Not so long ago, if you wanted a good laptop, you’d need to spend more than $1000. In contrast, today, you will find many laptops selling at prices as low as under $300. This, in part, has been as a result of the competition between the many tech companies setting up shop. While this has given consumers many options to choose from, it has also come with some downsides. One of the downsides is that there are so many affordable laptops on the market that getting one that has good features and high performance may be difficult.
In this piece, I have taken it upon myself to help you find a good quality laptop on a budget. I have compiled a list of the best budget laptops under $500 and another list of the best cheap laptops that sell at under $1000. If you are on a tight budget but still want a good quality machine, read through and discover what your options are.
Top 5 Best Budget Laptops under $500
1. ASUS c302 DHMA 12.5’’ Chromebook Flip
Key Design Features
This cheap laptop comes with a unique 360-degree hinge design that allows it to flip and assume a computer or tablet. It is very lightweight and powerful to handle any rigorous everyday tasks. Its design also allows you to flip it into a stand and tent mode. It packs a solid Gorilla Corning glass display, weighs 2.56 pounds, and is just 13.77mm thin, features making it highly portable.
Powered by Intel Core 2.2GHz processor and with 4GB DDR3 RAM, this laptop is extremely powerful. Its operating system Chrome OS is way faster than Windows OS. It has a 12.5’’ full HD Embedded 1920×1080 Display Port Wide View anti-glare display that comes complete with a light sensor. It, therefore, delivers very brilliant visuals.
The laptop features a full-size one-piece Chiclet Keyboard that is highly responsive. The keyboard comes with a remarkable 1.4-mm key travel that gives a comfortable typing experience. It also comes with palm rejection functionality, which eliminates cursor movement mistakes when typing. The lap has a 3.1 USB Type C with which you can charge the laptop or transfer huge chunks of data. What’s more, there is a microSD card slot and a standard audio jack.
Whether you’re offline or online, the laptop will allow you to stay productive and connected. It integrates the latest and super-fast 802.11ac WiFi standard, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. It packs a lithium battery that can last up to 10 hours.
Verdict: This is one of those few Chrome OS-powered laptops that will give you amazing user experience. It is cheap, yet still offers great features.
2. Samsung Chromebook 3 11.6’’ XE500C13-K06US
Key Design Features
This is a tough, extremely lightweight laptop with a high-capacity battery that lasts up to 11 hours when fully charged. The machine employs a very simple yet powerful and durable design with a sturdy frame that can handle any rigorous everyday tasks. It comes with the Chrome OS and in-built security that will protect your Google Cloud account. Plus, users receive free updates and notifications from time to time, ensuring that you are well-protected at all times when working or browsing.
Weighing just 2.54 pounds, the laptop is incredibly lightweight and fits in most small laptop backpacks. It comes with the Intel Celeron Processor N3060 that runs on 1.6GHz processor speed. It also packs 4GB of RAM. These properties render the laptop very powerful. Its 64GB SSD is perfect for storing several files, as well as reducing power usage and increasing boot time. Another big feature is its anti-reflective 11.6’’ 1366×768 resolution display which lest you enjoy bright and crisp visuals.
The laptop boasts of a water-proof keyboard which can survive any accidental spillage. The long-lasting battery will provide you juice for as many 11 hours, so you can carry it when traveling and finish your work projects without worrying about the battery power running out. The USB 2.0, as well as, USB 3.0, allows you to connect your media devices for quick data transfers and additional entertainment. Samsung Chromebook 3 also boasts of quick Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to browse and send data easily.
Verdict: The Samsung Chromebook 3 is definitely among the pocket-friendly machines which still offer users several interesting features. If you are looking for a good quality laptop with a robust finish, but don’t have much to spend, here’s one of your best options.
3. ASUS VivoBook 15″
Key Design Features
This machine comes with a thin design, smooth visuals, and a super-fast 8th Gen Intel Core i5 1.6GHz processor. The processor speed can be Turbo-boosted to 3.4GHz. The 15.6’’ laptop has 8GB of RAM, which not only makes it powerful but also sees to it that it delivers impressive performance. While its 1TB HDD isn’t comparable to SSD, it still provides enough storage capacity for several files, videos, and music.
