Black Friday 2019 laptop deals from Digital Foundry

The best gaming and work laptops, hand-picked by boffins.

Update (Thursday, 2PM): We've added some new laptop deals, including an entry-level gaming laptop for 450! Also, check out the latest highlights from Dell's UK sale. Original article continues below:

Black Friday 2019 is one of the best times of the year to pick up a new work or gaming laptop. Often, this is the first big opportunity for retailers to discount recently released models with the latest processors and graphics cards. It's also a common time for previous-gen models to approach blow-out prices, so no matter what your budget there's a good chance your ultimate laptop will be on sale at some point!

The biggest shopping holiday of the year started out on a single Friday in late November, but has slowly been encroaching on the rest of the month. Now, Black Friday deals begin in early November and don't let up until December, although Black Friday itself - November 29th, this year - still tends to offer some exclusive deals.

We've rounded up the best laptop deals going, using our expertise in performance analysis to identify the best models for the money. While gaming laptops are an obvious inclusion, we are also highlighting office-friendly models for anything from writing up papers to rendering 4K videos. We've split our recommendations into both US and UK sections to cover our two major markets. There's also a buyer's guide which provides advice about what specs you should be looking for. Scroll on to read the whole page, or use the links below to jump straight to the section you're interested in!

Looking for more than just laptops? See all of our Black Friday 2019 tech deals, including TVs, monitors, PC hardware and peripherals.

Black Friday UK 2019 laptop deals

nitro5

449 for a 15-inch 144Hz gaming laptop

This Nitro 5 is the cheapest Black Friday gaming laptop we've found so far, ringing up at just 449 with code BFLAPTOP50. It comes with pretty basic specs - an RX 560X 4GB graphics card, Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core processor and 8GB of RAM - but it should be far better at gaming than a laptop with integrated graphics. The configuration also comes with a 256GB SSD, a rarity at this price point, plus a 144Hz 1080p display (!!) perfect for fast-paced esports gaming. At its heavily reduced price, this is a heck of a Black Friday bargain.

envy

200 off the HP Envy x360 w/ Ryzen 3700U

This 2-in-1 laptop is a good deal at 200 off, thanks to its Ryzen 3700U quad-core processor, backed with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The integrated Vega 10 graphics are good enough for basic gaming, while the 2-in-1 capabilities ensure the laptop works well even in cramped conditions. The screen is worth mentioning as well, with a 1080p resolution, full multi-touch support and a protective covering of Gorilla Glass. A pen is also offered, if you fancy scribbling down some notes or drawing superhero comics on the train home from work.

aero

Up to 250 off Gigabyte Aero 15 with 144Hz or 4K OLED

These Aero 15 laptops provide a ton of gaming horsepower in a relatively compact package, and they've been discounted by upwards of 200 each at Currys for Black Friday 2019. The screen options are particularly interesting here, with discounts on both the 1080p 144Hz model and a newfangled 4K OLED alternative. Note that this particular 4K configuration isn't as well-equipped as the Classic, making it better suited for mixed use (ie content creation, media viewing and gaming), while the Classic model is the better all-out gaming machine.

There are far too many discounted gaming laptops at Currys to cover individually - 89 different models when we last checked! - so feel free to look at the full range of options for yourself! If you have any questions about specs or particular models, we'd be happy to answer them in the comments below or on Twitter - with Twitter likely being checked more often.

laptops

Up to 127 off Apple, Chromebook and Windows laptops at John Lewis

The John Lewis Black Friday sale has begun, and it includes plenty of discounts on laptops of all kinds - cheap Chromebooks for education, slightly reduced 2019 Apple MacBooks and a good range of Windows laptops. You can see the whole selection of discounted laptops at John Lewis here or read on for our curated highlights!

Apple MacBooks

There are a few great Windows laptops discounted here, including the popular Dell Inspiron 15 and XPS 13. Microsoft's Surface laptop (pictured above, right) is also a great choice.

Windows laptops

For low-end laptops, nothing beats a Chromebook. Here are a couple of discounted options from HP, ideal for students.

Chromebooks

asus_laptops

Up to 500 off Asus gaming laptops, with five models included

Asus are discounting a range of their gaming laptops, with up to 500 off selected models at a range of retailers. The cheapest is the Tuf FX505DT, which is equipped with a 15.6-inch 120Hz display, a Ryzen 5 3550H processor and a GTX 1650 graphics card - a pretty solid setup for high refresh rate mobile gaming! The FX505DT also comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB NVMe SSD, so it should be a capable work machine as well, and retails for 600 - a reduction of 200 from its SRP. For 400 more, you can pick up the FX505DV, an upgraded model that includes a Ryzen 7 3750H processor and RTX 2060 graphics card; RAM and storage are also doubled in capacity. That one has been discounted by 250.

