Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
Our phones are smarter than ever, but they still can’t do everything, and let’s be real: who wants to write a ten-page essay on a phone? Or file taxes? Or play solitaire for hours on end? For so, so many things, a laptop is the best tool for the job, and whether you use yours for work or play, chances are you overpaid for your last one. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen again by letting us help you find a high-quality laptop that actually earns its price tag, like my run-and-gun workhorse Lenovo Chromebook C340.
In a world where we’re constantly on the go, you need a trusty laptop by your side to stay on top of things. Lucky for you, Black Friday is right around the corner. This is the time of year when laptop prices get slashed to all-time lows, allowing you to get a sleek, powerful, and eye-catching laptop without blowing through all of the cash in your wallet. We’ll be rounding up the best deals as we find them and adding them below, making your laptop shopping that much easier.
Best Overall: Lenovo Chromebook C340
This is our favorite Chromebook on the market right now, and what makes it the best Chromebook also makes it the best laptop: it’s sturdy, hard-working, and reliable without breaking the bank. The C340 builds upon the already-amazing C330, resulting in one of the best laptop experiences you can find in 2019.
The gorgeous pink color looks outstanding, and the combination of an aluminum lid and plastic body results in a device that can withstand all sorts of use and abuse. Open it up, and you’ll be presented with a fantastic 11.6-inch IPS display that’s perfect for work and play. When it comes time to watch a movie, you can flip the screen all the way around and transform the C340 from a laptop into a tablet.
Specs-wise, the C340 does not disappoint. It comes equipped with a capable Intel Celeron N4000 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and is rated for 10 hours of battery life on one charge. Add that together with software updates that are guaranteed through June 2026, and you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.
- Great, long-lasting performance
- Good keyboard
- 64 GB of storage
- Gorgeous pink color
- Years of updates
- Not rated for durability
- Large display bezels
It’s amazing what you’ll get done.
With all-day battery life and an adaptable touchscreen 2-in-1 format, the pink C340 is ready to show you what Chrome can do.
Next-gen durability: ASUS Chromebook Flip C214
Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
Another great Chromebook option is the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214. It has tons of USB-C ports, mil-spec durability, a spill-proof keyboard, and it will be updated until June 2025.
This upgraded model is slightly slimmer and lighter than is predecessor, the C213, while adding a slightly bigger battery. The 11.6-inch screen is still easy to see in a wide array of angles — and even in direct 3 PM Florida sunshine — and the durable zinc hinge allows you to set this Chromebook into tablet, tent, or stand mode to get your work done.
With a USB-C port on both sides and a USB-A port for the odd thumb drive or mouse, the C214 has just about the perfect port configuration for a compact Chromebook: you can charge from either side of the computer, there’s a legacy port if you need it, and the microSD slot is recessed to avoid accidentally ejecting your card, with the slot perfectly sized for nail-biters like me to use a clothespin edge to insert and eject cards.
- Exemplary battery life
- Screen is readable in full sun
- Compact and rugged
- Spill-resistant keyboard
- Only 32GB storage models right now
- Stylus model is $50 extra
- 1366×768 display
Rugged, reliable, and ready to pull an all-nighter.
More compact, more powerful, and receiving updates for the next six years, a multitude of minor tweaks add up to a thoughtful Chromebook you can rely on.
Powerful Yet Portable: ASUS Chromebook Flip C434
Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
If you think Chromebooks are only cheap little browsers that don’t have power where it counts, meet the ASUS C434. This shining “Spangle Silver” Chromebook can come with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage with either an Intel m3, i5 or even an i7 processor. Throw whatever you want at it — 40-tab research sessions, Linux applications — and it will keep on keeping on.
The battery life is excellent on this compact powerhouse, and the screen is adequately bright so long as you’re not in full Florida sun. Split-screening on this laptop is perfect for multi-tasking — or ignoring your 10 tabs of research for a Twitch livestream.
Due to the hinge construction, the bottom edge of the lid supports the back half of the C434 at most regular angles, which could lead to a bit of teetering on perforated surfaces. MicroSD cards also stick out from the edge rather than laying flush, but with 64-128GB of storage, you should need one most of the time.
- 14-inch 2-in-1 in a 13-inch footprint
- Backlit keyboard
- Powerful configurations
- Laptop sits awkwardly at times
- i5/i7 models are hard to find
- microSD cards stick out
Powerful Yet Portable
A powerful Chromebook that’s still light enough to carry every day.
Get your work done in style with a 14-inch touchscreen and backlit keyboard. Enduring battery life ensures that the C434 won’t quit before you do.
Best Chrome Detachable: HP Chromebook X2
Source: Android Central
Being able to flip a 2-in-1 flat for a tablet experience is nice, but you still have the extra weight there, unless you spring for a detachable like the HP Chromebook X2. Unlike more tablet-like models like the Surface Pro line and the Pixel Slate, the X2 docks into the keyboard base securely, allowing it to function like a laptop and be stable in your lap when typing on the couch or a random park bench.
