OUR TOP PICK: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 — save $249.01
BEST APPLE DEAL: 2020 Apple MacBook Air — save $100
BEST LENOVO DEAL: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 — save $1,324.50
BEST GAMING DEAL: Razer Blade 15 — save $600
BEST 2-IN-1 DEAL: Asus Chromebook Flip C434 — save $140.99
What’s better than a great laptop? A great laptop that’s cheap. Nowadays, even budget machines can pack the punch to carry you through whatever’s on your to-do list, whether it’s work, watching Netflix, or endlessly browsing your go-to social media sites. If you’re looking to pick up a new laptop yourself but don’t necessarily want to drop your life savings in one go, we’ll be compiling a list of the best deals on cheap laptops right here, each and every week. So, take a look at what we found this time around, and happy shopping.
OUR TOP PICK: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 — $1,049.99
The clean and elegant Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is up to two times faster than its predecessor and can last you most of the day with its 11.5-hour battery life (plus a one-hour quick charge feature that can get you back up to 80% battery). If you’ve been holding off on buying a MacBook because you have an aversion is Apple’s OS, the Surface Laptop 3 may be your answer.
BEST APPLE DEAL: 2020 Apple MacBook Air — $899
Apple’s latest set of MacBooks with their new M1 chip are a giant leap in processing power compared to older models. The MacBook Air now offers up to 18 hours of battery life, and faster SSD performance than ever. Get one at Amazon and save $100.
BEST LENOVO DEAL: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 — $1,374.50
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 is a fantastic work laptop, boasting excellent performance and features that’ll please any non-Mac user. The included 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10510U processor is speedy and responsive, making for a smooth experience each and every time you open the device. You’ll also get other sought-after perks like a fingerprint reader, Dolby Atmos speaker system, a 4K display, almost 20 hours of battery life on a single charge, and the tough construction that ThinkPad laptops have become known for.
BEST GAMING DEAL: Razer Blade 15 — $1,699.99
The Razer Blade 15 is packed with solid internals that’ll work well for PC gaming newbies and seasoned players alike. Under the hood, you’ll get a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor with up to 5.0 GHz max turbo and 6 cores, as well as an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card that has the power to run some pretty visually intense games. The 144Hz screen provides buttery-smooth framerate performance and offers full HD visuals within a bezel-less display. It’s all housed within a thin, compact body that you can take anywhere.
BEST 2-IN-1 DEAL: Asus Chromebook Flip C434 — $429
Having your laptop and your tablet in one place is a convenience that you need in your life. The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is a fantastic budget 2-in-1 device, with speedy performance, a full HD touchscreen, and components that should be able to handle all of your daily tasks.
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How to shop for a new laptop:
Choosing a laptop is entirely dependent on what you’ll be using it for. Beginner laptop owners need something user-friendly and straightforward, frequent travelers need something light with a long battery life, designers and gamers need top-notch 4K graphics and quick central processors, and everyone needs something that will last. The first thing you should do is ask yourself a simple question: PC or Mac? This is an important question, as it’s going to make a world of difference in what you can and can’t do with your computer. Are you a gamer? A video editor? A business professional? An Apple device owner? The answer to any of these will probably point you towards your final answer. If you’re constantly buying the new iPhone every year, editing YouTube videos, recording a podcast, or other creative endeavors of the sort, your best bet may be a Mac laptop. Apple obsessives will be happy with their Mac’s compatibility with their other Apple products, and everyone can benefit from Macs’ propensity to have better virus protection than that of a PC. That brings us to the perks of picking up a PC. You can still complete a number of creative projects on a personal computer, but where PCs really shine are their options for customization. PCs are much easier to upgrade part-by-part, as they aren’t constrained to Apple-manufactured products (like Macs). And because there is a seemingly endless supply of PC manufacturers, there are a lot more options from what brand you chose, to the software you buy, to the type of graphics card you pick out for your gaming rig. Yes, gamers should always go the PC route — they are far more powerful than what a Mac laptop can handle, and also give you the option to connect VR headsets, if you’re into that sort of thing.
What size laptop should you get?
This really comes down to two things: Personal preference and lifestyle. Personal preference is self-explanatory, really — do you like having a huge display, or do you prefer something more compact? Lifestyle is where practicality comes into play. If you’re traveling often and usually have your computer on your back in some way, you’re going to want to go with something more light and compact (thin, 11-inch models will most likely be the best). But, if you’re a huge movie buff who doesn’t normally take their laptop on the road with them, spring for a 15-inch (and higher) screen with a bulky construction so you can have epic Netflix and chill sessions. If you’re getting a gaming laptop, you should probably “go big or go home,” as well.
How much should you spend on a new laptop?
This is much more subjective, and at the end of the day, it’s really going to come down to your budget. But, if money isn’t the number one concern for you, you should really think hard about what you’re going to use your laptop for. Need a device with lots of power under the hood and bountiful storage space? Aim for something in the $800 and beyond range. Only using your laptop to edit the occasional Google Doc? Then you can probably get away with spending way below the $500 mark. In other words, don’t blow your savings if you don’t need to. And if you’re looking to go all out, meaning buying a laptop with every bell and whistle imaginable, you can get a monster of a machine for somewhere closer to $2,000. Why not.
Are cheap laptops worth it?
You know the old saying: You get what you pay for. But thanks to the technology boom of the last few decades, a cheap laptop can actually take you pretty far and won’t break down immediately. It’s all about knowing which one to select. Depending on what you use your laptop for the most, staying stingy might be your best option. Check out our roundups for the ones that we think are worth it — here are our favorite cheap laptop models under $500, and the best under $300.
What does it mean when a laptop is certified refurbished?
Don’t let the words “refurbished” or “renewed” scare you away — these types of devices are usually perfectly viable options and can end up saving you a lot of money without sacrificing much of anything. A refurbished device, in its simplest terms, is a product that has been bought, but then returned for some reason. Notice that we didn’t necessarily say that it was returned due to some sort of fault on the device’s part. While that can certainly be true in some cases, it isn’t always. Oftentimes, a certified refurbished laptop never even left its original packaging. While yes, saving money is a huge benefit of buying a “refurb,” it’s far from the only reason to consider getting one. What’s great about refurbished devices is that they undergo rigorous performance tests to ensure that they are still in good condition (sometimes more strictly than the stuff coming right off the production line). There’s also a chance that any refurbished laptop you buy may have been so lightly used, that it could almost be considered brand-new (just way cheaper). We’re big fans of buying refurbished gear for kids, especially when it comes to electronics. If you’re shopping for a laptop for a kid who is under the age of 15, then refurbished is really the way to go. For kids of high school age and beyond who are a bit more careful with their digital gear, then a new laptop isn’t as risky. Of course, it depends on the kid. Happy laptop shopping!