If you'd prefer something thinner and lighter, the Zephyrus G is a sound choice. This model uses the same high refresh rate 120Hz panel, and is equipped with the same Ryzen 7 3750H processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD as the Tuf FX505DV. However, the graphics solution has been downgraded slightly, to a GTX 1660 Ti, to allow the Zephyrus G to adopt a much slimmer and cleaner form factor that wouldn't look out of place in a board room. It's also cheaper, at 929. We recommend the Zephyrus G if you travel a lot with your laptop, and the Tuf FX505DV if you don't mind a little extra weight in exchange for better gaming performance.

If you really want to push the boat out, there are also some discounted premium gaming laptops in the mix as well. The Strix Scar 3 and Zephyrus S both include 15.6-inch 240Hz displays, making them the ideal choice for fast-paced games like Counter-Strike, Call of Duty or Fortnite. Both sport bleeding-edge i7-9750H processors, 16GB of RAM and 1TB NVMe SSDs, with the major differences between the graphics card and form factor. The Scar 3 has the RTX 2070, while the Zephyrus comes with the best-in-class RTX 2080. The Zephyrus is also a slimmer machine, with an 18.7mm thickness more indicative of a business-class laptop than the gaming powerhouse that it is. The Scar 3 is discounted by 200, while the Zephyrus S is discounted by a massive 500.

Black Friday USA 2019 laptop deals

strix

$500 off a 17-inch Asus gaming laptop

The best Black Friday gaming laptop deal we've found so far is on an Asus laptop, the G731GU, which has been reduced from $1399 to $899 at Best Buy. This laptop is powered by a 9th-generation Core i7 hexa-core processor and GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, which should provide strong 1080p gaming performance. Elsewhere, the configuration is impressive elsewhere too, with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of fast NVMe SSD storage. The 17-inch screen is another highlight - we normally see 15.6-inch screens at this price point - especially given that it is a 144Hz panel suitable for fast-paced, competitive games. Overall, this is a great gaming laptop for the money, so don't pass it up if it fits the bill!

gl

Up to $600 off a range of MSI, Acer and Gigabyte laptops at Newegg

Newegg have included a host of laptops in their Black Friday sales, some of which come with free backpacks and gaming headsets - not bad! Our pick is the MSI GL65, which has been reduced from $1150 to $799 after instant savings and a mail-in rebate. The GL65 comes with the aforementioned accessories, as well as a solid gaming spec that includes the GTX 1660 Ti and 9th-gen Core i7. If you want to play fast-paced games like Counter-Strike or Call of Duty, then the better-equipped second configuration with a 144Hz screen might be worth your while. Other options include Acer's older Predator Helios with a GTX 1060 (boo!) but 32GB of RAM (yay!) and a high-spec Gigabyte Aero 15 laptop with an RTX 2070 graphics card.

xps13

Up to $500 off Dell's most popular laptops

Dell are discounting a ton of their laptops during Black Friday, including both the work-friendly XPS lineups and the more gaming-focused Alienware m15 and G3 15 laptops. Discounts range substantially depending on the configuration you choose, but you're looking at anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a whopping $521 for one high-end model.

There are quite a few XPS 13 and 15 laptops in use around Gamer Network HQ, thanks to its thin-bezel display, good keyboard and strong productivity performance. The last XPS 15 model on the list even comes with a dedicated graphics card, allowing it to handle a much wider variety of games.

We also recommend the XPS 13 2-in-1, a convertible design that is one of the first Project Athena laptops with 10th-gen Intel processors. These are capable of a surprising amount of gaming performance, as we found out in our review!

Dell work laptops

m15

Dell gaming laptops

For proper gaming, you're probably going to want one of these. The G3 15 is the budget option, with a GTX 1660 Ti graphics card that offers quite substantial gaming performance at 1080p. The Alienware m15 offers a more refined look, but worse specs on this configuration.

Black Friday 2019 laptop buyer's guide

When buying a computer, the most important specifications to check are the processor (CPU) and the graphics card (GPU). That's because these elements have the greatest impact on performance and are often impossible to upgrade on a laptop. RAM (memory) and storage (SSDs and HDDs) are important too, but these items are usually possible to upgrade after the fact on most laptops and desktops.

