Best Time Of Year To Buy A Laptop Or Tablet
We regularly test the most promising laptops, from sleek ultrabooks to cheap Chromebooks to massive gaming laptops and beyond. Here are the best models you can buy in every category, along with advice on how to choose which type of laptop is right for you.
best time of year to buy a laptop or tablet
Andrew Cunningham is a former senior staff writer on Wirecutter's tech team. He has been writing about laptops, phones, routers, and other tech since 2011. Before that he spent five years in IT fixing computers and helping people buy the best tech for their needs. He also co-hosts the book podcast Overdue and the TV podcast Appointment Television.
If you're tempted by a January laptop deal, read on for some of the best laptop offers we've found on the web this month. For more affordable laptop recommendations, take a look at our best budget laptop guide, which includes even more tips on what to look out for.
Then we tested the Windows laptops and Chromebooks that met our criteria by using each for at least a day of ordinary work and video calls to get a feel for their performance, screens, keyboards, and trackpads. For Chromebooks, we had at least 20 browser tabs open, including Google Docs, Google Sheets, streaming music, Slack, and a variety of other sites. For Windows, we had five to 10 tabs open at a time, as well as the Spotify and Slack applications. We also tested the laptops by opening large Excel spreadsheets, 100-page Word documents, and 200-page PDF files.
When you should buy a tablet is a little less defined than that of a smartphone. As customers are usually on a two year contract with phones, it makes sense that new models are released every year to ensure that those whose contracts are maturing will upgrade to the latest model and stay with the same platform. Tablets are more akin to laptops, in that most people hold onto them longer and only really replace them when they get damaged, become too slow to be useful any more, or simply fancy something new.
The range of Amazon Kindle devices are the best-known eBook readers, with eBooks available from the Kindle Store, while Nook and Kobo also offer their own devices and stores. You can also use the Kindle app on tablets, smartphones and computers if you already have those set-up for your child, although they can be more unwieldy to carry and read from on the sofa.
If you have decided that a laptop is the best route for your child, you need to consider which operating system to get. There are three main systems: Windows, Mac OS X and Chrome OS, and prices can vary according to what you need the laptop to do.
Windows 8 failed to live up to the hype; tablets have surged in popularity; and back-to-school sales are continuing into the summer. For those looking to buy a new laptop, it's the perfect time to score great deals.
Laptop sales are in the dumps. Windows 8 was supposed to give them a jump-start, but Redmond's new operating system turned out to be worse than Vista. In fact, analysts are now blaming Windows 8 for the lull in sales, which in turn is giving tablet sales such an upper hand that they're expected to surpass notebook shipments later this year. Even the mighty Intel can't save the laptop industry.
While this all may sound like a nightmare scenario for retailers, it's a blessing for consumers: this summer you'll be able to score some extraordinary laptop deals at Black Friday-like prices. And with new back-to-school sales surfacing each week, laptop deals are bound to break records. So forget about the summer BBQ. Here's why now is the perfect time to shop for a new laptop.
dealnews data has consistently shown that the summer is the second-best time of year to buy a new laptop. (For the best laptop deals, no time of year beats Black Friday, although recent deals have come remarkably close.) Last summer we found a particularly high number of laptop bundles that combined a mainstream 15" notebook with a gaming console, a gift card, or even an inkjet printer. And contrary to popular belief, these combos don't always require purchasers to be students. The months of August and September tend to see the best deals with bundles that include everything from an Xbox 360 to a $100 Amazon gift card. Because PC sales are particularly bad this year, we wouldn't be surprised to see solid bundles throughout the summer, so if you want to get the most value from your purchase, we recommend waiting for the right back-to-school bundle.
Intel's new Haswell chips, which offer better battery life and video performance than Intel's 2012 Ivy Bridge processors, will soon take over the market. That means we can expect to see some deep discounts on laptops that use Intel's older chips. As of June, prices were already in the $350 range for a mainstream 15" Ivy Bridge notebook (with a Core i5 CPU, 4GB RAM, and at least 500GB of storage), which is the second-lowest price of the year. While there are some benefits to having a newer CPU under your laptop's hood, the performance increase isn't dramatic. For everyday computing, high-def media streaming, and even light gaming, an Ivy Bridge-based laptop still offers more than enough horsepower.
