Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
- AMD Ryzen 7 4980U
We like: Thin and light
We didnt like: Not many ports
A 15.6-inch laptop with a flexible hinge that lets you flip the screen all the way around to turn the laptop into a large tablet, or prop the device up so the screen is front and centre.
But be under no illusions that this is simply a large tablet with a keyboard its a fully fledged laptop with a good spec for getting everyday tasks done in a flash.
Read our full test results and see the full range of features in the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 15.6″ review
You can buy this model on offer at AO for £1299
Buying A Laptop: Everything You Need To Know
Of course, the best time to buy a new laptop is when you really need one. Your reason for buying a laptop can greatly affect how you should shop for one. For example, if your current computer breaks down and you need a laptop right away, the way you shop may look a little different than it will if you can afford to wait for bigger markdowns.
In this article, Ill cover how to shop for the best price on a new laptop at any time, when youll see the most laptop deals and how to know when its time to make your purchase.
Are Laptops Under $500 Any Good
As a rule of thumb, resist buying out of desperation — don’t spend $500 because you can’t find a cheaper laptop deal available, for example. Buying a need-it-now laptop can be like shopping for food while hungry. Even for a laptop, $500 can be a lot of money, and you’ll likely be holding onto it for at least three years, if the statistics Intel and PC manufacturers hurl at us are correct.
You can also try to make your current laptop last a little longer. If you need something to tide you over for a few months, dig into possible places to buy refurbished machines and explore nonprofit or educational discounts if you’re eligible. Also, if there’s something you really want in a laptop, like a touchscreen, a backlit keyboard, DDR4 RAM, an HD webcam, Intel UHD Graphics, AMD Radeon Vega Graphics or an HDMI port, check the manufacturer’s specs closely to make sure it has it. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
If you suspect you’ll be holding onto your new laptop for a while, see if you can stretch your budget to buy a slightly more expensive laptop to accommodate more than 8GB of RAM or a processor with more cores than you were otherwise considering. If you haven’t thought about it, look at AMD Ryzen processors as alternatives to Intel Core for Windows laptops or alternatives to Intel Celeron and Pentium for Chromebooks.
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Microsoft Surface Laptop Go: The Best Cheap Laptop From Microsoft
Price: £549 |
If you’re after a premium-brand laptop at an affordable price, it’s hard to beat the base model of the Surface Laptop Go. For a reasonable price of £549, you’ll get a laptop powered by a tenth-gen Intel Core i5 processor featuring a beautiful PixelSense display with a resolution of 1,536 x 1,034px. It does only come with 4GB RAM and 64GB SSD however, so is best suited to those wanting a cloud computing device rather than a laptop for storing thousands of files and running large applications.
Weighing just 1.1kg and measuring 278 x 206 x 15.7mm when closed, the Surface Laptop Go is extremely portable but the 12.4in screen feels a lot more spacious than its dimensions would have you believe owing to its 3:2 aspect ratio. The keyboard is a delight to type on and you have a choice of USB-A and USB-C ports, which is very welcome.
When treated like a Chromebook rather than a full-blown Windows 10 machine, the base specification Surface Laptop Go is undoubtedly one of our favourite laptops around the £500 mark.
Read our Microsoft Surface Laptop Go review for more details
Key specs – Processor: Intel Core i5-1035G1 RAM:4GB Storage:64GB Screen resolution:1,536 x 1,024 Weight:1.11kg
Price: £280 |
Read our Lenovo IdeaPad Duet for more details
Key specs – Processor: MediaTek Helio P60T RAM:4GB Storage:64GB eMPC Screen resolution:1,920 x 1,080px Weight:0.92kg
Price: £240 |
Read our Chuwi HeroBook Pro Plus review for more details
Price: £500 |
Price: £469 |
Best Laptop Deals And Sales For March 2022
You dont have to scour the entire web to find the best laptop deals, because weve already done the heavy lifting for you. Whether youre in the market for a no-frills Chromebook, a versatile Windows machine, a portable gaming PC, or maybe something you can transform into a Linux workstation, weve got you covered with this hand-picked list of the best laptop sales you can shop this week. With pricing starting at around $100, youre almost guaranteed to find something to fit your budget.
Want to see some more laptops that you can use for gaming on the go? Weve rounded up even more gaming laptop deals as well.
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Ram: Aim For 8gb But You Can Get By With Less
RAM, also known as memory, is important for multitasking and more demanding applications. 8GB is the sweet spot for a budget laptop. Apps that require more RAM wont perform well on a budget laptop for other reasons, anyway.
