Best Dell Black Friday deals: Save on laptops, monitors, desktop PCs

There’s no need to wait for Black Friday deals because retailers like Dell have already rolled out some of their offers for the shopping holiday. Whether you’re planning to buy a new laptop, monitor, or desktop computer, Dell surely has something that will fit your budget. We’ve rounded up the best Dell Black Friday deals that you can shop right now to help you decide quickly on your purchases, since you need to hurry to make sure that you’re able to take advantage of the bargains. Any of these prices may return to normal at any moment, so act fast.

Top 3 Dell Black Friday deals

Dell S2721QS 4K monitor — $240, was $330


If you’re looking for monitor deals to upgrade an outdated display, you should consider the Dell S2721QS 4K monitor. You’ll be getting sharp details and vivid colors on its 27-inch screen with 4K Ultra HD resolution, and you’ll also experience less stuttering and screen tearing with AMD’s FreeSync technology. Your neck and eyes will stay comfortable with the help of the monitor’s height-adjustable stand and Dell’s ComfortView Plus that reduces harmful blue light emissions.

Dell Inspiron 15 laptop — $280, was $330

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Laptop on a white background displaying a colourful scene.

The Dell Inspiron 15 is an affordable laptop that provides decent performance for handling day-to-day tasks. It’s equipped with the 12th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, integrated Intel UHD Graphics, and 8GB of RAM, and it also features a 15.6-inch Full HD screen. The laptop ships with Windows 11 Home pre-loaded in a 256GB SSD, which will provide ample storage space for your files.

Dell XPS 13 — $599, was $799

The Dell XPS 13, open on a table in front of a window.
Digital Trends

For those thinking about taking advantage of laptop deals, you can’t go wrong with the Dell XPS 13, which is a mainstay in our list of the best laptops as an affordable and well-built mainstream option. It will provide you with enough power for your daily workloads with its 12th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics, and 8GB of RAM. It runs on Windows 11 Home, which is pre-installed in its 256GB SSD, and its 13.4-inch screen with Full HD+ resolution is simply gorgeous because of its bezel-less design.

Best Dell XPS Black Friday deals

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop — $1,199, was $1,449

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 front angled view showing display and folio keyboard.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Shoppers who want performance and versatility in one package should be going for 2-in-1 laptop deals like this offer for the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop. It starts as a powerful tablet with a 13-inch 3K touchscreen and the 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor combined with Intel Iris Xe Graphics and 16GB of RAM, then it transforms into a laptop with the XPS Folio that functions as both a detachable keyboard and protection for the display. The 2-in-1 laptop offers a 512GB SSD for storage with Windows 11 Home out of the box.

Dell XPS 15 laptop — $1,549, was $1,999

Dell XPS 15 9530 front view showing display and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

The Dell XPS 15, which features a 15.6-inch Full HD+ screen, holds the top spot in our roundup of the best 15-inch laptops partly because of its streamlined and solid build, above-average battery life, and strong productivity and creative performance. Inside are the 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 graphics card, and 16GB of RAM, and you’ll also get expansive storage space with its 1TB SSD that comes with Windows 11 Home pre-loaded.

Dell XPS 17 laptop — $1,799, was $2,399

Dell XPS 17 9720 front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Likewise, the Dell XPS 17, which is equipped with a 17-inch Full HD+ display, is our top option among the best 17-inch laptops. It offers solid productivity and gaming performance with its 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card, and 16GB of RAM, so you can maximize the large screen. There’s ample storage space with its 512GB SSD, and it ships with Windows 11 Home.

Best Dell laptop Black Friday deals

Dell Inspiron 15 laptop — $280, was $330

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Laptop on sale at Dell

Get a good balance between reliability and price with the Dell Inspiron 15, which is more than enough for tackling basic functions like doing online research and building reports with its 12th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel UHD Graphics, and 8GB of RAM. The 15.6-inch display is bright and colorful with its Full HD resolution, and the laptop is powered by Windows 11 Home that’s pre-installed in its 256GB SSD.

Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 laptop — $500, was $650

Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 2023 top down view in tent mode.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 laptop is an affordable option if you want a laptop and tablet in one device. The 360-degree hinges attaching the body to its 14-inch Full HD+ touchscreen allows it to easily switch modes, and you’ll be getting fast performance with its 13th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel UHD Graphics, and 8GB of RAM. You’ll also have ample storage space on its 256GB that ships with Windows 11 Home.

Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 laptop — $800, was $1,000

The Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 in presentation mode.

The Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 laptop also offers the option to switch between laptop mode and tablet mode, with a 16-inch Full HD+ touchscreen at the center of it all, but it will also provide faster performance and more storage space. The 2-in-1 laptop comes with the AMD Ryzen 7 7730U processor, AMD Radeon Graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD.

Best Dell monitor Black Friday deals

Dell SE2222H monitor — $80, was $90

Dell 22 Monitor - SE2222H on sale at Dell

The Dell SE2222H monitor is a very cheap option if you need a new display for your computer setup, but it won’t disappoint because its 22-inch display features Full HD resolution for sharp details and Dell’s ComfortView technology that reduces eye fatigue by minimizing blue light emissions. The monitor also won’t take up too much space on your desk with its small stand and built-in cable holder.

Dell E2723HN monitor — $125, was $220

The Dell E2723HN monitor on a white background.

The Dell E2723HN monitor is equipped with a 27-inch Full HD screen, which is within our computer monitor buying guide‘s recommended range of 24 inches to 32 inches. The monitor also comes with Dell’s ComfortView for optimized eye comfort, support for new and old systems with HDMI and VGA ports, and a compact stand with a cable management system to reduce the clutter on your desk.

Dell S3222DGM curved gaming monitor — $240, was $350

Dell 32-inch curved gaming monitor with a stand.

The Dell S3222DGM curved gaming monitor makes a run at the best gaming monitors with its 31.5-inch display featuring QHD resolution and a 1800R curvature, for lifelike details and immersive gameplay. It offers a 165Hz refresh rate, which will let you clearly see fast-moving objects, and AMD’s FreeSync Premium to eliminate stuttering and screen tearing. The monitor also features a downlight to illuminate your keyboard, and vents at the back for improved heat dispersal.

Best Dell desktop PC Black Friday deals

Dell Inspiron Small Desktop — $450, was $650

The Dell Inspiron Small Desktop on a white background.

The Dell Inspiron Small Desktop, true to its name, is a desktop computer that won’t take up too much space because it’s only about 11.4 inches tall, 3.7 inches wide, and 11.5 inches deep. It packs a punch despite its relatively tiny stature though, as it’s equipped with the 13th-generation Intel i5 processor, Intel UHD Graphics 730, and 8GB of RAM. The desktop PC runs on Windows 11 Home, with the operating system pre-loaded in its 512GB SSD.

Dell Inspiron 24 All-in-One — $500, was $650

The Dell Inspiron 24 All-in-One on a desk next to a keyboard.

If you don’t want to deal with unsightly cables, you should check out the Dell Inspiron 24 All-in-One. The CPU and display are combined in one package, so if you go with a wireless keyboard and mouse, the only cable you need will be its power cord. The all-in-one PC features a 23.8-inch screen with Full HD resolution, and it’s powered by the 13th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB of RAM, and Windows 11 Home that ships with its 256GB SSD.

Dell Inspiron 27 All-in-One — $850, was $1,150

The Dell Inspiron 27 All-in-One desktop computer.

The Dell Inspiron 27 All-in-One is included in our list of the best all-in-one computers as our recommended choice for families because it’s a solid budget option with a family-ready design. You won’t have issues with performance because it’s equipped with the 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, and 16GB of RAM, and it runs on Windows 11 Home that’s pre-loaded in its 1TB SSD. The device also features a bright and colorful 27-inch display with Full HD resolution.

Best Dell gaming laptop Black Friday deals

Dell G16 gaming laptop — $800, was $1,250

The Dell G16 gaming laptop with Genshin Impact on the screen.

