Dell had some smashing deals during the Black Friday sales last year, so it’s highly likely we’ll see the same this year as well. That means that if you’ve been holding off on getting yourself a new computer, you won’t want to miss any opportunity to find the cheapest price on a great Dell machine.
The Australian TechRadar team is here to help you find the best Dell bargains when the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales begin this year. We’re expecting the PC manufacturer to offer huge discounts next month on a range of its best laptops and desktops.
Better yet, you could even find deals on third party accessories like headphones and speakers as well.
Shopping for a Dell laptop, however, could get a tad overwhelming if you aren’t entirely sure of what you’re after, given there are four different ranges to choose from, each with a multitude of jargon associated with it.
The Inspiron line has entry- to mid-grade laptops, while Dell’s flagship-level power comes from the XPS range and its Latitude and Vostro laptops are specifically designed for the business market.
Then there’s Alienware, a Dell-owned company dedicated to making gaming laptops. Each comes with dedicated graphics chips and a beefy processor to provide the grunt needed to run modern PC games.
If you want to make the process of choosing the best machine easier, then read on and we’ll guide you through the decision-making process.
How to get the best Dell deals on Black Friday/Cyber Monday
Dell had a range of deals on laptops and desktop PCs running through most of November last year in an attempt to get ahead of the competition. While we’re yet to hear anything in terms of this year’s offerings from the horse’s mouth, it would be wise to anticipate a similar approach from Dell for Black Friday 2018.
We’ll be rounding up the best offers right here as soon as they become available, but listed below are some specific Dell products to look out for when the sale begins.
Best Dell Black Friday deals from last year
Dell XPS 13 laptop | down to $1,599; was $1,999
Our favourite Ultrabook went on sale last year with one particular configuration featuring a 7th-gen Intel Core CPU and 8GB of RAM fetching a $400 saving.
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop | down to $2,239; was $2,799
For anyone who wanted more versatility from their laptop, this 13-inch convertible with powerful innards and plenty of storage dropped by $560 during Black Friday last year.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 laptop | down to $1,379; was $2,299
One of the biggest discounts on a Dell machine was this 15-inch convertible featuring a Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM. What made this a juicy choice was its 256GB alongside a 1TB hard drive that would have appealed to anyone needing a huge amount of storage.
Dell Inspiron 24 5000 all-in-one desktop PC | down to $1,499; was $1,999
Great for home or office use, this all-in-one featured a 7th-generation AMD A12 processor, alongside 16GB of memory and a 128GB SSD. A 24-inch touchscreen FHD display made it interactive and a tempting buy for $500 less.
Best Dell Black Friday deals predictions for 2018
Going by the last couple of Dell Black Friday sales it’s safe to say that the manufacturer will deliver the same kind of bargains, if not better, this year as well on both budget and high-end machines.
Last year, Dell’s coveted XPS 13 and XPS 15 laptops saw at least 15% off on their retail value, and we expect to see the same this year as well. They are two of the best Windows laptops money can buy, so if you find them discounted on Black Friday, you definitely should consider buying one.
Dell also has great offers on its Inspiron range of machines year round, so we expect the company to do better and offer big discounts on Black Friday 2018.
If last year is anything to go by, Dell will begin offering discounts well before the actual day itself. So keep an eye out for any ‘early bird’ offers. We’ll pick some excellent bargains for you as soon as those start, so be sure to bookmark this page.
To help you prepare yourself for the whirlwind that is Black Friday sales, we’ve listed a few tips below that should ease the way to securing the best offers.
Know what you want before Black Friday
Draw up a list of what you want from your laptop before the Black Friday sales begin, and take note of any Dell models that have caught your eye. This means your deal-hunting can be narrowed down and more successful, not to mention quicker.
This will also help to stop you blowing cash on impulse buys which you may regret later, especially if a deal for something you actually do want crops up on a later date, and you've already blown your budget.
Sizing things up
If you’ve decided on a Dell machine, the first thing you need to do is consider the size of the device you want. Dell has laptops with 13-inch, 14-inch, 15-inch and 17-inch screens.
Smaller notebooks are not only more portable, but are often cheaper as well. Larger devices, on the other hand, offer more screen real estate and, with the increase in space under the hood, you’re likely to find more powerful components alongside a bigger battery.
Then there’s the weight consideration. If you need to carry your laptop around for work a lot, you’ll want to opt for a lightweight, compact notebook that weighs less than 2kg (ideally less than 1.5kg).
If it’s a desktop PC you’re after, consider the space you can spare in the room you’re planning to house it in. You can get 24-inch and 27-inch all-in-ones, saving you the need to get a separate PC tower.
Check the specs
Taking a long look at the configuration of the Dell machine you covete before you buy can provide a clear idea of whether the deal is worth considering. If the specifications point to an old or low-power device, then the deal may not be as decent as you first thought.
On the other hand, if the specifications point towards a strong laptop that comes with features you'll seldom – if ever – use, then you may be better off saving your cash and searching elsewhere.
As far as performance is concerned, it’s important to consider the core parts of the machine – the processor (CPU), system memory, storage and, to a lesser extent, the graphics processor (GPU).
