Which? helps you find the best laptop this Black FridayEvery laptop on sale at biggest retailers reviewed

12 November 2016

Asus-X541

The just tested Asus X541 is on sale at Currys/PC World - but is it a Best Buy?

If you’re looking for a bargain laptop this Black Friday, your head will no doubt be turned by the extraordinary-sounding deals from John Lewis, Currys/PC World and Argos.

To make sure that you don’t end up buying a dud, we’ve got online reviews of every home user laptop available at those three retailers.

Before you head to the checkout, double-check our reviews to make sure it’s a laptop worth buying. And to get your hunt started, we’ve provided a basic buying guide below.

With more than 150 laptop reviews on site, we’ve got your buying decision covered. Find the best for you by clicking through to our laptop reviews.

Buy the best laptop...

With hundreds of laptops available at John Lewis, Currys/PC World and Argos, it can be tricky to know exactly what to look out for when you’re in the shop or online.

To help you bag a PC you can be pleased with, we clear up some of the jargon-heavy specifications that can confuse your decision:

  • Processor: This is the brains of your computer, and has a big influence on the speed, and the price. If possible, try and get a laptop with an Intel Core i3 or i5 processors (for smooth day to day use) or an i7 processor chip for higher end tasks such as photo-editing. Pentium and Celeron chips are now pretty outdated, often leading to frustrating lags when you open multiple web browsing tabs or try to load up videos. AMD's processor range has some smart chips in it, with A8 processors delivering great performance for day-to-day tasks and A10 processors competing with high-end Intel i7 chips.
  • Ram: This is your computer’s short term memory – it helps programs to open quickly and keeps your computer running smoothly. Don’t settle for anything less than 4GB of Ram, and try to get more if possible – 8GB is common these days.
  • Solid-state drive: Traditional spinning hard drives are becoming less common, being replaced by speedier solid-state drives (SSDs) that have no moving parts. Although SSDs make a laptop much quicker, they have less space for your data. If you value speed over space, a 128GB or 256GB SSD may be enough room for your files, photos and music. If your whole family is saving files, a traditional hard drive will likely give you between 500GB and a whopping 2TB.
  • Screen resolution: The higher the amount of pixels, the better the screen should look. 1,366x768 is the bare minimum and is unlikely to impress if you’re a film fan. If it’s within your budget, try to get one with at least 1,920x1,080 resolution.
  • Battery life: Manufacturers often make audacious claims about their products’ battery life – claims that regularly aren’t borne out in our testing. We perform battery tests on every laptop we review, so the only way to truly know how long you’ll be able to use it before it dies is to check out our laptop reviews.

For more in-depth buying advice, take a look at our dedicated guide to how to buy the best laptop.

...and avoid the worst

At Which?, we proudly trumpet the gadgets and gizmos that bag our prestigious Best Buy status. But the ones that we disavow as Don’t Buys are just as important to know about. Especially as much-heralded discount labels can make them look like a bargain when you're in the shop.

These are the laptops that seem to get everything wrong. An unappetising combination of painfully slow processors, disappointingly drab displays, horrible to type on keyboards and a battery life that will constantly have you worrying about where your nearest plug socket is.

To make sure that you avoid a pathetic PC, head to our Don’t Buy laptops roundup.

Latest laptop reviews

We’ve just published reviews of nine models that are fresh from our test lab. Among them is a fantastic foursome of Best Buy laptops - click through for the reviews and the latest prices.

Acer Aspire E5 series (17-inch) - £800
Asus X541 - £250
Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 - £750
Dell Inspiron 11 3000 series (convertible) - £330
HP Envy x360 - £968
Lenovo Ideapad 310 - £480
Lenovo Ideapad 510S - £600
Lenovo Ideapad 700 (15-inch) - £700
Lenovo Yoga 710 - £750

RRPs correct on 12 November 2016

More on this...