Inexpensive Laptops Best Buy
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 offers a budget-friendly middle ground between Microsoft's premium tablets and larger laptops, with an affordable compact notebook design. From the color options and aluminum lid to the 11th Generation Intel Core i5 processor inside, the Surface Laptop Go 2 delivers a near-premium experience despite its low price.
inexpensive laptops best buy
The hardware inside delivers performance that's more than capable, and pairs it with an updated webcam, a taller 3:2 aspect ratio display, and even some room to grow with SSDs that can be replaced or upgraded. With more style and a better build quality than most affordable laptops, it's a budget laptop win.
The Acer Aspire 5 is an ideal choice if you're looking for a laptop that won't cost a fortune, but still puts up performance that edges out other economy laptops. It's a fine option if you need solid performance for daily use, a comfortable keyboard and touchpad, and more than 11 hours of battery life.
Lenovo's IdeaPad Windows Duet 5i is an affordable, well-rounded alternative to premium 2-in-1 laptops, featuring surprising performance for the price. With a sturdy build, an intuitive detachable design, a sharp 2.5K display, and a keyboard included, this detachable is perfect for grab-and-go use, whether it's for productivity or entertainment. This all amounts to an impressive value for its price, earning it our Editors' Choice award.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Windows Duet 5i is for Windows users who like the tablet-plus-keyboard concept, but don't need tons of power. It's a smart choice for grab-and-go productivity and entertainment, delivering a welcome balance between cheaper and more deluxe 2-in-1 laptops.
Plenty of low-cost laptops have screens measuring 12 to 14 inches diagonally, but 17-inch laptops (at any price) are growing rarer every year. HP's 2022 refresh of its Laptop 17 brings full-HD visuals to a large work and leisure environment for a reasonable sum. And it doesn't skimp out on the hardware that powers it. While you shouldn't expect to game on a laptop like this, expect reliable performance for working or watching video at an approachable price.
This laptop is ideal for anyone looking for a powerful gaming laptop that won't break the bank. It's the best choice for gamers who want to play the latest games at high settings without sacrificing performance or visual quality. Despite its lack of biometrics, this laptop is also suitable for anyone who needs to balance both gaming and productivity, making it a versatile choice for students and professionals alike.
We're still opposed to cheap Chromebooks with dinky 11.6-inch screens, but we may have to change our stance on CPUs: Historically, we've warned that inexpensive models with ARM rather than Intel or AMD processors can be sluggish. The latest Acer Chromebook 514 relies on an ARM Kompanio chip, but it's a reasonably peppy performer, certainly livelier than systems with low-end Intel Celeron or Pentium silicon (if not a match for Intel Core or AMD Ryzen processors). The under-$500 Acer also offers solid design, great battery life, and a 14-inch full HD display.
Convertible laptops are the show-offs of the notebook world, flipping and folding between laptop, tablet, and presentation easel modes with versatility that makes fixed-form-factor systems jealous. Finding a nifty convertible for $429 complete with stylus pen is enough to raise an eyebrow, but Asus' Chromebook Flip CM3 delivers with little compromise. This 12-inch Chrome OS laptop weighs just 2.5 pounds and packs impressive performance, as well as a 3:2 screen aspect ratio that makes tablet operations feel more like holding a pad of paper than wielding an ungainly 16:9 widescreen 2-in-1.
Ready to dive into the details around budget laptops? Today's good news is that you'll have to accept fewer compromises with budget laptops than you did in the past. Intel's Celeron and Pentium processors (which power most of the under-$400 laptop set) have evolved to the point that they can support most of your web browsing and basic productivity needs without feeling sluggish. (That's especially true with Chromebooks; more on them later.) That said, the $400-to-$700 Windows laptop market is mostly populated by systems based on the much peppier Intel Core i3 and Core i5 and AMD Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 families of processors. Opt for these CPU lines if you need more than just the basics. (See more about how to choose a laptop CPU.)
All of these CPUs also host the silicon that runs the laptop's graphics. The newest integrated graphics solutions can hold their own in browser-based games and even some online games like World of Warcraft. The higher demands of AAA titles, though, still require a discrete GPU, which you won't find in this price range. (If money is no object, check out our top-rated gaming laptops and ultraportables, as well as our favorite cheap gaming laptops.)
