The problem with buying a laptop on Black Friday

Black Friday is known as a hectic day of shopping for many popular items, but it doesn't always translate well into laptop shopping. This is why.

Black Friday seems to have an aura around it that suggests good deals for everything, but how well does it that work for laptops? Shopping for a new laptop is usually a lengthy process because there are lots of things to consider, and the mad rush of Black Friday seems counterintuitive to this process. So is Black Friday really a good time to buy a laptop? Let's find out.

Is Black Friday the best time to buy a new notebook PC?

Is Black Friday the best time to buy a laptop?

Black Friday is more of a small-electronics or TV sale day, with not a lot of high-profile laptops seeing significant price cuts. Thrifter Deals Editor Jared DiPane has this to say on the subject:

Black Friday is more of a TV deal day, especially this year. We're seeing a lot of Black Friday deals not being any better than sales found at other times, and buying a laptop isn't recommended unless you have a specific model in mind.

This isn't always the rule, and you might end up getting lucky, but chances are you'll be disappointed.

So when is the best time to buy a laptop?

If not Black Friday, then when is the best time to buy? Laptops sort of have their own cycle when it comes to new models and dropped prices, which we've already taken an in-depth look at.

The best time to shop for a laptop seems to be when an updated version is released (the slightly older models usually drop in price), closer to the holiday season, and at the end of summer when back-to-school shopping takes place. We've seen these trends with CamelCamelCamel on plenty of popular laptops, including the Dell XPS 13.

XPS 13 price chart

Again, these aren't the only times you'll find a great deal on a laptop, and we've sometimes seen popular devices go on sale for Black Friday. But it's a good rule of thumb.

Tips for buying a laptop on Black Friday

This guy looks happy with his laptop

If you're set on buying a laptop on Black Friday, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to get the best experience possible. Always begin by knowing exactly what you're looking for. This includes design, display, internal hardware, and price range.

As long as you set a price and an expectation of what the laptop will deliver, there should be a lot less buyer's remorse in the end. A lot of sales we're seeing so far this year are cheap laptops made even cheaper, but the problem is that they won't last as long nor will they deliver the same performance as high-end models. For example, if you see a regular price of about $600 cut in half, you can usually expect that laptop to come with budget compromises.

The golden rule when shopping for a laptop on Black Friday is to not rush into a purchase. Laptop shopping is usually a lengthy process, and grabbing the first discount item you see will likely end in a negative experience.

Keep an eye on deal websites

One way you can keep ahead of any surprise sales on great laptops is to visit specialized deal websites, like Thrifter, a Windows Central sibling site. This is a great place to quickly compare ads, and they even have a Twitter account you can subscribe to for immediate deal alerts.

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