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Best laptop deals for 2020

By Michael Passingham

Best laptop deals chosen by Which? computing experts, including budget laptops, Ultrabooks and MacBooks.

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Deals updated on: March 9th 2020

In this article

Looking to find a bargain on the best laptop? We’ve rounded up some of the best deals you can find right now.

Big manufacturers launch their new range of laptops on an annual basis, even before last year’s stock has fully sold out. This, plus heavy competition between brands and retailers, means there are always deals to be had.

But not all price cuts are as attractive as they appear. Read on for our expert pick of some genuine bargains, and find out how to spot your own.

How to find a cheap laptop, and the models for less than £500.

Best laptop deals for March 2020 

We think the deals below are worth a look, but you should check our reviews first to see whether the laptop is likely to be suitable for your needs.

1. Asus Vivobook E406MA

  • Free Office365
  • Lightweight Windows laptop that could be ideal for students
  • Will handle the basics without any issues

The Vivobook E406MA is already a cheap laptop, and while it doesn't have a discount applied to its list price, it currently comes bundled with a year of Office365 (worth about £70), which could make it an ideal choice for a student on a budget. Read our full Asus Vivobook E406MA review.

Buy for £249 with free Office365 at Argos

2. Acer Swift 1 SF114-32

  • Very thin and light laptop with a good-sized screen
  • Pentium processor is more powerful than basic Intel Atom and Celeron
  • Full HD screen should make images and text nice and sharp

The Acer Swift 1 continues to be one of our most popular laptop reviews. There's little surprise; it's a great machine for the price, and its price goes up and down on a seemingly weekly basis. At the time of writing, John Lewis has reduced the price down to £349, making it the cheapest major retailer to stock this model. Read our full Acer Swift 1 SF114-32 review.

Buy now for £429 at John Lewis, saving £70

3. Apple 13-inch MacBook Air 2019

  • The go-to laptop for creatives
  • Ideal laptop for editing videos and photos
  • All-metal design

This is the latest version of Apple's popular 13-inch laptop, which seems to have a new, semi-permanent price of under £1,000 at third-party retailers that aren't the Apple Store. It has a high resolution screen and a very attractive design, although keep in mind that the processor is a slower form of Core i5 than the one you'll find in the MacBook Pro. Read our full MacBook Air 2019 review.

Buy now for £999 at John Lewis, saving £110 vs Apple.com

4. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

  • Thin and light metal design
  • Variety of specs available
  • Magnetic charging port

The cheapest Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is currently priced at £899. It tends to cost this much in at least one retailer at any given moment, but right now it's available everywhere at this price, including the Microsoft Store Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 review

Buy now for £899 at Microsoft Store

5. Lenovo IdeaPad S130

  • Save £40 and free Office365
  • Ultra-cheap Windows 10 laptop
  • Very light and compact
  • Will do the basics

Argos is offering £20 off this already cheap laptop from Lenovo, dropping the price from £199 to £179. The retailer is also chucking in a year of Office365 Personal, too. The laptop itself won't set the world alight when it comes to specifications and performance, but it's hard to complain at this price. Read our full Lenovo Ideapad S130 review.

Buy now for £179 at Argos

How to get the best deals on specific laptop brands 

If you have a particular brand in mind for your next laptop, you need to know where to look. Read our independent laptop reviews to ensure you get the best deal.  

Acer laptop deals

You can often find deals on Acer’s UK website that aren’t available elsewhere. The website also lists a wider range of specifications on certain models that you won’t find on the high street, so it’s always worth checking here as well as the usual online stores.

Apple laptop deals

We’ve found Apple laptops are very often cheaper and available for faster delivery when you don't buy direct from Apple. The main reason you’d buy directly is if you wanted a specification (such as a processor, Ram and storage) combination that isn’t available anywhere else - but be warned, this way you’re less likely to bag a bargain. Read all of our Apple laptop reviews

Asus laptop deals

Asus laptops are found in a wide range of retailers in various configurations, so it’s always worth shopping around. The company also sells directly on its website, but its prices are mostly higher than other retailers. If you’re a student, you can get 15% off if you buy direct. Read our Asus laptop reviews

