Canstar Blue’s review of laptop computers has seen Apple, ASUS, HP, Dell, Alienware, Microsoft and Lenovo compared and rated on their performance & reliability, design, user-friendliness, battery life, size & weight, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Laptops are convenient and compact, thus making them an ideal choice for professionals, students and just about anyone else who needs to stay connected wherever they go, even if it’s just to the bedroom to hook-up Netflix to the big screen. Portable PCs may be small in size, but buying one is a big decision worthy of due consideration. In fact, 45% of Aussies we surveyed researched their computers before buying. That’s indeed a wise choice if you want to score yourself a deal (not a dud). And, that’s also where we can help!
Canstar Blue has surveyed more than 800 Australians for their feedback on the laptop computer(s) they’ve recently purchased. Respondents were asked to rate their respective brands on important factors such as performance & reliability, design, user-friendliness, battery life, size and weight, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction. The brands which received the minimum survey sample size of 30 responses are included in the table above.
Tech giant Apple won our customer satisfaction award for laptop computers, scoring five-star reviews in all areas, including performance & reliability, design, user-friendliness, battery life, size & weight, customer service, value for money, and overall satisfaction.
Here are the best brands of laptop computers, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s inaugural review:
While Apple rated best in all categories, other brands managed to earn five-star ratings in some key areas. Runner-up ASUS also got full marks for user-friendliness and value for money, alongside HP. Both landed on a solid four-star rating for overall satisfaction, with Dell and Alienware in tow. Microsoft and Lenovo rounded up the scores on three stars overall.
Read on for a quick overview of the brands in our report, including the products, prices and specs they have on offer.
Apple needs no introduction. It’s arguably THE leading tech brand, with over 500 flagship stores worldwide. Apple is the brain behind some of our favourite electronic gadgets including iPhones, iPads, AirPods, MacBooks, iMacs, and so on. The brand offers an extensive range of laptops, priced variably from $1,599 for a MacBook Air, up to $4,399 for a 16-inch MacBook Pro.
If you’re looking for a good mid-range option, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (pictured) is a portable powerhouse, featuring up to 10th Gen processors with up to 80% faster graphics performance, according to the brand. It comes with up to 32GB of memory, a touch bar and touch ID, and up to 10 hours of battery life – all for $1,999.
Here are some other models from Apple’s laptop computer range:
Apple was rated five stars in all categories including performance & reliability, design, user-friendliness, battery life, size & weight, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.
ASUS is another big player in the PC market, offering a large range of affordable notebooks, gaming laptops, desktops, displays, motherboards and more. The brand’s laptop range is divided by series, including the ZenBook series, VivoBook series, ASUSPRO series, and gaming series to name a few. Prices start from as low as $300 and reach up to $2,599.
If you’re after a budget-friendly option that will cater to all your work and entertainment needs, then the ASUS VivoBook Flip 14-inch 2-in-1 Device is a sound option (pictured). It comes equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor, 8GB RAM, a NumPad, and includes a pen. It retails for $1,399.
Here are some other models from the ASUS laptop computer range:
ASUS was rated five stars for user-friendliness and value for money. It got four stars in most other categories and for overall satisfaction, but three stars for battery life.
HP short for the Hewlett-Packard company is a leading brand of home electronics, spanning across printers, desktops, laptops and more. The brand is widely available in most electronics stores including JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman. HP offers both standard and 2-in-1 laptops at fairly affordable prices ranging from $350, up to $4,199, so this is an ideal option for students and those on a tight budget still looking to buy from a reputable, established brand.
For a laptop with the portability of a tablet in one compact footprint and a cut-price, then look no further than the HP Pavilion x360 14-inch 2-in-1 Laptop for $1,599. This model (pictured) comes with a 512GB SSD + 32GB 3D Xpoint, offering sizeable storage for all your documents and files. Other features include a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, Diagonal FHD IPS micro-edge WLED, and a user-friendly flip design.
Here are some other models from HP’s laptop computer range:
HP was rated five stars for value for money and four stars in the remaining categories, including user-friendliness and overall satisfaction.
Dell is another well-known computer technology brand that offers a decent selection of desktops, laptops, PC accessories, printers, toners and more. A great advantage of Dell is that it often has special deals and limited-time offers available on certain computers, including 2-in-1 and gaming laptops. This is a great option for school kids, so keep it in mind when shopping around.
A good budget-friendly model worth checking out is the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Laptop for $799 (pictured). It comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core (i5-1035G1) processor, 8GB of memory, an HD or FHD anti-glare display, smartphone integration with iOS or Android and more.
Here are some other models from Dell’s laptop computer range:
Dell was rated four stars in majority of the categories including performance & reliability, user-friendliness and overall satisfaction. It got three stars on customer service and size & weight.
Alienware is a computer hardware subsidiary of Dell, with its product range dedicated entirely to gaming computers which can be identified by their alien-themed designs. Pricing starts from $699 and goes up to $6,000 or more for full HD, high-performing models. The latest generation of Alienware laptops come with improved surface coating engineered to reduce fingerprint smearing and other typical stains.
For a mid-range option, the Alienware M15 R3 Gaming Laptop (pictured) is a strong contender. It’s boasted of being Alienware’s most thin and powerful 15-inch laptop, according to the brand. You can have up to 10th Gen Intel Core i9k processors, enabling up to 8-cores and 16-threads of multi-threaded performance. This model also comes with Alienware Cryo-Tech to maintain system stability during high-performance states. It retails for $3,199.
