In a world where smartphones now act like computers, you might be inclined to think all love for laptops is lost. Quite the contrary, truth be told; more than 171 million laptops were sold last year and the portable PC is still many people’s electronic device of choice. That’s why you’ve ended up here, after all.
The cultural shift towards smaller devices has affected sales, of course, but the shift has also meant brands have to work harder to develop better technology at a lower cost to consumers. This also means there is serious scope for major deals and price cuts over Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Whether you’re in the market for a new laptop to work from home with ease or you simply want to upgrade an older model, there is no better time to invest. Black Friday 2019 (November 29, to be precise) promises price cuts galore.
How to shop for a laptop
Select an operating system
If you want MacOS – arguably the most intuitive and modern of those available – you are looking for an Apple laptop (see: MacBooks). Alternatively, you can hunt for a Windows laptop; the operating system is more common than MacOS and offers the widest range of program compatibility (especially useful if you’re looking to work on your laptop). At a lower price point, you could also opt for a Chromebook — a streamlined version boasting many of the same basic functionality (internet, word processing, etc).
Check the specs
You’ll want to invest in something fit for purpose, and everyone’s needs are different. Screen size, weight, memory, graphics capabilities and battery life will affect each laptop’s suitability for you, and you may be willing to make sacrifices on one feature to get a great deal on another. Make sure you read the specs in detail so your purchase meets expectations. If you're not sure what all the jargon means, here's a handy reference guide.
RAM: This is your laptop’s memory. 4GB is acceptable as a minimum but 8GB or more is recommended for a high performance model and/or all-day daily use.
CPU: The Central Processing Unit is the processor responsible for running the programs on your laptop. Look out for models with multiple 'cores' as each CPU core optimises performance; an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor will do a great job.
GPU: Here, we're talking graphics cards – the tiny cards which process visuals. Each GPU is nuanced, so it’s worth researching each specifically to ensure it is powerful enough for your needs. High-end gaming laptops will require something special, like the Nvidia GeForce or AMD Radeon series.
Solid state drive (SSD) vs hard disk drive (HDD): This is tech slang for storage. Many laptops now come with an SSD, which is more expensive but performs faster. Both do the same job, but HDDs are still the preference for cost-consumers (everything simply runs a little bit slower).
Resolution:Screen resolution will determine the quality of the things you read and watch. Every display panel is made of pixels and more pixels mean more detail. Look out for a resolution of 1920 x 1080 or higher. Many brands use additional slang terms (like Retina, QHD, and UHD) but you'll want to focus on the numbers themselves to simplify your comparison.
To touch-screen or not to touch-screen
Many newer Windows laptops come with this handy feature which can offer a lot to younger, older, or more artistic types. Some touch screen models will be described as ‘2 in 1 laptops’ as they can be used as a laptop or tablet. If you opt for a detachable keyboard, make sure you test it for comfort beforehand; the preference is often entirely subjective.
Popular models like Apple's MacBook Pros still sell well and boast a lot of buzz, so they will be considerably more expensive than non-Apple laptops. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they are also the least likely to be discounted. Typically, you’ll come across price cuts of no more than £200 on Apple laptops.
Choose a price bracket
Once you get to grips with your desired specifications, you need to find the best option within your budget. From Black Fridays past, we expect good netbooks and Chromebook deals available for as little as £100, low to mid-range laptops for £300 or so, and high-end and gaming laptop deals around £600.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday laptop deal predictions
As a general rule of thumb, the best Black Friday laptop deals will deduct roughly 20 per cent from the laptop’s RRP. It can be difficult for retailers to hold on to much of a margin if they deduct 30 per cent or above, so make sure you double-check a laptop’s specifications and reviews if you come across a deal that looks too good to be true.
Starting at the most affordable end of scale, we expect to see a number of Chromebooks on sale throughout Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Popular and powerful-for-the-category models like the Acer Chromebook 14 CB3-431 and HP Chromebook 14-ca000na have already been reduced to £199.99 on Amazon, suggesting we may be able to see some of the best Chromebooks reduced to as little as £150 come Black Friday.
If you’re looking for a great laptop that does it all, with no specific high-tech requirements, you can expect to be inundated with suitable Black Friday deals from the likes of HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, Huawei and more. This HP 14-cf1506sa has been reduced to £449 (a great deal for a laptop with an i4 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD in an upgraded gold frame) from £599 and this Lenovo IdeaPad 330s (with an i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD storage) has already been reduced from £499.99 to £399.99.
Appleheads will also be pleased to learn Black Friday 2019 looks particularly promising for MacBook deals. An incredibly powerful 15-inch MacBook Pro with a super-speedy i7 processor and 16GB RAM has already been reduced from £2,139 to £1,799 at John Lewis, while this lighter and littler 13-inch MacBook Air (not much of a downgrade, bar a marginally slower i5 processor) has already been reduced to Argos’ lowest ever price – £949.
Finally, at the super-powered top-end, we have gaming laptops. Most of which should come with 1TB HDD storage as standard. Many gaming laptops will still cost upwards of £1,000 in the Black Friday sales, but we expect dedicated gamers will still benefit from £100s off laptops with the highest specs. This 17.3-inch HP Omen (a powerful blend of i7 9750H processor, Hex core processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB HDD storage and a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card) packs the most powerful punch in modern gaming and has already been reduced by £200, suggesting it may be reduced to as little as £1,200 come Black Friday.
Additionally, Ebuyer feature unusually rare Black Friday laptop deals – particularly on Erazer gaming laptops – so keep them in mind for a pre-sale browse throughout November. The sensational Medion Erazer P6679 (i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce 950M, and more) has already been reduced to £499.97.
As you might expect, our predictions will become increasingly concise over the coming weeks as brands and retailers announce their best Black Friday laptop deals. Bookmark this page to hear about them first.