV using an HDMI cable.

However, the adapter doesn’t come in the box, and costs around £20.
iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S4 1

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 - Screen

Samsung Galaxy S4 – 1080p, 4.99-inch Super AMOLED
iPhone 5 – 640 x 1136 pixel, 4-inch IPS

The Galaxy S4 and iPhone stick to the screen technologies used by their predecessors. The iPhone 5 uses IPS, the Galaxy S4 AMOLED.

Both are huge improvements on the screens of their predecessors. Where the Galaxy S3 display was a bit dim and seemed a lot less sharp than it should have been, given its resolution, thanks to its PenTile screen type, the Galaxy S4 display is super-bright and super-sharp.
Samsung Galaxy S4 versus 3
We had no real complaints about the iPhone 4S display when it was the ‘current’ iPhone, but the iPhone 5 screen makes it look a little dull, with much-improved contrast and more vivid colours.

They’re more significant generational steps-up than we were expecting – but how do they fare head-to-head? That comparison is a lot trickier.

The iPhone 5 has more natural-looking colours, while the Galaxy S4 has better contrast in low-light conditions. Although the Galaxy S4 has uses a much higher resolution, and has higher pixel density, there’s not a great difference in sharpness, though.

As both these screens are bonafide winners, the most important difference is in size, not screen quality.

The 4.99-inch display of the Galaxy is much better than the 4-incher of the iPhone 5 for playing games or watching films. We’re not totally on-board with ever-expanding mobile screens, but switching between the two, the iPhone 5 does feel flat-out small.

What you need to do it weigh-up the entertainment benefits of the Samsung’s large screen next to the negative practical issues of such a large phone.

iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S4 4

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 - Storage

Samsung Galaxy S4 – 16GB baseline, microSD slot
iPhone 5 – 16GB baseline, 32GB and 64GB models available, non-expandable

If you’re a big video or TV episode consumer, storage matters. The iPhone 5 comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB varieties, while the Galaxy S4 is only widely available as a 16GB model in the UK.

There’s a reason why the 32GB and 64GB Galaxy S4 editions on sale elsewhere don’t get much traction in the UK, though – the microSD memory card slot. 

This lets you expand the memory by an additional 32GB for less than £20. To upgrade from the 16GB iPhone 5 to the 64GB version, you’re looking at spending an extra £170.

What is worth noting, though, is that the Galaxy S4 won’t let you install apps to the memory card – it’s best to leave microSD card storage for photos, videos or music.

iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S4 3

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 - CPU and GPU

Samsung Galaxy S4 – Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 1.9GHz CPU, 2GB RAM,
iPhone 5 – Apple A6 dual-core 1.2GHz, 1GB RAM, PowerVR SGX 543 GPU

Before the phone launched, it was believed that the Galaxy S4 would be the first eight-core phone. However, that version is not on sale in the UK. We can only get our hands on the more ordinary-sounding quad-core edition, which has a Snapdragon 600 1.9GHz processor.

It may not sound as impressive as the ‘octo-core’ edition, but both trump the positively passé dual-core processor of the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 processor is not to be underestimated, though. Its cores use the advanced Cortex-A15 architecture, and performance is solid – even when compared to more powerful-sounding quad-core rivals. The Galaxy S4 is still the clear winner, though.

Here’s how some of their benchmark scores compare:

iPhone specs
Sunspider (lower is better)
iPhone 5: 915ms
Galaxy S4: 855ms

AnTuTu Galaxy S4
iPhone 5: 18,000
Galaxy S4: 21,000

Geekbench Galaxy S4
Geekbench shows the iPhone 5 is arguably closer in performance to the S3 than the S4

iPhone 5: 1650
Galaxy S4: 3163

Samsung’s phone is more powerful across the board, whether judging javascript performance or more general productivity/gaming prowess.

This is not surprising, though. The iPhone 5 is a more direct competitor to the Galaxy S3 than the Galaxy S4. We’ll see Apple catch up with this year’s iPhone 5S, but for now the Galaxy S4 is the power king.

iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S4 3

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 - Software

Samsung Galaxy S4 – Android 4.2 with TouchWiz
iPhone 5 – iOS 6.1

That the difference in raw power won’t matter all that much to people becomes clear when you get hands-on with the phones’ software. The systems they use, and the way those systems operate, is completely different. Samsung Galaxy S4 5

The Samsung Galaxy S4 uses a customised version of Android Jelly Bean. The custom interface that Samsung lays on top is called TouchWiz, and it looks and feels just like the one seen in the Galaxy S3 – it will seem familiar to Galaxy veterans.

TouchWiz is full of extra features. However, we did find that they tend to slow Android down a little, with a little more lag evident in transitions and app loading than we’d expect with a vanilla Android phone with a CPU this fast – or with an iPhone 5.

The iPhone is still that bit quicker, and it is in part down to the way iOS works. It doesn’t allow apps to run freely whenever they like in the background, which is what commonly causes battery life and performance issues in Android phones.

