Best Black Friday 2016 laptop deals

On Black Friday, low, low prices are going to be what you're focused on – but there's plenty more to consider in a laptop if you want to get the best deals going. Make sure your choice is an informed one as well as a cheap one with our short guide.

Apple vs Microsoft vs Google
For most of us the choice is going to be between three platforms when picking out a new laptop, with Apple's macOS Sierra and Microsoft's Windows 10 the main candidates. Apple, of course, is the only company to make macOS laptops, and your new MacBook will come with Siri and a host of very decent bundled applications like Photos, iTunes, Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

Meanwhile Microsoft's Windows 10 is a big improvement over Windows 8 in almost every way, and has been designed to run on tablets as well as traditional laptops. That means it's touchscreen-ready, and well suited to the 2-in-1 devices we're seeing a lot of (like the Surface Pro). Windows laptops are made by a host of manufacturers, including Microsoft.Google's Chromebooks are worth considering as a cheaper option. Chrome OS is basically a web browser and nothing else, but for many people that's all they need (think Google Docs, Facebook, Gmail, YouTube). Offline capabilities are improving all the time and there's the added benefit that everything is always instantly backed up to the cloud.

The specs that matter on Black Friday
There are really three specs to consider on a laptop: the CPU or processor speed (how fast it can think), the RAM or memory (how much thinking it can do at once) and the available storage space (room for your files). There's the display size too, which is always a compromise between how much you can fit on screen at once and how light and portable your laptop's going to be.

On top of that, look out for the number of input and output ports (Apple's new MacBook just has one USB-C socket), any bundled accessories and the screen resolution (how sharp everything is). If you can, check when the laptop first launched – older models aren't necessarily bad choices, but it's good to have the information to compare devices.

Finding value on Black Friday
With new Microsoft hardware (and new Windows 10 updates) expected in the spring of 2017, Black Friday is an opportunity to get some laptop hardware at a fantastic price. Apple's MacBook schedule is less clear-cut, but all of its laptops are due a refresh soon.

As we've said there's no reason to avoid laptops that are older or less well-specced (gaming and video editing are the only tasks that really need high-end hardware), but keep longevity in mind: if you can pay a little extra on Black Friday then you'll get the benefit in a laptop that doesn't grind to a halt or need upgrading quite as early on.

Apple, Microsoft and Google may all have some Black Friday deals of their own, but the biggest discounts are likely to come from the recognized retailers: try Amazon, Best Buy, Dell and NewEgg.

Of course plenty of retailers will sell you a laptop, and plenty will have Black Friday deals on, but if you can it's best to stick to the electronics specialists first and foremost – they're likely to have the widest choice of stock and the most recent hardware.

Other Deals
We'll be posting details of plenty of other deals throughout the Black Friday shopping period, including laptops, TVs, smartphones and more. Here's where you'll be able to find them all.

Best Xbox One Black Friday 2016 Deals
Best PS4 Black Friday 2016 Deals
Best PC Black Friday 2016 Deals
Best Black Friday 2016 TV Deals
Best Black Friday 2016 Smartphone Deals
Best Black Friday 2016 Apple Deals

Retailer-specific Deals
Here's where you'll be able to find all the best gaming and tech deals from the biggest retailers.

Best Amazon Black Friday 2016 Deals
Best Walmart Black Friday 2016 Deals
Best Buy Black Friday 2016 Deals
Best Target Black Friday 2016 Deals

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