Best Black Friday laptop deals

Laptop Computers

Microsoft claims that you only need 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space to run Windows, but that’s not very realistic. 4GB is really the bare minimum for running most programs in 2021, and just about everyone will notice a big speed increase when moving from 4GB to 8GB.

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When is the best time to buy a laptop?

The holiday season is routinely the best time of year to shop for electronics, especially computers. While there might be a shortage of computer chips in some industries, there’s no lack of great early-season deals on powerful and efficient laptops.

Finding a good laptop at a great price

There are a few things to keep in mind when searching for an affordable laptop. The most common sizes range from 13 inches to 15 inches, and it’s pretty rare — though not unheard of — to find heavily discounted 17-inch laptops. In that vein, the vast majority of notebooks on sale this time of year offer 1080p displays, with a rare few delving into the 1440p range. To keep it in perspective, though, you’ll barely be able to tell the difference between FHD (full HD) and QHD (quarter of full HD) resolution on a 15-inch screen, if you can tell a difference at all.

There is something important to mention when it comes to getting a good deal on a laptop, specifically with regard to components and Windows performance. Microsoft claims that you only need 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space to run Windows, but that’s not very realistic. 4GB is really the bare minimum for running most programs in 2021, and just about everyone will notice a big speed increase when moving from 4GB to 8GB. Similarly, a 64GB system drive will leave you hurting for space even before you’ve fully downloaded the latest Windows update. Always shoot for a 128GB storage drive at minimum.

Of course, Windows isn’t the only game in town when it comes to laptops. If you’re a fan of efficiency and minimalism, a Chromebook running the Chrome OS might be right for you. Chromebooks don’t offer the same wide-ranging software compatibility as Windows laptops do, but they do have access to the Google Play Store, where there are plenty of fun and productive apps to choose from. Chromebooks are also usually highly compact and, most importantly, significantly less expensive than Windows laptops.

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Get your early holiday shopping done while these deals last

Dell Inspiron 15 3000

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 

While it doesn’t sport the ultimate high-end components, most of the parts inside this budget-friendly model are relatively recent, which ensures that it’s every bit as efficient as the most premium laptops on the market. In fact, its sale price is about as low as you can expect to pay for a Windows-ready laptop. All in all, this notebook is one of the best deals of the early holiday season and boasts the dependable construction Dell’s laptops are known for.

Sold by Dell

Dell Inspiron 13 5310

Dell Inspiron 13 5310

This is a high-end version of Dell’s mid-range lineup and it offers a host of powerful hardware to go along with its premium fit and finish. With 16GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7-11370H CPU, it has the power to handle resource-intensive programs while accommodating in-depth multitasking. Its Intel Xe integrated GPU is even capable of playing some recent games on the great-looking 1440p panel, which delivers about as crisp of an image as you’ll find on any notebook.

Sold by Amazon

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Apple MacBook Air 2020

With Apple’s recent announcement of a new line of products including significantly updated MacBook Pro models, it’s no surprise that last year’s MacBook Air is seeing some hefty discounts, and those are expected to extend throughout much of the holiday season. The 2020 MacBook lineup was renowned for its introduction of Apple’s first in-house chip and the further streamlining of the macOS operating system to allow for great performance using the novel silicon. With a FaceTime HD camera, Touch ID and three colors to choose from, this slim and light laptop offers the convenience everyone has come to expect from Apple.

Sold by Amazon

Dell G15 Gaming

Dell G15 Gaming

Computer hardware, particularly the kind meant for PC gaming, has been relatively hard to come by at reasonable prices for some time now. Nobody told that to the Dell G15, though, which is equipped with a great mid-range Intel Core i5 processor and an RTX 3050 Ti graphics processor and, surprisingly, doesn’t cost a fortune. A 512GB solid-state drive ensures short boot and load times, and although it only comes with 8GB of system memory, there are two RAM slots inside so you can upgrade if you feel the need.

Sold by Dell

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro

Samsung rightfully gets a lot of press for their advanced smartphones, but they still make excellent notebooks in various price ranges. One of their top performers and most well-engineered models, the Galaxy Book Pro is among the rare laptops with an AMOLED screen, which promises bright and bold colors that won’t wash out when viewed at an angle, and an essentially infinite contrast ratio with perfect black levels. It claims a remarkable 20-hour battery life as part of its Intel Evo certification for ultraportable notebook PCs. There’s also a 13-inch version with an Intel Core i5 CPU, and it’s even more affordable.

Sold by Amazon

Acer Swift 3

Acer Swift 3

Few manufacturers are more dedicated to affordable yet powerful laptops than Acer, and for yet one more year running, the Acer Swift 3 is one of the top low-cost options available. In fact, with a Ryzen 7 5700U processor, WiFi 6 and half a terabyte of NVMe storage, it performs on the same level as models far more expensive. It also offers a higher-quality screen than most other laptops in its price range, boasting 100% sRGB gamut coverage and a relatively slim bezel.

Sold by Amazon

Acer Swift 5

Acer Swift 5

The Swift 5 is pretty high up in Acer’s normally budget-minded lineup and it’s definitely built for a streamlined work experience. Aside from the powerful hardware inside, it sports a backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader and antimicrobial coating that, all together, make it the ideal choice for getting important work done in a coworking space, coffee shop or anywhere else you decide to make your office for the day.

Sold by Amazon

Razer Book 13

Razer Book 13

Razer typically sells some of the most renowned gaming hardware in the world and it rarely sees any discounts. In contrast, the Razer Book 13 takes the company’s design skills and applies them to a business-friendly laptop that’s lightweight, durable and particularly fast — as long as you’re not using it for high-frame-rate gaming. Of particular note are the especially slim bezel and 16:10 aspect ratio that make it a pleasure to look at all day. It also offers a better quality keyboard than most of its competitors.

Sold by Amazon

Samsung Chromebook Plus V2

Samsung Chromebook Plus V2

Halfway between a smartphone and a Windows laptop lies the Chromebook, which runs the lightweight Chrome OS that’s essentially a laptop-oriented fork of the worldwide-leading Android operating system. Samsung’s most recent take on a Chromebook yields a straightforward, no-frills design that’s at the same time unassuming yet better looking and more practical than most other Chromebooks. It weighs under 3 pounds, has front- and rear-facing cameras, and uses a highly precise digital stylus.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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