8GB of RAM will push on the upper end of a $500 budget. I recommend leaning towards a machine with 8GB of RAM when you have the choice, but you might have to settle for less. Many budget laptops have 4GB or, less often, 6GB.
Thats fine. Really. Even 4GB of RAM is fine for web browsing, writing a term paper, online shopping, personal accounting, and hundreds of other computing tasks. Just dont pick up photography or video editing as a hobby.
The Best Budget Laptops For 2022
These low-cost Windows laptops and Chromebooks can handle everyday computing with aplomb, and many ring up under $500.
- Pleasing light design, with aluminum construction
- Backlit keyboard
- Solid port and slot selection, including USB Type-C and microSD
- Eight-hour battery life
- Handy tablet gestures and Android phone integration
- Only one USB port and no headphone jack
- Cramped keyboard
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The Best Time To Buy A Laptop
There are several factors to take into account when shopping for a new laptop, and perhaps one of the most important things to consider is when you plan to make the purchase.
According to ClarkDeals.com Managing Editor Charis Brown, Discounts on laptops usually come around during major holidays, but warehouse stores like Costco and Sams Club are also great places to check for deals on laptops year-round.
Benchmarking The Ideapad 3 1: Proficient Performance For The Bucks
So much for the IdeaPad 3 14’s features how does it do in a direct comparison with other laptops in its class? To find out, we brought in the Asus VivoBook S14, the Dell Inspiron 15 , 2021’s HP Pavilion x360 15, the pricier Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 13, and our previous Editors’ Choice pick for best budget laptop, the MSI Modern 14. While these machines all make use of an Intel processor-and-graphics solution, they’re in the same performance ballpark and share similar CPU and GPU setups.
The first benchmark test we run is PCMark 10, a test that simulates a variety of Windows programs to give an overall performance score for office workflows. In this test, a result between 4,000 and 5,000 points is a clear indicator of excellent performance. While most of the pack falls right in the middle, the IdeaPad 3 14 pulls away from the pack and exhibits strong numbers.
We didn’t have enough data to add PCMark 10’s Full System Drive storage subtest, which measures the program load time and the throughput of the laptop’s boot drive. But the IdeaPad 3 14 was able to run the test and scored 1,321 pointsnot the greatest result we’ve seen for an SSD-equipped laptop, but in the budget laptop sphere, more than enough to run productivity circles around the present company.
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Power Flexibility And Value
Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 is exactly the sort of 2-in-1 convertible you’d expect from the company that pioneered this category. It’s a sensible machine that’s pleasing to use as a conventional laptop, or propped up for a presentation in easel or tent mode. The chassis is well-engineered, even if it’s not the sleekest or lightest around. And the processing power is decent, thanks in large part to the generous 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD of our test unit. You can do better if you venture north of $1,000our top premium 2-in-1 pick is the HP Spectre x360 14, while the ThinkBook 14s Yoga is great for small and medium businesses. For around $700, though, it’s hard to beat this configuration of the Flex 5i 14, which claims our Editors’ Choice award for best midrange 2-in-1 convertible.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
- Intel Core i5 processor
We like: Very lightweight
We didnt like: Doesn’t have very many ports
A small laptop with a 12.4-inch screen, weighing just 1.12kg. There arent many mid-range laptops this small, so it should appeal to frequent travellers or those who carry their laptop to lectures and events.
The Core i5 processor has four cores, which is good for quickly opening webpages and programs.
Read the full Microsoft Surface Laptop Go review before making your decision.
This laptop is currently on offer on for £475
Want to make sure you buy the best laptop for your budget? Find out the best laptops and how the buy the best using our handy guide.
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What Are The Trade
As long as you manage your expectations when it comes to options and specs, you can still get quite a bit from a budget laptop model, including good battery life and a reasonably lightweight laptop body.
A bright spot is you don’t have to settle for a traditional clamshell laptop with a fixed display and keyboard. You can also get a convertible laptop , which has a screen that flips around to turn the screen into a tablet, to position it for comfortable streaming or to do a presentation. Keep in mind that all convertibles work as both laptops and tablets. A touchscreen is a prerequisite for tablet operation, and many support styluses for handwritten and sketched input. Don’t assume a stylus is included, though.