The Dell G16 is one of the more affordable gaming laptop deals that will let you play the best PC games, though you may have to choose low to medium graphic settings for some of the more demanding titles because it runs on the 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card, and 16GB of RAM. The gaming laptop also features a 16-inch display with QHD+ resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate, and a 512GB SSD with Windows 11 Home.

Alienware m16 gaming laptop — $1,300, was $1,800

The Alienware m16 gaming laptop with Baldur's Gate 3 on the screen.

The Alienware m16 gaming laptop is one of the more powerful machines that gamers can buy right now. Equipped with the AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX processor, the AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT graphics card, and 16GB of RAM, it won’t have trouble running today’s most popular video games. You’ll have plenty of space for AAA titles and their necessary updates on the gaming laptop’s 1TB SSD that ships with Windows 11 Home, and you’ll enjoy gameplay on its 16-inch screen with QHD+ resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate.

Alienware x14 R2 gaming laptop — $1,700, was $2,000

The Alienware x14 R2 gaming laptop on a desk.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Challenging the best gaming laptops is the Alienware x14 R2 gaming laptop, which is ready for the upcoming PC games of the next few years with its 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card, and 32GB of RAM. The machine features a 1TB SSD with Windows 11 Home, and a 14-inch screen with QHD+ resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate.

Should you buy from Dell on Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Most shoppers will be tempted to pass on Dell Black Friday deals in favor of potentially larger savings on Cyber Monday. However, that also carries the risk of seeing smaller discounts on the devices that you want to buy — if stocks are still available by then. If the laptop, monitor, or desktop PC that you want from Dell is already being offered at a lowered price for Black Friday, and you can afford it, it’s highly recommended that you proceed with the purchase immediately because there’s no assurance that there will be a better deal when Cyber Monday comes along.

Editors’ Recommendations

The best budget laptops for 2023

Not everyone needs the fastest CPU and the highest-quality high-resolution display. Sometimes, a machine with a last-gen CPU and a decent Full HD display is plenty for the web browsing, email, and Office applications that make up many users’ workflows. This can be true for students, and sometimes buyers are looking for a secondary machine to augment one of the best laptops you can buy.

That’s where budget laptops come in. The definition is a loose one, with some machines costing a bit more but offering a lot more to go with it. But they’ll save you hundreds over midrange and premium laptops that are overkill for what you need. This list will provide several options, including for gamers and those with the lowest budgets. You can check out our best laptops under $500 and best laptops under $300 lists for even more affordable options.

Digital Trends

Dell XPS 13 (9315)

A surprisingly affordable ‘premium’ Windows laptop


  • Aggressive price
  • Very compact design
  • Great battery life
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Display is bright and high quality


  • No headphone jack
  • Performance is lacking

Why you should buy this: It’s an amazing laptop for under $1,000.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a premium laptop for much less money,

Why we picked the Dell XPS 13 9315:

Yes, the XPS 13 9315 costs $849 for its entry-level model, which is at the high end of the budget range. But it makes this list because you simply won’t find a Windows laptop for less than $1,000 that can match the XPS 13’s excellent build quality, attractive aesthetic, and outstanding battery life.

For that low price, you get a 9-watt Intel Core i5-1230U CPU with 10 cores and 12 threads that delivers competent productivity performance. It’s not the fastest laptop we’ve reviewed, but it’s sufficient to get your work done. As a lower-watt part, though, it affords outstanding battery life. You even get a 512GB SSD, which is a lot at this price, with a build quality and good looks that are unusual without spending a lot more.

Dell XPS 13 9315 Entry

Dell XPS 13 (9315)

A surprisingly affordable ‘premium’ Windows laptop

asus zenbook 14 oled review featured

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Asus ZenBook 14 OLED

Best budget laptop


  • Excellent value
  • Competent productivity performance
  • Great battery life
  • Comfortable keyboard and NumberPad 2.0 touchpad
  • Solid build and attractive aesthetic
  • Outstanding OLED display


  • Creative performance is lacking

Why you should buy this: The features and battery life are game-changers at the price.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a beautiful display for less money,

Why we picked the Asus ZenBook 14 OLED:

Sometimes, companies have to cut corners to fit a laptop into a $700 price. The display is often one casualty, with a panel that might suffer in terms of color quality and contrast. The ZenBook 14 OLED is an exception, offering a spectacular OLED display that’s bright, colorful, and displays inky blacks. It’s equal to displays on laptops costing twice as much.

