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- The best times to buy a laptop are during the back-to-school and holiday seasons.
- That’s when you can expect big discounts on laptops of all prices and styles.
- Check out our guide to the best laptop deals, best laptops, and best cheap laptops.
There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a new laptop, but making sure you’re buying at the right time can make a difference.
A laptop should generally last between three and five years, depending on your usage and the quality of the product. Many laptops come with a one-year warranty, while other companies offer additional years of coverage with paid plans. Of course, these laptops should continue to work even after the warranties expire, especially if they are well protected and treated properly.
Our team has years of experience covering and researching laptops and has figured out the best times to get great deals. Below, we break down the best times to shop for a laptop and what to look for when choosing one.
The end of July through the middle of August is one of the best time periods of the year for laptop deals. Students of all ages are getting ready to go back to school, and this is the time when retailers try their best to cater to their needs.
Outlets like Staples, B&H, and Best Buy have online and in-store back-to-school deals, while Amazon —as well as individual manufacturers such as HP and Lenovo — have discounts on their websites.
Apple also jumps into the fray during this time of year, usually offering to throw in a free pair of headphones or Airpods with a qualifying student purchase. However, Apple does not tend to lower their already-discounted student pricing, instead opting to entice buyers with their extra offerings.
This means that it is sometimes possible to find more heavily discounted Apple laptops at other retailers, especially if you are willing to look at the previous years’ model.
Apple’s refurbished store also offers compelling discounts on older and sometimes even recent MacBook models. Check out some of the best deals in Apple’s refurbished store here.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The holiday shopping season is a great time to get deals on lots of different tech products, and laptops are no exception.
Retailers offer deals throughout this period and compete with each other to get the most sales. This means that they often adjust pricing on-the-fly to respond in realtime to competitors. Some stores also offer a price match guarantee, which means they will match the price of a competitor that’s selling the product for less.
Price tracking browser extensions like Honey and CamelCamelCamel can be especially useful during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These sites can track a product’s price history on Amazon so that you can see if a deal is really as good as it claims to be.
Those looking for a deal on a particular laptop model can try to avoid the time crunch and stock issues associated with holiday deals by setting an alert or keeping a browser page open to make sure you know exactly when the product goes on sale.
Amazon Prime Day
The Prime Day shopping event is full of deep discounts on the vast array of products available on Amazon, including laptops and other tech devices.
Amazon usually announces the date of Prime Day only a few weeks before the event, though it has historically been held during the second week of July. Last year’s Prime Day occured in October and was an exception. Its usual placement in July makes it a great time to kick off some of the back-to-school deals that otherwise arrive a little later in the month.
Once again, this is a great time to use a price tracker to make sure the deals you are seeing actually represent a big discount. It’s a good idea to check out the pricing of laptops during Prime Day even if you are not planning to immediately jump on a deal, as they can give you an idea of what to expect during the imminent back-to-school rush.
The laptop release cycle
When shopping for a laptop, it’s also helpful to have a sense of when new models are released. Many manufacturers like Lenovo, HP, Acer, and Dell debut new laptops at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in early January.
These new releases typically start to hit the retail shelves by February through April, which means that there are some steep discounts on the previous year’s models. The Computex show in June is another time of year when laptop makers like Asus and MSI unveil new devices.
Apple, Microsoft, and Google don’t typically announce major products at these trade shows and instead hold their own events to reveal new laptops.
Apple’s MacBook launch cycle varies greatly from year to year. But in recent years, it’s launched laptops in the spring, summer, and fall. during March and May, the summer in July, and the fall in October and November. Microsoft and Google tend to announce new products, including their respective Surface and Pixelbook laptops, in October.
Buying a laptop around the time that new ones are announced has its pros and cons. For those who don’t need the latest and greatest tech, it can be a great time to score discounts on older models as retailers clear out inventory to account for new releases.
But at the same time, it’s best to at least wait to learn more about what the newest model has to offer so that you can make a more informed buying decision.
How to buy a laptop
Choosing the right laptop often depends on individual needs. Here are some aspects to keep in mind when picking your next computer.
Operating System: A laptop’s operating system (OS) is its interface and software platform.. The most popular operating system is Microsoft Windows 10, which is found on essentially any new laptop that isn’t a MacBook or a Chromebook.
Apple’s computers run on its macOS software, which allows for tighter integration across other Apple products and services.
Chrome OS is the newest operating system on the market, but it’s already extremely popular. Chrome OS is a minimal operating system designed to work best with an internet connection. And of course, since it’s Google’s software, it comes with all of the search giant’s popular apps like Gmail and Google Docs built in.
Chrome OS loses a lot of its appeal without an internet connection, but you can download files for offline use and install apps from the Google Play Store.
Specs: The internal hardware of the laptop is often called the “specs” of the computer and will dictate how well the device performs various tasks. The processor (CPU) dictates the raw power of the device, while the memory (RAM) allows the computer to complete multiple tasks at once.
A graphics card (GPU) allows the computer to effectively render video and 3-D graphics. Many computers have an integrated GPU, which shares RAM with the overall system. Dedicated graphics cards come with their own RAM, which adds to the computer’s ability to process complex tasks.
Displays are measured in pixel density, with full 1080p being the standard. Some laptops offer 4K displays for even more clarity, while others offer brighter screens and enhanced color accuracy.
All of the components of the computer work together to determine the laptop’s battery life. For example, a dedicated graphics card needs more power than an integrated one, and a 4K display will also draw more power than a 1080p screen.
Both of these features could result in lower overall battery life. But it’s not just the hardware alone; battery life is all about how efficiently the system can handle the way everything works together. In general, it’s a good idea to look for a laptop that offers at least a full 8-hours on a single charge.
Size: Laptop sizes are determined by measuring the screen diagonally. These days, most laptops come in 13-inch and 15-inch varieties, though you might be able to find a 17-inch model once in a while. Laptops with 13-inch screens are usually considered to be the most portable, but they sometimes lack the power of bigger models.