The X2 has the same stunning 12.3-inch 2400×1600 IPS touchscreen as the $1000 Pixelbook, with a productivity-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio that is especially helpful when doing things like sketching designs or taking notes with the active pen stylus that comes with the X2. While 3:2 leaves a lot more black space around videos, that can leave extra space for captions if you need those.
- Detach keyboard for lightweight tablet experience
- Still a solid lap-friendly laptop
- Great screen quality
- Only 32GB of storage
- Keyboard isn’t backlit
- Only USB-C ports
Best Chrome Detachable
Works great as a laptop and a tablet
The X2 is made for your work-play balance, with a solid keyboard to bang out reports before you detach the screen and crawl into bed for hours of Hulu.
Big-screen Beauty: HP Chromebook 15
15-inch Chromebooks aren’t terribly common — and most that are available today are too heavy to really consider for more than desk duty — but the HP Chromebook 15 is the go-to if you want a 15-inch laptop that won’t break the bank or your patience. Thanks to its large size, this Chromebook has room for a numpad on its keyboard, which is so handy when doing budgets or grading.
The 15-inch touchscreen here is big and bright enough for watching YouTube or Netflix during long flights and more extended layovers. 1080p looks fine here, and with fewer pixels to push, it results in a longer-lasting battery, which is what I’ll take any day of the week.
There are a few configurations of this Chromebook available for purchase, with the main differences being processor speed and storage. Prices on these change all the time, so keep an eye out for what’s currently being offered.
- Thin bezels and frame
- Backlit keyboard with numpad
- 128GB storage
- Screen only 1080p
- White/blue shell shows wear easily
Ready for number-crunching or Netflix-bingeing.
With a big screen, full keyboard with a number pad, and a battery to match, the HP Chromebook 15 is made for getting things done.
Best of Microsoft: Surface Pro 7
Source: Android Central
Microsoft’s Surface line of laptops and detachable 2-in-1s just keeps getting better and better. If you prefer Windows to Chrome OS, the Surface Pro 7 is not only one of the best Windows machines on the market. It’s also one of the most flexible, thanks to the ability to use it as a ridiculously powerful tablet or a powerful laptop computer.
This year’s Surface Pro 7 is the best the lineup has ever seen, taking an already great 2-in-1 and making it that much better. Performance with the Core i5 model is outstanding, the battery lasts all day, and for the very first time in Surface Pro history, Microsoft has added a USB-C port. Huzzah!
With top-of-the-line internals and design comes a higher price tag — especially once you throw in extra cash for a Type Cover — but the Surface Pro 7 is like the Swiss Army Knife of computers. No matter the location or the task, there’s a way to get it done with the Surface Pro 7.
- Phenomenal power
- Premium look
- Windows Hello facial recognition
- Configurations get expensive quickly
- Type Covers sold separately
Best of Microsoft
Microsoft’s best 2-in-1 to date.
No matter how heavy your workload, the sleek and powerful Surface Pro 7 is up to any task you throw at it.
Compact Command Center: Surface Go
Source: Android Central
Want Windows but prefer to keep things small enough to easily carry in a purse or a large pocket like our own Russell Holly does? Small computers are usually insanely overpriced or severely underpowered, but lucky for us all; the Surface Go is a tiny computer worth buying. In a compact frame with the same kind of premium design and build quality we expect from a Surface, we get a tablet that can be a full-fledged, full-time computer for light to regular users.
The Surface Go runs Windows 10 Home in S mode, which should help keep it from slowing down over time the way Windows normally tends to. This is all on an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 128GB storage. If 128GB isn’t enough, you can expand it with a microSD card. The kickstand hinge on the back can sit at just about every angle conceivable for you to get your work done wherever you are.
I wish the Type Cover was included with the Surface Go, but at least you’ll be able to pick whichever color you want when you buy it separately. While the Surface Connect port isn’t terribly useful, the USB-C port certainly is, and I’m exceedingly grateful for its inclusion.
- Premium compact build
- Bright 216ppi 10-inch screen
- Surface Pen support with Inking
- Might be underpowered for some users
- No USB-A ports
- Type Cover sold separately
Compact Command Center
The only 10-inch computer worth paying for.
The Surface Go might not be the most powerful laptop ever, but it’s got more than capable performance in a compact premium package.
Built for Business: Lenovo ThinkPad E490
Source: Android Central
ThinkPad is one of the most iconic brands in electronics, a name synonymous with long-lasting performance, ridiculous durability, and of course that little red TrackPoint nipple in the middle of the keyboard. You might think of ThinkPads as just being boxy business laptops, but ThinkPads can make great personal laptops, too, since they’re built to last and priced competitively.
The E490 is a 14-inch model with both touchscreen and non-touch models — the touchscreen is worth the extra coin — that you can buy with either an i3 or i5 processor and your choice of one or two internal hard drives, including SSD options up to 512GB in size. You can absolutely deck this machine out with ample storage for all your documents or games. There are two colors available for the E490, so if you’re not into the classic Black, you can get one with a Silver cover instead.
