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

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.

Storage

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).

Display

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).

Battery life

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 2018

Acer Swift 1

The Best Cheap Ultraportable Laptop

acer swift 1

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.

Pros:
  • Display
  • Portability
  • Design
  • Build quality
Cons:
  • Storage

Check at Amazon

ASUS Chromebook Flip C213SA-YS02

Most Durable Cheap Chromebook With Great Battery Life

asus chromebook flip c213sa-ys02

In addition to the standard Chromebook features (automatic updates, virus protection, cloud storage), the ASUS Flip C213SA-YS02 is made according to MIL-STD 801G specifications which gives it ruggedness and durability and makes it well suited to the needs of students (and their parents) who won’t have to worry about it getting damaged by drops or getting scratched.

Two zinc-alloy hinges allow it to be used in stand, tent and tablet modes. A 14-hr battery life will easily get you through the day without having to recharge.

Pros:
  • 2-in-1
  • Durability
  • Battery life
Cons:
  • Storage

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Lenovo N23

The Best Cheap Laptop for College

lenovo n23 2 in 1
Geared towards educational use, the Lenovo N23 offers the essential specifications that fulfill the basic requirements. What’s more, you get everything at a very good price.

Built for durability, it features a water-resistant keyboard, sealed touchpad and reinforced ports and hinges. Battery life at 8 hours isn’t the best one but is enough for an average user.

Pros:
  • 2-in-1
  • Durability
Cons:
  • Battery life

Check at Amazon

Dell Inspiron 15 3000

The Best Cheap Gaming Laptop

dell inspiron 15 3000

The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 does everything you could want it to. With a powerful processor, huge 1 TB storage and 6 GB RAM, it will run demanding applications like a breeze. And gaming won’t give it any hiccups either.

The touchscreen adds to ease of use. Battery life at around 6 hours is on the low side but that’s to be expected with the kind of applications that you would plan on using with this laptop.

Pros:
  • Touchscreen
  • Storage
Cons:
  • Battery life

Check at Amazon

Acer Aspire E 15

Another Great Budget Laptop From Acer

acer aspire e 15

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.

Pros:
  • Great Value for money
  • CPU
  • Battery life
Cons:
  • Screen could be better

Check at Amazon

Lenovo Ideapad 210s

Great Cheap Windows Laptop From Lenovo

lenovo ideapad 210s

It may be hard to find decent laptops that cost less than $200, but Lenovo has made that easy with the Ideapad 210s. However, the low cost does come with a few drawbacks including the relatively smaller screen size and the absolutely tiny amount of fixed storage – which means that you will need plenty of external storage.

With its small size and low weight, the Ideapad 210s is highly portable. The Celeron processor and low 2 GM RAM will also make it slow if you use resource-hungry applications.

Pros:
  • Portability
  • Price
Cons:
  • Storage
  • Display size
  • RAM

Check at Amazon

Acer Chromebook 14

Durable Budget Chromebook for Business

acer chromebook 14

The Acer Chromebook 14 is geared towards the business user. Its sleek aluminum-alloy design, 14-inch screen size and 12-hr battery life make it ideal for the fast-paced business executive running productivity applications.

The only drawback is the relatively low powered Celeron CPU. However, that shouldn’t be an issue for the business user unless he/she unwinds by playing games at the end of a long and hectic workday.

Pros:
  • Aluminum housing
  • Screen size
  • Battery life
Cons:
  • Performance

Check at Amazon

Samsung Chromebook 3

The Best Budget Chromebook From Samsung

samsung chromebook 3

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.

Pros:
  • Display
  • Battery life
  • Price
Cons:
  • Power button too close to the keyboard

Check at Amazon

Lenovo Flex 11 Chromebook

Sturdy and Cheap Touchscreen Laptop

lenovo flex 11 chromebook

The Lenovo Flex 11 can be used as a laptop or a tablet and offers adequate features and performance for educational use.

It has been designed for durability: a rubber bumper is wrapped around the edges (which protects the laptop in the event of drops) and the keyboard is water resistant.

Pros:
  • Build quality
Cons:
  • Battery life

Check at Amazon

HP Stream 14

Budget Windows Laptop With Decent Battery Life

hp stream 14

The HP Stream 14 is an affordable Windows laptop that is geared towards basic use including web-browsing, email and online applications. The laptop looks great but the build quality could have been better.

The display at 186 nits is low on brightness. Performance also leaves much to be desired as opening multiple browser tabs leads to noticeable lags.

Pros:
  • Battery life
  • Design
  • Price
Cons:
  • Build quality
  • Display
  • Performance

Check at Amazon

Summary

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.

Categories: Laptops

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