What Screen Size Laptop Do You Need
Laptop screens range from around 11in to 17in. A smaller screen might be harder to work on and offer fewer ports, but it will be more portable.
A 17in laptop, on the other hand, is a desktop replacement laptop and not designed to be moved around often. Generally, 13- or 14in is the sweet spot for portability and usability.
While some cheap laptops have a resolution of 1366×768, there are Full HD, Quad HD and even 4K laptops available. A touchscreen will add to the cost and generally isn’t needed on a laptop, but it is an extra convenience. Also lookout for a matt, non-reflective screen.
What you won’t find here is a laptop with a high refresh rate display, with that technology primarily used in gaming hardware. However, there are signs that more consumer laptops with screens of 90Hz and above could arrive soon.
Laptops with Mini-LED displays are on the way soon.
Choosing A Cheap Chromebook Vs A Cheap Windows Laptop
Our picks are for anyone who doesnt want to or cant spend more than $500 on a laptop. These models are good for anyone who just wants to browse the web, students who dont need special software, and people who work at home only occasionally. If you need a more powerful laptop, take a look at our guide to the best laptops.
Laptop Deals Under $299
Acer Chromebook 311: If you want a laptop for a cheap price, this Acer Chromebook 311 is one of the least expensive we’ve so far this year. On sale for just $129, it features a 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 LCD, 1.1GHz Celeron N4020 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB eMMC. It’s been as low as $150 in the past though. View Deal
Lenovo 14 S330 Chromebook : This Lenovo Chromebook features a 14-inch HD display, a MediaTek quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of EMMc storage. It’s great for in-home learning, and currently under $180 at Walmart. View Deal
Lenovo Chromebook C340: This Lenovo Chromebook features an 11.6-inch display that can be completely flipped in on itself, to create a laptop that can be used as a tablet-style device as well. It also sports an Intel Celeron N4000 Dual-Core CPU, 4GB of RAM, 32GB eMMC SSD, and Intel UHD Graphics 600. View Deal
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What About An Ipad
Why we like it: Depending on how you use a computer, you might not need a laptop at all. An Apple iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard or a keyboard case makes for a lighter and more portable system than any of our picks. If you primarily browse the web, make video calls, write, and take notes, an iPad provides a smoother, less painful experience than the Windows options in this price category.
Where it falls short: An iPad cant run traditional desktop apps and offers only limited multitasking support, so its not a direct replacement for a laptop. If you need to run more than two apps at once, work with specialty software, or want a large screen, an iPad wont work for you.
You can read more about the iPad in our guide to the best tablets.
Should You Shop Black Friday Gaming Laptop Deals Now
Supply chain backlogs, chip and raw material shortages, high demand, low inventory, and shipping delays are just a few examples of issues going on right now that are looming over the 2021 holiday shopping season. What that means for you, the savvy deal-hunter, is that theres no time to waste, nor any sense in sleeping on any Black Friday gaming laptop deals you like in the vain hopes of a better offer coming along later. Thats not likely considering that retailers are starting their official Black Friday sales early.
What is likely is that the best Black Friday gaming laptop deals are going to sell out quickly and may not be restocked in time for Christmas or even before 2022 and even if they are, they probably wont be on sale for the same price. If youre worried about missing the best prices, though, then keep your eyes peeled for Black Friday price match guarantees that many retailers, including Newegg and Best Buy, are offering. If an item thats covered by this price guarantee becomes cheaper later , the retailer will refund you the difference.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
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Do I Need Dedicated Graphics
A graphics processor thats built into the CPU is perfectly adequate for most everyday laptop use. Youll know youre looking at an IGP if you see a reference to Intels HD Graphics, UHD Graphics, or Iris as the graphics solution on an Intel-CPU laptop . An IGP shares the CPUs processor cores, memory, or both. The amount of memory available to the integrated graphics chip is usually fixed, so increasing the amount of system memory wont result in better graphics performance.
Most gamers will want to consider a discrete GPU with its own dedicated computing resources. Even a budget gaming GPU will offer an immense advantage over an integrated graphics processor when it comes to playing 3D games. At the high end, hardcore gamers should look for Nvidias latest GeForce RTX GPUs.
With gaming laptops, the level of GPU you need is very much tied to the frame rate you want to run at the laptops native screen resolution, and the kind of games you play. Thats where our reviews come in handy. We test with several demanding gaming and industry-standard benchmarks to give you a relative sense of a laptops graphics performance. Check out our roundup of favorite late-model gaming machines and best budget gaming laptops for much more.
The Best Laptop For Students
Lenovos Chromebook Duet is a great convertible laptop for kids, or anyone who wants a reliable secondary driver for browsing and games. Its a nice-looking, well-made 10-inch device that comes with a detachable keyboard and kickstand.
