How to choose the laptop that's right for you

Ask someone to design their dream desktop and they'll fulfil your wish in seconds. Picking components that are fast, silent and cheap is as easy as machine-gunning fish fingers in a barrel these days.

Try to figure out what laptop you want to buy, though, and it's more like trying to stun a tadpole with a feather duster. Whichever compromised combination of size, style, battery life, screen quality, processing power and – of course – price you eventually hammer down as a shopping list, the only way you'll know if you got it right is if you're still happy with your new purchase in, say, a year's time.

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