ASUS VivoBook packs an ultra-thin nanoEdge bezel and a 1920×1080 Full HD resolution display, which gives clear and crisp visuals. Weighing just 3.7 pounds, the machine is incredibly lightweight, so you can carry it around all day. It also comes with Intel UHD620 graphics, plus ASUS Visual technology, for that smooth eye-popping visuals when you are doing your work or browsing.
This affordable laptop is equipped with a Type C USB 3.0 port that allows data transfers at incredible speeds. There is also a USB 2.0 port, as well as a USB 3.0 port. The machine also has SD and HDMI ports, for more efficiency and convenience. The laptop operates on the latest and super-fast 802.11ac wireless standard, which lets you connect wirelessly to the internet. Its battery allows up to 5hours of uninterrupted browsing and entertainment.
Verdict: ASUS ViviBook is an excellent machine that comes with amazing connectivity and incredible speeds. Its build allows it to handle extreme everyday tasks. It will make a good cheap option for you.
4. Newest Flagship HP X360 Convertible Laptop
Key Design Features
This is a high-power laptop that can assume several modes such as tablet and laptop modes. It has a 15.6-inch 1920×1080 diagonal IPS panel resolution display, which delivers stunningly clear and crisp visuals. The display is also a touchscreen, and there is a stylus pen included. As its name suggests, the laptop comes with a 360-degree hinge design, making it possible for the user to flip it into four different modes. You can switch it into tent mode if you are in a squeezed space. If you have some serious projects you need to complete, flip it into laptop mode. You can also switch it to tablet mode.
It runs on a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor, which gives you stunning performance. There is also an integrated Turbo-Boost tech that allows a boost to processor speeds up to 3.1GHz. With its 8GB RAM, plus 128GB SSD, the laptop gives you super-fast performance and efficiency.
The laptop has a couple of ports for fast data transfers. There is one USB Type C, as well as two USB 3.i. There is also an HDMI port, as well as microphone and headphone ports. To ensure maximum comfort when you are typing, the machine comes with an island-style full-size keyboard that features a numeric keypad. It runs on the latest and fast 802.11ac wireless standard that will give you incredible data speeds. It weighs just 4.72 pounds, making it one of the most lightweight laptops on the market.
Verdict: This is among the cheapest laptops that will give amazing features that you can find on even the high-end options.
5. HP Elitebook Corei5 8470p
Key Design Features
The machine comes with the Intel Core i5 processor running on 2.60GHz. It has Intel Turbo-Boost tech that boosts the processor speed to speeds up to 3.30GHz for better performance. It has 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD, making it one of the most powerful laptops for its price range. The machine has a 14.1’’ diagonal anti-glare backlit 1366×768 resolution display. There is also an Intel HD Graphics 4000 feature that renders bright and crisp visuals. The laptop also incorporates a DVD-RW so you can play your DVDs and CDs.
The machine has excellent connectivity. It integrates one USB 2.0 port, two USB 3.0 ports, as well as, an eSATA port. There are also HDMI and VGA ports to connect to your television and other devices. The laptop runs on the 802.11bgn wireless standard, Measuring 4.65 pounds; it is light enough to be carried around in a backpack. There is an Ethernet port for wired connections, as well as a modem jack, a microphone, and a headphone jack.
Verdict: This is an excellent laptop with many outstanding features. If you are looking for a Windows OS laptop that will give you a good balance between usability and portability, then this is one of the best budget options for you.
Top 5 Best Budget Laptops Under $1000
6. Apple 11.6-inch MacBook Air MJVM2LL/A
Key Design Features
This is among the best lightweight and super portable MacBooks Apple has produced. It comes with a durable unibody design and a build robust enough to handle rigorous everyday tasks. It operates on the Intel Core i5 1.5GHz processor and has 4GB RAM. These features make a powerful machine that can multitask. In case you intend to use the laptop with highly powered programs such as gaming, you can boost its processor speed to 2.7GHz. Its RAM can also be upgraded to 8GB, giving you improved performance.
The machine weighs just 2.7 pounds. This, coupled with the unibody design, makes the laptop incredibly portable. It has an 11.6-inch diagonal backlit LED screen that offers a 1366×768 resolution. The MacBook has skewed away from slow HDDs to incorporate a fast PCle-based flash. It packs 128GB SSD offering impressive performance.