Dell laptop deals

You’ll find the largest range of Dell laptops on the Dell website. If you’re looking at a Dell laptop at a retailer, check whether there’s a cheaper (or better-specified model) available direct from Dell before you buy. Dell often has some kind of online voucher code or discount active, so it pays to wait for one before buying. Read our Dell laptop reviews

HP laptop deals

HP laptops are found in nearly every laptop retailer, but most of the ‘deals’ you’ll find are at Currys PC World, with dozens of models available. Most HP laptops go on sale at a higher price, and then 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. Read our HP laptop reviews

Lenovo laptop deals

Like Asus laptops, Lenovo models are found scattered around the high street and at online-only retailers, so it’s worth doing your research. We’ve often found the best price can be found buying direct on Lenovo’s website, so always check there before you buy. Read our Lenovo laptop reviews

See our guide to the most reliable laptop brands for more

When and where are the best laptops on sale? 

You should rarely consider paying full price for a laptop, but just because a deal exists doesn’t mean it’s special. Find out how to see through the tricks of the trade at key retailers.

Currys PC World deals and ‘clearance’ sales 

At certain times of year, Currys PC World loads up its clearance pages with laptop deals. Despite what the term ‘clearance’ might suggest, discounts on these models can often be very small or, in some odd cases, nothing at all.

A snapshot of the clearance page on 6 December 2018, for example, shows six models, three of which are discounted by up to £30, one with no discount at all, then two very expensive models discounted by up to £350. Of those deals, at least one was for a model that was several years old and listed only slightly cheaper than the most up-to-date version.

In short, clearance at Currys PC World does not automatically mean a good deal. Indeed, many deals on Currys PC World, clearance or otherwise, aren’t what they seem, with nearly every laptop initially going on sale for a high price and then dropping to a more regular price after a month or so.

You’ll often find discounts of £150 on laptops that would have cost £500-600, when their actual value is closer to the £350-400 they’re being sold for. In short, if you see a discount for more than £150 on a laptop in Currys PC World, you may well be getting a good deal.

Currys PC World also operates a price-matching scheme that, again, is unlikely to be as good as it seems. Many of the laptops that the retailer sells are exclusive to the store; it might be an exclusive colour or slight change in specification, but it’s enough to mean the model doesn’t quality for a price match.

Amazon laptop deals

Amazon isn’t well known for its laptop deals, but it does have a wide variety of notebooks on sale at any given time. However, many of its best-sellers are actually quite old and some are even second-hand. It’s always worth double-checking Amazon in case it has a laptop you’re interested in on discount.

Also, be wary of small-brand laptops sold exclusively on Amazon. We’ve tested a few and none of them have impressed despite the seemingly overwhelming number of positive reviews from buyers.

Argos laptop deals

Argos often has good deals on individual laptops, so it’s always worth checking back there occasionally to see what’s new. Watch for ‘deals’ marked as ‘WOW’, as these can quite often not be deals at all and simply reflect Argos wanting you to pay attention to a product. Also look for pointers that say ‘Great new price’ as we’ve seen in the past that new price can actually be higher than the old one.

The best bet for Argos deals is to look for ‘clearance’ deals as these are normally genuine discounts.

Black Friday: the best time to find a great cheap laptop deal

While there are deals on laptops year round, the best time to nab a genuine bargain is around the Black Friday/Cyber Monday season. These days, this extends through most of November.

Take a look at the laptop market in the lead-up to the sale, though; it can be advantageous to understand how prices change so you can make a judgement on whether a deal is really as good as it looks.

Retailers such as Currys PC World often have trade-in deals, even when there aren’t any other seasonal offers available. These can include discounts as much as £250 for a working laptop. If you already have a laptop that meets the particular criteria of a trade-in deal, this can often be better than a season deal that doesn’t involve trade-ins.

Also look out for refurbished and second-hand laptop deals. Find out more in our in-depth guide

Deals on laptops for students: sales in September

There are also sales in the ‘back-to-school season’ in August and September - look out for them at Currys PC World in particular. These are usually on the very latest models that will have launched earlier in the summer, with laptops from £200 to £600 getting some sort of discount. This is great if you’re after the very latest tech, although you’ll often find better deals on older models if you hold out until Black Friday. Of course, if you’re heading to uni and need a computer, this isn’t always possible.

See our ‘Best laptops for students’ guide for recommendations, and advice on picking the right model.

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