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9 ways to save on a new laptop or mobile phone

Cost-cutting tips to help you save money when replacing your old or broken electronic devices
Shopping for cheap laptop

Along with purchasing a car or paying for a family holiday, buying a laptop or device can be one of the most expensive purchases you make all year. 

With the cost of living increasing, the last thing you need right now is an expensive piece of tech needing to be replaced. But with laptops and other tech devices becoming such an ingrained part of modern life buying a new one may be unavoidable.

Read on to discover the clever ways that you can cut costs when buying electronic kit, leaving you with more money in your pocket for those essential purchases. 

In the market for a new laptop? Take a look at our pick of the best laptops for 2022

1. Shop in the sales, but beware of fake bargains

Sale prices can sometimes be misleading. Time and time again, we've found the vast majority of Black Friday deals were actually cheaper or the same price at other points in the year.

If you know there’s a sale coming up, it’s worth checking the price of the device prior to the sale, to ensure it’s a genuine bargain.

Our experts source genuine deals every month. See the best laptop deals and mobile phone deals for June 

2. Buy refurbished or second-hand

Refurbished and reconditioned laptops can be a great way to save money without compromising on performance. Most have usually been professionally restored by a manufacturer or retailer to the closest it can get to ‘as new’ condition, and they usually come with warranties. We find that refurbished laptops and phones sometimes are hundreds of pounds cheaper than buying the same model brand new.

However, you need to take care when purchasing as each site has a different way of listing blemishes and faults.

Discover how to buy a second-hand or refurbished laptop and second-hand or refurbished mobile phone

3. Shop around before you buy

Used tech isn’t always cheaper than new. We've previously discovered an Asus C101 laptop on sale in Grade B used condition on eBay for around £220. Although this sounds reasonable for a laptop that originally cost £299 new, we then found Currys PC World had the same model on sale, brand new, for £199. 

This highlights the need to shop around. Be sure to check out high street stores as well as searching online when looking for cheap laptops.

4. Trade-in second-hand devices

You can often get money off your next purchase or contract by trading in your existing laptop or phone.

For instance, Apple offers to take some old devices and swap them for credit towards new purchases or an Apple Store gift card. If your old device isn’t eligible, such as if it’s damaged beyond repair, Apple will recycle it for free.

Depending on the age and condition of your Apple device, you could get between £35 and £610 for your old gadget.

Other manufacturers, such as Samsung, have similar trade-in schemes for mobiles, tablets, wearables and more.

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5. Look for student deals and discounts

If you are a student you can often bag discounts on laptops, especially at the start of the academic year.

Dell and Samsung offer up to 25 per cent off for students, while Microsoft and Apple offer 10 per cent as well as other perks.

Other retailers offer similar student deals. To claim these discounts, you’ll usually need to verify that you’re a student, such as by using a student email address or a membership with a student deals website such as Student Beans.

Discover the best laptops for students 

6. Check the price of HP laptops a month after going on sale

You can buy HP laptops from a variety of stores, but most of the deals are likely to be found at Currys.

We’ve found most HP laptops are discounted by at least £100 after around a month. HP also sells directly through its website, so it’s always worth checking for discounts and voucher codes to see if this works out cheaper.

See the cheapest Best Buy HP laptops

7. Make sure it's compatible with Windows 11

When buying a second-hand or refurbished laptop, it’s best to make sure it runs Windows 11 or is eligible for an upgrade.

You can use our free tool to check whether the laptop you're thinking of buying is compatible with Windows 11.

If your computer isn't compatible, don't panic - it will continue to get Windows 10 security updates until October 2025.

Find out more about upgrading to Windows 11

8. Check reviews before buying

Browsing for cheap mobile phone

Before splashing out on a new, expensive laptop or mobile phone it's important to read professional, independent reviews. The last thing you will want after spending hundreds of pounds on a device is to find out it has annoying problems and needs upgrading after just a year or two.

Each year, we put hundreds of laptops and mobile phones through rigorous lab tests, with only the top performers becoming Best Buys.

See all our laptop reviews and mobile phone reviews

More money-saving tips: 10 ways to save on your broadband and TV bills

9. Consider what features you actually need

It isn’t always necessary to spend a fortune on a laptop. If you're going to use it only for tasks such as browsing the internet, sending emails and writing documents, you can get a decent model for £200 or less.

Cheaper laptops usually come with 4GB of Ram, which is enough for basic tasks. If you're looking at a laptop with 8GB of Ram, try to resist the temptation to upgrade to 16GB. In most cases 16GB isn't necessary, and on a MacBook Air, for example, doing so can increase the cost by £200.

You can also save money by picking a laptop with less internal storage and making use of free cloud storage for large files. Google, for example, offers 15GB of free storage and 100GB for £1.59 per month.

Discover the laptop features you need and those to avoid in our guide to the best laptops for 2022