Here are some other models from Alienware’s laptop computer range:
Alienware was rated four stars across the board and for overall satisfaction.
Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in the 1970s, and is best-known today for its software products like Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. The brand also manufactures consumer electronics and personal computers. This includes laptops under the Microsoft Surface range, with prices starting from $629 and reaching upwards of $4,000.
If you’re looking for a lightweight laptop you can take with you on the go, the Surface Pro 7 (pictured) is ultra-portable and doesn’t compromise on productivity, according to Microsoft. It comes with a powerful Intel Core processor and decent battery life, as well as a convenient ‘Instant On’ feature. The Surface Pro 7 can be transformed into a laptop, tablet or ‘studio’ to suit your working needs and can be paired with a Surface Type Cover and Surface Pen to complete the full configuration. It retails for $1,249.
Here are some other models from Microsoft’s laptop computer range:
Microsoft was rated four stars for user-friendliness, performance & reliability, appearance & design, customer service and size & weight. It got three stars everywhere else.
Lenovo is one of the world’s largest PC vendors and smartphone companies. The brand offers a wide range of laptops, from basic family models, to high-performance gaming laptops and stylish multimode devices with smart designs. Plus, the range offers options to fit any budget, with prices starting from under $400 and reaching upwards of $3,000.
If you enjoy the advantages of both a laptop and tablet, the Lenovo IdeaPad C340 14-inch 2-in-1 Laptop is ideal. It features 8GB of memory, a touch display with 1366 x 768 resolution, an Intel Core i3 processor and an HDMI port – all for $949!
Here are some other models from Lenovo’s laptop computer range:
Lenovo rounded up the scores with four stars for battery life and size & weight and three stars in the remaining categories.
Whichever laptop you buy will largely depend on your budget. Our survey found Aussies spend on average $1,371 on a new computer. This is roughly the cost of a mid-range option. Survey respondents also identified their biggest purchase decision factors to be:
As you can see, price and brand name are the biggest considerations for consumers. And since 41% of Aussies surveyed would recommend their laptop to friends and family, you can assume recommendations from people you know can also be a good starting point if you’re unsure of which brands to look into. Your budget will narrow down your research further and then all you’ll need to do is ensure the models within your price range have the features you need or want. In any case, keep our review in mind when shopping.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
*Prices taken from respective retailers and correct as of October 2020.
Picture credits: GaudiLab, Shutterstock.com.
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a new computer (laptop) in the last three years (note: this does not include tablets, but may include 2-in-1 style laptops which convert into a tablet) – in this case, 831 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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'Apple Christmas' may be all over the place this year, and while we're still yet to hear anything official about the iPhone 12 beyond it's expected to come in October, there's still been some great technology announced overnight (September 16) at Apple's September event - and the new Apple Watches took centre stage.
There's two Apple Watches on the way, not just the one usual release. Rather, there's the new high-tech and high-price watch, the Apple Watch Series 6, and a new budget model, the SE, perfect for anyone that doesn't want to throw too much cash at Apple.
There's a lot to unpack here, so let's get to it.
If you're all about the newest and best technology Apple has to offer, then last night would have certainly satisfied, as would the Apple Watch Series 6 itself. Building on the technology found in last year's Series 5, the Series 6 features welcome changes to performance, some great colours, and an interesting blood oxygen sensor for fitness-oriented users.
It's got the same basic design as its other Watch counterparts - a glass square on a band - but this year's version will include Apple's new S6 chipset: a dual-core chip, which performs 20% faster according to Apple.
On top of this faster speed, the Series 6 brings with it blood oxygen sensing. With the sensor sitting on the bottom of the device where it meets the skin, you can measure your blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, and track your fitness. The Watch also has automatic handwashing detection, as do watchOS 7 devices.
You'll be able to order the Watch Series 6 in Blue and Product RED, along with Graphite and Yellow Gold, with a huge variety of loops to choose from. The Series 6 will cost AU $599 and up for the WiFi/GPS-only version, and from $749 for WiFi and cellular connectivity, and will be available in Australia from September 18.
New technology is always exciting, especially smart watches - and especially when it looks as flashy as what Apple offers. But you'll definitely need a phone plan to match, to really get the best out of your watch. Phone plans are always being changed to offer more data and inclusions, and it's always worth keeping an eye on the phone plan market. Below you'll find some great plans to choose from, perfect for the upcoming release of the iPhone 12 too!
If spending lots of money isn't your style, but you're still interested in picking up a Smart Watch from Apple and don't want to get an older model, the SE is made for you. The SE uses technology found in the Series 5, notably the processor, design and heart rate monitor, and has all the same features as its Series counterparts without all the expensive additions. Despite this, it has the same accelerometer and gyroscope as the Series 6
The SE will be available in Gold, Silver and Space Grey, all aluminium, with a huge variety of loops to choose from. The SE is priced from just AU$429 for WiFi/GPS, and $499 for WiFi and cellular, and will be available in Australia from September 18.
The iPhone 12 may be right around the corner - so while the iPhone 11 might not be the best sales pitch if you want a flagship phone, the iPhone SE is a perfect alternative if you're looking for something cheaper. The iPhone SE is the budget phone from Apple, using all of the new phone technology wrapped up in a classic iPhone design, just without the wide screen. It's the perfect match for the Watch SE. Below you'll find some tables of the affordable iPhone.
Product images: Apple