Best laptop deals: Top picks from budget to extreme – PCWorld

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Finding the right laptop is hard work. Do you go with Intel or AMD? What about memory and storage type? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking for a powerful gaming rig for those late-night gaming sessions or a portable 2-in-1 laptop for work, we’ve got a bunch of options to pick from. The team at PCWorld has been scouring the web for the best laptop deals. Not all laptop deals are considered actual deals, though. That’s why we’ve been parsing out all of the bad ones.
Right now, we’re seeing steep discounts on high-end gaming machines, Dell XPS laptops, and Chromebooks. As a way to better guide you, we’ve also included a shopping advice section at the end of the article. If you’re interested in perusing the top notebook options regardless of price, check out our roundup of the best laptops period.
From Dell
Was: $999
Now: $749 ($250 off)
Dell
The Dell XPS 13 is a lovely laptop for productivity, and the latest in a long line of beloved ultraportables that have been earning our strong recommendation for years now. It has an Intel Core i5-1230U CPU, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. That’s enough juice for checking e-mail, watching Netflix, spreadsheet work, and so on. The 13.4-inch non-touch display has a resolution of 1920×1080. It’s also rather lightweight at two and a half pounds, which really ups the portability factor. If you’re looking for a great all-around laptop with plenty of class, the Dell XPS 13 is definitely worth considering—especially at this price.
See the Dell XPS 13 at Dell
From: Best Buy
Was: $1,349.99
Now: $999.99 ($350 off)
Microsoft
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is a great pick for anyone who values portability, but still needs processing oomph. It’s more compact and lightweight than traditional clamshell laptops thanks to the versatile 2-in-1 design with a detachable keyboard. It comes armed with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. That means this laptop is fast enough to handle productivity work as well as day-to-day tasks. The 13-inch display has a resolution of 2880×1920 and is touch-enabled. There’s even a 1080p webcam, which is always a plus. This is a fantastic deal.
See the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 at Best Buy
From: HP
Was: $1,749.99
Now: $1,399.99 ($350 off)
HP
The HP Envy laptop is a good choice for either work or play. Aesthetically speaking, it doesn’t look like a traditional gaming laptop, meaning you won’t find any red accents or sharp edges here. The silver chassis is chic and clean. That said, it’s more than just a pretty face. Inside, you’ll find an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. This potent laptop is capable of chewing through most games on high graphics. The 16-inch, edge-to-edge glass display is nice as well. It has a resolution of 2560×1600 and a refresh rate of 120Hz. HP even claims the screen is capable of up to 400 nits of brightness, which is pretty darn bright. Overall, this is an excellent deal. You better swoop in now before it vanishes into the nether.
See the HP Envy at HP
From: HP
Was: $1,299.99
Now: $899.99 ($400 off)
HP
The HP Omen is a good option for budget-conscious gamers. It has an Intel Core i5-12500H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. That’s enough oomph to run most games on high graphics. However, when it comes to newer titles, you may want to scale things back to medium. The 16.1-inch display is rather spacious and has a resolution of 1920×1080. The refresh rate is 144Hz, which should provide you with smooth visuals. If you’re looking for solid gaming bang for your buck, the HP Omen is definitely worth considering.
See the HP Omen at HP
From: eBay
Was: $899.99
Now: $589.99 ($310 off)
Lenovo
The Lenovo Legion 5 is an excellent laptop for the gamer on a budget, and you almost never see gaming laptops going this cheap. It has an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. The display has a resolution of 1920×1080 and a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. Given the entry-level GPU, you may want to scale the graphics back to medium or high on newer titles. That said, this laptop shouldn’t have any trouble running older games. For ports, it has one HDMI, one USB Type-C, one DisplayPort, and one headphone/microphone combo. This laptop will likely sell out fast, as it’s a killer deal.
See the Lenovo Legion 5 at eBay
From: Best Buy
Was: $779.99
Now: $579.99 ($200 off)
Lenovo
The Lenovo IdeaPad is a great pick for productivity use. It’s armed with an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU, AMD Radeon integrated graphics, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. That’s plenty of power for spreadsheet work, checking e-mail, and so on. The 15.6-inch display has a resolution of 1920×1080, which is perfectly suitable for most tasks. For connectivity options, it has one HDMI, one USB 2.0 Type-A, one USB 3.0 Type-A, and one USB 3.0 Type-C. This is a good deal for anyone who needs a laptop with some decent processing chops.
