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Get a New Device on a Budget With the Best Cheap Laptops

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Get a New Device on a Budget With the Best Cheap Laptops

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Buying Guide: Cheap Laptops

Long gone are the days when penny-pinching meant getting a poor laptop that would slow down at the first sight of multitasking. Granted, a small budget won’t get you a machine capable of playing high-end games or a tablet with lots of features, but the top-rated cheap laptops of 2023 have come a long way in providing a phenomenal bang for your buck and are definitely worth considering. Generally speaking, a budget laptop will cut back on the quality of the panel, CPU and GPU power, and internal memory size, since these are the most pricey components of any PC. Still, it ultimately comes down to the game of sacrifices. Making this decision can be tough, especially when you don’t know much about laptops or computing in general. So, to help you with that, we have compiled this guide to buying a good-quality laptop that won’t break the bank.

Everyone is looking for a device that can offer them a way to work and play on a budget. So, it’s not surprising the market for cheap laptops is extremely saturated. This comprehensive buyer’s guide section will help you navigate it and assist you in making an informed choice.

Cheap Laptop Selection Criteria

Price

When shortlisting our favorite cheap laptops, we first decided on a price range. We strove to select a budget that was manageable by most and sufficient to get you a laptop that could handle most school and office tasks while offering some level of entertainment. So, we ended up with a budget of $300, although most of our picks are priced well below that amount. 

Portability

Next, we ensured all our top picks were small and slim enough to be easily carried around. Portability ensures students can easily carry the laptop to their classes while travelers can buy one as their traveling laptop. 

Key Considerations

Operating system

First thing’s first, you should think about the operating system (OS) that your laptop runs. Your laptop’s OS is the core software that runs the tasks and manages other programs on the device.  Examples of laptop operating systems include Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, and Mac OS. Linux isn’t exactly popular in the computing world, while Mac OS is only found in laptops manufactured by Apple. Since those aren’t exactly cheap, you can expect to find either Windows or Chrome OS on your budget notebook.  Windows, the most popular laptop OS, will get you some of the most used software, like Word, Excel, and Drive. Chrome OS, on the other hand, is a lot more user-friendly and faster than Windows, and it also has a cleaner interface. 

CPU

The central processing unit (CPU) of your laptop runs all the tasks on your laptop and determines just how fast your device is. This speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz). Since CPUs are expensive, you shouldn’t expect a very high-end chipset on your cheap laptop. Anything with 1.1-2.0 GHz of base clock speed will be ideal in this budget.

Factors To Consider

Screen

Screens are yet another expensive component of a cheap laptop. The two things you should note here are its size and resolution. The size of your laptop’s screen is measured diagonally in inches. A bigger screen will obviously equal a better viewing experience. This will only hold true if the big screen has a good resolution to match it.  The resolution of your laptop’s screen is measured in pixels and it defines just how clear the picture on the screen will be. Generally speaking, you should expect a screen size of 11-15 inches and a screen resolution of 720p-1080p when you opt for a budget laptop.

GPU

You should also not expect much in the graphics department. Your cheap laptop will have a low-end GPU that won’t be able to handle any worthwhile games or video editing tasks. If you’re adamant about playing games on your cheap laptop, make sure you run them at low settings and have the charger nearby for the imminent battery drain.

Ports and connectivity

The ports on your laptop offer an interface between your machine and any external device and peripheral. These ports can either be for file transfer or connecting external devices, like a monitor. So, when deciding on a cheap laptop for yourself, make sure you think about the ports it offers and whether they’ll meet your specific needs.

Storage and memory

Finally, you should also think about the hard disk and RAM size of your new cheap laptop. This will determine your computer’s internal storage and memory, respectively. The storage is where all your files and programs are stored, while your laptop’s memory dictates how many tasks it can take on at once.

01 HP 2020 Flagship 14 Chromebook

The HP 2020 Flagship 14 Chromebook features a 14-inch anti-glare panel that has been back-lit for easy viewing in low-light conditions. Its high resolution means you’ll get a premium media-watching experience. You can even play games on it, thanks to the Intel UHD Graphics 605 GPU that comes integrated. This GPU isn’t top-end though, so you’ll have to keep your game settings low. 

As far as the CPU goes, this cheap laptop comes equipped with the four-thread Intel Celeron Processor N Series. With this cheap laptop you get all of these features at an amazing price point. The powerful processing and price point earns this laptop the top spot on this list.

