PC Advisor outlines 11 ways to find and buy a laptop bargain.

It's often said that there's never a right time to buy a new computer. Technology and the components used in consumer electronics move on at breakneck pace. Consequently, the PC, laptop, satnav or audio player you buy today will seem slow, lacking in memory and generally old hat a year, or even a few months, down the line.

Add in the credit crunch, and it's trickier than ever to work out when, what and - perhaps most critically - where to buy. After all, who would have predicted this time last year that old stalwart Woolies would enter receivership and that many UK banks would now be co-owned by the populace?

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Needless to say, demand for consumer electronics for both business and leisure use continues to be strong. However, our priorities have changed and, rather than being keen to get the latest big thing, getting a good deal has become much more important.

This, of course, means the market is flooded with products appealing to the cash-conscious consumer - and demand for the very best deals is fiercer than ever. Should an apparent laptop bargain appear on your radar, you'll need your wits about you to judge whether it's worth having and, if so, to bid for it before someone else snatches it from under your nose.

Over the next few pages, we'll outline where the best bargains reside, while our group test looks at what to expect from a good-value Vista laptop or one primed for HD entertainment.

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