When looking for the best budget laptop on the market, there are lots of things to consider. So much, in fact, that it can get very confusing. There are many laptops out there that are well below the $600 price range but before you decide on the right one for you, you need to know what to look for and how to make your choice. Knowing these things will enable you to find the best cheap laptop on the market that will suit your needs.
First, you need to decide what operating system you prefer: Windows, Mac or Chrome? Windows generally has the largest range of laptops on the market, selling from as low as $150. The size of the laptop will determine the functionality and price of the laptop. If you want something that is portable and fairly cheap, you’d be better off choosing a laptop between 11 and 14 inches. What is your price range? You can get Chromebooks and low-end window systems between $150-250 but if you have more money to spare, a $350-600 budget will get you a laptop with recommended specs such as Intel Core i5 or AMD A8 CPU, 4 to 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive.
It is important to look at the specs of a laptop. The best cheap laptops should have at least an Intel Core i5 processor. A RAM of 4GB is recommended for casual use and smooth multitasking. Laptops with an SSD is preferable as it is faster. A display of full HD/1080p is optimal. Also, don’t ignore the battery life. Look for a laptop that provides at least 8 hours of battery. These specs may change with the type of laptop you decide to get.
The types of laptops available all have slightly different functions and specs. The classic notebook can come in either very budget-friendly prices or high-performance for gaming. Ultraportable/Ultrabooks are designed to be light and thin for portability. Chromebooks run under Google’s operating software, but only run Chrome web-based apps that don’t work too well offline. 2-in-1 laptops can be detached or rotated to become a tablet as well as a laptop.
Current trends in technology include: USB C and Thunderbolt 3 are one of the latest emerging technologies that manufacturers are starting to integrate into their laptops. The design has become of major importance and there is a large focus on producing thin and attractive laptops. 2-in-1 laptops are currently very popular and most brands are coming out with their own versions. Wireless charging is also a rising trend that Dell has introduced.
So, what are the current, best value laptops in the market right now? Let’s find out.
Our list of the best budget laptops you can find in 2017
Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-Inch
Best Budget Laptop Under $500
The Acer Aspire E15 has some very up-to-date specs for a budget laptop. It’s on a Windows 10 system and comes with a 7th generation Intel Core i3 with a 2.4GHz clock speed that handles multi-tasking very well along with light gaming, AC Wi-Fi which is the fastest available chip on the market, a full HD, 1080p display and it keeps up with current trends by including a Type C USB port.
4GB RAM is perfect for casual use and can be easily upgraded to 8 or 12GB if needed. 1TB HDD is more than enough space. It also claims to have 12hr battery life.
- Lots of storage space
- Great at multitasking
- Up-to-date specs
- Strong performance
- Large amount of bloatware installed
Acer Chromebook 14
Best Value Laptop: Quality for Under $300
As mentioned, if your budget is between $150-250, the best kind of budget laptops you can hope to get are Chromebooks and low-end windows systems. The Acer Chromebook has great value for money. The all-aluminum metal design makes it look more expensive than it is; it also looks comparable to a MacBook. It has 4GB RAM and a 32GB EMMC hard drive which is okay. It has a 1080p display and battery life can last up to 11 hours with continuous video streaming and up to 6 hours on standby.
- Cheap; value for money
- Premium look and feel
- Crisp display
- Good touchpad feel
- Long-lasting battery
- No backlit keyboard
- Stiff, uncomfortable keyboard
- Not enough storage
HP 14-an013nr 14-Inch Notebook
Simple, Affordable, Best Low Budget Laptop
The HP Notebook is the best affordable laptop for people who like Chromebooks, but don’t like the limits of the Chrome operating system. The HP Notebook runs on Windows 10 Home with a 1080p full HD display and 4GB RAM. It has an AMD Radeon R2 graphics co-processor and AC Wi-Fi. The eMMC SSD helps to speed up the laptop despite its 1.8GHz clock speed. This laptop is simple and fits well for people who only need a laptop for very basic tasks.
- Full HD display
- Windows 10 system for the price of a Chromebook
- Not enough storage (32GB)
- Can only perform basic tasks
ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02
Cheap, Durable and Best Value for Money
The Asus Chromebook has an 11.6-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The processor is a 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron with 4GB RAM and a small storage space of 16GB of flash storage. The best features of this Chromebook include: it is designed for wear and tear, it has a great battery life and it is very inexpensive.
A Chromebook like this is best for those looking to get their child a laptop, for those who travel a lot, and it’s a great laptop for students on a tight budget.
- Impressive battery life: 10 hours
- Low storage space
- Sluggish/slow performing multiple tasks
CTL J5 Chromebook
Best Budget Laptop for Students
The CTL J5 Chromebook runs on a 2.48 GHz Intel N3060 Braswell Processor, has 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC with optional Google Drive storage. The display is a 1366 x 768 resolution, 11.6-inch display. It has 2 USB ports, an HDMI port, and a micro SD slot. It claims to have 10 hours of battery life.
The difference between this Chromebook and the others mentioned is that the CTL J5 is a 2-in-1 convertible. This Chromebook has been built for school-use and is water and drop resistant making it the best, simple 2-in-one laptop for students with the functionality of a Chromebook and a tablet into one.
- Durable (water and drop resistant)
- Versatile (can be used as a Chromebook and a tablet)
- Responsive touch display
- Smooth performance
- No backlight on keyboard
- Large, clunky design
Samsung Chromebook 3 XE500C13-K02US
Thin, Travel-Friendly Chromebook
The Samsung Chromebook combines features of durability, drop and spill resistance with an attractively thinner design than some of the other durable Chromebooks on the market. It runs on a 2.16 Intel Celeron processor with 4GB of RAM which is not the fastest, but it runs smoothly enough. It has a 16 GB SSD and an integrated Intel Graphics Card. The 11.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels is fairly standard for these cheap Chromebooks.
It is very portable, weighing 2.5 pounds (1kg). There is adequate connectivity: 2 USB ports, an HDMI input, an audio jack and a micro SD reader slot. The battery on this laptop lasts up to 10 hours while streaming YouTube videos. This laptop is another great one for students and those who are out and about a lot.
- Thin design
- Fairly smooth performance
- Not enough storage
HP Pavilion x360
A Great Performance 2-in-1 Budget Laptop for College Students
The HP Pavilion x360 is a 2-in-1 Laptop that provides great performance for the price. It’s performance and specs are comparable to, and exceed, those of the Asus Transformer Book Flip and the Dell Inspiration. It runs on a 64-bit Windows 10 Home system, powered by a 6th generation 2.1GHz Intel Core i35010U processor with 4GB RAM and 500GB hard drive storage. The screen resolution is 1366 x 768 pixels, which is not so good for a laptop ranging just under $500.
It is very functional, with 2 USB ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, Bluetooth connectivity and built-in microphones. For performance, it runs fairly fast and smooth during basic web browsing and video streaming and has a battery life of up to 6 hours doing these tasks which is not as good as some of the other laptops mentioned. They keyboard has adequate spacing and a textured finish that feels nice to the touch. This could probably be one of the best affordable laptops for college students because of its 2-in-1 functionality and satisfactory specs.
- Lightweight and thin design
- Convertible design
- Good quality audio
- Not the best screen resolution quality
- Average – less than average battery life (6hrs)
Lenovo N22 Chromebook
Low Budget Laptop Designed for Students
The Lenovo N22 is an 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 resolution Chromebook with IPS touchscreen. It is powered by an Intel N3060 dual-core with 4GB RAM and 16GB of flash drive SSD. Some of the Lenovo N22 stand-out features include its durability: reinforcement around ports and hinges, anti-peel keys, sealed touchpad and a water-resistant keyboard. It also has a rotatable camera. It also has the average specs such as 2 USB ports, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack.
The battery life of this Chromebook is up to 10 hours of use with continuous web-browsing while connected to Wi-Fi. A downside to this laptop is the temperature. The Lenovo N22 heats up very quickly, so it is not ideal to rest it on your lap. Performance is relatively sound, being able to get away with 6 tabs open before it begins to significantly slow down. It’s great for students working on one or two tasks at a time.
- Long battery life
- Very durable
- Built-in handle for practicality and usefulness
- Bad sound quality
- Rotating camera is awkward to use
HP Stream 14-ax010nr
Budget-friendly laptop for streaming, light-gaming, and personal use
The HP Stream is a 14-inch, 1366 x 768 resolution display powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Celeron Processor with 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC SSD. This laptop also comes with one year of Office 365 Personal and access to 1TB of OneDrive storage for free. It’s a great laptop for home and office use and can even be used for light gaming, streaming videos and simple photo editing.
- Great battery life
- Free 1-year subscription to Office 365 Personal
- SSD helps with laptop speed
- Low-quality speakers
- Low-quality display
- Low storage/hard drive space
Asus F556UA-AB32 15.6-inch
Best Fully Featured Windows Laptop for the Money
The Asus f556UA-AB32 is a Windows 10 laptop with a full HD 1080p display. It runs on the 5th generation 2.3GHz Intel Core i3-6100U processor with 4GB RAM and 1TB of HDD. It has connectivity to HDMI, USB Type C, AC Wi-Fi and an SD card reader.
This laptop comes close to the Acer E15 in regards to performance and features for the price. It is one of the best affordable laptops that can easily handle everyday tasks, streaming, and web browsing.
- Lots of storage space (1TB HDD)
- Good, solid performance
- 1080p Full HD display
- No SDD: hard drive is slightly slow
Asus Transformer Book T300CHI
2-in-1 Laptop Tablet Hybrid, Removable Screen
The Asus Transformer Book is a 12-inch removable touch screen laptop running on Windows 8.1 and an Intel Core M-5Y10 processor with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD. It is Bluetooth compatible with a full HD 1080p resolution screen. It has adequate accessibility with a USB port, HDMI, input and a headphone jack. The screen is attached with a magnetic latch which makes it easier to take on and off. It has good performance and feel, but the battery life lets this 2-in-1 down, especially for the price.
- Magnetic latch for screen-to-keyboard
- Good quality build
- Large storage and SSD
- 1080p resolution
- Poor battery life
Lenovo IdeaPad 100s
Value Laptop with Great Features
The Lenovo IdeaPad runs on Windows 10 and 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor with 2GB RAM and 32GB eMMC. It comes with 2 USB ports, HDMI input and an audio/headphone jack. The touchpad is multitouch.
- Quality, well-designed keyboard
- Attractive design
- Cheap (under $200)
- Poor storage
- Bad quality sound
There is an array of choices when it comes to budget laptops. These can range from classic notebooks under the $500 price range that provides great performance and display or Chromebooks at value prices well below the $300 price range for personal and office use or durability for on the go with impressive battery life. Which one you choose from this list will depend on your preferences and your needs, but you can rest assured that no matter what you choose, it won’t hurt your wallet or your budget.