As one of the biggest shopping days in the UK, Black Friday (November 26th) is set to cause a rush of shoppers to both online and high-street stores with Brits planning to spend almost £5 billion on discounted goods from some of the tech world’s best-known brands.
33% of adults will spend in the sales whilst shoppers in the Capital are more likely to shop with almost half (46%) of Londoners intending to take advantage of cut-price goods. With more people working and studying remotely, and the increasing need to interact with colleagues, friends and family online amidst travel restrictions and COVID-19 regulations, many are set to take advantage of the event and upgrade their tech.
To help people choose the right laptop for their needs IT experts Totality Services have shared their top laptops to look out for in the sales – no matter the budget – and importantly tips on how to keep it running securely, make it last and worth every penny spent on it.
Top five laptops to buy in the Black Friday sales
£500 or less
ASUS VivoBook X415JA
For anyone operating on a tight budget, ASUS’ tried and tested VivoBook range is a cost-effective, reliable choice that doesn’t compromise too much on performance or storage.
At just 1.4kg, the entry-level X415JA is a great all-around laptop that combines a compact, sleek design with fast charging times, a USB-C ports and multiple standard USB ports with which to connect your devices. NanoEdge display utilises the latest in IPS technology to ensure you’re able to work, stream video and browse the Internet in crisp, ultra-smooth high-definition.
Lenovo ThinkBook 14 Gen 2
For those with a bit more cash to spend, Lenovo’s ThinkBookGen 2 – one of the most popular laptop ranges in the world since their introduction in 2019 – is a slightly toned-down version of their highly successful ThinkPad range, aimed at large businesses and corporate customers.
Built with a stylish, two-tone grey design, aluminium ThinkBooks are renowned for being sturdy and reliable – the only piece of plastic on a ThinkBook is the monitor bezel. A great addition to the Gen 2 model is a full-sized SD card reader, allowing for greater flexibility connecting to the Internet, when you’re out and about, through a mobile broadband package.
Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS has established itself as the best 15” laptop available on the market. Renowned for its reliability and speed, with its ultra-fast 512GB SSD, the UK version of the XPS benefits from double the standard storage space of certain other international versions.
In terms of functionality, for the home user, there isn’t anything that this laptop can’t do – apart from make the tea! It’ll handle everything you throw at it with ease, it looks great, and for models with a built-in Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650, it’ll let you enjoy medium-spec games without the need to upgrade your hardware.
Acer Predator Triton 300 PT315-53 [Gaming Laptop]
Top of the list for lots of shoppers this Black Friday, and in the run up to Christmas, will be an affordable yet powerful laptop able to run graphically demanding games without any noticeable drop-off in performance or useability.
Weighing around 1.7kg, the Acer Predator Triton 300 PT315-53 is significantly lighter and more portable than standard gaming laptops. The Predator’s customary sleek design features a glass touchpad, a powerful i7 processor, DTS X Ultra Audio and a secure fingerprint sensor to ensure that you get the most out of your gaming experience – be it online, or offline.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
Since its release in April 2021, the immensely powerful Microsoft Laptop 4 has become the go-to option for laptop users with a decent amount of money to spend. Centred around portability and performance, the Surface Laptop 4 features a compact 13.5” design with a sizeable amount of memory and storage, and an impressive 19-hour battery life from full charge.
Perfect for hybrid workers, the Surface Laptop 4 features a crisp PixelSense display alongside a slim, sleek design that makes sustained use easier, whatever you’re doing and wherever you’re doing it.
Top tips to keep your laptop secure
Once you’ve made a purchase, it’s important to protect not only the laptop itself to ensure it lasts a good amount of time, but also the data that’s stored within it. Cyber criminals are constantly on the lookout for ways to access sensitive personal information, in order to steal your money and your identity with little chance of being caught.
Here are the expert’s top tips to stay safe online and therefore keep your laptop running smoothly.
Keep Software Updated
Software vendors release regular updates to their software platforms that not only improve useability and make them look nicer, but close any backdoors that exist for criminals to gain unauthorised access to your data, also known as ‘exploits’.
If a piece of software that you use recommends that you perform an update, it’s highly advisable that you click ‘Yes’, instead of ignoring. Windows updates in particular are a very important aspect of keeping your laptop secure. Always ensure that these are applied automatically whenever they are released.
Ensure Strong Passwords Used
Password security is the most importance aspect of protecting your laptop and your online identity. So, always use long, complicated strings of text and numbers, ideally from an online password generator such as https://passwordsgenerator.net/. Avoid using predictable words and phrases that are easily guessed – such as an address, a pet’s name or a sport team.
Change all the passwords you use on a fairly regular basis, including login information for online services, and your password that allows you to access your laptop and never store your password in a text file on your computer.
Check WiFi Hotspots Before Joining
It’s all too easy to log on to a nearby WiFi hotspot on the move, but fake hotspots are a growing problem across the UK. To piggyback onto a person’s Internet connection, Hackers broadcast wireless networks in public places – bars, cafes, cinemas, gyms – that have a similar name to legitimate networks.
Once a user has connected to the fake network, the network captures their login data and browsing history, before sending it on to a hacker. WiFi users shouldn’t make an assumption on what network they should be using in a public place, and only ever connect to officially published wireless network information on display at the venue, as verified by staff.
Beware Fake Websites
Fraudsters clone websites to fool you into thinking you’re shopping on a legitimate site. The fake websites can often be difficult to tell from the real thing but subtle differences should set your alarm bells ringing.
Look out for web addresses that should end in ‘.co.uk’ but instead end in ‘.org’. In addition, photos and images may be pixilated and look of poor quality, functions on the site may not work as you’d expect and the content will often be sub-standard (poor grammar and spelling mistakes are a sure sign of a fake!). Always check the address of a site to confirm its authenticity.
Luis Navarro, Totality Services Co-Founder, said: “Black Friday presents great offers on some top laptops for shoppers of all requirements and budgets. However, it also provides cybercriminals with the perfect shopping storm to exploit online shoppers with tactics including fake sites, wi-fi hacking and email phishing. Cybercriminals and their attacks are increasingly more sophisticated, so online shoppers need to be super-cautious when chasing the latest bargain this year. It’s important to be extra secure when using your laptop, to stop you needing to buy another one next Black Friday so, hopefully these tips are helpful.”
For more tips and further information see: