Most of us use a computer to keep in touch with people, browse the internet, and enjoy entertainment, and many people (especially since last year) are dependent on these portable PCs for work and school. It’s safe to say that having a reliable laptop is pretty much essential in today’s internet-connected world. It’s also safe to say that if your laptop is a bit long in the tooth by 2021 standards and you need a new one, you probably need it now and don’t have the luxury of waiting for the next big seasonal sale. But if you’re shopping on a budget, don’t fret: We’ve already hunted down the best laptop deals of the week, with each one ringing in at less than a grand (and a couple for less than half of that).
Looking for something more specific? Check out these MacBook deals and gaming laptop deals, too. If you want an even better deal and don’t mind a pre-owned laptop, then also consider these professionally refurbished laptop deals.
- Acer Spin 3 2-in-1 Laptop — $369
- Gateway Ultra Slim Notebook — $399
- Microsoft Surface Laptop Go — $599, was $700
- Samsung Galaxy Book Flex2 Alpha 2-in-1 QLED Laptop — $700, was $850
- HP Envy 4K Touchscreen Laptop — $879
- Apple MacBook Air (M1 CPU, 2020) — $900, was $999
No laptop roundup is complete without at least one cheap 2-in-1, and the Acer Spin 3 is an unassuming one that you might have overlooked. Despite its straightforward appearance, it features just about everything you want in a modern no-frills PC right down to its convertible design, solid build quality, and generous battery life. The 14-inch HD display also offers some extra real estate over smaller ultrabooks. In short, this thing is built for no-nonsense work and general daily use, and it can do it all on the cheap.
This configuration comes loaded with a new AMD Ryzen 3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD — basic specs, but plenty capable for a daily workhorse. This laptop can be yours for an eye-popping $369 right now.
Gateway is back and is now cranking out some of very nice high-value work machines. This 15-inch slimline notebook is a great entry-level computer for anyone looking for a good work machine for less than $400: It runs on an AMD Ryzen 5 3450U CPU and 16GB of RAM, and it also sports a high-speed 256GB solid-state system drive. Solid specs for a cheap laptop and perfectly suited for those with standard everyday needs.
At just $399, it’s around the same cost or even cheaper than many Chromebooks out there and is arguably the best cheap laptop you’re going to find right now for around 400 bucks. Its specs rival laptops that often go for $500 or more — and since it’s packing pretty impressive hardware for such a cheap laptop, it shouldn’t feel outdated any time soon despite its low price.
One of the best laptops on the market today actually comes from a lineup of tablets. The Surface Pro devices have sat among our favorites for awhile now and the new Surface Laptop Go, while not a groundbreaking development, is nonetheless a very solid (and very affordable) machine sporting some unique innovations. It’s well-built, looks great, and performs well. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention that gorgeous, productivity-friendly 3:2 PixelSense touch display that will leave you wondering why 16:9 ever became the standard widescreen aspect ratio.
One of our few complaints with the Surface Pro tablets was that the Type Cover still isn’t included by default, but the Surface laptops solve that little conundrum. This deal gets you the Surface Go laptop with the Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD for $599, giving you everything you need for work (including a touchscreen!) right out of the box.
Everyone knows Samsung for its fantastic mobile devices, but the Galaxy brand name now also extends to some very nice laptops as well. The Galaxy Book Flex2 Alpha brings Samsung’s excellent design and QLED display technology to a 2-in-1 laptop with a great build quality, utilitarian 13-inch size, and versatile hardware. Its 11th gen Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, and quick-loading 256GB SSD are also fine specifications for work and everyday use — especially for a convertible laptop at this price point.
This laptop can be your work and entertainment companion for just $700 with a limited-time discount that delivers one of the best prices we’ve seen for this 2-in-1 sporting a QLED touch display.
Our list would almost feel naked without a beefy 4K 2-in-1 (but one you can still score for less than $1,000), and the excellent HP Envy fits the bill perfectly for a great price. If you’re looking for a featherweight laptop that’s as light as it is durable, then you need to look no further than this one, which has stood out as one of the best ultrabooks money can buy in recent years owing to its gorgeous design, excellent performance, solid build quality, and all-day battery life.
