Even though smartphones and tablets have come a long way in the last decade, there are many, many tasks for which a laptop is essential. Moreover, many 2-in-1 laptops are now available and can be used as tablets.
There are many high-end laptops available, but these cost well over $1,000. Fortunately, cheaper options that provide the required functionality at a much lower cost are also available.
Now it’s up to you to decide which one from among the best cheap laptops is the right one for you. That’s right, no one else can tell you which one is the best for you since only you know your requirements.
The following is a guideline about laptop specifications which should help you in making your decision. Make a requirements’ checklist, then go through the list of best cheap laptops below and select the one that meets your needs.
How to Choose The Best Cheap Laptop
Laptops are made up of hundreds of components. Fortunately, we don’t need to know the specifications of each and every one of them to be able to make a decision about which laptop to buy. As long as we are clear about our own needs, we can study the specifications of a few major components to be able to make a good decision.
Performance mainly depends on the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and the Random Access Memory (RAM). The CPU is the brain of the laptop and executes the program instructions. At runtime, computer programs are copied from storage to RAM for fast access by the CPU.
Important CPUs specifications include clock speed (typically 1 – 3 GHz), cache (on-board CPU memory) and a number of cores (independent processing units). RAM is specified in size (typically 2 – 6 GB) and speed (supported data transfer rate).
Together the CPU and RAM determine the type of applications that the laptop can run. For example, modern AAA games require both a powerful CPU and sufficient RAM (and a powerful Graphics Card of course). If the CPU speed is low and/or the RAM is not sufficient, the game will not run smoothly.
The same is true for video editing and engineering simulations. Web browsing and word processing, on the other hand, do not require a fast CPU or a large amount of RAM.
Laptops have fixed storage for storing software and user data which can vary in size from a few Gigabytes (GBs) to multiple Terabytes (TBs).
Storage devices are based either on the older Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and or the newer Solid-State Drive (SSD) technologies. HDDs store data on a rotating platter and the data is read by a read/write head floating above the spinning platter. SSDs use microchips for storing date and there are no moving parts.
The major difference between the two is that SSDs support faster data transfer rates (the laptop boots 3-4 times faster, programs load times are also reduced by 3-4 times) and are more expensive than HDDs.
Another type of storage used on laptops with limited storage is flash memory (similar to the technology used for USB drives).
If the applications and data are stored in the cloud (like is the case for Chromebooks) then a lot of local storage is not necessary. However, if the laptop is running Windows and you need to edit videos which are stored locally, then you need a serious amount of storage (typically 500 GB – 1TB).
Our eyes never leave the display while we work on the laptop and since we are working for hours on end, we need displays that allow us to see clearly in different lighting conditions, and also not put a strain on our eyes (something which is especially important for young children who use laptops for educational purposes).
Important display specifications include screen size (typical range is from 11” – 15”), resolution (total number of pixels; full HD resolution is 1920 x 1080), brightness (typical values range from 200 – 300 nits) and color quality (IPS screens are good, OLED screens are the best).
Batteries are usually described in terms of cell technology (current batteries use Lithium-ion whereas older batteries were based on Ni-Cd), number of cells (typically 3-12 cells, more cells means more battery life but also increase battery weight) and power carrying capacity (specified in watt-hours/Wh or milli-ampere-hours/mAh; higher values mean greater battery life, typical values are 3000-4000 mAh or 40-60 Wh).
Since laptop users are typically on the move, battery life is of the utmost importance. Battery life varies with the type of applications used. Web browsing and business presentations will typically not load the CPU and therefore the battery will drain slowly. Gaming and other CPU-intensive applications will cause the battery to be used up quite a bit faster. Battery life is also affected by many other factors. For example, higher screen brightness reduces battery life and touchscreen displays use more power than non-touch displays.
By using this guideline about laptop specifications, you should be able to choose from among the following cheap laptops.
10 Best Cheap Laptops You Can Find in 2019
Acer Swift 1
The Best Cheap Ultraportable Laptop
The Acer Swift 1 offers great value for money. With a beautiful metal design, compact size, low weight, vibrant Full HD IPS display and a wide range of connectivity options it is ideal for the modern business people.
The 64 GB storage sets limits on the type and amount of applications that you can load on to it.
While the Pentium N4200 CPU offers adequate performance for productivity applications, it is not well suited to CPU- intensive tasks like gaming.
- Build quality
ASUS Chromebook C423NA-DH02
Super Slim Design for Everyday Use on the Go
If you’re a college student who can’t catch a break in between classes all day long or you’re a professional that’s always on the road, the Chromebook C423NA-DH02 from ASUS may be the perfect laptop for you.
