This is the best time to buy a cheap laptop, with all manner of retailers pulling some seriously attractive deals out of the bag for Black Friday 2019.
Though the main event does not take place until Friday 29 November, many of the larger online retailers have already started their Black Friday sales. But budget laptops do not hang around for long, so if you see a spec you like at a price you like, do not wait or you may miss out.
We review budget laptops all year round, and our favourite model right now is the HP 250 G7. You will find that discounted to as little as £289.97 at eBuyer, but do note that often the way to get down laptop prices is to reduce the spec. This model comes with a Core i3 processor, 4GB of memory and a 128GB solid-state storage drive, whereas the model we reviewed has a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD (also discounted at eBuyer to £397.98).
For many people that cheaper option is going to be more than enough for their needs, but it goes to show that when buying budget laptops you should be aware of small differences in the spec – and it always helps to have some idea of what to look out for in the first place. This way, if you see a great laptop deal we haven’t mentioned here, you’ll be able to work out whether or not it’s a good buy.
Key things to look out for are the processor, memory and both type of storage and amount of storage. At under £300 you’re unlikely to find anything higher than an Intel Core i3/AMD A-series or Ryzen 3 processor; if you do find a Core i5, snap up that laptop right away.
You’ll also see Intel Pentium and Celeron processors listed, and these are less powerful options often found in older models and Chromebooks/CloudBooks, but still more than capable if your needs are low. By that we mean you’re looking for something that’s good for homework, replying to emails, browsing the web and social media, and watching the odd video.
These chips will have integrated graphics, and you should not expect to find a dedicated graphics card at this price. Your laptop will be more than capable of playing YouTube and movies, plus some casual games, but if you’re really after something capable of proper gaming we’d recommend upping your budget to £500+ and going for a Core i5 as the bare minimum. We’ve got some more options on slightly pricier laptop deals here.
At this price you’re most likely to find 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, although at the budget end of the market you often find solid-state storage is swapped out for a traditional mechanical hard drive. The upside to this is more storage space; the down side is they are slower, a little noisier and more fragile.
The size of the screen and the overall design of the laptop are going to be purely personal choices. You’ll find everything from 11in to 15.6in screens at this price point; a handful with full-HD (1080p) displays but most with HD (720p) screens. Smaller laptops are typically going to be more easily portable, but it’s easier to get stuff done on a larger screen, especially if you are wanting to watch video, play casual games or work with spreadsheets.
Don’t overlook Chromebooks, with which your children may well be familiar from school. The difference between these and traditional Windows laptops is the software that is installed on them, with Chromebooks instead using Chrome OS. You’ll also find CloudBooks, which run Windows 10 S.
1. HP 250 G7 (15.6in HD, Core i3, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
Now: £289.97 (£60 off)
2. Acer Aspire 3 A314-21 (14in HD, AMD A9, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
Now: £249 (£100 off)
3. Acer Aspire 3 A315-22 (15.6in FHD, AMD A9, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD)
Now: £279.99 (£50 off)
4. Acer Aspire 3 (15.6in FHD, AMD A6, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD)
Now: £249.99 (£50 off)
5. Acer Aspire 3 (15.6in FHD, AMD Ryzen 3, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD)
From: Laptops Direct
Now: £299.97 (£30 off)
6. Lenovo IdeaPad S340 (15.6in FHD, AMD Ryzen 3, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
Now: £269.99 (£80 off)
7. Lenovo IdeaPad S340-14API (14in FHD, AMD Ryzen 3, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
Now: £279 (£100 off)
8. Lenovo IdeaPad 320 (15.6in HD, Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM, 2TB HDD)
From: Laptop Outlet
Now: £299.96 (£80 off)
9. Lenovo IdeaPad S145-15IWL (15.6in HD, Core i3, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
Now: £299 (£100 off)
10. Lenovo IdeaPad 330 (15.6in HD, Core i3, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD)
11. HP 250 G6 (15.6in FHD, Core i3, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD)
From: Laptops Direct
Now: £299.97 (£56 off)
12. HP 15-db0521sa (15.6in FHD, AMD A6, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD)
Now: £269 (£60 off)
13. HP Stream 14 (14in HD, AMD A4, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD)
Now: £179 (£50.99 off)
If you just need a basic laptop without breaking the bank then this is bargain. It’s got what you need, plus includes a one-year subscription to Office 365 with 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage.
14. Lenovo IdeaPad S130 (11.6in HD, Intel Celeron, 4GB RAM, 64GB SDD)
Now: £119.99 (£80 off)
Need to do basic computing on the go without breaking the bank? Well the S130 is a great choice at way under £150 and even includes a 1-year subscription to Office 365 and 1TB of OneDrive storage.
15. Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (15.6in HD, Intel Pentium, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
Now: £199.99 (£100 off)
16. Asus 14in CloudBook with Office 365
Now: £159.99 (£90 off)
17. Asus 11in CloudBook with Office 365
Now: £149 (£80.99 off)
18. Acer Chromebook 14
Now: £189.99 (£110 off)
19. Acer Chromebook 15 (CB515-1HT)
Now: £299 (£100 off)
20. Acer Chromebook 315 (CB-315-2H)
Now: £198.99 (£81 off)