The Duet is tailor-made to be used around the house and on the go, weighing just 2.03 pounds and delivering over 11 hours of battery life. Its MediaTek processor isnt designed to shoulder heavy loads, but its just fine for browsing in a couple tabs, watching Netflix, or playing Android games it even handles photo editing pretty well. The Duet also features a new tablet mode for Chrome OS, which supports an Android-inspired gesture navigation system and a unique Chrome layout optimized for tablet use.
The Chromebook Duet is an absolute steal for its low price, and is the Chromebook to buy if youre on a tight budget.
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Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga
Thanks to its retracting keyboard in tablet mode, the ThinkPad version of Lenovo’s Yoga hybrid has always been the all-around best. Now the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga adds an OLED display, the same as found on the very best big screen televisions, to stunning effect. Yes, it has a rugged body, great keyboard and a built-in stylus, but the key point is, once you try out an OLED screen, it’s hard to go back to plain old LCD.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 Review: Keyboard And Touchpad
- Plenty of travel for comfy typing
- Smooth and accurate touchpad, and there’s a touchscreen, too
Typing on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 feels more comfortable than most laptops Ive worked on, thanks in large part to the nicely-sized keys and the Alcantara material around the keyboard. The keys feel satisfying to type on, with 1.3mm of travel and a nice click to them which helped me avoid bottoming out while typing quickly.
The 4.5 x 3-inch glass touchpad beneath the keys is also quite nice to use, feeling comfortably close to the keyboard while still affording my big dumb sausage fingers plenty of room to move. Both it and the laptops touchscreen felt very responsive to the touch, and I had no trouble using gesture commands on either surface.
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Laptop Deals Under $599
HP 15z: The HP 15z is a solid mid-range laptop that can be used by students or anyone looking to perform everyday tasks. It packs a 15.6-inch 1366 x 768 LCD, 2.4GHz AMD Athlon Gold 3150U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. Recommended upgrades include a 1080p LCD or a Ryzen 3 CPU .View Deal
Gateway 14″ Laptop: Small but mighty, the 14-inch Gateway GWTN141-4RG offers a surprising amount of power given its small size. It houses a 14.1-inch 1080p IPS LCD, Core i5-1035G1 CPU, 16GB RAM, and 256GB of storage. It also has Tuned by THX Audio and built-in Cortana, to make it one of the best cheap laptop deals you’ll find.View Deal
Galaxy Chromebook 2: You can get the Samsung Chromebook 2 for as little as $99 with an eligible trade-in at Samsung. Even if you don’t have anything to trade, you can still get $100 off. As for the laptop itself, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a more refined version of its predecessor packing a QLED screen, Intel Core i3 processor and Smart Amp audio. There’s a 128GB SSD included for storage. View Deal
HP Laptop 15t-dw300: This mid-range HP laptop is perfect for users who want performance without a big price tag. It includes a 11th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, 256GB SSD and a 15.6 touch display. It’s currently $150 off at HP. View Deal
If Youre Spending Up And Over $1000
If you have a budget of $1,000 and up, people will tell you to get a MacBook, and honestly, theyre not wrong. The Air, Apples entry level laptop, starts at $849, and is an excellent all-rounder that can still pack a punch despite not being the top-end Apple model.
If youre looking for something that can run more demanding software, such as an graphics intense programs, consider the MacBook Pro instead.
If youre after a Windows machine, Dells XPS range is an excellent alternative to the MacBook, and can be purchased with a dedicated graphics card at the high end. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is another serious contender, and one of the best Windows laptops you can buy if youre spending around the $1,000 mark.
Tech.co is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.
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Why Trust Laptop Mag
Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing laptops for over two decades. We test over 150 different models per year, subjecting each system to a series of rigorous benchmarks that provides a complete picture of performance, battery life and usability.
Our expert reviewers also use each product to see how it looks and feels in everyday situations. Because we see so many different notebooks, we can compare each to its direct competitors and give you an idea of how it stacks up to the average laptop in its price band.
Best Convertible Laptop: Hp Spectre X360 14
One of the best looking convertible laptops, the new HP Spectre x360 14 sits between the 13-inch and 15-inch variants with a taller 3:2 display and the new Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake processors. Overall the design is similar to the previous-gen models including the diamond-shaped rear corners and the accents around the edges. The new Spectre x360 14 comes in similar color options as well so you can choose between Nightfall Black, Poseidon Blue, or Natural Silver.
The standard display comes with a full-HD resolution which comes with 400-nits of brightness or you can go for a 3K2K OLED panel or even a 1,000-nit option that comes with a special anti-reflective technology that makes the screen difficult to read from the sides. As for the internals, the laptop is available in a base model that starts with the above-mentioned full-HD panel, a Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of storage with 16GB of Intel Optane. The top variant comes with the Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage with 32GB Intel Optane, and the OLED display, and if you opt for the anti-reflective display option, that also gets you 2TB of storage.