It features a super slim profile, is ultra-light (1.4Kg or about 3 pounds), and fits easily in a backpack, bag, or briefcase. Furthermore, it boasts a metallic case that feels great when touched but it’s also durable and dent-resistant.
In terms of performance, the laptop handles well everyday tasks such as working with documents and browsing. This is possible due to its configuration: Intel Dual Core Celeron N3350 processor with 4GB RAM, and 32GB eMMC storage unit.
The display looks great at 14 inches and features HD resolution (1366×768). To make it more attractive and easier to use, the display is fitted with an ultra-narrow bezel and has anti-glare properties (for use outdoors).
Finally, the laptop runs Chrome OS, which opens up the Android apps world for the user. It’s also easy to connect due to the available USB Type-C and Type-A ports.
- Lightweight and portable
- Durable & nice-looking
- Good configuration
- Runs Chrome OS
- Perfect for everyday use
- Speakers are not stellar
- Trackpad material is low quality
- Not designed for demanding projects or gaming
ASUS VivoBook F510UA
Compact, Connected & Ready for Work
The VivoBook is a gorgeous laptop, with a unique metallic finish, a compact and easy to use keyboard, and stunning display. The laptop supports FHD resolution (1920×1080) and the visuals are crisp and vivid on the 15.6-inch anti-glare display.
Equipped with an Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5GHz processor that’s supported by 8GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB HDD, the VivoBook can tackle most daily tasks from working with documents to watching videos or playing light games.
The ultra-narrow bezel (80% screen-to-body ratio) is perfect for a device as slim (0.8-inch) and light (3.7lbs.) as this. Moreover, it features all the necessary ports for a well-connected laptop (1xUSB 3.1, 1xUSB 3.0, 2xUSB 2.0, 1xHDMI, and one SD card reader).
Finally, the VivoBook comes with Windows 10 Home, fingerprint reader, and SUS Splendid software enhancement for stunning visuals.
- Gorgeous design
- Extremely portable
- Wide view display
- Fingerprint reader
- Comes with Windows 10 Home
- All the necessary ports
- HDD slows the laptops down a bit
- The power button is unfortunately placed
- The keyboard is not the best
- No Ethernet port
Dell Inspiron 15 3000
Convenience & Performance in a Sleek Design
Dell is well-known in the market for the quality of their products, so you can expect great things even from a low-cost laptop such as the Inspiron 15 3000!
The laptop is powerful enough (2 GHz AMD A Series processor with 8GB DDR4 SDRAM and 1 TB HDD that runs at 5400 RPM) and has an impressive design. The hardware is housed in a sleek-looking case that’s smudge resistant and durable.
The 15.6” LED backlit display supports HD resolution (1366 x 768 pixels) and the upper side of the bezel features an integrated 720p webcam. The keyboard and trackpad are standard, but unlike many modern laptops, the Inspiron 15 3000 has a numeric keypad.
In terms of connectivity, the laptop has one Ethernet port, 2xUSB 3.0, 1xUSB 2.0, 1xHDMI, and audio jack. Overall, the Inspiron 15 3000 from Dell is the perfect device for work in an office, at home, or on the go!
- Durable build
- Numeric keypad
- Runs Windows 10
- Handles MS Office and browsing well
- Has all the necessary ports
- Comes with a lot of pre-installed software
- HDD is rather slow
Acer Aspire E 15
Another Great Budget Laptop From Acer
The Acer Aspire E 15 is your beast on a budget! With 8th generation Core i3 CPU and 1 TB of storage, you can use it for any applications you need.
A 13.5-hours battery life will easily get you through the day without having to recharge. The 6 of RAM may not be enough for running modern games but it’s still more than many other laptops in this range have to offer.
- Great Value for money
- Battery life
- Screen could be better
HP Pavilion X360 15
A Versatile & Low-Cost 2-in-1 Device
If you’re looking for a device that can gather versatility and performance in one elegant-looking package without a steep price, the Pavilion X360 15 from HP is a fantastic choice.
The device looks like a regular laptop (at first sight), but the 360-degrees hinge and the touchscreen provide a much-needed sense of versatility. As such, the 15.6-inches touchscreen can be used as part of a laptop or as a tablet (with the keyboard side completely folded backward). You can even use a pen (included) for quick drawings, sketches, and notes.
The IPS BrightView WLED-backlit touchscreen supports FHD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) and can be used for viewing videos, images, or working with documents. On the inside, you’ll find an 8th Generation Intel Dual-Core i3-8130U base clock 2.2GHz (can go up to 3.4GHz in turbo mode), paired with 4 GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM and 1 TB HDD.