But that’s not all. The AMD Ryzen 5 or 7 CPUs on offer provide competent productivity performance to go with great battery life. And, the laptop’s build quality is excellent, with a great keyboard and touchpad with an LED numeric keyboard. It’s a tremendous value all-around, landing it on our list of best laptops.

ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED

Asus ZenBook 14 OLED

Best budget laptop

microsoft surface laptop go review featured image

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Surface Laptop Go 2

An excellent budget laptop for students


  • Thin and light
  • Comfortable keyboard and trackpad
  • Good port selection
  • Good performance


  • No backlit keyboard
  • Display’s pixel density is low
  • No Surface Pen support

Why you should buy this: It’s the best budget laptop for students.

Who it’s for: Students, buyers on a budget.

Why we picked the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

Students usually want a few things in a cheap laptop — something that’s easy to carry around, that provides good enough performance for getting their homework done, and something that’s not going to embarrass them when they pull it out to take notes. Oh, and it needs to be affordable. Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Go 2 meets all those criteria — making it one of the best laptops for students in college.

We’ve linked to our Surface Go review above because the biggest change to the Surface Go 2 is the upgrade to 11th-gen Core CPUs. Graphics have been upgraded to Intel Iris Xe, the entry-level storage has been doubled to 128GB, there’s an improved webcam, and the laptop ships with Windows 11 Home instead of Windows 10 in S mode. The Surface Laptop Go 2 is also a highly mobile device with a 12.4-inch IPS touchscreen display that, although it’s not quite FHD resolution, is still of very high quality and a pleasure to use.

If you want a newer version, the Surface Laptop Go 3 is available, but we weren’t very impressed.

Microsoft Surface Go 2

Surface Laptop Go 2

An excellent budget laptop for students

lenovo chromebook duet 3 review front view

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

A Chromebook 2-in-1 that won’t break the bank


  • Good enough productivity performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Surprisingly good display
  • Folio kickstand and keyboard included
  • Strong value


  • Keyboard is too cramped
  • Limited to Wi-Fi 5

Why you should buy this: It’s the best budget Chromebook.

Who it’s for: Anyone on a budget who doesn’t mind sacrificing performance for extreme value.

Why we picked the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3:

Chromebooks have become popular budget choices over the last few years, and many have won us over as well. One style that hasn’t done as well as some others is the detachable Chrome OS tablet. That changed with the introduction of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, now in its third generation, which not only is a very usable tablet but one that represents tremendous value thanks to the included kickstand cover and detachable keyboard.

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3’s low price brings some limitations and basic specs. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage don’t deliver stellar performance, although it’s good enough for the kinds of tasks you’ll want to run on it. The display is very nice, with a 15:9 2K (2000 x 1200) resolution that’s not as pixel sharp as Apple’s baseline iPad that the Duet competes against. If you want a tablet for web browsing, light productivity work, and consuming media, then the Chromebook Duet 3 and Chrome OS have you covered.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

A Chromebook 2-in-1 that won’t break the bank

hp victus 15 review olympus digital camera

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

HP Victus 15

Solid gaming for less than $1,000


  • Solid productivity performance
  • Decent 1080p gaming performance
  • Good keyboard and touchpad
  • Conservative good looks
  • Affordable


  • Confusing configurations
  • Poor battery life
  • Ho-hum screen

Why you should buy this: It’s the best budget gaming laptop.

Who it’s for: Gamers and only gamers.

Why we picked the HP Victus 15:

Although the best gaming laptops are typically expensive, the HP Victus 15 is a great example of why they don’t need to be. Often priced at less than $900, you get some impressive specs. That includes a 13th-gen Intel Core i5-13500H, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD), with options for faster CPUs, more powerful graphics, extra and faster storage, and memory if you don’t mind spending a little more. Every model comes with a 15.6-inch, 1080p IPS display, and for just a little more, that display can run at a refresh rate of 144Hz.

