Best cheap laptop
Lenovo S130-11IGM Intel Celeron, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC SSD, 11.6 inch HD Laptop - Mineral Grey from Very.co.uk
This Lenovo laptop is only £199.99 and has an overall customer rating of 4 stars.View details
Best business laptop
2018 Apple MacBook Pro 13" Touch Bar, Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Silver from John Lewis & Partners
Macbooks are known for their processing power and versatility so whether you're processing data or designing graphics, this Macbook will make your work a breeze.View details
Best student laptop
HP 250 G7 Core i7-8565U 8GB 256GB SSD 15.6 Inch Windows 10 Pro Laptop from Laptops Direct
This HP laptop is the bestselling student laptop model at laptops.co.uk and boasts impressive reviews.View details
Best small laptop
HP Chromebook 14-db0003na A4-9120 Processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC SSD, 14 inch Laptop - Smoke Grey from Very.co.uk
This 14 inch Chromebook weighs a tiny 1.54kg but has surprising power and reviews of 3.5 stars.View details
Where to buy laptops online
When is the best time to buy a laptop?
Many people think Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great opportunities to score bargains on a new laptop. While you might be lucky enough to find a few specific deals during that last week in November, electronics, in general, might not be at their best value during this time.
Finder research from 2020 compared the price points of various products before Black Friday, on Black Friday itself and on Cyber Monday too. Our Black Friday tracker data shows that the 4 electronic products we monitored over Black Friday were cheaper by 2.75%, which isn’t exactly much for the biggest sale event of the year!
Contrast this with fashion – on average, the 4 retail products we tracked in this category were 15.5% cheaper across the 16 price points we monitored.
What should I look for in a laptop?
There’s so much to get your head around when it comes to buying the right laptop for you. Below, we set out exactly what you’ll need to think about and what you should look for when doing your shopping.
Pick your operating system
Which laptop you opt for will depend on the system you prefer to run. Are you a Windows, Mac or Chrome user? Most laptops come with one of these three built-in.
Choosing one is literally down to personal preference but here’s a quick summary of what each system offers:
- Operating system that runs on the majority of laptops
- Windows 10 is especially good for students, researchers or business users
- Range of prices from cheaper notebooks to more expensive models
- Link up your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and your Macbook
- Siri – voice recognition software
- Apps dock rather than a taskbar
- The system usually runs on less expensive models
- Simple and secure but more limited than Microsoft and Apple
- Popular with schools and parents because of good functionality
- 11 to 12 inches: The thinnest and lightest system around, weighing 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.
- 13 to 14 inches: A good balance between portability and usage, usually weighing under 4 pounds.
- 15 to 16 inches: The most popular size, often weighing 4 to 5.5 pounds.
- 17 to 18 inches: The heaviest model with higher processing power – weighs up to 12 pounds.
- Good storage options. You get 100GB of free online storage when you buy a Chromebook and you can also save files to Google Drive.
- Very secure. Protected against viruses by default and doesn’t require a separate virus scanner.
- Long battery life. Light operating system means the device lasts a whole working day, without recharging.
- Limited capabilities. You can’t install programmes on your Chromebook like on other laptops. You only use internet applications from the Chrome Web Store and work with these in the Chrome internet browser.
- Advanced software. Edit photos and videos, plus selected models are good for gaming.
- More variety. Download and install any application from the Windows Store or the App Store.
- Stronger storage options. The hard drive or SSD can physically store your files, as well as in the cloud or on Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive.
- Antivirus programme. You’ll need an antivirus program or virus scanner to protect you against viruses, malware, and spyware on Windows laptops. MacBook models are less sensitive to viruses, but Apple’s built-in security won’t always protect you.
- Less energy-efficient. The more powerful hardware of Windows laptops and MacBook models often require more energy than a Chromebook, and will need to be recharged sooner.
Finder research 2020
Laptop jargon buster
RAM – Stands for random access memory, and the more the laptop has, the better it will run – don’t settle for less than 4GB.
Operating system – This runs stuff on your computer, either via Apple (Mac OS), or Microsoft (PC Windows 8).
Hard drive – The bigger the hard drive, the better for storing big projects, videos and music.
CPU – This stands for central processing unit, which is basically your computer’s brain.
