Black Friday 2021 Laptop Deals: What Chromebook and MacBook Offers Can You Expect?
If Black Friday is known for anything, it's the excellent deals on electronics, particularly laptops. What other time of year can you find a vast selection of these items at rock-bottom prices, from brands you actually recognize? You might get lucky with a few laptop deals throughout the year, but Black Friday is where it's at for the most part.
Check out our guide to Black Friday laptop deals in 2021, including how low we expect to see prices go for MacBooks, Chromebooks, and Windows laptops. We also go over a few things to know about shopping this year.
The Best Black Friday Laptop Deals in 2021
- Chromebooks From $99 at Best Buy — We don't have any further details at this point, but that $99 price still beats our predictions by $30.
- HP Chromebook 11a-nb0047nr for $149.99 at HP — This offer takes 42% off, putting the Chromebook model at the lowest price we've seen.
- HP ZBook Studio 15.6" G8 Mobile Workstation for 60% off at HP — This doorbuster is one of the heftiest discounts you'll find in HP's Black Friday ad, and is going to be available on November 28 and 29.
- HP EliteBook 840 G8 Notebook PC for $1,093 at HP — Similar laptop models were priced around $1,650 a month ago, but you can score this doorbuster from November 25-27.
- Select Fire HD Tablets for up to 50% off at Amazon — Depending on which tablets you're eyeing, you could end up saving a lot on these already affordable devices.
NOTE: The information below was assembled before the Black Friday ads came out. Please refer to the ads above before making any shopping plans.
Key Laptop Predictions
What to Expect From Black Friday 2021 Laptop Deals
Chromebooks Could Fall as Low as $129
Chromebooks can vary widely in price — in fact we've seen prices as low as $89 before during Black Friday sales. But some higher-end Chromebooks can easily cost as much as a full-blown laptop. The good news is that if you're in the market for a budget machine, you can expect to find new models at affordable prices this year.
You may have heard concerns surrounding the holiday shopping season, like the fact that we could see a smaller selection or deal with stocking issues due to supply chain disruptions, shipping delays, labor shortages, and other challenges. Because of these issues, we're not expecting to see Chromebook prices go as low as they have in previous years. Last year we saw basic models drop to $129, and it's probably a safe bet to expect similar deals this year. That $129 machine was an HP Chromebook with the following specs:
- Intel Celeron N3350 1.1GHz Apollo Lake dual-core processor
- 14" 1366x768 (720p) touchscreen
- 4GB RAM
- 32GB eMMC storage
Note that this deal was at Best Buy, but it was limited to select ZIP codes and only available at that price for pickup. That doesn't mean we won't see prices fall that low this year. Just be aware that the best offers may involve jumping through a couple of hoops, rather than simply ordering online and waiting for the product to show up at your door.
MacBooks Will Be Bundled With Gift Cards
Apple doesn't really have a Black Friday sale — at least, not in the traditional sense. Instead, the retailer tends to offer its items at full price, but bundled with gift cards. Historically, we've seen the gift card amounts go as high as $200, but last year Apple only offered gift cards worth up to $150.
You may expect that higher-priced items will get you the biggest bonus gift cards. However, that's not necessarily the case. For instance, last year shoppers received a $150 gift card with purchases of the latest MacBook Pro 16" or the iMac 21.5". But what about the folks who wanted a new MacBook Pro 13"? They'd only receive a $50 gift card for the purchase. Considering the retail price of these Apple laptops now starts at $1,299, that's not a huge incentive to pay full price.
Fortunately, we do expect to see other Black Friday deals on MacBooks — you'll just have to be prepared to shop elsewhere. Last year, Adorama knocked $100 off the price of the 2020 MacBook Pro 13" during Cyber Week. Looking for a MacBook Air? We saw early 2020 models drop as low as $799 on Cyber Monday; that's $200 cheaper than what a MacBook Air normally starts at. If you opted to buy the same computer from Apple, though, you'd pay full price and receive a $50 gift card. To each their own, but we think you'll find better Apple laptop Black Friday deals when shopping elsewhere.
Budget Windows Laptops Could Cost $200 or Less
Laptops can be a pricey investment, but around Black Friday you can snag a great deal on a budget Windows machine. We often see laptops from major brands drop to $200 or less, so if you need a basic setup to handle surfing the internet, email, writing, and admin tasks, these are usually a pretty solid bet. Windows machines also tend to make up the bulk of the laptop deals we see around Black Friday. In fact, roughly 90% of the laptop deals we saw during Black Friday and Cyber Week last year were for laptops running Windows. Needless to say, you should have a healthy selection to choose from.
Last year, we saw a Lenovo IdeaPad 1 with the following specs drop to only $170 over Black Friday weekend:
- AMD 3020e 1.20GHz dual-core CPU
- 11.6" 1366x768 anti-glare display
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB eMMC
This deal was so great, it earned our Staff Pick designation, a badge of honor we reserve for offers we find that are the best of the best. However, it wasn't the only laptop that we saw drop below $200. It wasn't even the only budget laptop that earned our Staff Pick accolades. We also saw a Dell Inspiron 15 3000 laptop from Dell itself for only $180. It had the following specs:
- Intel Celeron 4205U Whiskey Lake 1.8GHz dual-core CPU
- 15.6" 1366x768 (720p) LED display
- 4GB RAM
- 128GB SSD
What to Know When Shopping Black Friday Laptops
Items Will Likely Sell Out Quickly
By now, many consumers are aware of the ongoing supply chain disruptions that are causing stock issues. The biggest thing to remember when perusing the Black Friday ads this year is that items are likely to sell out quickly, whether they're a good deal or not. Consequently, this means that even if you don't like the cost of a product, you may still want to snag it while you can.
Retailers are already having trouble keeping certain items on shelves, and Black Friday is only going to increase this problem. If you see something during the holiday you want, you might not want to risk waiting until Cyber Week or later to see if it drops further in price. There's a good chance you may miss out altogether that way.
The Selection May Be Smaller
Supply chain disruptions, shipping delays, and labor shortages may also mean that the selection will be smaller this year, compared to previous Black Fridays. We might not see Black Friday deals on laptops go as low in 2021 as they would in a so-called "normal" year, and the inventory could be further limited in scope. We may also see fewer options to choose from in general.
Shipping Delays Are Almost a Guarantee
If you're shopping online and hoping to get items by the winter holidays, beware that once again, shipping delays are expected. Retailers, especially independent ones, have already been warning shoppers that delays are practically a guarantee. And that means you need to start thinking about your holiday shopping now — maybe consider a backup plan, too, just in case the items don't arrive in time.