With a decent build quality and surprisingly good gaming performance, the Victus 15 offers an all-around solid gaming package at an impressively competitive price. It does have its weak points, most notably that the starting graphics card isn’t as powerful as what you’ll see in more expensive laptops, but it’s still enough for entry-level gaming.

HP Victus 15

HP Victus 15

Solid gaming for less than $1,000

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Laptop

A business laptop for less


  • Large display
  • Good keyboard and touchpad
  • Solid build quality
  • Spill-resistant keyboard


  • Display is only Full HD
  • CPU is one generation behind

Why you should buy this: It’s the best budget business laptop.

Who it’s for: Office workers who want to save the cash for other investments.

Why we picked the Dell Inspiron 15 3000:

Whether you’re typing up another spreadsheet or winding down with a game at the end of a long workday, the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 strikes a great balance as a business laptop. It features powerful and efficient general computing power, like a 12th-generation Intel Core i7-1255U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. That’s a lot of computer for just $700, even if Intel did just announce their 13th-gen Core processors.

With the typical Inspiron build quality, we’d expect this system to borrow several great design features from the more premium XPS range but make them available in a more affordable form. It’s not the lightest laptop at just under 4 pounds, but it has a great, spill-resistant keyboard, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth connectivity, and a top-mounted 720p webcam for conferencing.

The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 also comes in an attractive business black paint job, which helps it fit in with any setup.

Dell Inspiron 15 3000

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Laptop

A business laptop for less

microsoft surface go 3 review  1

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Microsoft Surface Go 3

The all-around best 2-in-1 for less


  • Excellent build quality
  • Superior display for a budget machine
  • Great Active Pen support
  • Small and light
  • Surprisingly good real-world performance


  • Can get expensive
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Keyboard and touchpad are cramped

Why you should buy this: It’s the best budget 2-in-1.

Who it’s for: Anyone who needs the on-the-go mobility of a small, 2-in-1.

Why we picked the Microsoft Surface Go 3:

The Surface Go 3 may be limited by its small size and, at the entry level, by a low-powered Intel Pentium processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage — the processor can be upgraded to an Intel Core i3 and twice the RAM and storage for $230 more — but it offers something never before seen in the Windows world: A truly budget-minded 2-in-1 laptop. Its build is every bit as solid as its bigger sibling, the Surface Pro 8, and it boasts a beautiful, bright display to boot. The best part? It’s actually thin and light enough to be held in one hand like a proper tablet, which is a key reason why we see this as the best budget 2-in-1 laptop.

While performance doesn’t feel as smooth as on something like an iPad or even a Chromebook, those devices can’t do quite as many things as the Surface Go 3, which runs a full version of Windows 10. On the battery front, however, it’s a bit lacking. That’s its most unfortunate compromise since this is a device made for portability. Also, we still wish the excellent Type Cover keyboard and Surface Pen came bundled in.

Microsoft Surface Go 3

Microsoft Surface Go 3

The all-around best 2-in-1 for less

apple macbook air m1 review the 2020 laptop with cpu

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Apple MacBook Air M1

The only MacBook that could be considered ‘cheap’


  • Apple’s M1 blows Intel away
  • Phenomenal battery life
  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad
  • Rock-solid build quality
  • Simple good looks


  • Supports only one external display

Why you should buy this: It’s the only modern MacBook you’ll find for well under $1,000.

Who it’s for: MacBook fans who don’t want to pay thousands for a newer model.

Why we picked the Apple MacBook Air M1:

The MacBook Air M1 isn’t the latest and greatest MacBook, but it still holds it own in a number of ways. Its performance is still excellent, competing easily with recent generation Windows laptops. It also sports impressive battery life, with close to 20-hours between charges. In typical MacBook fashion, too, the build quality is excellent, and the display is Apple’s usual Retina-grade with a high resolution and crisp, bright picture.

The design is lightweight and portable, making it good for use in transit or when commuting, and it supports the fastest possible Thunderbolt 3 connections (up to 40 Gbps) so will work well with any external display or accessory. There’s not a lot of storage space in this base model, but there’s enough there to get you started and external or cloud storage can make up the short fall.

