Black Friday laptop deals are as American as pumpkin pie. But tracking down worthwhile options can be tricky. Each model has variants, each of those variants have configurations with too many sound-alike model numbers (thank you, Intel), and many of the model names are unmemorable names.
We spend a lot of time looking at laptops and writing about them at Ars, so we’ve gone through the deals and highlighted the most noteworthy options, based on the laptops we’ve reviewed and know. Here are some laptop computer deals we think are worth knowing about.
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MacBook Air 2022 for $1,050 (
$1,200) at Amazon
It’s not a mandatory upgrade over its M1-based predecessor, but the M2-powered MacBook Air is the best laptop for most kinds of Mac users. Thanks Apple’s impressive M2 processor, this entry-level model can do a lot with just 8GB of RAM, though the 256GB storage might push storage-hungry types to the Pro (also on sale right now).
Best Buy has a matching deal on the same model, and Apple’s offering a $150 gift card if you buy the newest MacBook Air at their store. You can also nab a 512GB MacBook Air for $1,299 at Best Buy and $1,499 at Apple (with the $150 gift card).
14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 for $1,600 (
$2,000) at Amazon
The 2021 MacBook Pro is the hardware hard fork we’d been waiting for, a return to usable ports, reasonable keyboards, and function keys, largely powered by the advent of Apple’s own silicon. Ars’ Samuel Axon dubbed it “the best laptop money can buy for many use cases, provided you have a lot of money.” For a brief period, it’s a good bit less money at Amazon. A 14-inch model with an M1 Pro chip, 16GB RAM, and 512GB storage is $1,599 ($400 off). The same deal is available at Best Buy.
Want two more CPU and GPU cores each and twice the storage? That model’s currently on sale for $2,000 at Amazon, down $500 off the typical price. A 2022 model, with a slightly faster M2 chip and 8GB RAM, is $1,350 at Amazon ($150 off). Apple isn’t offering a discount, but buying a MacBook Pro qualifies you for an Apple gift card worth up to a $250.
16-inch MacBook Pro 2021 for $2,000 (
$2,500) at Amazon
Everything about the 14-inch MacBook Pro applies to the 16-inch model—just with a bigger screen, and a price to match. This week, Amazon has a model with 16GB memory, 512GB storage, and a 16-core M1 Pro processor for $2,000 ($500 off). Best Buy has the same deal.
If you want the most powerful Apple laptop, a model with a 32-core M1 Max chip, 32GB RAM, and 1TB storage is $3,049 at Best Buy, $450 less than retail. Or you can pay full retail price through Apple and get a $250 gift card.
Surface Pro 9 with keyboard cover for $1,100 (
$1,300) at Costco
If you want a Windows device that can be both a tablet and laptop, the Surface Pro 9 is the best to do that job, after more than nine hardware revisions and spin-offs. The crisp 13-inch screen, 12th-generation U-series Intel processor, and the nice feel of the keyboard cover (included with this deal) keep the Surface as the archetype of the portable-but-still-type-friendly laptop computer.
It’s pretty hard to beat this keyboard-included deal on a brand-new device. But if you’re not a Costco member, Best Buy offers the same model Surface Pro 9, sans keyboard, for $1,000 ($100 off) and an upgraded i7/16GB model for $1,400 ($200 off). Amazon also has an i7/16GB model with 256GB storage for $1,349, about $250 off retail.
Surface Pro 8 with keyboard cover for $900 (
$1,350) at Best Buy
Not a whole bunch changed between the Surface Pro 8 and 9, minus a processor upgrade. If you’re looking for a more affordable entry point into Microsoft’s hybrid, we liked the Pro 8 one year ago, and it’s still a worthy purchase, especially at this discount with a keyboard cover included. Best Buy has the i5 8GB RAM 256GB storage model on sale for $900 with a graphite-colored keyboard cover and 15 months of Microsoft 365 to sweeten the deal.
Surface Laptop Go 2 for $600 ($
700) at Best Buy
One of the biggest problems we had with the Surface Laptop Go 2 was that its base model with 4GB RAM isn’t useful for anybody. The other was that the $700 model, with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, cost too much. But as we noted in our review, “if you can find it on sale … the Laptop Go 2 is a no-fuss budget laptop that’s worth considering if you can live with its flaws.”
Well, here you go. The 8GB RAM, 128GB model is on sale for $600 at Best Buy ($100 off). If you need a portable mouse to go with it, and like the idea of a 3-year protection plan, Microsoft is offering all that for the price of $655.
Dell XPS 13 Plus for $1,500 (
$1,850) at Best Buy
This revamped version of Dell’s long-running ultrabook series made “wild design choices” to support a more powerful 12th-generation Intel CPU. If the most important thing for you in a laptop is performance, this laptop can really cook, and it looks and feels slim and classy. But it gets hot, its keys are tightly spaced, and its port selection is limited.
Best Buy has three variants of the XPS 13 Plus on sale: one with 32 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD for $1,700 ($400 off), 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD (as we reviewed) for $1,500 ($350 off), and if you want to sacrifice an OLED display, an FHD+ model for $1,350 ($300 off).
HP Spectre x360 13.5” for $900 (
$1,250) at HP
The 13.5-inch Spectre x360 has “a little something for almost everyone,” we wrote in August. It “gets an A+ in looks and scores high (but not perfectly) in design details.” It wasn’t top of its class when compared to other ultralights in its price range, but at this price the Spectre is earning better grades against the curve.
HP has a model with an i5-1235U processor, 8GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, and a 1920×1280 IPS screen for $900 ($350 off). You can tweak some of those elements, including doubling the RAM for just $60 more, at HP’s site.
System76 Lemur Pro 14-inch for $1,150 (
$1,200 at System76
Linux-focused laptop vendors don’t bust out huge sales around Black Friday, or generally much at all. They’ve got other things to focus on than container-ship-scale volume. So when System76 knocks $50 off its redesigned 14” Lemur Pro, the one with the touted 14-hour battery life, it’s worth taking note. You can choose between Pop! OS and Ubuntu 22.04 pre-installed, a whole lot of storage and RAM options, and certain configurations will get free shipping.
Other laptop deals we like
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 15-inch laptop PC (2496×1664, Core i7-1185G7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD) for $1,900 (
$2,400) at Amazon
- Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 13.3” (1920×1080, Core i3-10110U, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) for $549 (
$699) at Best Buy
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 from $899 up to $300 off at Microsoft
- Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio from $1,400 up to $400 off at Microsoft
- Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 13-inch Chromebook (1920×1080, Intel Core i3-1115G4, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) for $300 (
$420) at Amazon
Listing image by Samuel Axon