One thing you won’t find at these cheap laptop prices: a MacBook or any other Apple laptop. An iPad will run you more than $500 once you buy the optional keyboard , which is above our budget here. A base-model iPad with an inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard and cheap stand for the iPad might suffice.
You’ll see a lot of cheap laptops listed as coming with Windows 10 S, a stripped-down and locked-down version of the operating system intended for use by schools — it only allows you to install applications from the Windows Store, forces you to use Microsoft’s Edge browser and includes a subset of the administrative tools in Windows 10 Pro. You can upgrade to the full version for free, though.
The Best Cheap Laptop Deals In December 2021
We’ve gathered the best value laptops for every budget.
Hoping to bag one of the best cheap laptop deals before the end of the year? Thankfully, retailers have a number of last-minute offers across inexpensive Chromebooks, budget-friendly mid-range machines or powerful ultrabooks. We’ve scoured through many of the offers that are now live to bring you just the very best deals available right now.
While there may be some reductions that aren’t as large as we saw back in November, there are still some terrific laptop deals to be found – especially at the budget end of the scale. Those with under $200 to spend will be very happy with the – it’s our favourite deal of the week.
Those with a little more to spend will want to check out this incredible value Lenovo IdeaPad 3i for $449 at Walmart. Nothing else within that price range comes close to beating it if you need a powerful and high-performance all-around machine. There’s also a rare Surface Pro 7+ bundle with Type Cover at Best Buy for $799.99. It’s the best price today for Microsoft’s hybrid machine.
We are expecting another uptick of discounts when the Christmas sales get underway at the end of the month, too. With that in mind, you can choose to take advantage of one of these great offers today, but do be aware that there could be a wider selection of deals later in December and into January.
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How We Test The Best Laptops Under $500
We put each laptop through extensive benchmark testing both synthetic and real-world before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate each aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers and heat management.
In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop’s display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests.
To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution.
We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, a runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise.
These tests are complemented with extensive hands-on testing from our reviewers who critique everything from the laptop’s materials to the feel of its touchpad.
How To Find A Great Deal On A Budget Laptop
We review budget laptops all year round, and our favourite model right now is the Asus E410, which offers a great all-round experience, despite anticipated weaknesses such as poor maximum display brightness. While the most affordable SKU can be picked up direct from Asus for £229.99, a more powerful version can be had from the likes of Currys, running on Intel Pentium silicon, instead of a Celeron chipset.
The very fact that various SKUs exist of most laptop lines means you need to be careful of what you’re buying: that laptop you just read about in that glowing review may not necessarily be the same laptop you’ve just found at a bargain price. Check for things like screen size and resolution, processor model, and amount and type of RAM and storage.
For many people, those cheaper options will be more than enough for their needs, but it always helps to have some idea of what to look out for in the first place. This way, if you see a great laptop deal we haven’t mentioned here, you’ll be able to work out whether or not it’s a good buy.
Key things to look out for are the processor, memory and both type of storage and amount of storage. At under £300, you’re unlikely to find anything higher than an Intel Core i3/AMD A-series or Ryzen 3 processor if you do find a Core i5, snap up that laptop right away. You won’t find a better deal.
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Is $350 The Right Price Point For You
Don’t be under the illusion that $350 is going to buy you a monster system that can do everything. It’s not. If you are looking for a system that can handle things like photo and video editing, or a gaming system, then you are looking in the wrong place.
But, if you are looking for a basic system capable of browsing the web , or doing word processing and spreadsheets, then these are the systems for you.
Cheap Laptops: Spotting The Best Laptop Deals Under $200
One of the first things we often check when shopping for cheap laptops is the amount of storage on offer. As shoppers, we’ve become accustomed to comparing prices and models based on the number of gigabytes next to the model name. However, there may be more to it than that, especially when you’re browsing the cheaper shelves. You may also need to pay attention to your operating system when picking up a budget laptop deal under $200.
Some cheap laptops are more worthy of your cash than others, and many simply need to be avoided. For example, you’ll easily find a Windows machine that offers just 16 or 32GB of storage, but with update file and software sizes increasing, you may quickly find that insufficient. However, finding a Chromebook with 16 or 32GB of storage for under $200 makes for a great cheap laptop deal. That’s because these machines run on Chrome OS which doesn’t require updates and operates largely through your browser.
Similarly, a lot of laptops hold incredibly low price tags because they are labelled as ‘FreeDOS’. This means they don’t have an operating system on them already, so you will need to buy Windows 10 to get them set up.
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