We seem to always say this, but this time it's truer than ever: there has never been a better time to buy a well-featured and fast laptop. If you stroll down to your nearest retailer, be it JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys or even Harvey Norman, you will find many great laptops for under $1000. And not just any old laptops -- you'll find laptops that have Intel Core i7 processors, 4GB of RAM, lots of storage space (for most models), and some will even have discrete graphics rather than strictly relying on the graphics that are built in to the CPU.
As with all laptops though, it's the feel of the chassis, keyboard and touchpad, and the look of the screen that are most important. Be sure to check them out in the store before buying to make sure they are comfortable and that you will be able to use them every day without getting frustrated.
Here are some 15.6in models that we've found for cheap as of our publication date:
The Dell Inspiron 15R from JB Hi-Fi costs just $998. The 15R has always been well priced, and the N5010 and N5110 are a couple of our most popular reviews to date. The feel of the 15R may not be to everyone's liking, but it's a laptop that will last a long time if you treat it right.
The Acer Aspire 5755 from The Good Guys costs just $898. A couple of months ago we reviewed the Core i5-based Aspire 5750G, which at the time also represented good value. The 5755 with a Core i7 is a much better proposition. As we stated earlier though, check its keyboard and touchpad to make sure they are to your liking as we thought the Aspire 5750's could have been better.
The HP Pavilion dv6 from Harvey Norman costs just $999. It's a laptop that looks better than most, but it has less storage space than the other two models we've highlighted so far. if you're interested in the dv6, check out our review of the dv6-6027tx, which is a beefier model with a more expensive price tag, but the chassis is similar to the model offered by Harvey Norman.
The Samsung RC530-S08AU from Bing Lee is perhaps our pick of the bunch. It's a relatively well built and comfortable to use laptop that's similar in design to the RF511-S03AU that we reviewed in August.
The Toshiba Satellite P750/02J from Dick Smith Electronics can be bought for just $992. This model even has a built-in TV tuner, making it a good model to choose if you want to use your laptop as a media centre. Back in June, we reviewed the P750 (PSAY3A-02T001), which had a Core i5 CPU, and we really liked it. You probably can't go wrong if you consider this Core i7-based model.
Retravision also has some cheap Core i7 laptops, including an ASUS model, but the company's Web site is short on details, so if you live near a store, hop in to check them out personally.
There are many other models that can be found in store, or on the mentioned stores' Web sites, we've just highlighted a few of the models that are available. Happy shopping!
Have you found some better value models? let us know in the comments.