Decide if you want a hybrid device
You can go one of two routes here – opt for the 2-in-1 model that can switch from tablet mode to a more traditional mode easily, such as a notebook. Or, you could get your hands on a traditional clamshell laptop with a bigger processor. The answer to this question will really depend on how you will use it, so think it over before making any hasty decisions.
Choose your size
This all comes down to how much you expect to be carrying around your new toy. If the answer is quite a lot, a lighter model is going to a better fit for you. But if your laptop will be on your desk all day, every day, opt for the larger shell with a bigger processer.
The options are:
Plan based on your budget
There are models for both ends of the spectrum, and somewhere in between. You can quite easily get your hands on a laptop for £150, but if you can siphon off a bit more, you’ll get a stronger system that offers better quality performance and display, especially in the region of £800.
What is RAM?
It’s the question on everyone’s lips – what the hell is RAM? Well, it stands for random access memory and it’s a very speedy component in all devices, including your future laptop. Without RAM, doing anything (and we mean anything at all) would be much, much slower.
In a nutshell, RAM temporarily stores a load of goodies on your device that it needs to use there and then. This is different from a hard drive, which provides long-term storage, but works slower.
Most of you are probably familiar with what’s it’s like when your laptop or computer doesn’t have enough RAM – painfully slow processing. That is if programs respond at all. So, when choosing your new laptop, go for somewhere around the 4GB RAM mark for the best results.
What is SSD?
SSD stands for solid-state drive and is found in all of the newest, ultra portal laptop models you will come across.
It performs the same basic function as a hard drive, but data is stored on interconnected flash memory chips instead. It’s for this reason that SSDs are much faster than traditional mechanical hard disks, which are often bulky and slow.
You’ll want to make sure the laptop you choose sits somewhere around the 120 GB SSD range for optimum performance.
Chromebooks vs laptops: What’s the difference?
Put simply, a Chromebook is a budget-friendly alternative to a laptop, whether that’s Windows or Mac models. Chromebooks run on the Google operating system Chrome OS.
Whether you opt for a Chromebook (or not) will depend on how you plan to use your new device. Are you a fan of Google Play and the apps it offers? A Chromebook could be a great buy for you. Or do you want more freedom when it comes to downloading and installing programmes and software? A Windows or Mac model is probably going to be a better investment.
Still unsure? Our tech experts have summarised the key features and drawbacks of each model below. You’re welcome!
Pros and cons of Chromebooks
Pros and cons of Windows or Mac laptops
What is good battery life for a laptop?
How many hours of juice you can get from this laptop model or that could be the deciding factor when it comes to picking your new toy. But what is a good battery life? While this depends on the make and the model, there are some universal truths…
Laptop models that give you 13 hours (or more) are on the impressive end of the spectrum. We’re talking about Dell and some Asus devices. While the 10-hour mark is the industry average and what you’d expect from the likes of Apple, Chromebooks and Acer models.
Got your eyes on what looks like the perfect device for you? If it’s got a battery life between 10 and 13 hours, that’s a good sign.
How much should I spend on a laptop?
If you’re on the hunt for a cheap laptop, you can buy one (and a good one at that) for around £250. Many Chromebooks sit around this price – a real steal if you can carry out your daily tasks on them without any bother.
But if you need to use more advanced programmes, or you want a model with stronger processing power, you’ll need to fork out between £400 and £1,000. Many HP, Dell, Acer, Asus and Macbook models sit within this price range, giving you lots more options.
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Top discounts for laptops October 2021
Dell for Business Sale now on!
Looking to upgrade your work tech? Dell's business sale is now on with great prices on desktops, laptops and workstations. Shop the biggest savings for a limited time only. T&Cs apply.
Save up to £300 on gaming laptops
If you're on the hunt for a good gaming laptop, Very is the right shop to stop by. Bag a bargain on one of the laptops today, save up to £300 on your order! T&Cs apply.
Up to £150 off selected Computing
If you're looking for a new Laptop you're at the right place! For a limited time only save up to £150 off selected Computing! T&Cs apply.
Up to £170 off Apple MacBook Air Laptops
Shop Apple MacBook Air laptops from Littlewoods and get up to £170 off the RRP! Shop now. T&Cs apply
Looking for a bargain? Browse out best tech deals below
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