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Nothing beats the portability of having a laptop in your bag. Whether you’re a gamer, remote worker, or just a casual computer user, a laptop is a compact solution with all the necessary hardware built into one machine. It’s just as at home on your lap on a train as it is docked on your desk with two monitors. It’s that kind of versatility that really makes laptops a desirable choice in computer hardware.
Black Friday is around the corner, which means the usual shopping and sales chaos is coming to further slash prices on all manner of products, and there are deals to be had on everything from powerful gaming laptops to ultra-portable productivity machines. Some retailers have even made their Black Friday sales available ahead of time, meaning you can skip the chaos entirely, and spend the holidays sitting back and relaxing instead of becoming the victim of a TV-related assault at your favorite big-box store.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8
Microsoft’s Surface lineup has produced some fantastically fast devices considering their form factor, and the Surface Pro 8 is Microsoft’s latest stab at a high-performance 2-in-1 device for general home and office use. Refreshed to feature Intel’s 11th Gen Core processors with Iris Xe graphics, the Surface Pro 8 features some of the most powerful hardware you can find in a tablet form factor, aside from any crazy 2-in-1 gaming devices, of course.
Of course, performance is not everything, and a polished user experience is what Microsoft is after with the Surface range. The Surface Pro 8 features all the requisite creature comforts, including Windows Hello facial recognition via a 1080p webcam, a crisp 13-inch, 2880 by 1920 PixelSense display with touch and pen input, and an included black keyboard cover.
You can grab a 13-inch Surface Pro 8 with an Intel Core i5-1135G7, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD for $899.99 — a $450 discount off the regular price — at BestBuy. While it is a Black Friday offer, you can already take advantage of the discount.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro
As far as mid-range gaming laptops go, the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro is one of the best around. Whether you’re looking for a dedicated gaming device, a do-it-all machine, or even a powerful workstation for creative work, the 16-inch Legion 5i Pro can keep up.
The combination of a powerful CPU, NVIDIA RTX graphics, a fast, high-resolution, color-accurate display, and reasonable — if not spectacular — battery life make the Legion 5i Pro a Jack of all trades. The Legion 5i Pro rejects the dongle life by including three USB Type-C ports. One of the ports is Thunderbolt 4 certified, while the other two are USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 with DisplayPort 1.4. One of the ports is also the charging port. Additionally, you get an ethernet jack, three USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, an HDMI port, and the obligatory 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The Legion 5i Pro, featuring an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6 GB graphics card, 16 GB of 4800 MHz DDDR5 RAM, 2 TB of PCIe Gen4 storage, and a 16-inch, 165 Hz, 500 nit, 2560 by 1600 IPS display with 100% sRGB coverage, is on sale on Lenovo’s online store for $1,539.99 to celebrate Black Friday.
Apple M1 MacBook Pro
Apple’s recent shift to Arm-based SoCs has signified a turning point for the company’s laptop lineup. Instead of the admittedly sleek, powerful laptops that overheat and underperform thanks to undersized cooling hardware, the MacBook lineup is once more a performance powerhouse. What’s more, the battery life improvements thanks to the custom Apple silicon have been almost unbelievable.
The 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro is an excellent example of Apple’s new laptop lineup. The M1 Pro features a 10-core CPU for processing duties, while 16 GB of unified memory makes sure both the CPU and 16-core GPU are well-fed. In traditional Apple fashion, the display is truly professional-grade, with a sustained brightness of 1000 nits and a peak brightness of 1600 nits while displaying HDR content. Color performance is also excellent, covering 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, while the 120 Hz refresh rate and ProMotion technology that adapts the refresh rate based on the content on the screen ensures a smooth experience. Apple claims a battery life of up to 11 hours of web browsing and 17 hours of video playback on the Apple TV app. The ports are better than they’ve been in a long time too, with a return of the HDMI port and SDXC card reader in addition to the three USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports.
The 14-inch Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Pro is on sale at a 20% discount, for $1,999.99 on Amazon during Black Friday celebrations.
Gigabyte G5 MD 15.6 Gaming laptop
Gigabyte is no stranger to gaming laptops, and its Aorus lineup is home to some of the fastest devices around, but the OEM’s lower-end hardware represents some of the best value around, especially for those who are looking to get into PC gaming but don’t have a lot to spend. Enter the Gigabyte G5 MD 15.6-inch gaming laptop. It’s not going to blow your hair back or run AAA games at 4K resolution, but what it does do is deliver solid performance, even at its regular price of $999.99. The G5 MD carries down some premium features like the 144 Hz display and back-lit keyboard, but the rest of the specs are fairly modest in comparison with what’s available at the high end.
Gigabyte equipped the G5 MD with an Intel Core i5-11400H, a six-core, 12-thread CPU with a boost clock of 4.50 GHz and a maximum TDP of 45 W, while the graphics processing is handled by an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 4 GB of GDDR5. Nothing earth-shattering, but the CPU and GPU should serve up plenty of performance for gaming applications, and at a Black Friday price of $549.99 from BestBuy, you can’t do much better in terms of value. The 8 GB of RAM might be a little scant for modern gaming applications, but thankfully you can upgrade the G5 by popping off the back panel and adding an extra DIMM if you find you need it.