Pros

  • An amazing screen quality
  • Doesn't weigh that much
  • A phenomenal price-to-performance ratio
  • The battery lasts a long time

Cons

  • Only good for low-end games
HP 2020 Flagship 14 Chromebook

02 ASUS Vivobook Go 12

The ASUS Vivobook Go 12 comes in two hard disk configurations: 64 GB and the larger 128 GB. Regardless of the option you go for, you’ll get a cheap laptop that comes equipped with an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU chipset. At base, you can run this CPU at 1.1 GHz, while overclocking will get you clock speeds of up to 2.8 GHz.

At 11.6 inches, the screen size of this budget notebook is smaller than our top pick but the resolution is the same. This means you’ll get more pixels throughout for a clearer viewing experience. You can also push this screen back to place the laptop at a full 180 degrees. This cheap laptop is also super lightweight so you can easily take it with you when traveling.

Pros

  • Built very sturdily
  • Offers amazing portability
  • Keyboard has backlighting for user-friendliness

Cons

  • Doesn't hold a charge overnight
ASUS Vivobook Go 12

03 Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Even though all our shortlisted laptops are cheap, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is the cheapest of them all. It features an 11.6-inch panel with a decent resolution. Just above this screen is a webcam that shoots in 720p. The bottom bezel of the screen is rather thick, but this thickness doesn’t extend to the laptop’s form factor itself, which is super slim and thin. 

Unlike our previous pick, this cheap laptop comes equipped with Chrome OS. While this operating system isn’t as advanced as Windows, you can expect shorter boot-up times and a simpler user interface. As far as the CPU goes, this cheap laptop incorporates an Intel Celeron N3450 chipset with a speed of 1.1 GHz. There is no option for overclocking.

Pros

  • An amazing price point
  • An easy-to-use interface
  • Offers great battery life

Cons

  • The screen could be brighter
Lenovo IdeaPad 3

04 SAMSUNG Galaxy Chromebook 4

Similar to our previous pick, the SAMSUNG Galaxy Chromebook 4 also runs a Chrome OS. The 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron N3450 CPU chipset is also the same. It does go one step ahead in the durability department though. Samsung claims this cheap laptop’s sturdy build has passed eight military-grade standards that include the likes of temperature shocks, transit drops, and dust. So, rest assured this budget Chromebook will power through your average bumps and drops like a champ. 

As far as the GPU goes, this cheap laptop features an integrated card of Intel HD Graphics 400. While not meant for gaming, you can play some low-end titles on this laptop. On the battery domain, Samsung claims the Galaxy Chromebook 4 can last a full 12.5 hours before needing a recharge. This recharge will also be super fast, thanks to the support for USB-C charging.

Pros

  • Extremely sturdy build quality
  • Amazingly slim, lightweight, and portable
  • The battery life is great

Cons

  • The viewing angles could be better
SAMSUNG Galaxy Chromebook 4

05 Acer Aspire 5

Priced the highest on this list, the Acer Aspire 5 offers the best screen you can get on a budget laptop. At 15.6 inches, it is the biggest laptop on this list. It compliments this screen size with a beautiful IPS panel. This, combined with the 82.58% screen-to-body ratio, means watching media will never be more pleasant. On the CPU side of things, this cheap laptop comes with an 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 that you can clock all the way up to 4.10 GHz. 

This sophistication isn’t found in the graphics department though. The Intel UHD Graphics card will get you through most media, but playing games on it will be tough. Customers particularly love just how well this budget notebook handles video calls. This is thanks to Acer’s Purified Voice technology, which enhances the call sound by improving pickup and canceling background noise in real-time.

Pros

  • A pristine viewing experience
  • Comes equipped with Alexa for user-friendliness
  • Offers an unparalleled calling experience

Cons

  • Relatively expensive but well worth it
Acer Aspire 5

People Also Asked

How much RAM is enough in a laptop?

A 4 GB RAM will be ideal for most everyday tasks. On the other hand, you should consider at least 8 GB of RAM if you’re planning to multitask on your laptop.

How long do cheap laptops last?

A cheap laptop will contain old components, to begin with. These will get even older as you use your laptop for a few years. Still, if you can compromise on the latest components and take good care of your laptop, you can expect it to last a full 3-5 years.

What should I check before buying a cheap laptop?

You should check a laptop’s screen size, CPU, and GPU before pulling the trigger on the purchase. It’s also recommended that you consider its battery life and the number of ports it offers.

Denise McNamara

Oct 18, 2022

85 Articles Published

Our Process & Method

We're not just tech junkies, but we're also tech experts. Each and every "Best of.." list on TechJunkie is curated by our content-area subject matter experts to provide a well-rounded, unbiased perspective to help and inform you, our reader. Our lists are constantly reviewed and updated, so you can be sure you're reading relevant and up to date information.

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