This model is a few years old, but still holds its own well. Grab one while you still can.

Apple MacBook Air M1

Apple MacBook Air M1

The only MacBook that could be considered ‘cheap’

Acer Aspire 3

Best cheap Windows laptop


  • Great performance from the CPU
  • Lots of storage space
  • Wi-Fi 6 fast networking
  • Good selection of ports


  • Lacks a dedicated GPU
  • Display is a little dull

Why you should buy this: It’s performance is impressive for the price.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a capable laptop for a fair price.

Why we picked the Acer Aspire 3:

For basic business and entertainment use, you’ll find little better than the Acer Aspire 3. It’s a very affordable laptop using a new CPU design – although based on an older Zen 2 architecture – with four cores and support for eight simultaneous threads. It has some fast DDR5 memory and a full half terabyte of SSD space, which gives you plenty of room for documents, films, and and for backing up your important data.

The onboard Radeon GPU is fine for the most casual of gaming, but it won’t be powerful enough for anything taxing. With Thunderbolt 3 you could attach an external GPU if you wanted, although that’s a very expensive add-on for this affordable machine. The Thunderbolt 3 ports are super handy, though. With support for up to 40 Gbps data transfer speeds, you can attach anything from an external monitor to a high-speed external storage drive.

There’s fast networking on this laptop too, thanks to its Wi-Fi 6, though you’ll need to use an adapter if you want Ethernet.

Acer Aspire 3

Acer Aspire 3

Best cheap Windows laptop

Frequently Asked Questions

Are budget laptops any good?

Absolutely! Depending on what you need your laptop to do, budget options can be just as good as their high-end counterparts. If you only need a laptop for watching Netflix and answering emails, a budget Chromebook can save you hundreds of dollars and perform no worse than something that costs $2,000 or more.

That said, you do need to be careful about which system you pick. Budget laptops tend to make some sacrifices where the expensive options don’t, so be sure to make sure that the system you’re interested in can do what you need it to before buying.

Do any budget laptops have Thunderbolt 4?

Certain features are less common in budget laptops, and Thunderbolt 4 is one of them. Plenty of budget laptops offer USB-C support, but only some provide Intel’s Thunderbolt 4 spec. This is changing, however, and future budget laptops are more likely to include it. Good Thunderbolt 3 ports are just as good, too, so look out for them.

Do budget laptops have good battery life?

Some do, and some don’t. The models that prioritize portability tend to offer a little more, and you’ll want to skip a dedicated graphics chip if you want the most battery life. The MacBook Air M1 is amazingly efficient, offering close to 20 hours of battery life.

However, you can find plenty of budget systems that offer a full workday and beyond on a single charge. In some cases, budget laptops offer better battery life than many laptops that cost a few hundred dollars more. Many Chromebooks also offer impressive battery life thanks to how lightweight the software is.

Can I find a good display on a budget laptop?

Definitely, but as with battery life or specific ports, you’ll need to pick and choose the right laptop. A good display will need to be a key component of the laptop, as color accuracy and contrast can be some areas where savings can be made on certain systems.

Is AMD better for budget laptops?

AMD’s release of the Ryzen 4000 line of CPUs shook up the budget laptop space, and since then AMD has released the Ryzen Ryzen 6000 range and, just recently, the Ryzen 7000 series. In short, the fastest machines we’ve tested that aren’t based on Intel’s 45-watt powerhouse CPUs have been running AMD, and that’s a major advance. Intel is still a far more dominant force in the laptop space with a wider range of options available, but as far as the CPUs that go into budget — and even premium thin and light — laptops, Ryzen chips rule the performance roost. That’s changing, though, as Intel’s 12th-gen Alder Lake CPUs make their way into budget machines even as Intel’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake CPUs have been introduced.

Even so, we strongly suggest that you consider AMD when picking your next budget laptop. If you can find one that matches your needs, you’ll get much better performance per buck.