For processors, the newest models aren't always the best. Intel's processors only gain a few percent points of performance each year, so the most important thing is choosing a model with at least an i3 processor - this should give you a good level of performance for web browsing and light creative tasks, like editing photos. An i5 processor is recommended for tougher tasks, like gaming or content creation, and an i7 or i9 processor should give you leading performance. Intel is on their tenth generation at the moment, so an seventh-generation or later processor should provide slightly better performance features. AMD also produce processors, and laptops with their Ryzen CPUs are worth considering - but I wouldn't bother with AMD's older Athlon or FX processors.

If you plan on gaming on your new laptop, then choosing a model with a good graphics card is essential. For 1080p gaming, we'd recommend Intel's GTX 1650 or above, although older machines with a previous-gen GTX 1050 Ti or better should still work OK for basic gaming. Few laptops come with AMD graphics cards, but the first RX 5500M models should be worth considering. For 1440p gaming, we recommend the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 or above. Finally, for 4K gaming or lower-resolution gaming at high refresh rates, an RTX 2070 or RTX 2080 will work well.

It's worth remembering that there are regular and "Max-Q" variants of each recent Nvidia mobile GPU, with the regular variants usually favouring performance and the Max-Q models meeting stricter thermal and noise constraints. For exact frame-rates, you could try searching online for the name of your graphics card or laptop and the game you wanted to play and the word "fps", e.g. "Fortnite RTX 2060 Max-Q fps".

We mentioned RAM and storage earlier, and it's worth coming back to that now. We recommend at least 8GB of RAM for basically all PCs, with 16GB being preferred. Higher RAM counts than 16GB isn't necessary for most applications, but content creation or scientific workloads could justify choosing a higher capacity model. There are also different kinds of laptop RAM, which vary in speed or power usage, but you won't need to know this unless you are upgrading the RAM pre-installed in the laptop to a higher capacity.

In terms of storage, we recommend opting for a model with a solid state drive of at least 240GB, as this will make Windows and your most-used programs start up much more quickly and system responsiveness improves across the board. Larger capacities, like 500GB or 1TB, will give you more room to grow without strict disk space management.

Most laptops will come with either SATA or NVMe SSDs installed, with NVMe being the faster of the two options. Generally, SATA drives are fine for most people, with those faster NVMe drives coming in handy mostly for creatives or other people that need to work with large files in a time-sensitive environment. If a drive doesn't specify whether it is NVMe or SATA, it is probably SATA.

High-end machines may also offer multiple drives in RAID0, which boosts speed by combining two drives into a single volume. (If you're interested in upgrading your laptop with an SSD, check our Black Friday 2019 SSD deals here!)

As well as an SSD, you may find it useful to have a secondary mechanical HDD, which is slower to use but much cheaper per gigabyte. That makes it a good place to store downloads, videos, music and photos, where access speed isn't so important. A 1TB or 2TB drive is a good place to start, with 3TB, 4TB and larger drives also being reasonable options. Here, popular manufacturers include WD, Toshiba and Seagate.

With a laptop, there are a few other things to keep in mind. First up is the screen. An IPS screen provides better colours and wider viewing angles, a TN screen provides faster response times and a VA panel provides the best contrast with decent colours and viewing angles. Resolution is important too; anything less than 1080p make look grainy while you're sitting close. Higher resolutions will look better but place higher demands on your processor and graphics card for gaming, so 4K screens are best used by creatives who can make use of the extra resolution and sharpness. Gaming laptops are also sometimes available with high refresh rate screens, which update faster than the usual 60Hz you get on a standard monitor. 100Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz screens are all possible, and they provide a nice boost in fluidity for fast-paced games.

The keyboard is also important on a laptop. Most laptop keyboards use flat scissor switches, which provide a bit of tactile feedback while using the minimal amount of space. The more travel each key has - i.e. the further it moves when you press it down - the better it will generally feel. It's worth trying a laptop in person or looking for reviews online to see how good the keyboard is, as you will be potentially using it a lot and you can't replace it with a different one - although of course you can plug in a USB keyboard for gaming if you like. Similarly, touchpads ought to be wide and responsive, so go hands-on or research people's impressions online.

Finally we have battery life. Generally, the more powerful a laptop is, the worse its battery life will be. A faster processor, faster graphics card and higher-resolution screen will all draw more power. With the current trend for super-slim laptops, gaming-focused models may only last two to three hours. Therefore, if longevity is important to you, then go for a thicker laptop with a bigger battery, or choose a laptop with a more efficient processor, integrated graphics and/or a lower resolution display.

That's all we have on laptops and prebuilt PCs for now! Remember to check out our other Black Friday 2018 tech deals and stay tuned for the latest deals as they drop!

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

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About the author

Will Judd

Will Judd

Senior Staff Writer, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2.

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