Best Budget College Laptops 2020 : Buying Guide & Reviews

Expert Contributor

Jeff Day

If you are a college student, then you know the benefits of having your laptop. The power of technology makes your studies much more comfortable and fun. However, picking the best affordable laptop can be a challenge. We have taken the trouble to come up with a complete list of the best affordable college laptop to help you make your choice faster so that you can focus on other more critical aspects of your education. The following are essential tips and guidelines to help you pick the ideal device that will meet your personal needs.

Best Budget College Laptops worth Under $ 300

1. ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02

Best Features: Made out of durable materials. Reasonable price. Battery life is excellent. Can survive drops of up to 3.9 feet. Lightweight.

ASUS C202SA-YS02 features a spill resistant keyboard and a rugged design. With its superior local storage, strong performance, and its convertible design will surely make it perfect for students. It also features a rubberized dark-blue molding, which makes the chromebook as durable as it can be.

One of the best things about ASUS C202SA-YS02 is that it has the ability to withstand a maximum of 3.9 feet. It is also light weight at 2.64 pounds yet thicker, but will definitely take a lot of space especially when you’re working on a small table. Traveling will be easy because of its size and weight. 

Another good thing about ASUS C202SA-YS02 is that is has an 11.6 inch display with a 1,366 by 768 resolution. This can help you work in a well lit environment with ease. When it comes to the performance, the Chromebook has a 4GB memory, an intel HD graphics of 400, and a dual core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron.

All these features make the ASUS C202SA-YS02 a perfect Chromebook for college students.


Size: 11.6 x 0.9 x 7.9 inches | Weight: 2.2 pounds | Display Size: 11.6″ | Resolution: 1366*768 Pixels | Storage: 16 GB

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2. Lenovo flex 11 Chromebook

Best Features: Connects easy. Durable. Touchscreen. Very portable.

If it is a chrome book, then you should know it runs on unique features. This laptop comes with a hinge that allows you to position the screen for better viewership. You can use the device to take notes or to do your slides presentation or view images with your colleagues. You can adjust the device to tent mode if you don’t want to take up less space in the library.

This laptop comes with a touch screen that enables you to scroll online easily or quickly browse through the slides when you are studying. This affordable device comes with so many unique embedded features such as the anti-glare technology,4 GB RAM, and a 2.1Ghz processor from intel.

It comes with a hard drive of 32 GB storage space with an embedded multimedia card feature. This device is very portable thanks to its 3lb, which makes it easy to slide the laptop in your backpack. The device’ small dimension of 11.6”x8.1”x0.8′ dramatically increases the portability. This device will fit into your bag without much trouble.

The laptop comes with all the modern ports that enable a smooth, seamless connection. It features an HDMI port for presentation, USB3.0 to share files with others, and an audio jock to follow video notes and an SD card port. You will use the SD card to store large files, so it has to save up on the device’s storage space.

The device comes with great 10-hour battery life. You will work anywhere without having to worry about the battery running out before you are done. The laptop’s overall performance is quite impressive; however, being a chrome book, it is not designed for windows operating systems. You will have to make use of google drive and apps on the play store.

This device is very durable. It comes with a water-resistant keyboard that can handle a glass of water and prevent it from filtering through the machine. Besides, the laptop can handle a fall without damaging being able to handle up to 2.4′ falls. The small keyboard can be frustrating with users who have big hands. Apart from that, the laptop sets up quickly and comes with several programs already installed.


Size: 11.65 x 0.83 x 8.11 inches | Weight: 2.90 lbs | Display Size: 11.6 Inches | Resolution: 1366×768 pixels | Storage: 32 GB

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3. Lenovo Idea pad 120s

Best Features: Comes with a good battery life. The screen is large enough to allow good viewership. Windows provided.

This device resembles a professional laptop in most features, including size. It comes with a larger screen that enhances your views ship. Although it is a little heavier as compared to the others on this list, this device comes with a more significant design that helps in your image viewership.

It comes with a limited RAM capacity of 2GB. The RAM is soldered onto the keyboard, and thus you won’t be able to install additional space. However, you can insert an SD card into the provided space and use it to keep large files and save up on the device’s internal space.

The device comes to wit a 32GB hard drive with eMMA flash memory. Although the device come with more significant design, you will still find it quite comfortable to carry around and use in tight spaces. The device weighs slightly over 5.5lb, which is not too heavy. You will need a sturdy backpack to handle the extra weight and make carrying around comfortable

You can use the 802.11 ac wireless component to connect to any network easily. The wireless part makes a fast and effective connection possible. The device also comes with Bluetooth and HDMI output to enable seamless connections. You can also use the USB port and headphone input to make connections whenever you need it.