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Microsoft Laptop Surface Go
Why we like it: Everything we loved about the Surface 3 at a price to suit your needs
Battery life: Up to 13 hours
Operating system: Windows
Storage space: 64GB-256GB
I once wrote that if Microsoft were ever to produce a budget version of its excellent-but-pricey Surface Laptop 3, I’d “have absolutely no doubt that itd be historic considered one of the best laptops in history.” Well, apparently dreams can come true.
The Surface Go takes everything I loved about the Surface Laptop 3 and slashes the price to a figure normal people might actually be tempted by. While technically the Surface Laptop 3 is the superior in terms of specifications, the Surface Go makes you forget about all that with its smart, elegant design and ease of use.
I use the term elegant because while it’s a handsome device with a sleek aluminium chassis on top in ice blue, platinum, or sandstone , it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel: it still looks like a laptop. Even so, the 12.4 inch touchscreen with slim bezels are nice enough and optimised for colour so it’s great and bright to work on. It’s also lighter than it’s predecessor at just 1.1kg, which puts it among the very lightest laptops out there.
The other big thing to talk about is the battery which is excellent. Microsoft claims it can make 13 hours on certain settings I’ve managed about 10 and a half, but either way it’s impressive. Even more so when you can consider go from 0-80pc with an hour’s charge.
Weight: 1.26kg – 1.54kg
How To Choose The Best Laptop For You
Performance: If you only need something basic for surfing the web, consider a Chromebook or a cheap Windows laptop with an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM. If you plan on getting more intensive work done, consider starting specs such as a Core i5 CPU, 8 to 16GB of RAM and a 256GB to 512GB SSD.
Graphics and gaming: Most mainstream laptops feature integrated graphics, which can handle lightweight titles such as Minecraft and Overwatch but aren’t ideal for intensive AAA games or heavy visual work. For that, you’ll want a laptop with a discrete graphics card, such as an Nvidia GTX 3000-series on the higher end.
Size: Consider how mobile you want your laptop to be. Machines such as the Dell XPS 13 and HP Elite Dragonfly are feather light with slim designs, while gaming notebooks such as the Alienware m15 R4 have more heft to them .
Operating system: Laptops typically come in three flavors: Windows 10 , macOS and Chrome OS . Windows 10 is the most common operating system, while macOS is more ideal for folks already tied into Apple’s ecosystem. Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system built to allow for cheap, fast systems, though it has gotten a bit more robust over the years with support for full Android apps.
Whichever system you decide on, you may also want to pick up the best mouse for your particular work situation.
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Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 Review: Performance
- 11th-gen Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM combine for solid performance
- Benchmarks scores trail behind Dell XPS 13 and MacBook Air and Pro
- Graphics good enough for 30 fps on less demanding games
Unless your job involves playing Cyberpunk 2077 with the settings cranked up, Microsofts Surface Laptop 4 can handle pretty much anything youd throw at it in the course of an average workday. Our review units 16GB of RAM and 11th Gen Intel i7 CPU gave it enough pep to handily tackle as many basic tasks as I could subject it to, including 20+ tabs spread across four Chrome windows arrayed in such a way that I could watch two 4K YouTube videos, a Twitch stream, and keep an eye on my Spotify playlist while writing this review.
The Surface Laptop 4 we reviewed put up a decent score of 4,829 in our Geekbench 5 performance test, which is good but not great when stacked up against similarly-priced competitors like the Dell XPS 13 or even cheaper Windows notebooks like Lenovos convertible ThinkBook 14s Yoga .
The Surface Laptop 4 has enough pep that I could have two 20+ Chrome tabs open, watch two 4K YouTube videos, a Twitch stream and keep an eye on my Spotify playlist while writing this review.
In our performance tests our Surface Laptop 4 review unit delivered an average of 30.46 frames per second playing Sid Meiers Civilization VI: Gathering Storm at 1080p, though that dropped down to a 27.9 fps average when we boosted the resolution up to the native 1504p.
Lenovo Yoga 9i Review: Battery Life
On Lenovos site, the Yoga 9i is said to be able to last a good 10 hours or so of battery life, and that number doesnt disappoint. In fact, the Yoga 9i ended up lasting even longer on our battery test. When the Yoga 9i surfed the web continuously over WiFi at 150 nits of brightness, the laptop was able to endure for 11 hours and 15 minutes.
Compared to some of its competitors, the XPS 13 2-in-1 falls behind the Yoga 9i. However, both the Spectre x360 14 and the MacBook Air both blow by with astonishing duration.
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