When it comes to the main processor, the most commonly found CPUs in Dell machines are those from Intel. While the latest 8th generation of the Intel Core i5 is a decently powerful model, the Core i7 is the most powerful choice in every case.
The average user won’t need the kind of oomph the Core i7 offers unless you're deep into gaming, video editing or other heavy-duty tasks. This makes the Core i5 the ideal mid-range option, although the entry-level Core i3 processor can give you an affordable machine that you won’t use for anything too demanding than browsing the internet and drafting documents.
Slim laptops are likely to house a Y series Intel processor, as they can run without fans for cooling. The trade-off here is that they're not the best when it comes to performance – an example is the Core m3-7Y30. Note that the Y series chips feature ‘Core m’ models (m3/m5/m7), which is simply another way of labelling these as lower-power CPUs.
Intel Atom processors are widely found in the truly affordable portables and, shockingly, don’t run all that smoothly. If you’re only looking to use the laptop for basic web surfing, you’ll manage okay, but this isn’t a limitation that will be tolerable to most users.
Intel isn’t your only choice, however – you could easily opt for an AMD APU (Accelerated Processing unit), which has a CPU and a GPU (graphics processor) on the same chip. A growing number of devices are coming with AMD hardware, which gives you more options and can generally be found for cheaper than Intel-toting laptops while offering similar levels of performance.
The next piece to mull over is system memory, or RAM. Ideally, you want at least 4GB, though 8GB is the preferable option for future-proofing and any type of gaming. Some more affordable laptops still run with 2GB of RAM, but these days that really is not enough to run Windows 10 well – even though it’s technically within the system requirements for the OS.
Sometimes, the speed of the RAM is denoted in MHz, but don’t fret about that too much; it’s the amount of RAM that’s more important than speed in terms of performance.
You’ll find that most Dell notebooks today use an SSD (solid-state drive) for storage. SSDs offer more reliable performance and you’ll find that apps and programs will load very quickly.
Cheaper models are more likely to have eMMC drives and though these use flash memory just like an SSD, they’re considerably slower. eMMC is an effective way for laptop manufacturers to cut corners and costs, which is exactly why you’ll often find it in budget laptops.
Traditional hard drives (which you’ll often find referred to as an HDD or hard disk drive) are the slowest medium of storage. Their strength lies in the fact that they usually have far bigger capacity – you can find storage of up to 2TB even in budget hardware.
A speed in RPM may be quoted with a hard drive, and the faster ones run at 7200 RPM, with slower drives pitched at 5400 RPM. The latter may be rather sluggish but, once again, bear in mind that as with SSDs, performance will vary across individual drives.
Reviews are your friend here, so don’t be afraid to Google a particular model and look for an evaluation or two (you can check out TechRadar’s review section).
Graphics and display
Most Dell laptops will have integrated graphics, meaning the GPU is built into the CPU and you’ll usually find that performance is pretty limited as a result. Integrated graphics – referred to as Intel HD Graphics, or Intel Iris, when it comes to Intel processors – is more for the casual gamer, but nothing more than that. For anyone who wants to play more heavy-duty games, you’ll need a discrete GPU – a graphics solution that sits separate from the processor.
For example, the GeForce MX150 is Nvidia’s current (Pascal-based) entry-level mobile GPU, but you may find you need to fork out for something a little more powerful than that for really good performance, like the GeForce GTX 1060. However, it’s worth noting that prices can soar quickly when it comes to powerful GPUs.
As far as screens are concerned, most mid-range laptops will offer a Full HD display as standard, which is a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
However, when you slide down the price spectrum towards more budget models, you’ll find there are plenty of machines which only offer a resolution of 1,366 x 768. Don’t let this put you off, though. This resolution is perfectly fine, especially on smaller screens. Indeed, a lower resolution is often a benefit to a laptop with lower specs as it means there are fewer pixels for the CPU and graphics solution to shift, making things more likely to run smoothly.
This is something gamers might want to remember, too. Though a 4K screen looks and sounds like a great idea, it’ll take a serious toll on your machine’s core components and sometimes it’s worth sacrificing a bit of image quality for a smoother frame rate.
4K displays will also drain your laptop battery faster and, given this is an area where gaming laptops already struggle, you may want to consider what you’re losing to gain 4K.
Keep the receipts
Make sure you keep hold of your receipts in case you're not happy with any of your purchases and want a refund – it's also worth checking the refund policy of websites before buying on Black Friday.
Some retailers may offer longer warranties than others, which could be a deciding factor when buying a laptop or MacBook on Black Friday. Most PC manufacturers offer a two-year warranty, but under Australian consumer law, you’ll typically be covered for three years.
Stick with TechRadar to get the best Black Friday deals
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales can get rather overwhelming. With numerous Dell products going on sale at the same time, we understand that it can also be time-consuming if you’re trying to locate a specific model.
That’s why you should visit TechRadar to ensure you get the best Dell Black Friday deals this year. We’ll keep an eye on the retailer's Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and highlight the very best savings on the best machines.
- Not keen on a Dell machine? We’ll find all the best Black Friday 2018 laptop sales in Australia and tell you how to snag a bargain.