Start the holidays early with our retail laptop review roundup

We're busy testing almost two dozen new holiday models in the CNET Labs.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read

Following the success of our big summertime roundup of back-to-school laptops, we're busy testing almost two dozen new holiday models in the CNET Labs.

Same as before, we've scoured the retail shelves of big box electronics stores to find the specific configurations and model numbers you're most likely to find in stores and in Sunday newspaper sales circulars.

In plain English, that means, these are the exact same models and configurations you'll find boxed up and ready to go in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, as well as the systems most likely to end up deeply discounted during the holiday shopping season.

Bookmark this page and check back regularly to follow these links to the full reviews, which we'll be publishing over the next several weeks. We'll also be picking one or more winners in each category and presenting those separately.

Also check out our previous retail roundup, the back-to-school laptop guide, along with the best-of-back-to-school winners.

Entry level ($649 or less)
Acer Aspire 5735-4624 [Rating: 4 stars]
Compaq CQ50-215NR [2 stars]
Dell 1525-139B [3 stars]
Gateway T-6330U [3.5 stars]

Budget ($699 - $799)
Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7825 [2.5 stars]
HP G60-125NR [2 stars]
Toshiba Satellite A305-S6872 [3.5 stars]
HP Pavilion dv4-1125nr [4 stars]
Sony Vaio VGN-NS140E/W [3.5 stars]

Mainstream ($800 - $999)
Dell Studio S1535-143B [3.5 stars]
Asus X83VB-X1 [3.5 stars]
Toshiba Satellite U405D-S2874 [2.5 stars]
HP Pavilion dv4-1155se [3 stars]
Gateway MC7801u [3.5 stars]

High-end ($1,000 and up)
Asus X83VM-X1 [4 stars]
HP Pavilion dv3510nr [4 stars]
Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402 [3.5 stars]
Sony Vaio VGN-FW270J/W [4 stars]
Sony Vaio VGN-AW125J/H [4 stars]

See more laptop recommendations in our holiday gift guide.