You will have to continuously work for 10 hours before the battery runs out. But if you activate several features at once like camera and wi-fi, which uses a lot of energy, the battery may not last that long. The device comes with an Intel processor. Although it is not a dual processor, these machines will give you a remarkable performance. However, the speaker needs some fine-tuning since you may find it not loud enough. You can alternatively choose to use the headphones.

This machine is quite durable. However, there are no specific features from Lenovo company that protects your device from wear and tear as well as from falls. You should, therefore, use strong backpacks that prevent damage whenever you are moving around campus.

The machine comes with a Windows operating system that gives you a lot of options. You will use most applications for your academic needs. Alternatively, if necessary, you can uninstall windows and use other operating systems like Linux.


Size: 9.30 x 13.10 x 0.70 inches | Weight: 3.20 lbs | Display Size: 14 Inches | Resolution: 1366 x 768 | Storage: 16 GB

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4. Lenovo Chromebook S330

Best Features: light for its size. Large screen. Ergonometric keyboard for faster typing.

This laptop is unbelievably light and thin. At 0.7” thick, carrying this device gives you the impression that you are holding a tablet in your hands. However, this device is a full-fledged laptop in functionality and performance.

Key Design Feature

The laptop comes with 4 GB RAM and intel processors. It also features a graphics co-processor which enhances speed and performance whenever you are working on a video or images.

Hard drive

The device comes with a bigger storage space of 64gb hard drive. The hard drive also has an eMMC flash storage technology that aids better and faster performance.


This laptop weighs only 3.3lb and is one of the lightest in the larger models with a dimension of 13.3”x9.3”x0.7” and a 14” screen. The slim and compact design enhances portability greatly. You can slip the device on your backpack with no much trouble.


Coming with a significant number of USB ports, this laptop offers better connectivity as compared to the others. You can make use of the 802.111ac wi-fi connections to carry on your research. It also comes with an HDMI port that you can use in your class presentations.

Power and performance

You can get up to 11 hours of work with his battery before recharging. This enables you to work outside where access to electricity is a problem. This laptop is also ideal for students who spend much of their time doing fieldwork in a natural environment.


It comes with a sturdy casing that enhances strength and prevents damage if the device falls on hard ground or objects.


The device comes with an advanced keyboard that enables you to type fast in high pressured situations. You can easily take your notes using this device even with a tutor who talks quite quickly. As compared to the other standard keyboards, this ergonometric keyboard enables you to type quite fast.


Size: 12.82 x 0.82 x 9.15 inches | Weight: 3.30 lbs | Display Size: 14 inches | Resolution: 1920X1080 pixels | Storage: 64 GB

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5. Acer aspire 1

Acer aspire 1

Best Features: Thin bezels. Classy design. Sturdy and durable. Great value. Battery life is excellent.

This is a basic laptop that features a full keyboard. The computer doesn’t come with a numeric keypad on the side. Besides, you can’t flip the screen of this device around or detach it to become a tablet. However, this device is perfect for note-taking.

Lenovo S330 is not only one of the most stylish laptops today but as well as one that is durable. The laptop has a nice finish and is similar to the other high-end laptop models under Lenovo, One of the best things about this laptop is that you don’t have to worry about sagging or creaky panels because there are none despite its affordability.

When it comes to its display, it has a total of 4k display, which is good enough for a college Chromebook. The brightness can be keep at 80-% since everything will come visible at that level, even when using your laptop at a well lit environment. 

Another good thing about Lenovo S330 is that it has Core i3-i5 and an Intel Core M-Series. This performance will let you open multiple taels while also streaming videos on the internet.


Size: 13.50 x 9.65 x 0.71 inches | Weight: 3.64 lbs | Display Size: 14″ | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Storage: 4GB

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6. Acer Aspire E5

Best Features: appropriate for video and gaming. Easy to upgrade. Comes with an 8gb ram.

This laptop features a numeric keyboard. It is a complete laptop that is quite affordable. It features excellent functionality and performance that will meet most of your academic needs.

The device comes with a large dimension at 15.2”x10.2”x1.19” that can handle an 8GB RAM. It also features a DVD space drive, which is hard to find in most small models. The device comes with a large memory of 256gb hard drive. It is an SSD type making it more reliable than other traditional laptops.

The device weighs 5lb. You may find it more cumbersome to carry around than most other portable units on this list.The device comes with an 802.11ac WIFI connectivity. It also comes with HDMI and USB ports,  which are located on the sides.

The device comes with a powerful 15 hours of battery life. When you but this device, you won’t worry about failing to beat assignment deadlines just because the power went out. The device performance is also much faster and reliable, thanks to the 8GB RAM. It also features a separate dedicated RAM for images and videos. You will, therefore, play your games and video much faster. The unique Acer TrueHarmony speakers are appropriate for film and design students.

The hardy and compact design guarantee the device to last for long. It comes with aluminum and plastic casing that prevents damage in case of falls. In case you need more space, you can add more memory because everything is not soldered onto the board.


Size: 15.02 x 10.20 x 1.19 inches | Weight: 5.27 lbs | Display Size: 15.6 inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 256 GB

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7. Lenovo Flex 5

Best Features: Battery life is excellent. Five available ports. Screen is large. Discrete graphic card. Portable enough.

This is a standard laptop that comes with an ergonometric keyboard to enable faster typing. It features an ideal screen to body ratio at 80 percent. Because it is a touch screen model, your browsing will be much easier.

Lenovo Flex 5 features Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 15.6 inch 1080 IPS touch display, 512GB PCIe SSD, and as well as an integrated intel HD 620 graphics. When it comes to ports, it has 5 ports, 2 USB 3.0 port, HDMI-out, charging port, and a 3.5mm jack, which is located on the right side.

When it comes to the speakers, they are adequate enough just like the other popular laptop brands in the market today. With its 620 HD graphics, you will surely be able to work even in the brightest environment possible. 


Size: 12.66 x 8.56 x 0.82 inches| Weight: 3.63 lbs | Display Size: 14 inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 256 GB

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8. Dell Inspiron 15 3567 series 15”

Best Features: Comes with android and IOS. It comes with a large display screen. Durable.

This laptop features a full numeric pad. It is a normal-sized laptop with enhanced functionality and performance.

The laptop features Waves Maxx audio technology, which you can use for movie watching once you are done with your studies. This laptop, which weighs less than 5lb, comes with a sturdy design for rigorous use. As such, the body is strong enough to withstand falls without damaging the components inside it. It is more heavier than other models in this list, and as such, you may need a bigger backpack to carry the device with.

It comes with a small storage space of 128gd SSD hard drive. It comes with an RJ 45 ethernet port in addition to the standard connections. It also features a two USB 3.1 and USB 2 version connections.

The battery is adequate to last for 7 hours of continuous work. However, you will need four hours to recharge the battery from 0 to 100 percent charge. Other models usually take 60 minutes to charge. The memory is limited, and thus you will need to upgrade it for you to get more space.

This machine is quite durable. The plastic casing will protect the device against any damage during general use and transportation. It can also withstand high heat exposure without any damage.

This laptop features a matte finish design to prevent dirt that may accumulate after continued use. The finish prevents oily fingerprints from showing on the surfaces


Size: 0.93 x 10.25 x 14.96 inches | Weight: 4.96 lbs | Display Size: 15.6 inches | Resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels | Storage: 128 GB

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College Laptop Buyer’s Guide 

What makes it a college laptop?

They aren’t necessarily called college laptops at the shop. The same laptop you are looking for can be used by other people for different purposes, including by professionals. However, college laptops come with some specific features in common. For example, they should be comfortable and light enough to carry around your lecture halls. They should also come with price categories that are affordable to most students. A good, affordable pick is a Chromebook. You can find the best cheap Chromebooks reviewed for you on our site.

What are the features to look out for?

It is quite tempting to go for the latest most expensive laptop, but a good laptop should have features that meet your needs as a student. You need to consider all the aspects and the requirements of your course before you buy the best pocket-friendly laptop for your studies.

Can I take my laptop everywhere?

Portability matters a lot if you have regular classes to attend. You should, therefore, go for a machine that is small and light enough to carry around in your backpack. A good laptop should also be portable and robust such that it won’t get damaged in case you accidentally drop it or if you bump it against a wall as you move around campus.

What do you need the laptop for?

Go for a specific model that meets your particular needs. Don’t waste money buying a device that comes with extra features that won’t help your academic pursuits. There is no need to pay for a larger RAM if you know you will never need it.

Factors to consider before buying a cheap college laptop

You should buy a cheap laptop with features that meet your specific needs. A good laptop should have enough space and last long enough to enable you to complete your tasks without worry. The following are some of the key factors that will help you to buy the best affordable laptop:

Battery life

Ensure you buy a laptop with a long enough battery life to avoid inconveniences that come with low battery life. Go for a computer with eight hours and above battery life.

Screen size

If your work involves examining videos or images, then you should go for a laptop with a large screen size. Go for a computer with a design that incorporates screen to body ratio. But if you are using your device for general typing, then any size can suit you.


Go for a laptop with enough number of pixels that enables you to view high-quality images. If your course is in arts, design or film, you have to purchase the best possible option. Size portability if your study involves a lot of travel, maybe to the field, then you should go for a light model. Such a model should easily fit into your backpack.

Final thoughts

You need to vet the devices thoroughly before you make your purchase. The guide above will significantly help you get the best model. A good laptop should help you perform better in your studies. Use the list provided to make informed choices during your shopping.

About This Expert

Jeff Day