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Getting the best deal?
Getting the best price for your laptop is not simple – but with this guide it can be easy!
Firstly, there is no point getting £50 off a laptop if it’s not what you need, and no point saving £100 if you’re going to end up throwing it away shortly after purchase.
The general rule of life applies – buy the best that you can afford. However, with laptops, the best for you, is not necessarily the most expensive.
If you are struggling to decide what you need to buy, read our laptops buyer guide first!
Key rule 1 – The biggest discount doesn’t equal the best value
We all love a bargain. Sadly, the big stores know this too, and will often hike up prices in the first few weeks, before lowering them back down to make it seem like they are offering a good discount.
A number of retailers will have a model that is exclusive to them, meaning you can’t even check the price against that of other retailers.
The key is to know what you’re looking for, and try not to get fixed too much on a particular model. You need to try and find the unit that meets or exceeds your specification at the best price possible.
Think ahead and invest in the long-term, choosing the fastest processor and largest memory storage you can afford. This way you’ll be highly unlikely to need to pay out for a new one until a long way down the line.
Key Rule 2 – Actual price vs. price displayed on some comparison sites.
This is where we get very grumpy and remove sites from our list, which is sadly an all too frequent event!
Here are the things we look out for:
- Prices that do not include VAT – the rules say it should – yet on many sites you only see the product with VAT added when you reach the checkout. This angers us and we delete them from the prices we display.
- Great price, but it’s never in stock! Sites may set their price £20-50 below the lowest price, often below their cost, but they don’t have to worry as they show up at the top of some comparison engines, resulting in lots of traffic to the site as they lure people in. Some often even contact you after you’ve parted with your cash to tell you there’s no model of that type in the UK, but they can offer you a better deal. We track prices and stock of UK sellers and if this is the case, we take them off our list.
- Crazy shipping costs! Our record so far for the ‘cheapest’ laptop model on a big shopping site, didn’t include the £45 shipping cost! If the cost of taking your order, using your credit card and sending the goods to you is not fair and reasonable – they’re off our site!
- Grey Imports – A Grey Import is a unit that was never meant to come to the UK. These are often for the Chinese or Indian markets, and are sold in the UK market much to the annoyance of the manufacturer. Within the EU this is legal, but if you find yourself with a US model in the UK, and something goes wrong, you may find yourself in trouble and out of warranty. If we find sites selling Grey Imports, we check with the manufacturer and if it’s not legit, then off they go!
- Awful customer services. If the after-sales is bad – they don’t stay in our results. We understand that a big discounter is not going to have customer service as good as some places such as John Lewis, but it has to be reasonable to keep their place on our site.
Key rule 3 – Newest may not be the best
A new model isn’t always a better model. Companies often follow up a laptop with another that has very similar specs. In this case the original older model may be discounted significantly as it’s at the end of its life cycle – meaning you pay a hefty amount for a new model which has minor cosmetic changes.
Generally updates are improvements, but this isn’t always true.
Key rule 4 – Take your time, touch and feel
The aesthetics and feel of a laptop are all down to the individual. Laptop manufacturers won’t tell you this, but it’s true. You may find yourself with two very similar models, but like one and hate the other, simply because of your own personal preferences.
Try out the physical product. Get a feel for things such as solidity and weight, and then decide on which types you like the most.
Get a quote from the store and then return home and research the models on the Internet
Key Rule 5 – Watch out for the ‘extras’
Buying from big retailers such as Amazon provides peace of mind. However, extended guarantees often do not provide peace of mind, so beware!
- Watch out for extras in your basket that you did not put there!
- Check what cover your contents insurance provides, you may already be covered if you break it.
- Make sure that the cost of extending the warranty is no more than you would be happy to put towards a new model in two years time.
- Look at the manufacturer’s warranty. Their extensions may be a better bet than the stores (and the store may sell it to you if you ask).Look at the manufacturer’s warranty. Their extensions may be a better bet than the stores. (and the store may sell it to you if you ask)
- Buy the best you can afford and treat it well and it should last.Buy the best you can afford and treat it well and it should last.