Apple has given this MacBook a couple of jacks and ports to allow for flexible connectivity. It has one Thunderbolt 2 port which can deliver data at incredible speeds of up 20Gbps. The laptop packs a powerful high-capacity battery that lasts 9 hours when you’re browsing, 10 hours when you are on iTunes movie playback, and 30 days when on standby. This makes the MacBook ideal for people that always on the go and have a lot of work to be done. The MacBook comes with the latest and faster 802.11ac wireless standard so you can stream and surf smoothly. It also comes with Bluetooth 4.0, so you can easily pair with other devices. There is a FaceTime HD camera for video calls and dual microphones to amplify your voice, as well as stereo speakers for better video and music sound quality.
Verdict: If you are looking for a high-performance laptop on a budget, then this MacBook Air MJVM2LL from Apple will make a good option. It is one of the best budget laptops available today.
7 Acer Predator Helios 300
Key Design Features
Are you in need of a cheap laptop that can handle intense applications such as video editing and designing apps, as well as extreme gaming? Then this laptop is your best bet. Acer has designed it primarily for gaming purposes. It comes with a 15.6-inch 1920×1080 wide LED-backlit screen that outputs very clear and crisp visuals.
However, it weighs 6 pounds, trading portability for its powerful features. It would make an excellent replacement for a desktop in case you want you a computer you can carry from place to place in the house. It operates on the Intel corei7 7700-HQ 28GHz processor and comes with 16GB RAM. This is a true workhorse that will easily load heavy-duty programs without any stuttering or lagging. Plus, its processor performance can be enhanced by up to 3.8GHz by the integrated Turbo-boost Technology. What’s more? It packs 256GB SSD that improves its general performance, boot time, and lowers power consumption.
Acer Predator Helios 300 will offer you flexible connectivity. It has one HDMI 2.0 port, a Type C USB 3.1 port that can transfer data at speeds of 5Gbps, two USB 2.0 ports, and one USB 3.0 port. The machine is powered b a four-cell Li-ion battery that lasts 7 hours. While it is not the most portable laptop, it gives you the freedom to carry it around your home.
Verdict: If you want to run intensive programs and you don’t care much about portability, then this is among the cheapest laptops for you.
8. Microsoft Surface Laptop
Key Design Features
This laptop also falls in the lightweight and portable category. Microsoft has managed to strike a balance between portability and performance with this machine. It has a unique sleek, super-lightweight, and ultra-thin design. It weighs just 2.76 pounds, so you can carry it around in your backpack. It has a beautiful touchscreen that has a thin bezel. With its 13.5’’2256×1504 PixelBay Display, you are sure to enjoy true-to-life images. The laptop runs on the 7th Gen Intel Core i5 3.12GHz processor. It has 4GB RAM giving it its impressive performance. It also boasts of 128GB SSD that improves its boot time besides reducing power consumption significantly.
Microsoft Surface Laptop runs on Windows 10s, and it combines high performance and security. Both the office and windows come with OneDrive, ensuring that your content in the cloud is always safe. This feature also enhances the laptop’s performance and speed. For comfort, the machine is equipped with a keyboard that’s covered in a classy Alcantara fabric, guaranteeing natural typing.
This is among the few cheap laptops that have long battery life. You can browse and be entertained with music and videos for up to 14.5 hours on a full battery. The laptop also has excellent compatibility, thanks to its 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11b wireless standards.
Verdict: This is among the best budget laptops you can hope to find on the shelves today. It comes with many great features that you will like.
9. Apple 13.3-inch MacBook Air MQD32LL/A
Key Design Features
This machine comes with an LED-backlit display that spans 13.3 inches across. Unlike the 11.6’’ MacBook Air MJVM2LL/A, this MacBook strikes a balance between portability and usability. The machine is incredibly lightweight; it weighs just 2.96 pounds and has an ultra-thin design. It operates on the Intel Duo Corei5 processor and integrates Turbo-Boost Technology, which can boost the processor speed to 2.9GHz for improved functionality. With an 8GB RAM, the laptop is sure to give you great performance. The machine boasts of 128GB SSD storage capacity, providing you with up to 2.5times faster boot time compared to traditional HDDs. The SSD storage also reduces power consumption significantly, giving you additional battery runtime.
One of the most outstanding convenient features of this laptop is its long-lasting battery life. Its high-capacity battery can give you juice for up 12 hours. This makes the laptop ideal for people who are always on the go. Charge it once, and you can finish your work project while traveling on the airplane or train. It runs on the 802.11ac wireless standard, allowing you to download stuff and browse the internet at any time. It has a Thunderbolt 2 port with which you can transfer data at incredible speeds. There is also a USB 3.0 port that can transfer data with speeds as high as 20Gbps. Additionally, there is a headphone jack and dual mics.
Verdict: This is another great, high-performance MacBook that perfectly strikes a balance between portability and usability. It is one of the cheapest laptops that will not only offer you great features but efficiency and convenience.
10. MSI GV62 8RD-200 Full-HD Gaming Laptop
Key Design Features
Primarily designed for gaming, this machine is stunningly powerful. It can handle almost any intensive operations you will throw at it. It comes with a 15.6-inch Full-HD LCD IPS display delivering vibrant visuals. It uses the 8th Intel Corei5 2.3GHz processor. It also integrates the Turbo-Boost Technology, which can boost the processor speed to 4.0GHz. It has 16GB RAM, a feature that makes it a true workhorse. What’s more? It has 1TB HDD, providing more than enough storage space for music, heavy applications, videos, and files. The laptop is also equipped with NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti graphics enhancing its gaming functionality. There is also the all-new Intel Optane memory tech, which sees to it that your files, apps, and games open very fast. There is an exclusive MSI Cooler Boost Technology, which increases the machine’s performance.
The laptop is equipped with a high quality keyboard, complete with tactile and responsive feedback. The keyboard is also backlit. For compatibility and connectivity, this laptop comes with one USB 2.0 port, as well as two USB 3.1 Type C ports, which will transfer files and media at very high speeds. There are also HDMI, audio output, and Display ports.
Verdict: If you are looking for a budget laptop that can handle intensive operations without any performance issues, then this laptop is among the few options you have got. It will give you efficiency, high performance, fantastic gaming graphics, and lots of storage space.
Tips for Choosing the Best Budget Laptops
When shopping for a good quality but cheap laptop, knowing your options is important, which is why we have given you two lists of the cheapest laptops on the market. However, that hasn’t always enough. To get the best possible product, there are a few buying points you need to consider. Below, we list some of these buying points to help you get a laptop that will meet your needs.
Of course, the laptop you will get will mostly depend on the money you want to spend. The more sophisticated features a laptop comes with, the more money you are likely to pay for it. But as we have seen, you can always get a good quality machine at under $500 and $1000. It is even possible to get a really good laptop at under $300.
Ease of Use
This is one of the most important things to consider when buying a laptop. Ask yourself whether or not you need a laptop to carry around. Do you need a laptop that you can use to type on, say, an airplane? Do you want a laptop for gaming purposes? These are the kind of questions that will lead to the right laptop for your needs.
A good laptop should come with a battery that can last more than a few hours. Most cheap laptops have batteries that will last 8 hours on average when fully charged. Still, there are pocket-friendly machines with batteries that last up to 15 hours.
Are you going to do a lot of typing on your laptop? If yes, then look for a machine with a good quality and comfortable keyboard. It is always advisable to go for one with a full-size keyboard that is comfortable to use. You may also want to look at whether or not the keyboard is backlit.
Do you want a laptop that runs on Mac OS, Chrome OS or Windows OS? The popularity of the Chrome Operating System is increasing rapidly, and many laptops are using it. Most machines with Mac OS are relatively more expensive than those running on the other operating systems. There are many budget laptops using Windows OS to choose from. You only need to look at all the features the laptop comes with and determine whether or not the operating system is going to restrict your usage in any way.
Other key features to look at include
- The laptop’s storage capacity
- The design
- The screen/ display size, as well as resolution
- Wireless connectivity
- Ports such as USB ports, audio jacks, HDMI, and Ethernet ports, among others
Obviously, you will find many other good quality but cheap laptops on the market today. However, based on user experiences and our research, we identified the ones listed above as the best budget laptops that will give you amazing user experience. Hopefully, without tips on what to consider when shopping for a laptop, you will be able to choose one from the lists.