The best laptops of 2016: The best laptops in the UK from £180

The fastest. The best. The cheapest. Here's our pick of the best laptops to buy in 2016

Looking for a great laptop? Then allow Alphr to give you a helping hand. From budget laptops that are ideal for the kids, to the finest Ultrabooks to adorn your minimalist home office, gaming laptops, and cutting-edge hybrids, this is the ultimate list of the BEST laptops you can buy in 2016. Read on to find out which ones we recommend:

The 11 BEST laptops in the UK 2016:

1. Apple MacBook Pro 13in with Retina Display (2015)

Price: £999 Rating: 5/5 Key specs: 13.3in 2,560 x 1,600 display | Intel Core i5/i7 | 128-512GB SSD | 1.58kg 

2015 saw the MacBook Pro mature into something beautifully well-rounded. It may not be the lightest 13in laptop around, but the combination of Intel's Broadwell processor technology and Apple's software platform ensures it delivers a fine balance between power and stamina. The high-DPI display and all-round quality alone are enough to make us wonder why we’d spend £1,000 on any other laptop, and the innovative Force Touch trackpad simply adds to the attraction.

2. Dell XPS 13

Price: From £849 Rating: 5/5 Key specs: 13.3in Full HD display/3,200 x 1,800 touchscreen | Intel Core i5/i7 (Skylake) | 128-512GB SSD | 1.29kg 

Dell was tantalisingly close to Windows ultraportable perfection with the previous XPS 13, but now it's well and truly cracked it – the new, improved XPS 13 is fan-bloody-tastic. The Skylake processors improve performance, extend battery life and deliver better gaming potential, and an array of minor tweaks has pushed the XPS 13 towards ultraportable perfection. The new NVMe SSDs are staggeringly fast, finally giving Apple's laptops something to worry about, and Thunderbolt 3 compatibility seals the deal. 

3. Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Price: £749 (128GB) Rating: 5/5 Key specs: 12in 2,736 x 1,824 display | Intel Core m3/i5/i7 | 128-512GB SSD | 786g (tablet only)

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 takes the tried and tested Surface Pro 3 and improves on it in almost every way. The screen is amazing, the keyboard is improved and the small design touches all gladden the heart. There won't be quite enough here to make everyone want to upgrade from a Surface Pro 3, but it’s a good, solid update, and it remains the hybrid that sets the standard.

4. Acer Chromebook R11

Price: £230 Rating: 4/5 Key specs: 11.6in 1,366 x 768 touchscreen | Intel Celeron N3050 | 16GB storage | 1.2kg

The Chromebook R11 is proof that you don't need cutting-edge design or components to make a superb laptop. The flexible hinge follows in the footsteps of Lenovo's Yoga family, and it's this that allows the R11 to effortlessly flip from laptop to tablet. The Celeron processor gets overwhelmed by one too many Chrome tabs, but for basic use and web surfing it's more than fast enough – it's reasonably sprightly for a £230 machine. If you're looking for a tough, cheap, portable laptop, then the Chromebook R11 hits the spot. 

5. HP Stream 11

Best laptops - HP Stream 11

Price: £180 Rating: 5/5 Key specs: 11.6in 1,366 x 768 display | Intel Celeron N2840 | 32GB eMMC | 1.29kg

HP’s Windows 8.1 with Bing budget laptop comes in a choice of vibrant blue or magenta finishes, with a slim, lightweight chassis. It's a little more versatile than a Chromebook, working brilliantly with online apps, but it's still able to run more conventional Windows software if you’re sensible about your requirements or pair it with an external USB 3 hard disk (the 32GB of storage is an ever-present limitation).

6. Microsoft Surface 3

Best laptops - Microsoft Surface 3

Price: £419 Rating: 4/5 Key specs: 10.8in 1,920 x 1,280 display | Intel Atom x7 | 64/128GB SSD | 622g (tablet only)

At £419, the Surface 3 is significantly cheaper than the £649 Surface Pro 3, although it's worth bearing in mind that the Type keyboard inflates the price by £119, and the Surface Pen adds another £45. Of course, the Atom processor does mean that the Surface 3 is a tad underpowered, but if you don't need to chomp through Photoshop edits on a regular basis, it's a capable little hybrid - and as classy as Windows devices get.

