When Is the Best Time to Buy a Laptop?
There are few things as frustrating as a broken laptop. If you need to buy a new laptop, there may be good deals available, but timing is everything.
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Before you can determine the best time to buy a laptop, first you need to think about what your priorities are in a computer. Do you require a lot of memory? Need to run specific apps? Is portability essential? Will you use it to stream entertainment or do you have a TV for that? No matter what your requirements are, it’s important to consider a variety of factors when purchasing any big-ticket item, plus it’s important to know the best time to buy anything. We spoke with experts in both shopping and technology to learn the signs your laptop is on its last legs, how to choose the right one—and how to save as much money as possible. Read on to learn the best time to buy a laptop, including the best time to buy Apple products.
Signs you need a new laptop
It may be time to start shopping around for a new computer if yours:
- Starts up slowly and runs slowly
- Needs to be rebooted often
- Is frequently hot to the touch
- Has blue screen
- Has issues with spyware or ransomware
- Experiences a general loss of functionality
How much do laptops typically cost?
|Windows laptop||$300 and up|
|MacBook||$1,000 and up|
|Chromebook||$250 to $700|
No matter what laptop you have, it’s more likely to malfunction when dirty. Here’s how to clean your laptop.
Best time of year to buy a laptop: Holidays and Amazon Prime Day
If you’re looking to buy a new laptop and want to save money, check the calendar for any upcoming holidays. In addition to Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, holiday weekends are generally the best time to buy a laptop, Kristen McGrath, RetailMeNot shopping expert, tells Reader’s Digest. The back-to-school season (end of July/August) is another time to score buys.
|♦ Best time to buy a laptop|
|Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holiday weekends and back-to-school season|
Best time of year to buy an Apple laptop: After a new model comes out
Whether you’re buying a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, Apple laptops certainly don’t come cheap and are rarely discounted by the manufacturer, with a few exceptions. When new models are released, the prices of older models typically go down, and students may be eligible for a discount during back-to-school season.
You may find deals at other verified Apple retailers, often in the form of a free gift card with purchase, around holidays and on Amazon Prime Day.
Best time of year to buy a Chromebook: 3-day holiday weekends
“Chromebooks are run on a web-based Chrome OS (operating system) that is similar to the Chrome browser but with added functionality,” explains David C. Williams, AVP Hyper Automation at AT&T. The best time of the year to buy a Chromebook is also three-day holiday weekends, including Memorial Day and Labor Day, plus the back-to-school season, according to McGrath. In addition, you may find good deals the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Worst times to buy a laptop
“You’ll find the least amount of deals on laptops during late spring and early summer,” says McGrath.
Tips for buying a laptop
Apple vs. PC
If you are deciding between an Apple and a PC, Williams recommends asking yourself what you will use the device for, keeping in mind that Macs can be more expensive. One isn’t better than the other, he says, rather it’s more important to pick the one that’s a better fit for your needs. “Macs are often preferred by video graphic designers, video/music producers, app developers and the like, while PCs are typically the laptop brand of choice for business and office workers and hardcore gamers,” he says.
If you do decide to go with an Apple and you’re new to the brand, Williams suggests starting with one of its lower-end products as a way to save money.
3 tips for buying a new laptop
- In addition to knowing when laptops will go on sale, McGrath suggests using coupons. “By taking the time to search for coupons, shoppers can easily shave dollars off their purchase.”
- Download a browser extension like RetailMeNot’s Deal Finder (a free browser extension). These automatically make sure you’re getting the best price and utilizing all available online deals and cash-back offers, says McGrath.
- Look at the laptop’s specs carefully before buying. “Many Black Friday and Cyber Monday doorbuster deals are for laptops with minimal specs,” McGrath says. “So before you hit ‘buy’ on an amazing deal, make sure you’re getting a laptop that has enough storage and memory for your needs.”
Tips for buying a refurbished laptop
Another way to save money is to buy a certified refurbished laptop from Apple, Amazon or another reliable retailer. “Not only do these products typically work as well as a newer item, but shoppers can also save a good amount of money on their purchase by choosing a refurbished version over a new one,” says McGrath. Plus, most major retailers offer some warranty protection and allow for returns under certain circumstances, so it’s less of a risk.
What do those laptop specs mean?
- RAM (random access memory). This is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data in current use are kept so they can be quickly reached by the device’s processor. The more apps you have running at the same time, typically the more RAM you need.
- GPU (graphics processing unit). This is the specialized electronic circuit designed to accelerate the creation of images for display.
- CPU (central processing unit). Commonly considered the computer’s brain, the CPU is responsible for all data-processing operations. It saves information such as data, intermediate results and instructions, and it directs the operation of all computer components.
- HDD (hard disk drives). HDDs are a legacy storage technology that uses spinning disks to read/write data.
- SSD (secondary storage device). SSDs use flash memory technology instead of a hard disk and have more speed and power efficiency compared with HDDs.
Where can you buy a new laptop?
You can buy a new laptop from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target and Staples.
3 best laptop products you can buy right now:
Now that you know the best time to buy a laptop, read on to learn the best time to buy appliances, small appliances and a washer/dryer.
- Kristen McGrath, shopping expert with RetailMeNot
- David C. Williams, AVP Hyper Automation, AT&T