In years past, many of the barest-budget Windows laptops would come with just 2GB or 4GB of main system memory, but nowadays, at least in the Windows sphere, most come with 8GB. (A 4GB RAM count remains more common in Chromebooks and under-$300 Windows laptops.) In terms of batteries, an ideal budget laptop has one with six cells or more. The battery life for a cheap laptop should come in at a minimum of seven or eight hours, and these days, many will last quite a bit longer. (A lower-resolution screen, which is a feature of some of these machines, can consume less power, all else being equal, and end up being a benefit of sorts.)
When it comes to storage, a handful of inexpensive systems still use spinning hard drives, with capacities often at 500GB, but increasingly, inexpensive Windows machines opt for small-capacity solid-state drives (SSDs) of 128GB or 256GB capacity. If you can get by with the capacity of a small SSD, we strongly favor opting for one, even over a roomier platter-based hard drive, for their durability.
Other budget systems, particularly Chromebooks and some under-$400 Windows laptops, will have only a small allotment (32GB or 64GB) of local storage, but compensate for it with generous offers of additional free cloud storage. Of course, as with anything cloud-based, you'll need to be online to access it. Also, know that budget machines with this little local storage, among them many Chromebooks, are using what is called "eMMC memory" as their main storage. This is not the same as the flash memory used in a true solid-state drive (SSD), and it will feel a tad sluggish if you're used to an SSD.
An HDMI output and a USB-C port are definite pluses, and you can find these on even some of the very cheapest models. You shouldn't always expect a touch-screen display, however. (See our picks for the best touch-screen laptops.) Any 2-in-1 convertible machine, though, will by definition have a touch screen, as having one is necessary for using the machine as a tablet or in other orientations where the keyboard is covered up.
Chromebooks used to be little more than glorified netbooks running Google's ChromeOS. While these ChromeOS-based laptops are still resolutely web-centric, they now have fuller feature sets. If you spend most of your working hours in the cloud, a Chromebook will offer you much of the functionality of a regular Windows or Mac laptop, and it may well deliver longer battery life, depending on the model.
See our guide to the best 2-in-1 convertible and hybrid laptops for more information about this popular segment of the market. In part because of their added complexity compared with traditional clamshell designs, you won't find quite as many affordable ones, but there are a few Windows and ChromeOS-based models that cost $500 or below. They come in both permanently attached (generally 360-degree-rotating-hinge) designs, and in detachable-keyboard designs.
The best inexpensive laptops tend to go in and out of stock frequently. We've broken out the specs of our favorites here, and while we update this guide constantly, there's a good chance that at least one of our picks is back-ordered at any given time. But if you're on a strict budget, don't lose heart. You can definitely find PCs that will offer you enough performance to tackle your day-to-day tasks without a hitch.
For further in-depth breakdowns of our budget picks, take a look at our roundups of the best laptops for college students, the best laptops for kids, and the best Chromebooks. And for more general factors to consider when choosing a laptop, take a look at our buying guide with our top laptop picks overall.
Where it falls short: By default, some configurations of the Aspire 5 (A514-54) ship with Windows 11 S mode, which only allows apps from the Microsoft Store and limits you to Microsoft Edge for web browsing. But you can switch it to Windows 11 Home for free to install any program you need. And like many inexpensive Windows laptops, our pick comes with a ton of unnecessary bloatware that takes up space and slows down performance. Follow these steps to remove those programs and make your laptop feel faster and be more secure. The Aspire 5 (A514-54) also lacks a fingerprint reader, which some of our other picks have.
Then we tested the Windows laptops and Chromebooks that met our criteria by using each for at least a day of ordinary work and video calls to get a feel for their performance, screens, keyboards, and trackpads. For Chromebooks, we had at least 20 browser tabs open, including Google Docs, Google Sheets, streaming music, Slack, and a variety of other sites. For Windows, we had five to 10 tabs open at a time, as well as the Spotify and Slack applications. We also tested the laptops by opening large Excel spreadsheets, 100-page Word documents, and 200-page PDF files.
The best laptops under $500 are cheap laptops that shouldn't leave you feeling like you dug them out of the bargain bin. There are value-priced notebooks that include full-HD displays, solid performance, and long battery life.
Whether you are looking for a typical clamshell laptop or you want a 2-in-1 convertible laptop that can walk the line between a tablet and a laptop, we've got some great affordable options for you. Our top pick even managed to find its way onto our best laptops page. Remember, if you can't find a laptop that meets your expectations for the budget, you can always look at some of the best tablets or best kids tablets for your needs. 041b061a72