7. Apple MacBook (12in)

Price: £1,049 Rating: 4/5 Key specs: 12in 2,304 x 1,440 display | Intel Core M | 256/512GB SSD | 923g

There's no denying it, the MacBook is one seriously gorgeous machine. Yet this minimalist, ultra-light portable won't be for everyone. It isn't powerful enough to do the same jobs a MacBook Pro 13in with Retina Display can, it's expensive and connectivity - limited to a single Type-C USB port - isn't ideal for a work machine, either. Still, if light weight and desirability matter more to you than all-out practicality, there's nothing else that comes close.

8. Dell XPS 15 (2015)

Not cheap, but Dell's sleek, 15in, Skylake-based laptop is exactly the kind of portable manufacturers need to be making if they’re really going to take the fight to Apple’s increasingly dominant MacBook family. It's fast, gorgeous and multi-talented - the ultimate do-it-all Windows 10 laptop.

Price: £1,649 Rating: 4/5 Key specs: 15in 3,840 x 2,160 touchscreen | Intel Core i7-6700HQ | 512GB SSD | 2kg

9. Asus Zenbook UX303LA

Best laptops - Asus Zenbook UX303LA

Price: Around £700 Rating: 5/5 Key specs: 13.3in 1,920 x 1,080 display | Intel Core i7 | 128GB SSD | 1.4kg

The Asus Zenbook UX303LA has been around a while, but it remains an excellent buy. Serving up a taste of premium Ultrabook performance for around £700, it's something of a bargain. It also has an excellent 13.3in Full HD screen and a decent keyboard, a lovely design and a very tempting price. Not many other laptops can match this machine's all-round appeal and value for money.

10. Toshiba Chromebook 2

Best laptops - Toshiba Chromebook 2

Price: Around £270 Rating: 4/5 Key specs: 13.3in 1,920 x 1,080 display | Intel Celeron N2840 | 32GB SSD | 1.35kg

The fact that this laptop doesn't run Windows will leave some people running for the hills, but Toshiba has done a superb job with the Chromebook 2. This is a Chromebook with a top-quality screen, that's better than many displays on laptops at three times the price. Right now, this is the Chromebook we’d buy - and it offers a fine alternative to the likes of HP's bargain-priced Stream 11.

11. Toshiba Satellite C40-C 

Best laptops - Toshiba Satellite C40-C

Price: Around £200 Rating: 4/5 Key specs: 14in 1,366 x 768 display | Intel Celeron | 32GB SSD | 1.7kg

Not so long ago, buying a super-cheap laptop would have left you looking at Chromebooks and not a whole lot else. Now, however, Windows is fighting back. Toshiba's 14in Satellite C40-C is a solid all-rounder which brings Windows 10 to the table for only £200. It's not especially exciting, but the 14in display strikes a good balance between portability and all-day usability, and though the Celeron CPU is pretty slow, it's good enough for basic use. Battery life is good, too – over 7 hours of video playback bodes well for a full day's worth of lighter usage.

12. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Best laptops - Surface Pro 3

Price: £639 (64GB) Rating: 4/5 Key specs: 12in 2,160 x 1,440 display | Intel Core i3/i5/i7 | 64-512GB SSD | 800g (tablet only)

The Surface Pro 4 has stolen its thunder, but that means that we may be in for some Surface Pro 3 bargains. Right now, Microsoft is offering some modest discounts on the older model – we've seen the the Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD version discounted from £1,079 to £849. It's possible there might be some more dramatic discounts around the corner, though, and if you see the Pro 3 going for a song, it's still a fantastic tablet and hybrid in every way. 

13. Asus Transformer Book Chi T300

Price: Around £700 Rating: 4/5 Key specs: 12.5in 2,560 x 1,440 display | Intel Core M-5Y71 | 128GB SSD | 1.43kg (tablet 720g) 

The Transformer Book Chi T300 is a great little hybrid. The high-DPI display is superb, the design attractive and, crucially, this is a hybrid that manages to perform well in both tablet and laptop roles. If you’ve been looking for a more affordable, more flexible alternative to the Surface Pro 3, the Asus Transformer Book Chi T300 is well worth considering.

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