4 Tips for Shopping Black Friday Laptop Deals in 2020
1. Make a Wish List
Take your budget and decide which laptop features you deem essential. If those specs aren't doable within your budget, see if you can compromise somewhere. Maybe you can cut back on the amount of device memory or storage, for instance. If you can, you could still end up with a machine that comes close to matching your wish list.
2. Decide on an Operating System
Selecting an operating system could help when you're figuring out a laptop budget in the first place. A Chromebook with Chrome OS is usually more affordable than, say, a MacBook with macOS. But not always! Still, by choosing the OS you're comfortable with — and one that can handle the tasks you want to do on your laptop — you'll get a better idea of how much you could be spending.
3. Test Features in Person (If You Can)
Before buying a new laptop online, see if you can visit a store like Best Buy and use the model in person. That way, you can put your hands on the keyboard and touchpad and see if you like them. An in-store visit is also a good way to judge whether a smaller laptop will work for you, or if you need to spring for something larger to work comfortably.
4. Don't Buy More Than You Need
If you're looking for a basic machine so you can browse the web, handle emails, and maybe do some light writing, there's no reason to opt for a heavy-duty gaming laptop when a Chromebook will suffice. Make sure you know what you're looking for in a laptop before you decide on a model to buy — this will help you avoid overspending.
The Best Black Friday Laptop Deals Preview
Apple Will Bundle MacBooks With Gift Cards
Apple is notorious for not having a big Black Friday sale, nor does it offer discounts to celebrate. The closest it comes is bundling different products with gift cards worth up to $200. However, in order to receive the biggest gift cards, you typically have to buy the most expensive devices. So if you want a brand-new MacBook and plan on spending $200 at Apple (which isn't hard), this is a deal worth waiting for until Black Friday.
If you don't want to deal with gift cards and don't mind owning refurbished or open-box items, keep an eye out for those types of products around Black Friday, too. Just be aware that the newer the model, the less of a discount deals generally carry. For instance, some of the best Apple laptop prices we've seen this year have been for refurbished MacBook Pros from 2012, which cost $300. But if you want a newer machine, the price understandably jumps up. Because of that, you can expect to spend at least $900 on a 2020 MacBook — and it likely won't have the highest specs available.
Name-Brand Chromebooks Will Fall to $99 or Less
Chromebooks can be affordable tech options, though higher-end models can cost as much as a standard laptop and have similar capabilities. But even if you're looking for the cheapest of these machines, that doesn't mean you're stuck with no-name brands; there are plenty of name-brand options to choose from.
Around Black Friday last year, for example, we saw a Lenovo Chromebook for $90 with the following specs:
- MediaTek MT8173C 2.1GHz dual-core processor
- 11.6" 1366x768 touchscreen
- 4GB RAM
- 16GB flash storage
If you wanted a Chromebook for Black Friday with a little more power, you could get a $349 HP Chromebook on eBay with the following specs:
- Intel Core i3-8130U 2.2GHz Kaby Lake dual-core processor
- 14" 1920x1080 touchscreen LCD
- 8GB RAM
- 64GB SSD
Additionally, last Black Friday season brought a few Chromebook sales to shop, if individual deals didn't meet your needs. For instance, Amazon knocked up to 40% off Chromebooks during its sale, and eBay offered new and refurbished laptops for $399 or less during its event.
Budget Windows Laptops Will Hit $200
While some Windows laptops could be as cheap as $99 around Black Friday — we saw Lenovo IdeaPads for this price last year — we're expecting most basic builds to cost around $200.
For example, in 2019 we saw a Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop for $200. It had the following specs:
- AMD A9-9420e 1.8GHz dual-core processor
- 11.6" 1366x768 (720p) touchscreen display
- 4GB memory
- 500GB storage
- Windows 10 Home
We also expect to see plenty of models between $99 and $200, with some even earning our Staff Pick designation, reserved for deals we consider the "best of the best." On Black Friday 2019, for instance, we posted a Staff Pick deal for a $179 Lenovo IdeaPad S145 laptop with the following specs:
- Intel Celeron 4205U 1.8GHz Whiskey Lake dual-core processor
- 15.6" 1366x768 (720p) display
- 4GB RAM
- 128GB SSD
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit
If you don't mind refurbished items, check out the Dell Refurbished Store. You can expect to score 50% to 60% off various Dell models there, including the Dell Latitude E5450 and E7470 lines. Additionally, the retailer offered 40% off sitewide on Black Friday last year, and 50% off orders of $499.
Looking for a gaming computer? We could see Alienware models for around $1,000 this Black Friday. Last year, one of our Staff Picks was an Alienware m15 i7 6-core 16" gaming laptop. For $1,058 at Dell Home, gamers could snag the following specs:
- Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz Coffee Lake 6-core processor
- 15.6" 1920x1080 (1080p) IPS LCD
- 16GB RAM
- 128GB SSD
- 1TB (plus 8GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit