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how to save money on tech

Cost of Living A boy tries to use an Apple laptop at a computer store in Tokyo, Japan May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Cost of Living Crisis: Replacing a laptop unexpectedly can be a huge expense. Photo: Issei Kato/Reuters

With inflation tightening its stranglehold on UK households, many dread the moment their old laptop will die, as replacing it in a livelihood crisis when every penny counts could be expensive.

Here are some top tips from the consumer organization Which? how to save money on tech and computers when it’s finally time to replace your laptop.

1. Shop on sale but keep an eye on the price

The? suggests looking around for the best price as retail prices can sometimes be misleading. Buyers should be aware that a “sale price” can sometimes simply be the normal price of a product at other times of the year. The? has repeatedly found that 99.5% of Black Friday deals were actually cheaper or the same price at other times of the year. If you know there’s a sale coming up, it’s worth checking the price of the device before it goes on sale to make sure it’s a real bargain. Buyers can do this by checking the site in the weeks leading up to a sale and comparing the price on other sites to better assess if an offer is as good as it looks. When shopping on Amazon, you can use the camelcamelcamel website to check price history.

2. Buy refurbished or used

A refurbished or refurbished laptop has typically been professionally restored by a manufacturer or retailer so that it is as close as possible to like-new condition. They also usually come with guarantees. The? found that refurbished laptops and phones are sometimes hundreds of dollars cheaper than buying a brand new model. Always remember to check if the device is still supported by important security updates.

3. Have a look before you buy

Consumers should shop around before buying a new device. For example in May 2022 Which? found an Asus C101 laptop for sale in used condition B grade on eBay for around £220. This might seem reasonable for a laptop that originally cost £299 new, but Currys PC World had the same model on sale, brand new, for £199.

4. Trade-in of used equipment

Those looking to buy a new phone or laptop may be able to trade it in for money toward their next purchase or contract. For example, Apple offers to take old devices and trade them in for credit toward new purchases or an Apple Store Gift Card that can be used at any time. If the old device is ineligible, ie damaged beyond repair, Apple will offer to recycle it. Visit the Apple Trade-In website for a list of price estimates for iPhone models from the iPhone SE (1st gen) to the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

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Depending on the age and condition of the device, customers could get anywhere from £35 to £610 for their gadget. Samsung also has a trade-in program for phones, tablets, wearables, and occasionally other devices. Customers can find out the value of their gadgets on the brand’s website. It also offers ‘spotlight’ deals, for example customers can currently claim up to £520 off a Galaxy S22 Ultra when trading in an old phone.

5. Look for deals and offers for students

Students can often bag discounts on laptops, especially early in the academic year. Retailers and manufacturers offer student discounts that require either verification through a student email address or membership to a student deals site such as StudentBeans. Microsoft and Apple both offer 10% student discounts and other exclusive perks. Dell and Samsung offer up to 25% discount. It’s also worth checking out other retailers who may be offering their own limited-time student deals.

6. Check HP’s price one month after launch

HP laptops can be found at almost any laptop retailer, but you’ll find most “deals” at Currys, where dozens of models are available. Most HP laptops are sold at a higher price and then after a month or so get a discount of at least £100. HP also sells directly through its website, so it’s always worth checking for discounts and coupon codes to see if this works out cheaper.

7. Make sure it is compatible with Windows 11

If you’re buying a used or refurbished laptop, which one? recommends buying one suitable for a future Windows 11 upgrade. Microsoft’s support site has a fully updated list of the minimum specs for a laptop to be eligible for a Windows 11 upgrade.

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As of October 2025, if a computer is not compatible with Windows 11, it will no longer receive Windows 10 security updates. From this point on, the device is no longer protected against the latest threats.

8th. Check reviews before purchasing

It is important to read reviews before picking up an expensive laptop or phone. If a new device has annoying issues or needs an update after a year or two, it might not be worth what you pay for it. The? has a series of guides designed to help customers choose a laptop that is right for them.

9. Think about what features you need

Spending a fortune on a laptop isn’t always necessary, especially if you only use it for everyday use. The? I’ve found decent models for £200 or less if just used for web surfing and light note-taking. Cheaper laptops usually come with 4GB of RAM, which will be enough for some. Certain features and extras can also add to the cost of a new laptop. Buyers can avoid overpaying for a laptop by considering what they want from a new device. For example, there is often no need to pay extra for more than 8GB of Ram, which ones? found that going up to 16GB with a Macbook Air can cost £200.

With many people now backing up files and photos to the cloud, it might not be worth buying a laptop with massive storage potential. You’ll save money by choosing a laptop with less internal storage and using free cloud storage instead, typically 15GB (Google Drive) or less. Google One is available for around £1.59 a month for 100GB.

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