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Black Friday Laptop Deals: Retrospective and 2015 Predictions
Electronics are always hot ticket items when it comes to Black Friday, and while televisions are still the biggest attraction, personal laptops are right up there with TVs as some of the most sought after deals. We took a look at last year's Black Friday laptop deals to see if we can predict what 2015 has in store for us (pun intended).
Dell is charging ahead of the competition this year, having already announced its doorbuster deals, which feature an Inspiron 14-inch 3000 series laptop for only $149. No, you’re not reading it wrong — it’s really $149 ($150 total savings). But you get what you pay for, and this laptop isn’t the beefiest with only 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of eMMC storage (slower than SSD).
On the other side of the spectrum is an Alienware 15 gaming laptop that features an Intel Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 1 TB hard drive and a 3 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M graphics card for a price of $1,199.99 ($300 total savings).
Last year’s doorbuster was an Inspiron 15 laptop for $189.99 ($110 savings) with 4 GB RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. So for a slightly lower price this year, you get a smaller, less powerful, but still usable laptop. It also seems like Dell’s BF discounts are much higher across the board for 2015, ranging from $150 to $400.
Apple fans were pleased with Best Buy’s 2014 Black Friday deals, as they offered discounts on both the 13-inch MacBook Pro ($200 savings) and the 11-inch MacBook Air ($120 savings). For 2015, these two popular Apple laptops are back with the exact same deal — good news for those that missed out last time. Arriving even earlier than 2014's three-day “Beat the Rush” event, which started the Thursday before Thanksgiving, Best Buy is offering eight deals — available now — one of which features a 12-inch MacBook for $1,149.99 ($150 savings). That's not too shabby considering that Apple products are rarely eligible for discounts. Supplies are limited though, so you might want to jump on those eight deals right away.
Other laptop deals include an 11-inch Acer Chromebook for $99 and an 15-inch Asus with 4 GB RAM and 500 GB hard drive for $139.99. A number of Intel-powered laptops are also discounted up to $250 off ($50 more potential savings than 2014), so check out the Best Buy Black Friday ad scans for a full list of this year's sales.
Out of all the major electronics retailers, Fry’s offered one of the lowest priced laptops, a 15-inch Acer with 2 GB RAM and 320 GB hard drive for $138 ($110 total savings). Asus, Lenovo and Dell laptops sporting similar specs were being offered with a final price between $200 and $600 — the average savings was around $200 to $300. It was a pretty solid offering in terms of both features and value. Since their core audience typically consists of computing DIYers, you can expect Fry's Electronics to offer slightly more feature-heavy laptops than the competition.
Not wanting to keep its customers waiting, Amazon has already started offering discounts as part of its Countdown to Black Friday event, but no word on laptops just yet. Some of the highlights from last year’s sale include an HP Pavilion X2 10.1-inch detachable laptop for $229.99 and an Acer C720 Chromebook for $149.99. We can probably expect Amazon to continue targeting its core audience of web-savvy shoppers with netbooks and small, budget laptops, like the colorful 11.6-inch HP Stream.
Since most people don’t associate Black Friday with office supplies, Staples really tried to generate some buzz with an in-store only deal of $99 for an 11-inch Asus laptop. The double digit price is unbelievable, but you only got a bare bones machine with 2 GB RAM and 32 GB of storage (today's smart phones are more powerful). Other advertised laptops were mostly from Toshiba, with prices ranging from $300 to around $600. It’s hard to say if Staples will offer another sub-$100 laptop this year, but definitely expect a head-turning deal; it's their best attempt at remaining relevant.
Last year, Walmart kept up with other stores by offering a 15.6-inch HP laptop for $159 that included 4 GB RAM and 500 GB storage. For the serious computing customer, the super store offered an online-only deal of $549 for a 15.6-inch Dell touchscreen laptop with an i7 processor, 8 GB RAM and 1 TB storage; that's some real power for not a lot of money. Follow Walmart's Black Friday deals page to find out about this year's deals, and be sure to keep a close eye on those online-only offerings.
With Black Friday deals arriving earlier each year, and the battle for lowest price fiercer than ever, we can most likely expect to see more stripped-down laptops for the sake of low price baiting. Anyone looking to do more than just surf the web should probably avoid doorbuster deals though and focus on the regular Black Friday sales. This is also a great time to purchase "work life" laptops for students or on-the-go millennials; the feature-light machines are perfect for the cloud computing generation. Plus, if they get destroyed by wear and tear, you're only out a couple hundred bucks.
Images courtesy of Thinkstock/Gomolach, Dell.com, Amazon.com, HP.com
This article is sponsored by Dell.
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