So how can you tell if the laptop you're looking at has an Ivy Bridge processor inside? Look at the string of numbers that appears after the processor name. For instance, the "4" in Core i7-4650U signifies a 4th generation Haswell chip, whereas the "3" in Core i7-3537U signifies last year's Ivy Bridge chip.
In addition to competing with its own previous-generation processors, Intel must also compete with AMD's new processors, which debuted this month. Codenamed Temash, Kabini, and Richland, AMD's new chips were designed for tablets/hybrids, mainstream systems, and premium laptops, respectively. Although they haven't been officially tested, the editors at Notebook Review were impressed by the new processors' battery life during their initial evaluation.Intel has a comfortable lead over AMD when it comes to processor market share, but with laptop shipments down and competition lurking around every corner, every bit counts. So competition from AMD, albeit far from threatening, will help keep laptop prices low.
Apple introduced its first iPad back in April of 2010, and here we are three years later with tablet shipments poised to surpass laptop sales for the first time in history. By 2017, tablets will actually outsell notebooks six to one. Needless to say, tablets have decimated the laptop industry leading to the worst PC sales ever, which in turn has led to some of the best laptop deals ever. As tablets continue to push laptops out of the market and Intel continues looking fornew form factors, you can expect the cheap laptop prices to continue.
So whether you need a new laptop for school or are looking for a secondary laptop for the home, there's never been a better time to make a purchase. As stated earlier, prices are currently in the $350 range (and have gone as low as $299) for an Ivy Bridge 15" Core i5-based system with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. So anything you find at or below $299 is an Editors' Choice-worthy deal.
School: Does your child need their device for in-person lessons and working in different settings, or will they be home schooling for the foreseeable future?Extracurricular: If your kid is taking extracurricular classes, for example coding or design, what technical capacity is required?Entertainment: What are their hobbies? Gaming, video or photo editing, writing or making music demand different amounts of processing powerCost: What is your budget? There is a huge price difference between a low-end tablet and a top-of-the-range gaming laptopSpace: Does your child have a dedicated workspace and reliable internet connection?
If you're looking for the best laptops of 2023, then we can help. This year has seen some truly excellent laptops released, and we're only just over a quarter of the way through it. So far, massive laptop brands such as Apple, Dell, Lenovo and Asus have launched some truly spectacular products for all budgets.
Samsung has also been putting out some brilliant laptops recently, and we've just added the excellent Galaxy Book3 Ultra to this list. It's pricey, but it's also packed with some of the very best mobile tech you can buy right now.
If the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is out of your price range, don't worry, as on this page we've listed the best laptops for a variety of budgets and use cases, and every laptop has been thoroughly tested and reviewed by us, so you can be sure that if you buy any of the laptops below, you'll be getting an absolutely fantastic device.
With the cost of living rising, decent laptop deals are more welcome than ever, and we've made sure that we don't just include only high-end laptops in this list, but also the best cheap laptops and best Chromebooks as well. So read on for our list of the best laptops.
Value for money: As far as Chromebooks and 2-in-1 laptops go, this is hands down the best value you're going to find in a portable device of its kind. It's the computer that last decade's netbooks promised to be - but couldn't quite become - while taking the Chromebook to its next logical step.
The Dell XPS 13 (2022) had its work cut out to really impress us. Its predecessors have often made it to the top of our best laptops list, but recently its competitors such as HP and Apple have really caught up when it comes to making desirable thin and light laptops. To put the XPS 13 back in its rightful place towards the top of our best laptops list, Dell has made some big changes. While the boost in performance thanks to cutting-edge components is welcome, some people will be sorely disappointed by the other changes Dell has made to the 2022 version.
Performance: Our test model features an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile graphics, and it blasted though everyday tasks with ease. It's no gaming laptop, but it still turned in respectable results in our testing. While these are no longer the latest generation for either CPU or GPU, they still perform brilliantly, though we're also sure Dell will update the Dell XPS 15 this year with the very latest hardware as well. 041b061a72