Best laptops of 2009

Ah, 2009. The year where financial institutions pulled their head back in, investors got nervous and companies wondered if they were to last the year.

Thankfully, apart from a rumoured buyout of Toshiba's laptop division by Asus, no notable brands departed the scene — rather one (re)joined the fray, Korean giant Samsung.

Netbooks have still been popular. The GFC and the many attempts of manufacturers to release "premium" models to increase margins saw the average price jump from AU$699 to AU$899, with Sony predictably missing the point completelyagain.

Two things have reversed the trend of late — we started seeing very decent laptops being sold for under AU$1000, and every manufacturer and its dog has tried to fill the gap between netbook and full-blown laptop, resulting in new netbooks settling around the AU$599 mark.

The optical drive began its slow and inevitable death spiral, seeing its status move from "necessary" to "accessory". To think, everyone scoffed when it was absent from the original MacBook Air.

Intel managed to get its Core i5 and i7 CPUs into laptops, but we'll have to wait a little longer before they become prolific. Solid state drives became more affordable, but still out of reach for most — we'd say 2010 is the year where things really start to take off. 2010 might also finally be the year that affordable gaming laptops become reality, rather than having to sell your first born.

2009 introduced a few other trends — the 13-inch laptop became the new 15-inch, screens started transitioning from 16:10 to 16:9 ratios, and laptops finally started bundling WWAN modules, ultimately resulting in the likes of Vodafone and Optus offering netbooks on zero dollar 3G plans.

So here are our 10 favourite laptops of 2009 — hasta la vista noughties, it's been fun knowing you.

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Roedy posted a comment   

I consider the lack of numeric keypad a plus. It means you don't have to read so far to the right for the mouse. I hazard a guess that 95%+ of all users never use it.

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