Technology

14 Best Black Friday Laptop Deals: Apple MacBooks, Microsoft Surface, Dell, HP, And More

Enlarge / Surface Pro 8 from Microsoft.

Andrew Cunningham

Black Friday laptop deals are as American as pumpkin pie. But tracking down valuable options can be tricky. Every model has variants, every one of those variants has configurations with too many sounding model numbers (thanks, Intel), and many of the model names are unmemorable names.

We spend a lot of time looking at and writing about laptops at Ars, so we’ve gone through the deals and highlighted the most notable options based on the laptops we’ve reviewed and are familiar with. Here are some laptop deals we think are worth knowing about.

Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales made through links in this post through affiliate programs.

More coverage for Black Friday 2022

The 2022 MacBook Air.
Enlarge / The 2022 MacBook Air.

Samuel Axon

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 types of Mac users. Thanks to Apple’s impressive M2 processor, this entry-level model can do a lot with just 8GB of RAM, though the 256GB storage capacity could push storage-guzzling types to the Pro (also on sale now).

Best Buy has a matching deal on the same model, and Apple is offering a $150 gift card if you buy the latest MacBook Air from their store. You can also pick up a 512GB MacBook Air for $1,299 at Best Buy and $1,499 at Apple (with the $150 gift card).

Two 2021 MacBook Pro models side by side.
Enlarge / Two 2021 MacBook Pro models side by side.

Samuel Axon

14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 for $1,600 ($2,000) at Amazon

The 2021 MacBook Pro is the hardware hard fork we’ve been waiting for, a return to usable ports, reasonable keyboards and function keys, driven largely by the arrival of Apple’s proprietary silicon. Ars’ Samuel Axon called it “the best laptop money can buy for many usage scenarios, provided you have a lot of money.” For a short period of time it’s a lot 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 CPU and GPU cores each and twice the storage space? That model is currently on sale for $2,000 at Amazon, $500 off the regular price. A model from 2022, with a slightly faster M2 chip and 8GB RAM, though $1,350 at Amazon ($150 off). Apple doesn’t offer a discount, but if you buy a MacBook Pro you get an Apple Gift Card worth up to $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 16 GB of memory, 512 GB of 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, 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage $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 from Microsoft.
Enlarge / Surface Pro 9 from Microsoft.

Andrew Cunningham

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 a laptop, the Surface Pro 9 is the best to get that job done, after more than nine hardware revisions and spin-offs. The sharp 13-inch screen, 12th Gen U-series Intel processor and nice feel of the keyboard cover (included in this deal) keep the Surface as the archetype of the portable but still typing-friendly laptop computer.

It’s pretty hard to beat this keyboard deal on a brand new device. But if you’re not a Costco member, Best Buy offers the same model Surface Pro 9, without a keyboard, for that $1,000 ($100 off) and an upgraded i7/16GB model for $1,400 ($200 off). Amazon also has an i7/16GB model with 256GB of storage up front $1,349about $250 off retail.

Surface Pro 8 with keyboard cover for $900 ($1,350) at Best Buy

Not a whole lot has changed between the Surface Pro 8 and 9, minus a processor upgrade. If you’re looking for a cheaper entry-level hybrid from Microsoft, we liked the Pro 8 a year ago, and it’s still a worthy buy, especially at this discount with an included keyboard cover. Best Buy has the i5 8GB RAM 256GB storage model on offer $900 with a graphite keyboard cover and 15 months of Microsoft 365 to sweeten the deal.

The Surface Laptop Go 2.
Enlarge / The Surface Laptop Go 2.

Andrew Cunningham

Surface Laptop Go 2 for $600 ($700) at Best Buy

One of the biggest issues we had with the Surface Laptop Go 2 was that the base model with 4GB of RAM is useless to anyone. The other was that the $700 model, with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of 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-frills budget laptop 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, and you like the idea of ​​a three-year protection plan, Microsoft offers it all for the price of $655.

That's not just a spacious deck;  it's a huge touchpad.
Enlarge / That’s not just a spacious deck; it’s a huge touchpad.

Sharon Harding

Dell XPS 13 Plus for $1,500 ($1,850) at Best Buy

This refreshed version of Dell’s long-running ultrabook line made “wild design choices” to support a more powerful 12th Gen Intel CPU. If performance is the most important thing to you in a laptop then this laptop can really cook and looks and feels slim and stylish. But it gets hot, the keys are close together and the 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), 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD (as we reviewed) for $1,500 ($350 off), and if you want to sacrifice an OLED screen, an FHD+ model for that $1,350 ($300 off).

HP's 13.5-inch Specter x360.
Enlarge / HP’s 13.5-inch Specter x360.

Sharon Harding

HP Specter x360 13.5-inch for $900 ($1,250) in PK

The 13.5-inch Specter x360 has “something for almost everyone,” we wrote in August. It “gets an A+ in looks and scores high (but not perfect) in design details.” It wasn’t best-in-class compared to other ultralights in its price range, but at this price point the Specter deserves better marks against the curve.

HP has a model with an i5-1235U processor, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB NVMe SSD and a 1920 x 1280 IPS display for $900 ($350 off). You can tweak some of those elements, including doubling the RAM for just $60 more, on HP’s site.

System76 Lemur Pro.
Enlarge / System76 Lemur Pro.

System76 Lemur Pro 14-inch for $1,150 ($1,200 at System76

Linux-focused laptop sellers don’t hit huge sales around Black Friday, or at all in general. They have other things to focus on than the container ship scale volume. So when System76 gets $50 off its redesigned 14-inch Lemur Pro, the one with the touted 14-hour battery life, it’s worth keeping in mind. You can choose between Pop! OS and Ubuntu 22.04 pre-installed, tons of storage and RAM options, and certain configurations 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

Frame image by Samuel Axon

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