It is quick, but the iPhone 5’s iOS software is starting to look pretty dated.
iOS 6
The Galaxy S4 is a bit temperamental and iOS is long in the tooth – but there are solutions on the way. There’s a ‘Google edition’ of the Galaxy S4 on the way, which replaces the TouchWiz version of the phone’s software with a completely vanilla edition. And iOS 7 is coming soon too. It’s being designed by Jonathan Ive, brainchild of most of Apple’s hardware. It’s likely to look and feel extremely stylish.

For more on the extra features found in the Galaxy S4, read our top TouchWiz features article.
iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S4 2

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 - Camera

Samsung Galaxy S3 -13-megapixel sensor, LED flash
iPhone 5 – 8-megapixel sensor LED flash

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has more megapixels than the iPhone 5, with a 13-megapixel sensor in place of an 8-megapixel one. But is it better?

The difference is not as great as you might expect. When looking at pixel level, the Galaxy S4’s pictures have a little more detail, and a little less noise in good lighting. However, the actual quality of the photos when viewed at normal sizes is roughly comparable.

Let’s take a closer look at a few photos taken with the cameras.

Galaxy S4 versus 3
iPhone 5 London scene

Galaxy S4 versus 2
Galaxy S4 London scene

Galaxy S4 versus 6
Pixel level comparion
This shot comparison gives the clearest indication of the sort of detail difference you can expect from the cameras in reasonable light. The Samsung Galaxy S4 renders some fine details far more successfully.

Check out the foreground building in the pixel level comparison. In the Galaxy S4 shot, the architectural lines between floors are clear, where they are reduced to mush by the iPhone 5. Similarly, there's far greater detail in the lines of the Gherkin, and the scaffolding in the shot.

Galaxy S4 versus 7
iPhone 5 close-up test

Galaxy S4 versus
Galaxy S4 close-up test
Galaxy S4 versus 1
Pixel level comparison

In this second test, we tried to get up close and personal with the subject, to see how capable the phones are at macro-style photography. To start, the Galaxy S4 was much happier to focus close-up - the iPhone 5 had to be held back a little further to focus correctly.

Both phones manage a limited shallow depth of field effect, which is where the background appears blurred, bringing the subject into tighter focus. Of the two, the iPhone 5 makes a better job of bringing out the subject in question, the purple flower.

Zooming in to pixel level we see that while the iPhone 5's image is noisier, the Galaxy S4 doesn't render significantly more detail in the stamen, which was our exact point of focus.

Here we come to the crux of the problem - in difficult photographic situations, the Galaxy S4 won't fare much better than the lower-resolution iPhone 5 because the camera sensor sizes are roughly the same.

One of the main reasons why a DSLR camera can take much better photos than a phone is because it uses a larger sensor. The sensor is the part that takes in light, and a larger sensor lets it reap more light in the same exposure duration. More light equals more accurate and detailed pictures.

Software is also an important part of any phone camera.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has many more modes, filters and effects than the iPhone 5, which has only HDR and panorama. If you want to have fun with your camera, the Galaxy S4 is where it's at - although plenty of iPhone apps that do similar things are available.

To see whether the built-in processing is of much use, we checked out these cameras' HDR modes.

Galaxy S4 versus 5
iPhone 5 HDR demo
Galaxy S4 versus 4
iPhone 5 HDR demo
From a quick glance, the iPhone 5's shot appears more lively, with greater contrast, and image 'pop'. However, judging the HDR function alone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is more successful.

Check out the trimmed bush to the right of the shot, and the greenery at the rear. More foliage detail is brought out of the shadows in the Galaxy S4's photo. The exposure of the sky is a little more even in the Samsung shot too, even if all it does is to emphasise quite how drab a day we're recreating here.  
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the camera winner, but not by quite as great a margin as we'd have liked. Let's hope the iPhone 5S does more than catch up with the Galaxy S4. 

iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S4 1


Several aspects show up that the iPhone 5 is a phone of last year, while the Galaxy S4 is absolutely a phone that belongs in 2013. It’s much more powerful, its camera has a full five extra megapixels at its disposal and it doesn’t even cost any more. In truth, the extras mean little in practise because there are far greater differences at work here than pure specs.

Forgetting the elements that make this comparison a case of 'apples and oranges', the Galaxy S4 is clearly mode advanced in most respects.

Best laptop: 25 top laptops for every budget

1. Sony Vaio Duo 11 - £900/AU$1,500/US$1,500

Sony Vaio Duo 11
A full Intel Core processor powers the sliding tablet-laptop design of the 11.6-inch Sony Vaio Duo 11, enabling it to run Windows programs as well as Windows Store apps. Its design is a welcome change from the many docking 'transformer' style hybrid devices such as the Samsung Ativ Smart PC andAsus Vivo Tab.
While it's not a perfect laptop-tablet hybrid, and certainly won't have mass appeal, Sony has furthered the Windows 8 cause with an exceptionally powerful device that challenges the perceptions of what tablets can achieve.

2. HP Envy x2 - £830/AU$900/US$640

Best laptops
The outstanding industrial design in the HP Envy x2 really shows the potential of a tablet/laptop hybrid, and will leave you with little question that this is the direction laptops are heading in. It combines a full version of Windows 8 with excellent battery life in a compact package, with its superb 11.6-inch screen topping things off.

3. Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro - £1,000/AU$1,500/US$1,100

Best laptops
When you have it in its Ultrabook form, the Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro is maybe not the standout laptop some of its peers are. But when it becomes a tablet, it's a great Windows 8 tab with an excellent screen that's powerful, well balanced in your hands and very responsive to touch. You can go from either mode to the other in seconds, and neither is disappointing. Write on it with a stylus, type on it with the keyboard attachment, navigate with your finger - the Smart PC Pro can do it all.

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

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

5. Lenovo IdeaPad S405 - £350/AU$695/US$400

Best laptops
The Lenovo IdeaPad S405 is an attractive laptop that has Ultrabook looks at a rock-bottom price tag. It doesn't offer a huge battery life, so is best around the home instead of out and about, but it's lightweight and smart, making it a great option as a secondary machine. It will happily perform most tasks with ease, such as browsing the web or watching HD movies, although full-on gaming is out of the question. As a bonus, it boots up nice and quickly too. There's even a good array of ports, and the build quality is impressive for the price.

6. Asus VivoBook S200 - £450 (around AU$685/US$715)

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

7. HP Envy Sleekbook 6-1126sa - £500 (around AU$760/US$780)

Best laptops
The HP Envy Sleekbook 6-1126sa is a system that anyone looking to buy a budget laptop should check out. Its large screen and decent audio subsystem make it great for enjoying music and movies, while the comfortable keyboard and strong battery life make it a joy to use for everyday tasks. It also looks far more expensive than it is, and offers decent specs for its price too. It's not quite up there in terms of raw power, but in almost every other respect, this is a very tempting machine.

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

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

9. HP Spectre XT TouchSmart - £1,000/US$1,200 (around AU$1,500)

Best laptops
The HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook is a milestone. Watch the Ultrabook market over the next year. Watch as heavyweight chips join incredible screens as the norm rather than the exception. This is a great-looking machine, with a brushed aluminium shell and stunning 15-inch touchscreen, but there's a lot of substance here, too. The keyboard is excellent, the 1080p screen makes it great for working or for movies, the hybrid drive makes it run impressively fast and the touchscreen is a great extra… uh, touch. It's a shame it doesn't have the strongest battery life, but we'll forgive it since it's got that great screen to power instead.

10. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch - £1,000/AU$1,350/US$1,200

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
Best in class
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.

11. Dell XPS 15 - £1,280/AU$2,000/US$1,600

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

12. Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display - £1,800/AU$2,500/US$2,200

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display review
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.

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

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

14. Toshiba Satellite Z930 - £780/AU$1,290/US$1,200

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

15. HP Envy TouchSmart - £850/AU$900/US$800

Best laptops
The design of the HP Envy TouchSmart is thoughtful, with an excellent level of attention to detail: solid construction and a sweet touchscreen stand out as the best parts here. The brushed aluminium and matt black chassis give this machine a premium look and feel that sets it apart from many of its duller peers. The screen is very responsive to touch commands, making it a breeze to navigate Windows 8, while its 14-inch size gives it a good balance of portability and usability. The keyboard and trackpad are also good, making it an extremely comfortable laptop all round. It's reassuring to know that a well balanced laptop that's practical, fun to use and handsome can shine in a crowded market.

16. MacBook Air 2012 - £930/AU$1,100/US$1,100

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

17. Gigabyte U2442 Ultrabook - £970/US$1,100 (around AU$1,480)

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

18. Dell XPS 13 - £1,100/US$1,500 (around AU$1,670)

Best laptops

Dell has really got serious with the internals of the XPS 13. An Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, an SSD for fast performance and an absolutely staggeringly large battery life all combine to make this pretty much the ultimate road warrior's laptop. It's brilliantly thin and light, and the 13-inch screen still gives you room to work. It's a bit of a shame it doesn't offer a touchscreen, but the Dell XPS 13 is still one of the best laptops you can buy, offering top performance, brilliant battery life and excellent build quality.

19. Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A - £1,350/AU$1,700/US$1,420

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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 Airwas 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.

20. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon - £1,500/US$1,500 (around AU$2,290)

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

21. Scan 3XS Graphite LG5 - £590 (around AU$900/US$935)

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

22. Gigabyte U2442F - £800/AU$1,200/US$980

Best laptops
The Gigabyte U2442F is an interesting option for any gamer who wants a laptop that is as happy out on the road as it is plugged into the wall playing the latest games. The gaming performance is impressive for a machine that is so thin and light - you'd usually have to pay heavily in the bulk and weight stakes to hit these kinds of performance figures. It's also a versatile option if you're looking to do something a little more work-orientated, and it has a good array of ports.

23. Alienware M17x 2012 - £1,090/US$1,275 (about AU$1,665)

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world

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.

24. Samsung Series 7 Gamer - £1,350/US$1,900 (around AU$2,060)

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world
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.

25. Razer Blade - £2,000 (around AU$3,050/US$3,170)

Top laptops: 20 best laptops in the world

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.