Finally, the device supports WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 and runs Windows 10.
- Good configuration
- Impressive 2-in-1 design
- Bright & vivid display
- Can be used with a pen
- Numeric keypad on the full-size keyboard
- Highly portable
- Battery life is not according to specifications
- There may be some pen-related issues
Acer Chromebook 14
Stay Connected while Traveling
This 14-inch Chromebook from Acer with a compact design and metallic case is perfect for people who want to get things done while traveling. Since it runs Chrome OS, you have unhindered access to Google Play, so all the tools you need for work and fun are at your disposal.
In terms of performance, this Chromebook is equipped with one Intel Celeron N3160 Quad-Core Processor, 4GB LPDDR3 memory, and 16GB eMMC. Also, it supports 802. 11ac Wi-Fi featuring MIMO technology (Dual-Band 2. 4GHz and 5GHz) and Bluetooth 4. 2 (the device needs to be online for most apps to work).
The 14″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Display is supported by Intel HD Graphics and looks amazing. It’s also important to know that it comes with built-in storage (for offline work) and an additional 100GB of Google Drive space for automatic backups.
Finally, the entire system is backed up by a 3-cell Li-polymer Battery Pack (3950 mAh) that holds for up to 12 hours.
- Solid build with a metallic case
- Highly portable
- Good port representation
- Protective sleeve
- Runs Chrome OS
- Fast booting time
- The sound is low-quality
- Some apps aren’t available for the Chrome platform
- Doesn’t run MS Office
Samsung Chromebook 3
The Best Budget Chromebook From Samsung
Well suited for education or business use, the Samsung Chromebook’s sleek metallic black design makes it stand out. The standout feature is its screen which at 259 nits is one of the brightest in this class. This combined with 4 GB RAM makes this Chromebook perfect for productivity applications and educational use.
The only issue worth noting is that the power button is right next to the backspace button which leads to a slight risk of accidentally turning off the laptop.
- Battery life
- Power button too close to the keyboard
Lenovo Chromebook C330
The Perfect Cheap Convertible Laptop
Convertible laptops are a great idea for people who want to catch up with work outside the office. However, high-end configurations don’t come cheap. But, if you’re only working with documents and use the device for research, the Lenovo Chromebook C330 is perfect!
Equipped with a MediaTek MT8173C processor, 4GB LPDDR3 and 64 GB eMMC, the laptop is powerful enough to run Chrome OS and a wide variety of apps from Google Play. It also features an 11.6” IPS HD (1366 x 768) 10-point touchscreen that can be rotated to 360-degrees due to the flexible hinge.
In terms of connectivity, the C330 is equipped with 1xUSB-C, 1xSD reader, and 1xUSB 3.0 ports. Also, the device has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1, which allows two simultaneous connections.
- Highly portable
- Solid build & versatile design
- Beautiful display with touchscreen
- Easy to use & fast
- Runs Chrome OS
- Mediocre CPU performance
- Low screen resolution
- Not the best touch response
HP Stream 11.6″
Connect and Go
With an Intel N4000 dual-core processor that runs at 1.1 GHz base frequency and can go up to 2.6 GHz burst frequency, and has 4MB cache, this 11.6” laptop from HP is the perfect work companion outside of the office!
It also has 4GB DDR4 SDRAM, and 32GB eMMC, and runs Windows 10, which is the perfect OS for a productive person. Moreover, the black case is durable and has a finish that doesn’t retain smudges, while the keyboard feels nice and easy to type.
The display is pretty good for a compact laptop (1366 x 768 resolution), with anti-glare features for use outside and WLED-backlit design so it doesn’t strain the eyes after long-term use. Finally, the HP Stream is well-equipped when it comes to connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, 1xUSB 3.1, 1xUSB 2.0, 1xHDMI, and one microSD media card reader.
- Compact and durable design
- Case finish doesn’t retain smudges
- Lightweight & portable
- Good display
- Easy to use the keyboard
- Runs Windows 10
- Little storage space
- The touchpad is not as sensitive as expected
- The finish attracts crumbs
It is possible to spend over a $1,000 to get a laptop that can do everything and anything. But you don’t need a laptop that does everything. You have specific requirements and cheaper options are very much available which will fulfill your requirements while enabling you to also balance the budget.
So why spend the extra money on something you don’t need. Take some time to think about your exact requirements. And then select a laptop from the best cheap laptops which have been shared with you in this article.