See the Lenovo IdeaPad at Best Buy
From: Amazon
Was: $500
Now: $339 ($161 off)
Samsung
The Samsung Chromebook Plus is a good option for someone who needs a lightweight convertible. It has an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of memory, and 32GB of eMMC storage. It’s a little light on storage and memory, but this shouldn’t be a problem if you store most of your stuff in the cloud. The 11-inch touchscreen display has a resolution of 1900×1200, and the Chromebook has two USB-C ports. It’s powerful enough for everyday browser tasks like checking e-mail, writing papers, listening to music, and so on. The 2-in-1 also weighs a little under three pounds, making it a capable travel companion. Plus, it comes with a stylus for doodling or note taking.
See the Samsung Chromebook Plus at Amazon
From: Dell
Was: $1,899
Now: $1,499 ($400 off)
Dell
The Dell XPS 15 is both powerful and easy on the eyes. It’s rocking an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU (4GB GDDR6), 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. This laptop should be able to handle some gaming as well as productivity and content creation tasks thanks to its powerful internals and discrete GPU. The 15.6-inch display is roomy and has a resolution of 1920×1200. Dell even claims the screen measures up to 500 nits of brightness. The platinum silver exterior is also chic and sophisticated, nicely complimenting the black interior. Overall, this is a really nice laptop, going for an even nicer price.
See the Dell XPS 15 at Dell
From: Best Buy
Was: $899.99
Now: $649.99 ($250 off)
Dell
The Dell Inspiron 7506 is a good laptop for productivity. It features an Intel Core i5 1135G7 CPU, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. The 15.6-inch display has a resolution of 1920×1080, which is perfectly fine for working on spreadsheets and writing e-mail’s. This laptop also happens to be a 2-in-1. That means you can prop it up like a painter’s easel for sharing information or swing the screen all the way around for when you want to use it like a tablet. It’s a really nice, versatile device. It’s definitely a solid option for business professionals or students.
See the Dell Inspiron 7506 at Best Buy
Asus
From: Walmart
Was: $749
Now: $599 ($150 off)
If you’re into creative work, the Asus Vivobook Pro 14 is a fantastic option. This laptop has a 14-inch 2880-by-1800 OLED display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. OLED screens are great, so you can expect a sharper, more vibrant image. The Vivobook is also packing a Core i5-1330H, a Tiger Lake CPU with four cores, eight threads, and a boost to 4.4GHz. There’s even 8GB of RAM, which is a good amount for some video editing. Onboard storage is a 256GB NVMe SSD, and you’re getting Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0.
This is a nice laptop with a very good display, but for storage you’ll likely have to rely mostly on the cloud. Speaking of which, you also get a free three month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud as part of the package.
See the Asus Vivobook Pro 14 K3400 at Walmart
Acer
From: Amazon
Was: $389.99
Now: $322.99 ($67 off)
We already have a similar model from the same series available in this roundup, but this one is a little cheaper and swaps a Ryzen 3 APU for an Intel Core i3 processor. This version of the Acer Aspire A5 still has a 15.6-inch 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of onboard NVMe storage. It’s also rocking Windows 11 Home in S Mode. You can do a one-way switch to regular Windows 11 Home if you prefer, but you may not want to given the CPU.
The big difference is the processor. This model has the Intel “Tiger Lake” Core i3-1115G4, which has two cores, four threads, and a boost to 4.1GHz. That’s good enough for casual uses like web browsing, video streaming, and so on. It would likely struggle as a productivity laptop, but for someone with light computing requirements, it offers a nice size screen at a solid price.
See the Acer Aspire A5-515-56-36UT at Amazon
Acer
From: Walmart
Was: $549
Now: $479 ($70 off)
You don’t often find a laptop deal with an Intel Alder Lake CPU, which is why we decided to highlight this specific sale. The Acer Aspire 3 features Intel’s Core i5-1235U with eight efficiency cores and two performance cores with HyperThreading for a total of 12 threads and a maximum boost to 4.4GHz. It also has 8GB of RAM, a 15.6-inch display with 1080p resolution, 256GB of onboard storage, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and it’s running Windows 11 Home.
See the Acer Aspire 3 at Walmart
Acer
From: Amazon
Was: $399.99
Now: $363.86 ($36.13 off)
If you’re looking for a solid everyday laptop, you’ve come to the right place. The Acer Aspire 5 features a 15.6-inch 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of onboard SSD storage. The processor is a Ryzen 3 3350U, which has four cores, four threads, and a maximum boost to 3.5GHz. It’s packed with modern features like Wi-Fi 6, a backlit keyboard, and a fingerprint reader for biometric logins. Acer starts this laptop off with Windows 11 in S mode, but there’s no reason not to do a one-way upgrade to full Windows 11. This is being sold by a third-party retailer, but Amazon is handling shipping, which means it falls under the company’s return policy.
