Asus N56VM laptop with Intel Core i7 down to £700

The Asus N56VM might not be as sexy as the company’s Zenbook series but it sure lays down the gauntlet when it comes to value for money and sheer performance. The laptop, which looks a bit like a big Apple MacBook Pro, comes with some superb hardware for under £700 at Simplyasus.

Not least, it's a quad-core device based on Ivy Bridge architecture, running a powerful set-up featuring an Intel Core i7-3610QM processor with 6MB L3 cache and is clocked at 2.3GHz and capable of ramping up to 3.3GHz.

There’s also 8GB of RAM, a 750GB hard disk drive, a Blu-ray player, Windows 7 Home Premium, an Nvidia Geforce GT630M GPU with 2GB dedicated memory, a webcam, a 15.6in, 1,920 x 1,080 display, a card reader, integrated Bang & Olufsen ICEpower stereo speakers, an island-style keyboard plus a full numeric keypad and one-year global hardware warranty.

Connectivity options include two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, GbE, Wi-Fi, a HDMI port, VGA, Bluetooth 4.0 and up to four hours of battery life. Note that you can update the laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 8 for only £15.

We’d probably have preferred a thinner bezel, a longer battery life and a bigger touchpad, but these niggles aside, the N56VM appears to be a well balanced laptop at a great price.