Top rated desktop replacement notebooks: August 2011

Here are our top rated desktop replacement notebooks for August 2011

Ditching your bulky and space-hogging PC for a notebook doesn't have to mean that you also give up on fast performance. Many of the desktop replacement notebooks in our top rated list (the Core i5 and Core i7 models) are just as fast as a PC and can be used not only for serious work, but also for gaming. Of course, no matter how big a notebook is, you still might want to plug in an external mouse and keyboard in order to get the most out of it.

In this list we've included notebooks that range in size from 15 inches to 18 inches. The Pavilion dv7 is the fastest notebook we've seen all year and it's one of the top models you should consider if you want a desktop replacement that can do just about anything.

The 18.4in Acer Aspire Ethos is also an interesting proposition as it has one PC-like characteristic that many other notebooks don't: it's easily upgradeable. It has two internal, 2.5in drive bays and also two free SO-DIMM slots so that you can change the configuration to suit your needs.

About our ratings: A star rating is awarded to a product in quarter increments from one star to five stars. The higher the star rating, the better the notebook. Notebooks are evaluated on performance, features, build quality, ease of use, battery life and value for money.

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MSI CR640

The MSI CR640 is a desktop replacement notebook with good speed and battery life. It's a good choice for students, families and budget shoppers who want a laptop that will be quick when processing office, Web, and multimedia tasks. It looks nice and has good features (such as USB 3.0), but we wish it had a screen that wasn't reflective and that it had a better touchpad.

  • Review Date:
  • Reviewer:
  • Manufacturer:
  • 15th March, 2011
  • Elias Plastiras
  • MSI
  • Rating:
  • Price:
  • Pros:
  • Intel 2nd Generation Core CPU and graphics, good battery life, USB 3.0, under $1000
  • Cons:
  • Glossy screen, touchpad feels irritating, keyboard could be better


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GGG Evaluation Team

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First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

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The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

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My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

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