See the Acer Aspire 5 A515 at Amazon
From: Amazon
Was: $979.99
Now: $707 ($272.99 off)
HP
If you’re in the market for a reasonably priced gaming laptop, then you’ve come to the right place. The HP Victus 15 is affordable and has decent specs. It’s rocking an Intel Core i5 12500H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. It should run most older games on high or very high, but you’ll want to scale back the graphics on AAA titles. The 15.6-inch display is a good size and the 1920×1080 resolution is fine for most games. This is a good deal, but it’s not going to last very long.
See the HP Victus 15 at Amazon
From: Dell
Was: $1,799.99
Now: $1,399.99 ($400 off)
Dell
The Alienware m17 R5 is a powerful gaming rig and it’s currently $400 off. You can expect fast processing and graphics performance thanks to the AMD Ryzen 7 6800H CPU, AMD Radeon RX 6700M (10GB GDDR6) GPU, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage. The 17.3-inch non-touch display is spacious and has a resolution of 1920×1080 and a response time of three milliseconds. It also comes equipped with AMD FreeSync, which helps eliminate any stuttering issues while gaming by syncing the display’s refresh rate with the graphic card’s.
This is a real steal, especially at $400 off. You should nab it soon, gamers.
See the Alienware m17 R5 at Dell
From: eBay
Was: $1,969.99
Now: $1,399.99 ($570 off)
Lenovo
The Lenovo 5 Pro delivers some serious graphics power at a competitive price. This gaming machine features an AMD Ryzen 7 6800H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. The processor has eight cores and a maximum turbo speed of 4.70 GHz. In other words, it should be powerful enough to run most AAA titles on high or ultra graphics. The 16-inch display has a resolution of 2560×1600 and a refresh rate of 165Hz. You can expect buttery smooth visuals as well as a vibrant picture. For connectivity options, you’re getting one HDMI, three USB 3.2 Gen 1, three USB 3.2 Gen 2, and one 2.3m headphone/microphone combo jack.
This is a hot ticket item, so we don’t expect it to last very long.
See the Lenovo 5 Pro at eBay
If you’ve shopped online before for laptop deals you’re probably aware that there’s a vast range of laptop configurations available.
A good place to start is with the processor. Buy laptops with Intel 10-series Core chips or higher, such as the Core i5-10510U, or the Core i7-11800H (for even more details see our Intel 10th-gen mobile CPU buying guide); or go with an AMD Ryzen processor (but not an AMD Athlon or A-series chip). Avoid laptops with Pentium or Celeron processors unless it’s a Chromebook (running Chrome OS). You’re going to need to pay attention with gaming laptops, too, as some GPUs, like the RTX 3050 Ti, don’t offer much boost over their RTX 2xxx-series cousins, and Nvidia has dropped the Max-Q designation on certain low-power options. Our laptop CPU and GPU cheat sheet can help you shop smart.
Display resolution is a gotcha. If you see a laptop labeled as “HD” resolution that means 1366-by-768 and often isn’t worth your time for a laptop under 13 inches unless the deal is absolutely standout. What you want is “Full HD” or “FHD,” which means 1080p.
Don’t buy laptops with under 4GB of RAM or 128GB of SSD storage—though on a Chromebook, this configuration is acceptable. We have more explanation in our laptops versus Chromebooks buying guide, as well as in our primer on how to buy a budget laptop without getting screwed. Also watch out for eMMC storage, which is something we don’t recommend for a Windows laptop but works fine for a Chromebook.
Reviews can be helpful. Even if you can’t find a review of a specific configuration, try related models. They’ll often give you a good idea of the build quality and performance. Also buy from brands you trust. Amazon’s daily laptop deals right now are full of brands we’ve never tested or talked to (Broage, Teclast, DaySky, Jumper) and it’s just a good idea to be wary.
Most older laptops will run Windows 10, and that’s fine—there’s no rush to upgrade. Windows 10 in S Mode, though annoying, can be switched out of easily if you find it on a budget laptop. If you want to buy a Windows 10 PC with the intent of upgrading it to Windows 11, we recommend you start here with a list of older laptops that are Windows 11-eligible.
Updated on October 13 with new pricing and to remove expired deals.
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