Since Windows 10 first launched in 2015, there’s never really been a bad time to buy a new laptop or PC.
It’s worth timing your purchase to coincide with a sales event like Black Friday and watching out for new models around the corner, but you probably won’t regret it at any time of the year.
However, the announcement of Windows 11 muddies the waters. Microsoft’s new desktop OS brings about significant visual and functionality changes to the Windows experience, and it’s something most of the 1.3bn+ Windows 10 users can upgrade to.
Some high-profile companies have already announced Windows 11 devices. Microsoft's Surface Pro 8, Go 3, Pro X (2021) and brand-new Surface Laptop Studio all come with the new OS pre-installed. Acer's updated Vero, Nitro 5 and Swift 5 laptops do too, as well as the Honor MagicBook V 14. Look out for plenty more over the coming weeks and months.
With that in mind, is there any value in buying a new device running what is now outdated software? Or should you just wait for your favourite brand to update its laptops? Here’s what you need to know.
Should I still buy a Windows 10 laptop or PC?
If you’re in the market for a new device and can afford it, yes. All compatible Windows 10 hardware is be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 11, and everyone can install the new OS on their device now.
However, Microsoft has updated its hardware requirements for Windows 11, so not all Windows 10 devices are eligible.
To qualify, you'll need recent Intel, AMD or ARM-based processor, at least 4GB RAM/64GB of storage and a 720p display that’s 9in or larger. With even the more affordable Atom, Celeron, Pentium and Xeon ranges of Intel chips supported, almost every new laptop you buy now will be compatible with Windows 11.
On desktop you’ll also need a compatible motherboard, but most manufacturers have released lists of those which will be supported
Learn more in our separate guide: Will my PC run Windows 11?
Aside from the potential for updated specs (which is worth considering whenever you’re buying a new PC), the only advantage of waiting is that the new device will come with Windows 11 pre-installed. That’ll save a bit of time when compared to the free upgrade, but you’ll still have to go through the full setup process. All eligible devices can be updated to Windows 11 without losing existing apps, files and settings, although a full backup is still highly recommended.
Indeed, Microsoft is now making it even easier to buy a Windows 10 device. As GSMArena reports, you're now prompted to install Windows 11 when setting up a device that has Windows 10 pre-installed for the first time. It's still optional, but an easy alternative to the other methods of installing Windows 11 now.
Which Windows 10 laptop should I buy?
This is where things get difficult. There’s a wealth of great Windows 10 laptops to choose from, with new devices being released all the time. Narrowing the list down yourself would be almost impossible, so that’s where we come in. Across seven dedicated roundups, we chart the best laptops within specific categories, as well as overall:
- Best laptops overall – The absolute finest Windows 10 PCs you can buy, plus a MacBook Air for good measure. The 15 devices here provide the best all-round experience for most people – they're not all ultra-high-end laptops with hefty price tags.
- Best budget laptops – The same criteria as above applies here, but there is an upper price limit. Most of the devices here retail for under £500/US$500, but we’ve made a couple of exceptions for particularly noteworthy PCs.
- Best 2-in-1 laptops – Aside from being great laptops, the only other criteria here is that devices need to have some 2-in-1 functionality. That means there’s a healthy mix of convertible laptops and tablets with detachable keyboards.
- Best Microsoft Surface – Even if you’re set on Microsoft hardware, there’s still plenty of choice. This guide runs through the best from the Pro, Go and Laptop lines.
- Best gaming laptops - Gaming on a laptop is becoming increasingly popular. Devices here are extremely powerful and have advanced cooling systems, but still remain portable enough to take anywhere with you.
- Best business laptops – Business can be conducted from anywhere these days, so you need a laptop that’s up to the task. Many of these devices aren’t specifically designed for business, but offer everything most companies and entrepreneurs are looking for.
- Best laptops for students – Being suitable for students doesn’t just mean it needs to be cheap. We’ve prioritised devices that fit the bill for those in education at all ages, whether you need something lightweight and portable or a full day's usage.
As you’d expect, there is some overlap between charts – many high-profile Windows laptops excel across many different use cases.
However, if you’re just looking for a great device at a great price, we can also help. Our regularly updated round-up of laptop deals in the UK shows you some of the best discounts available right now. Check out some of the offers below:
1. Avita Liber V 14
Now: £279.99 (£180 off)
Avita might not be the most well-known laptop brand but we've been impressed with the ones we've tested.
The Liber V has an AMD Ryzen 3 processor and 256GB for not much money at all.
2. Huawei MateBook D 15 (2021)
Now: £499.99 (£250 off)
The latest version of the excellent MateBook D 15 has a decent saving, matching the impressive £250 Amazon had for Black Friday.
However, Huawei is throwing 12-months extended care worth £29 and optional discounts on other devices.
3. Razer Blade 17
Now: £1,299.99 (£819.69 off)
If you want a large but powerful gaming laptop, the Blade 17 is one of the best on the market and Ebuyer has a huge saving of over £800.
4. LG Gram 17 (2021)
Now: £1,434 (£165 off)
5. Acer Swift 3
Now: £599 (£300 off)
If you want top-notch specs for an almost budget price then this Swift 3 is a great option. It comes with an 11th-gen Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a huge 1TB SSD.
6. Asus Vivobook K513E
Now: £599 (£200 off)
OLED laptops are a rare find at this price so snap up this Vivobook with it's Core i5, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD.
7. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go (2020)
Now: £719 (£190 off)
This is an excellent deal on the Surface Laptop Go, a great laptop for students.
Save a whopping £190 on this model, which comes with an i5 processor and 256GB SSD or get £140 or £80 off the middle and entry-level models.
8. Huawei MateBook 14s
Now: £899.99 (£300 off + freebies)
9. Razer Blade Stealth 13
From: Laptops Direct
Now: £1,487.97 (£412 off)
There's over £400 off this high-end gaming laptop from Razer which not only comes in a stylish and portable design but powerful components.
You get an 11th-gen Core i7, 512GB SSD, 120Hz screen and GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q. That's a lot of bang for your buck and you can get free next-day delivery with code 'LDFND'.
10. Apple MacBook Air M1 (2020)
Now: £1,089.97 (£159.03 off)
Get a better price than Prime Day on the MacBook Air with the latest M1 chip, with over £150 off.
This means you can get the 512GB MacBook Air for the price Apple sells the 256GB model for!