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Cheap Laptops

Helping you choose your new laptop

Laptops come in many shapes and sizes, so choosing one can be a challenge. Here's a round-up of what to look for to make the tricky process a little smoother.

Cheap Laptops

The most important parts to check when choosing a laptop are the ones that are hard to upgrade: the processor, screen and graphics card. Paying a little more for a machine with a newer processor is often wise, as it'll be more future-proof.

Are you a web surfer or an avid gamer?

There are hundreds of laptops out there and the best one for you all depends on your circumstances. Have a think about what you will actually use your laptop for.

Many people just send emails, do their banking online or order their weekly shop. A basic model would suffice in this case. Even if you regularly stream movies or TV shows, today's standard machines should be able to cope.

However if you want to play the latest high-res games, edit videos or run any other processor-hungry app, you will need a more powerful machine picture of laptop delivery people with a bigger processor and lots of RAM (memory).

It’s also worth thinking about where you will use your laptop. Do you want to move it from place to place or is it going to be used as a desktop computer replacement? You can save money by not buying a super-slinky laptop if it won’t be leaving the house.

Storage is also important nowadays as we use our laptops to store all of our personal photos and videos. Ensuring you have enough space should keep you out of the laptop market for longer.

Shop around for the best deal

Once you’ve decided on the model that’s right for you, the next step is to find it at a great price. Here are some of our key tips for finding the perfect price for your laptop.

  • Shop, shop, shop around! As ever, don't be tempted to take the first price you see.

  • General rule – don’t buy straight from the brand/supplier. John Lewis often offers a 3-year warranty as standard on the products it sells.

  • Sometimes it’s better to go with the well-known companies. There are lots of manufacturers in the market so you should always do your research before purchasing. A manufacturer with history and a good reputation will give you peace of mind should anything go wrong.

  • Check out the Price Runner and Kelkoo price comparison websites. These help you to find the best price online for your laptop.

  • Read reviews online to make a more informed choice. We're not technical experts, so we recommend you check out Which?, Stuff magazine and PC Advisor.

  • See our Amazon discount finder tool, which allows you to enter a category and pick a price range to search for the online retailer's best deals.

  • Buying refurbished machines often works out considerably cheaper. Large high street retailers such as Currys and PC World offer refurbished laptops for a fraction of their retail value. Even those who have their hearts set on a MacBook can pick up a refurbished machine for less online and in designated Premium Resellers.

Standard specification

For a basic laptop, you should expect to pay about £300. Most laptops come as standard with full wi-fi capabilities, Windows 8 Home edition, and a minimum of 2GB RAM, though you can upgrade in most cases.

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Jargon busters

It’s very easy to be bamboozled by technical terms when comparing laptops. If you thought ‘RAM‘ was a male sheep and ‘drive’ something you do in your car, here is a quick glossary.

Jargon Explanation
Processor The bit that crunches the numbers - the single most important thing to consider when choosing a laptop.
RAM Random Access Memory, the memory programs draw from to run smoothly. The more RAM, the quicker you can expect your software to run.
Hard drive The bit that stores all your data. It is measured in gigabytes (themselves comprised of 1024 megabytes). You should be looking for around 150GB as a minimum, but bear in mind you can always add an external drive later if you need to.
Optical drive The drive that reads optical media: CDs and DVDs. Most laptops are now capable of writing and rewriting discs as well as playing them, so you can record whatever you like on them (though keep 'em out of the sun afterwards or they'll stop working).

Cheap laptop questions

There are so many things to consider when buying a laptop, we've tried to cover some obvious questions below.

Quick Questions

Want something more basic?

Need more memory?

Mac or PC?

Want software too?

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How to complain about a purchase

If you're not happy about a product or the service you receive, you should first contact the retailer in person, by phone, or in writing. However, if you're still not satisfied, then...

Free tool if you’re having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It’s totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with it to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will automatically escalate for free to the relevant ombudsman or trade body.