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As an increasing number of people across the country are forced to work from home due to coronavirus, some tech retailers are struggling to keep up with orders on computing products.
Laptops, monitors, printers and headsets are all in high demand as consumers head online to prepare for remote working, but turning to the high street is no longer an option.
Argos, Currys PC World and John Lewis have all issued statements confirming that their stores are now closed.
- Argos – ‘Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, standalone Argos stores are now closed. The Argos website is open as usual and still offering fast delivery, so while shops are shut customers can still buy Argos products online quickly and easily.’
- Currys PC World – ‘Based on latest government advice, to protect our customers and colleagues, we have closed all stores until further notice. We continue to operate online, but due to high demand, our delivery lead times maybe longer than usual. Please bear with us, we’ll get your orders to you as quickly as possible. For delivery tracking, please use our online tracker’
- John Lewis – ‘Due to the unfolding situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19), sadly our John Lewis shops are now temporarily closed. We may have closed our shop doors, but you can still shop with us online.’
Unfortunately, stock has been disappearing fast on the online stores too, so you may have to try elsewhere. We’ve picked out three established and reputable online retailers that still appear to have good stock levels of many products, and fast delivery.
Browse all the latest news and advice on COVID-19.
Scan.co.uk is an online retailer that specialises in PC components and accessories such as laptops, monitors, network cables and home office software.
Scan’s ‘home office laptops’ selection offers Windows models suitable for remote working. However, many of the laptops on the site are only available for pre-order and labelled as ‘item currently awaiting an ETA’.
There are no Intel Core i3 laptops in stock at the time of writing, but availability for i5 laptops is looking healthier. Scan is selling i5 laptops under £1,000 from big-name brands including Asus, Google and Vaio. If you want your next laptop to have more power under the hood, note that various Intel Core i7 laptops in stock.
Stock for computer monitors is looking decent, with the site listing displays starting at 19″ and going as large as 35″. You might want to bundle your order with a monitor stand, a headset (plenty available) or some additional cables for connecting your laptop.
What is Scan.co.uk saying about COVID-19?
‘Over the past week, we have seen large numbers of orders due to the requirement of equipment for home working. Due to the high volume of orders, we are currently experiencing delays in the warehouse.’
‘SCAN and DPD are both fully functional and whilst our warehouse team are currently working on a split shift basis, to ensure social distancing, rest assured they are doing all they can to ensure that the orders are dispatched as quickly as possible. Please keep an eye on your emails for further updates confirming a delivery. Thank you for your patience.’
For more information, visit the COVID-19 status page on the retailer’s website.
eBuyer pitches itself as the go-to spot for cheap laptops, tablets and LED TVs. It offers a mix of both affordable laptops and chunkier all-in-one PCs.
We paid a visit to the site to see what stock is looking like for cheap laptops under £500. At the time of writing, we saw around 15 laptops in this price bracket were still available.
The full list of in-stock laptops includes a £208 Lenovo IdeaPad S130 and a £404 Acer Chromebook R13. Make sure you consult our expert reviews before clicking ‘add to basket’.
If you’re shopping for a second monitor to pair with your existing laptop, you’ll be pleased to hear that eBuyer stock is looking good. The cheapest land around the £50-60 mark, with options including a 19-inch Asus monitor. If you want more screen space, there are plenty of larger monitors still available.
What is eBuyer saying about COVID-19?
‘As of today (24/03/2020) ebuyer.com is still open and we’re able to process and deliver your orders. Please be aware we’re experiencing very high demand so delivery times may possibly be a little longer than usual. Please bear with us and we’ll make sure your order is delivered to you securely and as quickly as possible.’
‘The situation is of course very fluid, but we’ll post any important updates regarding deliveries to this page. In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll do our best to keep you fully informed.’
For more information, visit the coronavirus information page on the retailer’s website.
‘Bring the office home’, says a message on the Laptops Direct homepage. The retailer sells laptops, monitors, docking stations and various other accessories to help you work from home.
Filtering down the list of laptops to those under £500 will give you the choice of both new and refurbished models. If you want to work from home but keep costs low, Laptops Direct is worth a closer look.
Monitors from Acer, Dell and LG are also still on sale. The cheapest standalone monitor at the time of writing comes from Hannspree – it’s an 18.5-inch HD display.
What is Laptops Direct saying about COVID-19?
‘We’re taking orders and delivering as normal, and doing everything we can to protect our customers and staff.’
Try direct from the manufacturer
Remember, if you spot a product you like the look of, it’s always worth checking the brand’s own website alongside third party retailers. Sometimes, these computing brands will offer exclusive deals and time-sensitive sales that you wouldn’t get from shops on the high street.
Shopping direct will generally give you a wider choice of specifications if you’re buying a new laptop. Dell, Lenovo and Apple, for example, each offer their products at a variety of specifications.
For more details on shopping for computing products, see our tips on the benefits of shopping direct.