Editors’ Recommendations

I tested Intel’s new overclocking tool, and it does AI all wrong

One of the most interesting features of Intel’s recent Core i9-14900K is its AI-assisted overclocking. Available through the Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU), AI Assist is billed as the natural next step of automatic overclocking. It uses AI to push chips further rather than relying on a predetermined list of checks that Intel already offers through XTU.

That’s the pitch, at least. But according to my own testing, AI Assist doesn’t do much of anything.

Not only does it provide minimal benefit by being restricted to the Core i9-14900K, it also shows the dangers of haphazardly adding AI in places where it doesn’t belong. That’s a shame, too, because we’ve seen some clear examples of how AI can enhance performance on PCs. AI Assist doesn’t fit in that mold.

Too little to matter

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Don’t get your hopes up for a big performance boost out of AI Assist. It takes about 45 seconds to run the feature on your PC, and Intel says XTU tests applications during that window to determine the optimal overclocking settings. AI Assist is supposed to go beyond what the automatic overclocking in XTU offers, but it actually produced identical results.

The result: a whopping 100MHz boost across all cores. I ran the overclock through Cinebench R23, which produced a 1.5% improvement in multi-core performance and a 1.6% improvement in single-core performance. When testing a real application, there’s no difference at all. In our Handbrake transcoding benchmark, the AI Assist overclock produced an identical result to a stock Core i9-14900K.

Performance for the AI Assist feature with the Intel Core i9-14900K.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I’ve never expected huge performance gains out of an automatic overclocking feature, but what’s frustrating is that the automatic overclocking in XTU produced the exact same overclock settings, along with identical performance. It’s not clear what AI is doing here, but from my testing at least, it’s no better than the otherwise limited automatic overclocking already present in XTU.

The application is the problem here, and that’s true on two fronts. First is the Core i9-14900K. This is already a chip pushed to its absolute limits, as it’s essentially a juiced-up version of last-gen’s Core i9-13900K. It doesn’t provide a huge performance lift, as you can read in our Core i9-14900K and Core i9-13900K comparison, so expecting overclocking to do much — AI or otherwise — isn’t a good idea.

It’s also the application of AI to overclocking. You could imagine how AI could be useful for automatic overclocking — train a model on thousands of different PC configurations and their components and use those patterns to figure out optimal settings — but it doesn’t look like Intel is doing much with AI Assist. I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but whatever it is, it doesn’t appear too sophisticated. And based on the final result, that still holds true.

Wrong application

Intel announcing the Meteor Lake release date on Intel Innovation.

We’ve seen plenty of examples of AI being applied where it shouldn’t be this year, but the disappointing thing about AI Assist is that it could work. It just doesn’t do much right now with the Core i9-14900K and Intel’s seemingly basic AI implementation.

AI can dramatically improve the power of a PC, and we have a great example of AI doing just that: Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). It started off as just an AI-assisted upscaling tool, but it has grown to apply AI to frame generation and ray tracing denoisers, with all three working to improve performance and the gaming experience on PC.

DLSS and AI Assist aren’t the same thing, but DLSS is a prime example of applying AI to a problem and seeing tangible benefits from it. AI Assist is not. It’s applying AI in a situation where the performance gains are already limited, and doing so in a way that doesn’t do anything to improve the performance or user experience.

Intel has been pushing AI hard, as has the rest of the computing world. Its next-gen Meteor Lake chips come with a dedicated AI processor, despite the fact that the only clear application for one is Windows Studio Effects. We now have AI-assisted overclocking, despite the fact that the days of minor overclocks producing big performance jumps are far behind us. And next month, Intel is launching its next-gen CPUs for laptops with an event titled “AI Everywhere.” I’m not against AI being everywhere, but it needs to make sense.

AI Assist in XTU unfortunately doesn’t. It could be a great feature, particularly for lower-end chips that have some headroom to spare. And it could bring AI into the fold in a place where it matters, given that the model behind the scenes is truly delivering something you can’t get with a one-click overclocking tool. It’s possible we could see that in the future from AI Assist, but it’s not here now.

