Black Friday 2015 Laptop Buying Guide


Here at, we've been scouring hundreds of pages of Black Friday ads and narrowing down the best deals out there on a new laptop this Black Friday. Although the total number of laptops we considered has dropped slightly, the value has never been higher, with previously untouchable laptops discounted dramatically enough to dip into even our lowest price tier category.

If you're new to laptops altogether, or just have trouble understanding all the technical jargon, be sure to have a look at our generalized Laptop Buying Guide for 2015, where we break down the specifications and explain then in plain English.

Laptops Under $250

The under $250 category encompasses 13 laptops from 5 retailers with prices that start below $100. Be cautious when purchasing a sub $149 laptop that isn't covered in this guide, since all of them feature a watered down processor, a paltry 2GB of RAM, and a painfully slow eMMC storage device. The price is the only thing attractive about these models and lackluster performance will be evident from the first boot. But the bottom dollar category isn't all doom and gloom, as this is the first year we've seen appearances from laptops with Intel Core and AMD A series processors in this price range.

Our Pick

Dell Inspiron 15 15.6" Core i3 Laptop $229.99 – Dell Home

Dell's $229.99 Dell Inspiron 15 offering stands head and shoulders above the competition here, as this is the only laptop in this price range that features an Intel Core i3 processor that accompanies 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive. What is most surprising is to find a laptop equipped with an NVidia GeForce 820M 2GB GPU at this price point, allowing for a bit of light gaming when you're not getting work done.

Runner Up

Dell Inspiron 15.6" AMD A6 Laptop $199.99 – Office Depot/OfficeMax

Shoppers who want a bottom dollar price and have no need for the gaming ability of our top pick can save $30 and grab the Dell Inspiron featured at Office Depot/OfficeMax for $199.99. This 15.6" AMD A6 laptop features 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive, and goes on sale at 6pm Thanksgiving Day.

Honorable Mention

Asus 15.6" Intel Celeron Laptop (X553SA-BHCLN10) $139.99 - Best Buy

For those on the hunt for a laptop for under $150, the best and only option you should consider is the Asus 15.6" laptop featured at Best Buy for $139.99. Not only does the Intel Celeron processor outstrip the other offerings at this price, but this is the only sub-$150 laptop that features an actual hard drive rather than an eMMC internal storage device.

Laptops Under $350

This category is where shoppers will find respectable performance across the board, with all but 2 of the 14 laptops in this category featuring either an AMD or Intel Core chipset. Staples has quite a few laptops on sale in this category, and should you choose to go after a Staples offering, be aware that many laptops offered by Staples are delivery only.

Our Pick

HP 15.6" Core i5 Laptop (15-ac156nr) $329.99 - Office Depot/OfficeMax

The choice for shoppers here is a bit of a no-brainer. Not only is this HP 15.6" the only laptop in this category to feature an Intel Core i5 processor, it's the least expensive Core i5 laptop found anywhere on Black Friday. Rounding out the feature set is 6GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive, making Windows 10 tasks a snap.

Runner Up

Toshiba 15.6" AMD A8 Laptop (C55D-B5385) $299.99 - Office Depot/OfficeMax

This Toshiba AMD A8 based laptop beats out the $299.99 Core i3 offerings because of the versatility of the AMD APU chipset, which allows this laptop to be used for light gaming. Couple that with the generous 8GB RAM and 1TB hard drive and you've got a great value for under $300.

Honorable Mention

HP AMD 17.3" Laptop $299.00 – Walmart

This HP laptop found at Walmart is another of their infamous Black Friday skus, but what we do know about this model is enough to earn it our bronze medal in this category. This is the least expensive 17.3" laptop on sale this Black Friday, so shoppers wanting a rock bottom price on a large-screen notebook can find it here. This AMD based laptop also features 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, and will be available at 6pm Thanksgiving Day.

Laptops Under $500

Laptops here start to have a much less severe tradeoff between style and function, and it's possible to find thin and light laptops that don't feature sub-par processors. We also see the first appearance of the much lauded Intel Core i7 processor, the most powerful mobile CPU on the market.

Our Pick

Toshiba 15.6" Core i7 Laptop (C55-C5381) $499.99 after $50 MIR – Staples

Staples manages to squeak by into this category by offering a $50 rebate to drop the price of this laptop into the under $500 category. While no one likes rebates as much as normal Black Friday price cuts, we'll let it slide since it makes this model the least expensive Core i7 Black Friday laptop, and sports 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and has a backlit keyboard.

Runner Up

HP 14" Core i5 Laptop (14-ab167us) $399.99 after $50 MIR - Staples

Staples is back again with their mail in rebate magic, delivering a lot of value for under $400. This 14" HP laptop features a fifth-generation Core i5 dual-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. Under the hood you'll also find Bluetooth connectivity and 2 USB 3.0 ports beneath a sleek and stylish bezel.

Honorable Mention

HP 17.3" Core i5 Laptop (17-g119dx) $399.99 – Best Buy

Shoppers wanting a 17.3" laptop but will settle for no less than an Intel Core i5 processor can set their sights on this HP Pavilion laptop offered by Best Buy. This XL laptop comes equipped with 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. Little else is known about this model since it appears to be a Black Friday sku, but it's the least expensive Intel Core-based 17.3" laptop on sale this Thanksgiving.

Laptops $549 and Up

There's a huge variety among the 11 laptops we considered in this category. Shoppers will find everything here from powerful but sensible laptops, to slick and speedy ultrabooks, and even gaming laptops. In typical Black Friday fashion, despite every laptop in this category featuring a minimum of 8GB of RAM, half of them are available at under $600 thanks to Black Friday discounts.

Our Pick

Toshiba 15.6" Core i7 Laptop (S55-C5274) $549.99 after $50 MIR - Office Depot/OfficeMax

You don't have to go very far above previous category to get one of the most powerful and well equipped Black Friday laptops. For $549.99 after $50 rebate, you can take home a Toshiba with specs that excel in every category, including an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive beneath a backlit keyboard.

Runner Up

HP Spectre x360 13.3" Core i7 2-in-1 Ultraportable (13-4103dx) $969.99 – Best Buy

If you're looking for the ultimate in portability, functionality, and performance, all at a discount this Black Friday, Best Buy has got a deal for you. For $969.99, this HP Spectre has performance and style to spare with a Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a blazing fast 256GB SSD. The all-metal body has a touch screen that flips 360 degrees, turning this Ultraportable into a Windows 10 tablet with 12+ hours of battery life.

Honorable Mention

Dell Alienware 15 15.6" Core i7 Gaming Laptop $1,199.99 – Dell Home

While a few of the Black Friday laptops this year allow for dabbling in the realm of PC gaming, the Alienware 15 featured on page 5 of the Dell Home ad is the only full-blown gaming laptop on sale this Black Friday. Being the only game in town isn't stopping Dell from offering $300 off this Core i7 powered gaming machine that sports a 3GB GTX 970M graphics card and 15.6" full HD display.

Final Thoughts

If you're shopping for a new laptop, take advantage of some of the best savings on Black Friday and pick up some laptop accessories to go with your new toy. Laptop bags, USB hard drives and thumb drives, wireless travel mice, and premium headphones are discounted just about everywhere they're sold on Black Friday.

As Black Friday steadily approaches, we here are are burning the candle at both ends, and we'll continue to work around the clock until each and every Black Friday ad is leaked, sorted, and combed through to find the diamonds in the rough and present them to you in the form of our signature buying guides. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for up to the minute ad leaks and price breaks. While you're at it, download the Black Friday app and you'll be one tap away from everything that BFAds has to offer.

November 16, 2015
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