Lenovo threw just about every port it could into the E490, with three USB-A ports, HDMI, Ethernet, microSD and your trusty headphone/microphone combo jack, and there is a USB-C port for power, data, and DisplayPort video. While I do wish that there were USB-C ports on both sides of the machine — because really, who needs three USB-A ports on a laptop in this day and age? — I’m grateful for its ability to charge the E490’s battery from dead to nearly full in an hour.
- Lots of ports, including Ethernet and HDMI
- ThinkPad tough
- Fingerprint sensor
- Skip the non-touch models
- Only one USB-C port
- Heavy for its size
Built for Business
Tough as nails and powerful, too.
Lenovo keeps the legacy of lasting ThinkPad quality rolling on in the E490, with plenty of ports and a battery that can go well beyond business hours.
Apple Excellence: MacBook Air (Retina)
Source: Android Central
For some things, there are no substitutes, and if you use programs like Final Cut — or if you’re already in the Apple ecosystem for phones and tablets — then you’ll want to get yourself an Apple. Of the MacBooks on the market today, the MacBook Air is by far the best blend of style, size, and substance. This is the refreshed MacBook Air that Apple debuted last year, and it is a beauty.
Sporting a stunning 13-inch Retina display with slim bezels, an Intel i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, this is a laptop that is as powerful as it is luxurious, with TouchID biometric security and two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. While you’re going to need to stock up on USB-C adapters and hubs — the only other port here is a headphone jack — we’ve reached the point where USB-C accessories are moderately priced, unless you’re buying them directly from Apple, of course.
Since many of the people who buy MacBooks are video editors who are constantly pulling footage off SD cards, the lack of an SD (or even microSD) card slot on the new MacBook Air is a slight bummer, the performance bump the new MacBook Air receives while still keeping its petite size and premium look is enough to overlook it.
- Great Retina display
- Powerful and stable
- 12-hour battery life
- No touchscreen
- Ultra expensive
- Only USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports
Get the best of Apple without going overboard.
Apple’s laptops have been pinnacles of design and performance for years, and the MacBook Air offers the best blend of style and power in its lineup today.
When selecting a laptop, there are several factors to consider beyond the basics of price, screen size, and processors. Take a look at what you intend to get done with your laptop, and what form factor might best fit your needs. If you tend to put your laptop into a stand or docking station at home, you might consider a 2-in-1 that can fold into Stand mode, bringing the screen closer to your face while you’re using a wired keyboard/mouse combo. If you tend to use your laptop for a lot of browsing and casual games like Mahjong or Solitaire, a touchscreen could make interacting with your computer easier.
The Lenovo C340 isn’t the most powerful computer on the planet, but I’m willing to bet that for a large number of you reading this, a Chromebook is more than powerful enough for your needs while saving you hundreds of dollars. A touchscreen 2-in-1 Chromebook with 64GB of storage and 10-hour battery life for under $300 is an absolute steal, and Chromebooks are capable of doing more than ever with Android apps from Google Play and Linux apps coming to more and more models. And if a Chromebook sounds like a winner but you want something a little bigger and shinier, the ASUS Chromebook C434 has done wonderfully for me the last couple of months.
If you have specific needs that can only be met by Windows, the Surface line is pretty hard to beat, especially with the unreal performance available on the latest Surface Pro 6. Type Covers being separate adds a bit to the price, but being able to effortlessly pull them off for tablet-mode gaming or sketching is ten kinds of awesome.
How to find the best Black Friday deals on laptops
If you don’t actively follow the laptop world, trying to make sense of everything that’s out there can be quite tricky. By keeping just a few shopping tips in mind, however, you can make the whole experience a lot less headache-inducing. The first question to ask yourself is how big of a laptop you want. Laptops with 11-inch displays are a lot more portable and easier to carry with you, but they can feel a bit cramped for certain tasks. A 15-inch screen is ideal for running multiple apps side-by-side for premier multitasking, but these laptops will be bulkier and heavier — resulting in more difficult portability. You also need to think about what operating system you prefer. Windows is a solid platform and likely what you’re most comfortable with, but you should really give Chromebooks a chance. They’re very easy to use, have access to a ton of Android apps, and are often more affordable than Windows machines. There’s also macOS, Apple’s operating system that powers the MacBook lineup. If you have an iPhone and live in the Apple ecosystem, going the MacBook route likely makes the most sense. Once you get those two things figured out, you can start looking into smaller details like processor speed, battery life, port selection, etc.
Like we mentioned above, Black Friday is often home to some amazing laptop deals. We expect just about every company to get in on the Black Friday action, including Lenovo, ASUS, Microsoft, Apple, and more. We’ll learn more about specific savings as we get closer to actual Black Friday, and we’re anticipating big things.
All of those deals will be added right here as we find them, giving you one central location for all of the Black Friday laptop goodness. If you need to shop for anything else on your list, such as phones, smart speakers, or anything in between, be sure to check out our other Black Friday shopping guides right here on Android Central.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Ara Wagoner themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she’s not writing help and how-to’s, she’s running around Walt Disney World with a Chromebook. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco. If you see her without headphones, RUN.
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