Editors’ Recommendations

The MacBook Pro M3 doesn’t have a memory problem — it has a pricing problem

Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Apple just upset everyone, claiming that the 8GB of Unified Memory available in the base MacBook Pro M3 is “probably analogous to 16GB on other systems.”

The MacBook Pro M3 has already come under fire for only including 8GB of Unified Memory in its base configuration, which runs $1,600. MacWorld recently ran a story criticizing the 8GB of memory in the MacBook Pro M3, saying, “If 8GB will be a bottleneck for many today, imagine the performance of that non-upgradeable laptop in a few years’ time.”

Apple’s response is that 8GB on a MacBook Pro M3 is probably closer to 16GB on a Windows laptop. In an interview with Lin YilYi, Apple’s Bob Borchers addressed the 8GB of memory in the MacBook Pro M3:

“Comparing our memory to other systems’ memory actually isn’t equivalent, because of the fact that we have such an efficient use of memory, and we use memory compression, and we have a unified memory architecture. Actually, 8GB on an M3 MacBook Pro is probably analogous to 16GB on other systems. We just happen to be able to use it much more efficiently … I think this is a place where people need to see beyond the specs and actually look at the capabilities.”

Borchers has a point. Due to the fact that the MacBook Pro M3 uses a system-on-a-chip (SoC), it’s able to access memory much more efficiently than a standard Windows laptop. Capacity and speed are two sides of the same coin; if you have faster speeds, you don’t need as much capacity, and vice versa.

Someone removing the back cover on a MacBook Pro.
Scott Havard / iFixit

In addition, Apple includes a 512GB SSD with the base MacBook Pro M3, which uses two NAND chips. The previous version showed much slower SSD speeds with only a single NAND chip, and due to swap memory being critical in memory-limited situations, the 256GB SSD combined with the 8GB of memory vastly reduced performance. MaxTech’s early testing on the MacBook Pro M2 showed how big of a problem the 8GB of memory combined with the 256GB, single NAND SSD really was.

In real use, that shouldn’t be as big of a problem on the MacBook Pro M3. Unified Memory allows Apple to get away with lower capacity compared to Windows laptops, and the dual-NAND configuration of the SSD keeps things from being too slow when swap memory comes into play. The problem isn’t 8GB of memory, or even that it comes on a $1,600 laptop in 2023. It’s that adding more memory costs so damn much.

You’ll spend an extra $200 for 16GB of memory and an extra $400 for 24GB. Even ignoring the cost of those memory modules — I’ll let you know it’s far less than what Apple’s charging — you can see how big the upcharge really is just from configuration options. In Apple’s mind, each 8GB module of Unified Memory is worth $200. That’s insane.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus on a table outside.
Dell XPS 13 Plus Digital Trends

If you look at a laptop like the Dell XPS 13 Plus, which comes with 16GB of memory for $1,500, you can upgrade it to 32GB for an extra $150. There’s no issue with Apple selling the MacBook Pro M3 with 8GB of memory, even for $1,600. But it shouldn’t cost an extra $200 just to get to 16GB for users who truly do need that extra capacity.

This really isn’t anything new for MacBooks, though, and it doesn’t just apply to memory. If you look at storage options, you’ll need to spend an extra $200 to upgrade the 512GB SSD to a 1TB SSD, and an extra $600 to upgrade the 512GB SSD to a 2TB SSD. Once again, each 512GB chunk of storage is worth $200 in Apple’s mind, despite the fact that the cost for these components isn’t anywhere remotely near that price.

It could go either way — Apple should have the base MacBook Pro M3 with 8GB of Unified Memory sell for a lower price, or it should make the cost of upgrading to 16GB of RAM much cheaper. It doesn’t really matter if you need that memory or not, either. The upgraded model is the one most people should buy, even if they only occasionally go over capacity.

At the very least, that pricing scenario would be a minor annoyance, with Apple nickel and diming people to get the RAM they need (definitely not uncharacteristic of Apple). As it stands now, with the high base price and huge cost of upgrades, it is hard to say the MacBook Pro M3 truly starts at $1,600 when a critical upgrade is locked behind a $200 paywall.

Editors’ Recommendations