Black Friday is sure to bring a ton of deals to quality laptops, and you’re sure to find a really great value while shopping around. There will likely be so many options on sale that having a bit of extra knowledge in your back pocket will help you get exactly what you need. You’ll want to know the intended purpose for the laptop, what specs are appropriate, what size screen you prefer, and more.
Source: Windows Central
Let’s break down what you should search out in a laptop, what’s important to look for on Black Friday, and how you can score the best deal.
How do I pick the right laptop?
There are a number of considerations to make when buying a laptop, no matter the day, because you don’t want to get stuck with a device that doesn’t work for you. Other than avoiding five major mistakes people make on Black Friday, you want to first decide on a form factor. If you’re perfectly happy with a clamshell notebook, you can usually save a bit of money by avoiding a convertible or 2-in-1. If you’d rather sometimes (or mostly) use your laptop as a tablet, the extra money usually tacked onto a convertible will be well worth the money.
The next thing you want to consider is display size and resolution. If you’re a multitasker, a larger display is generally preferred. It’s tough to keep multiple windows open on a 13-inch laptop, whereas a 15- or 17-inch model offers considerably more screen real estate. It’s recommended you don’t go for less than a 1080p (FHD) resolution no matter how great the deal is, while 1440p (QHD) is a great middle-ground leading up to 4K (UHD). You’re going to get the best picture with 4K, but keep in mind that it’s generally a significant drain on battery life. If you want your device to last as long as possible between charges, consider a lower resolution and pay attention to battery size and in-depth reviews.
Internal hardware is paramount to a great laptop, but you don’t want to buy the most expensive model available in your budget and hope it fits. Buying too much hardware is as frustrating as buying too little hardware. If you don’t plan on any specialized tasks like gaming or editing, you probably don’t need to spend extra on a laptop with a dedicated graphics card (GPU). Just want to tackle productivity work? Get a modern processor (CPU), about 8GB of RAM, and enough storage to handle your data. Pay attention to whether the laptop includes a hard-disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD); the latter is much faster than the former, though prices will rise accordingly.
Keyboard and touchpad can be tough to gauge, especially if you’re shopping online, which again is where laptop reviews come into play. Try to find a keyboard with a backlight — consider a number pad if you’re working on spreadsheets — and keep in mind that a touchpad with Precision drivers will offer the best pointing experience. As for ports, make sure you have the right I/O for your accessories. If the laptop in question includes USB-C or Thunderbolt 3, you can always check out a quality docking station to expand connectivity.
What do I need to look for in a gaming PC?
Source: Windows Central
Gaming PCs are a special breed of laptop, usually with stylized designs and RGB lighting, high-performance display, plenty of ports, and powerful internal hardware. First, consider how aggressive of a design you’re comfortable with. If you’re not one for flashing lights and tons of plastic, go with a more reserved build. You’ll likely be taking this with you when you hit the road, so be sure to get something you want to show off.
A 1440p display with a 200Hz refresh rate might sound amazing (and it is), but can the performance hardware inside keep up? There’s no sense paying for a premium display (especially 4K) if you’re going to outfit the laptop with hardware that’s better suited for 1080p at a 144Hz refresh rate. FHD and QHD displays are most popular for PC gaming; they’ll offer the smoothest picture, especially with G-Sync or FreeSync tech included. 4K might look the best, but your refresh rate will likely top out at 60Hz and you’ll need to include powerful hardware to push the resolution.
When buying a gaming laptop, ask yourself what types of games you plan on playing. If you generally stick to indie titles or older games, you can save some money on a lesser dedicated GPU with 2GB or 4GB of VRAM. On the other hand, if you’re concerned with modern AAA games that push performance, you’ll likely want to add the best hardware possible in your budget.
What are the most important things to look for when comparing models?
New laptops are released constantly, often with only slightly refreshed components to keep up with trends. For example, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 is a formidable 2-in-1 device with the latest 10th-Gen Intel Core CPUs, a USB-C port, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, but otherwise it’s basically the same as the older Surface Pro 6. You’re still going to get a high-res touch display, premium design, and stellar performance, albeit generally for less than the latest model.
When comparing laptops, especially similar devices from different generations, make sure you’re not paying extra for the name alone. Watch out for minor performance refreshes, observe port selection, and note if there are any differences in the display. This goes for laptop models from different manufacturers as well. You might pay more for a laptop with the identical performance from, say, Dell as you would from HP, only because it was released more recently.
Best Black Friday Laptop Deals
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 — $310 off at Best Buy
The latest in the Surface Pro line from Microsoft brings 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs, a USB-C port, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and a full workday of battery life. It will beat out the Pro 6 in terms of performance, and it’s still the go-to option for any people on the move who need to tackle a heavy workload. Add a Surface Pen for a quality inking experience.
Latest in the Pro lineup
The refreshed Surface Pro 7 delivers a premium 2-in-1 experience for anyone who wants strong performance and a high-res touch display.
959 $310 Off
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) — $200 off at Dell
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is out top pick for best Windows laptops of 2019. The convertible design offers tablet and notebook versatility, the design and build are nothing less than premium, and it’s available with 10th Gen Intel hardware. The touch display is available in 4K HDR and supports inking, and battery life gets you through a workday.
Premium convertible Ultrabook
The new XPS 13 2-in-1 is a spectacular and fun convertible Ultrabook that brings the best of today’s technology into one device.
$1,650 $200 Off
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) — $1,107 off at Lenovo
Need a powerful business partner? Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) brings 9th Gen Intel Core CPUs, dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM, and your choice of RAM and speedy M.2 PCIe SSD. It’s built strong to ThinkPad standards, and the 15.6-inch display is perfect for multitasking.
Powerful business Ultrabook
The durable ThinkPad X1 Extreme is cut out for a hard day’s work thanks to long battery life and performance hardware.
2,459 $1,107 Off
Alienware m15 R2 — Up to $480 off at Dell
Dell’s refreshed Alienware m15 lineup brings 9th Gen Intel Core CPU options, up to a NVIDIA RTX 2080 dedicated GPU, plenty of RAM and speedy PCIe storage, and your choice of stunning 1080p or 4K display. If you need a high-performance gaming laptop with modern design, this is a great option.
15-inch gaming machine
With plenty of powerful configuration options available at a competitive price, the Alienware m15 R2 is a solid pick for anyone with gaming in mind.
$2,529 $480 Off
HP Omen — $400 off at Walmart
If you’re not interested in pushing the limits of AAA games at a 4K resolution., HP’s Omen gaming laptop can save you a good chunk of change. It includes a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti dedicated GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, suitable for pushing the upper limits of the 15.6-inch FHD display with 144Hz refresh rate. Included in an Omen gaming mouse and headset.
Includes headset and mouse
Master 1080p gaming at 144Hz with the HP Omen 15, including powerful CPU and mid-range NVIDIA dedicated GPU.
$1,399 $400 Off
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