Right now, you can grab this touchscreen laptop with a Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, 13-inch 4K touch display, and 512GB SSD on sale for $879 after a very nice discount off its MSRP that knocks it below our budget threshold. That’s a searing-hot bargain on this superb ultrabook with specs like these, which might make it our favorite laptop deal to be had for under a grand right now (and easily the best one if you want to bask in the glorious glow of Ultra HD).
Deals on Apple products are hard to find, and so sometimes you need to grab them when you can — especially when it’s one of the best MacBooks. The MacBook Air, which was modernized and redesigned in 2018, is the best entry-level MacBook you can buy — perfect for a college student or businessperson. The latest 2020 refresh is just as great, and if you want the one with the latest and greatest hardware (that you can still find for less than 1,000 bucks), this is it.
Right now, you can score this deal on this 2020 MacBook Air at $900 at checkout. This configuration comes with Apple’s fantastic new M1 CPU, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. It also comes with a lovely display with a 2,560 by 1,600 resolution, giving you plenty of performance for productivity work. What’s not to like?
The first step of choosing a laptop, after setting your budget, is determining what you need it for. Most people just need a standard laptop that will perform well and won’t feel outdated within one or two years, and for that, you’ve got plenty of very affordable options available to you. Those with more specific needs — artists, graphic designers, video editors, and gamers, to name some examples — may need extra features like touchscreens, fold-flat displays, and dedicated graphics cards. Keep size in mind as well. Laptops commonly range from 13 to 17 inches (which refers to screen size measured diagonally), and also pay attention to overall dimensions and weight if you’re going to be moving and carrying yours around fairly often.
As far as hardware goes, the three basic components to consider are CPU, RAM, and storage. The CPU, or central processing unit, is the “brain” of any PC. It’s what actually does the computing: Reading data, running programs (and other processes), and so on. The two biggest CPU makers are Intel and AMD, and unless you’re on the tightest of budgets, we typically recommend sticking with 10th or 11th generation Intel Core i5 processors, AMD Ryzen 5 processors, and above (Core i7, Ryzen 7, etc.). If the specific generation of Intel CPU isn’t stated explicitly, it will be indicated in the first two digits of the processor’s model number. For example, a Core i5-10400 is a 10th-gen model, while the Core i5-11400 is 11th-gen.
RAM, or random access memory, is a bit more straightforward. In simple terms, if the CPU is your PC’s brain, then RAM could be described as its short-term memory. It supports your CPU’s performance by storing data and tasks for quick recall when needed. The more the better. We suggest a minimum of 8GB for good performance by modern standards, and like Core i5 and Ryzen 5 CPUs, you can find this even on cheap laptops — you really aren’t saving much money my skimping on RAM, but you will definitely feel your computer stumbling when under load.
Storage needs are personal to the user, but today, solid-state drives (SSDs) have largely replaced older platter-based hard disk drives (HDDs) owing to their superior read/write speeds and reliability due to lack of moving parts. However, SSDs are typically smaller (or at least cheaper per gigabyte) than traditional HDDs, which is something to bear in mind if you do need a lot of storage space for things like games or large project files. We recommend sticking with SSDs as a rule, but some laptops come with a smaller solid-state system drive paired with a larger HDD for overflow, so you’ve got options.
Finally, depending on your needs, a discrete video card may be worth the extra money. A GPU, or graphics processing unit, is essentially a second processor dedicated solely to demanding graphical tasks like rendering videos and playing 3D video games. Mobile laptop GPUs are a bit different than their desktop counterparts and Nvidia GeForce cards are by far the most common. The current-gen models are the 16-series, 20-series, and (less common) 30-series cards. Avoid the 10-series cards still found on some laptops, as they are significantly outdated by today’s standards. AMD has also rolled out its own line of laptop graphics cards, the 5000M series, as mobile counterparts to its desktop GPUs. These are a fine option as well, especially if you prefer AMD hardware.
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