2021 Gift Guide: Top Laptops and How Much You Will Pay For Them
Using data we’ve accumulated over the year on Ben’s, we’ve found the most popular laptops and determined what prices you can expect to find them during Black Friday shopping season this year.
We broke down laptops into 6 segments:
- Chromebooks: these cheap laptops have been very popular for bargain shoppers and students alike;
- Budget PC laptops: the prices are usually under $500 but have older specs;
- Mid-range PC laptops: newer and better specs and prices can creep up to the $1000 mark;
- Premium PC laptops / workstations: retailing for over $1000, have the latest specs and are the thinnest and lightest laptops;
- Macs: the M1 chip has made the Mac a big seller; and
- PC gaming laptops: this niche category has really taken off in the last few years as manufacturers have managed to slim down their machines while still offering robust gaming-quality specs.
Laptop models tend to have a short retail lifespan, but that’s been worsened by the supply chain issues, due to the number of different parts involved in making laptops (like chips and displays). We’ve tried to stick to models that you can still find and are not closeouts.
Take note of your favorite models below and set a deal alert on Ben’s to get a jump on the lowest prices of the holidays!
Google Chromebooks have really come into their own lately and are star players on Black Friday, with prices sometimes approaching the coveted $100 mark (or even lower).
- Lenovo Chromebook S330 14″ MTK Quad-Core 32GB (2018): Walmart posted this old, barebones 1366 x 768 laptop for just $99 in October (impressive for the 14-inch class). Expect that price to make one last hurrah come Black Friday. [Walmart]
- Acer Chromebook 512 12″ Celeron Dual-Core 32GB (2021): This “ruggedized” laptop with a spill-resistant keyboard has the popular 3:2 aspect ratio. It has hit $129 a few times this year and that’s the price to watch for in the coming weeks. [Best Buy]
- Samsung Chromebook 4 11.6″ Celeron N4000 32GB (2020): Walmart priced this for a mere $87 in one of its Early Access Black Friday sales in early November. The question is if it will come back for a second round, because currently it’s out of stock. [Walmart]
- Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11.6″ 2-in-1 MTK Quad-Core 64GB (2020): This sleeker 2-in-1 Chromebook has recently appeared in Woot! sales from $140 to $150. Expect to see its price tag creep down below those prices in November and December. [Amazon]
- HP 11A-NB0013DX Chromebook 11.6″ Dual-Core 32GB (2020): Best Buy is certain to roll out this well-reviewed little laptop for $99 again. [Best Buy]
Budget PC Laptops
Budget PC laptops usually make some compromises with older specs and build quality to stay under $500. Dell has been very popular in this category on Ben’s for years.
- Gateway GWTN156 15.6″ FHD / Ryzen 5 3450U / 16GB RAM / 256GB SSD (2021): This Gateway branded laptop (made for Walmart by Bmorn Technology in China), has hit $349 several times. Pretty good price for those specs, but right now most colors are out of stock except purple. [Walmart]
- Dell Inspiron 15 3000 15.6″ FHD / 11th Gen Core i3 / 4GB RAM / 128GB SSD (2021): It’s currently on sale for $300, the Black Friday price. If you miss it, Dell will repeat this sale a few times in November and December. [Dell]
- Lenovo Ideapad 5 15.6″ FHD / 10th Gen Core i5 / 512GB SSD (2020): These aren’t budget specs, but it’s gone down as low as $450 at Office Depot. It’s been several months since we’ve seen that price, but this model is still being sold at Office Depot and it could get close to that low price again for Black Friday. [Office Depot]
Mid-Range PC Laptops
Deals on mid-range laptops are usually found in the $500 to $700 range and are most popular among consumers.
- Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 12.4″ Touch / 10th Gen Core i5 / 128GB SSD (2020): Currently selling for $550 at Best Buy, this quality touchscreen laptop has a sharp 1536 x 1024 display. We’ve seen it as low as $532 at Office Depot and that’s the price to aim for around Black Friday. [Best Buy]
- Dell XPS 13 (9305) 13.3″ FHD / 11th Gen Core i5 / 256GB SSD (2021): This always highly rated laptop is currently on sale for the barnburner Black Friday price of $637. Plus, select American Express cardholders can get a $120 statement credit with a purchase of $599+ at Dell (see Amex Offers & Benefit on your card account for more details). [Dell]
- ASUS VivoBook 15 K513 15.6″ FHD / 11th Gen Core i7 / 512GB SSD (2021): On sale again at its all-time low price of $580 at Office Depot, this one had solid specs (plus fingerprint reader). A good one to pick up at this price. [Office Depot]
- Dell Inspiron 15 15.6″ FHD Touch / Ryzen 7 5700U 8-Core (2021): We’ve seen this touchscreen laptop for as low as $617 and expect it to get close to that price again after Nov. 15 when Dell rolls out its Black Friday sales. [Dell]
- ASUS ZenBook 13 13.3″ FHD / 11th Gen Core i7 / 512GB SSD (2020): We haven’t seen this sleek laptop hit $750 for almost a year, but that’s what Black Friday is for, and it’s still in stock. [Office Depot]
Premium PC Laptops / Workstations
Typically retailing for over $1000, high-end laptops are usually the lightest and slimmest or are aimed at professional users.
- Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 13.3″ FHD AMOLED / 11th Gen Core i7 (2021): Amazon had this ultra light (1.92 lbs.) and sleek (0.44″ thin) laptop on sale for $840 back in October (and the Core i5 model for $760). Keep an eye out for those prices in late November. [Amazon]
- MSI Prestige 14 Evo 14″ FHD 11th Gen Core i5 / 512GB SSD (2020): Weighing 2.62 lbs. and measuring 0.6″ thin, this laptop hit an all-time low of $599 on Amazon for a hot minute back in August. It’s more likely to be at $699 in November and December, but you just might see another quickie flash sale under that price. [Amazon]
- Dell Vostro 5510 15.6″ FHD / 11th Gen Core i7 / Win Pro (2021): Aimed at professional users, this laptop has been on sale for as low as $649. Look for this price after Nov. 15 when Dell rolls out its Black Friday sales. Plus, select American Express cardholders can get a $120 statement credit with a purchase of $599+ at Dell (see Amex Offers & Benefit on your card account for more details). [Dell]
- Dell Latitude 3420 14″ FHD / 11th Gen Core i7 / Win Pro (2021): This workstation laptop has been as low as $836, and we expect to see it get close to that price again in November and December. [Dell]
In fall 2020, Apple introduced its Apple-made M1 SoC (System on Chip), and sales of Macs have soared.
- Apple MacBook Air M1 13.3″ 8-Core CPU / 7-Core GPU / 256GB (2020): We saw it at an all-time low of $800 on Amazon in early November (normally $100 more). That’s the sale price to circle when the Black Friday sales begin, and Amazon, Best Buy, B&H Photo Video and Micro Center are the most likely places. [Amazon]
- Apple MacBook Pro M1 13.3″ 8-Core CPU / 8-Core GPU / 256GB (2020): It’s currently $1100 on Amazon after a $99 checkout discount, which matches the all-time low price. If you miss that sale, Amazon and Best Buy are likely to hit that price point again in the coming weeks. [Amazon]
PC Gaming Laptops
Laptops in this category are tailored to their gaming users, with robust graphic cards, high display refresh rates and other features like RGB lighting.
- Dell G15 15.6″ 120Hz FHD / 10th Gen Core i5 / 4GB RTX 3050 (2020): This affordable gamer has been as low as $650. That’s almost $200 off its usual price, but we should see something similar after Nov. 15. Plus, select American Express cardholders can get a $120 statement credit with a purchase of $599+ at Dell (see Amex Offers & Benefit on your card account for more details). [Dell]
- GIGABYTE AERO 15 OLED 15.6″ 4K / 11th Gen Core i7 / 6GB RTX 3060 (2021): The best price we’ve seen is $1249 after a $100 rebate back in August. Newegg will likely repeat that promotion in late November or December. Alternatively, we’ve seen the 8GB RTX 3080 configuration (YD-73US624SP) go for as low as $1649 (after a $500 rebate). [Newegg]
- Alienware m15 R5 15.6″ 165Hz FHD / AMD Ryzen R7 5800H / 6GB 3060 (2021): This well-regarded gaming laptop has been on sale for as low as $1180 at this configuration, and it should hit that price point sometime after Nov. 15 when Dell’s Black Friday sales begin. [Dell]