Budget Pricing Modern Features
The 14-inch full HD screen is tucked in between four narrow-sided bezels that offer some serious screen real estate. The bezels are not as thin as those on, say, the XPG Xenia 14, but they’re still plenty modern-looking. The IdeaPad 3 14 also features an Eye Care mode, which adjusts the color temperature of your display to filter out blue light, which can reduce fatigue when you use your computer for a long time. Nestled at the top of the display, youll find a 720p webcam, complete with a privacy shutter.
When put to use, the IdeaPad 3 14 is one of the better budget laptops Ive handled. The keyboard is comfortable, with just enough give to make key presses satisfying. The touchpad is responsive, and there’s even a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button. Unfortunately, the speakers, located under the touchpad, arent great. They arent very loud and give off a hollow sound. Youre better off using headphones or an external speaker.
Turning to the ports, the IdeaPad 3 14 features a good selection. On its right side, youll find an SD card slot and a USB 2.0 port.
And on the left side, youll find a USB 3.0 Type-A port, an HDMI output, an audio jack, and the power adapter port. There’s also an oval-shaped USB-C port here, a cutting-edge jack that still isn’t a given on budget laptops. In the IdeaPad 3 14’s case, it’s limited to data transfers only and can’t handle video output.
Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 Chromebook Specs
|Boot Drive Capacity||128 GB|
|0.67 by 12.2 by 8.4 inches|
It’s amazing what a difference awell, a complete overhaul of everything under the hood makes. On Lenovo.com at this writing, a configuration of the IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook is $337.49 with a sad Intel Celeron CPU, sadder 4GB of memory, and saddest 32GB of eMMC flash storage. At Costco, our test unit is $549.99 with an 11th Generation Core i3 chip, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB NVMe solid-state drive, and it’s one of the nicest Chromebooks we’ve encountered. Only a ho-hum display panel keeps it from a Editors’ Choice recommendation you still might want to leverage that price-club membership if that sale drops again.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go: The Best Cheap Laptop From Microsoft
Price: £549 |
If you’re after a premium-brand laptop at an affordable price, it’s hard to beat the base model of the Surface Laptop Go. For a reasonable price of £549, you’ll get a laptop powered by a tenth-gen Intel Core i5 processor featuring a beautiful PixelSense display with a resolution of 1,536 x 1,034px. It does only come with 4GB RAM and 64GB SSD however, so is best suited to those wanting a cloud computing device rather than a laptop for storing thousands of files and running large applications.
Weighing just 1.1kg and measuring 278 x 206 x 15.7mm when closed, the Surface Laptop Go is extremely portable but the 12.4in screen feels a lot more spacious than its dimensions would have you believe owing to its 3:2 aspect ratio. The keyboard is a delight to type on and you have a choice of USB-A and USB-C ports, which is very welcome.
When treated like a Chromebook rather than a full-blown Windows 10 machine, the base specification Surface Laptop Go is undoubtedly one of our favourite laptops around the £500 mark.
Read our Microsoft Surface Laptop Go review for more details
Key specs – Processor: Intel Core i5-1035G1 RAM:4GB Storage:64GB Screen resolution:1,536 x 1,024 Weight:1.11kg
Price: £280 |
Read our Lenovo IdeaPad Duet for more details
Key specs – Processor: MediaTek Helio P60T RAM:4GB Storage:64GB eMPC Screen resolution:1,920 x 1,080px Weight:0.92kg
Price: £240 |
Read our Chuwi HeroBook Pro Plus review for more details
Price: £500 |
Price: £469 |
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Hey Where Are The Macbooks
The Apple laptop lines are excellent. And for nearly everything except gaming, they truly shine. However, the fact remains that we cannot, in good conscience, consider anything that Apple makes as cheap. Apple chose long ago to present and price itself as a premium brand, and its quality represents that choice, but so does its cost. The lowest-spec MacBook Air M1 only slips under the $999 dividing line between cheap and not cheap during sales or when an educational discount is applied, and thats not an option available to everyone. So while theres nothing in this list saying that a MacBook isnt a good value or a quality product , MacBooks arent cheap and arent on this list.
Best For A Little Bit Of Everything
- A few reviewers reported keyboard issues
The Bottom Line
BEST SAMSUNG DEAL:Samsung Galaxy Book Pro $559.99 $999.99
BEST GAMING DEAL:Razer Blade 15 $1,785.32 $2,599.99
BEST 2-IN-1 DEAL:Asus Chromebook Flip C434 $475 $569.99
BEST MICROSOFT DEAL:Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 $1,369 $1,599
Its really hard to make it in todays world without a computer of some kind. Nobody wants to do school or work projects on a phone. Youve gotta get yourself a real laptop.
Unfortunately, laptops cost money. If youre not careful, you can end up spending well over $1,000 for a machine with impressive specs. But were not here to talk about those. Theres a whole world of laptops that cost $600 or less many of them are perfect companions for students returning to school or folks who just need something thats a little more capable than an iPhone.
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How We Test Computers
The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device’s aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both those objective and subjective judgments.
The list of benchmarking software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important core tests we’re currently running on every compatible computer include: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra.
A more detailed description of each benchmark and how we use it can be found in our How We Test Computers page.
The Best Laptops In 2021
Zenbook 13 OLED
The best laptops are the ones that help you stay on top of all your different projects and gadgets. Once you’ve equipped yourself with the right one, you’ve acquired the speed to power you through all of your assignments, and the battery life to make it through a day of work without worrying about the nearest power outlet.
Finding the best laptop for you can be tricky, because you’ve never had more choices. There are top rated laptops for basic web surfing, mainstream machines with premium components and attractive designs, and beastly gaming laptops that will let you play the hottest PC games the way they were meant to be played.
- These are the best Windows laptops on the market
- The best laptops under $500 can help you stay productive on a budget
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What To Look For In Laptops Under $500
While Chromebooks can run Chrome OS-specific and Android apps, some people need the full Windows OS to run heftier applications, such as video-editing suites. If you want a good video editing laptop, the HP Chromebook with Intel Celeron processors provides 5.4 times high-resolution video editing than the basic HP laptop. With that comes a need for a faster processor with more cores, more memory — 8GB RAM is the bare minimum — and more storage for applications and the operating system itself. A lot of these have 4GB or 6GB, which, in conjunction with a spinning hard disk, can make for a frustratingly slow Windows laptop experience. But demands on Chromebooks are growing, so if your Chrome needs to run beyond the basics you should think about paying more for more memory and a faster processor.
Considering all specs and options — battery life, storage space, screen resolution, screen size, core processor performance, general machine and battery performance — you’ll find some of our top picks for 2022’s best Windows laptops and Chromebooks under the $500 budget in the list above, along with their pros and cons.
Q: Should You Go For Performance Or Design
A: Being on a budget isnt fun, and youll have to make sacrifices along the way. That will even most of the time be between the performance of a laptop and design of a laptop that you like. Sometimes, you wont be able to get both, but aiming for a golden middle would be the most ideal. If not, a good idea would be to always go for a better design if the laptop has easy access to upgrades you can do later once you increase your budget.
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How We Test The Best Cheap Laptops
To evaluate whether a laptop is worth your hard-earned money, we run industry-standard performance benchmarks such as Geekbench and 3DMark as well as a variety of real-world tests that we’ve developed in our labs. This includes the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until a laptop runs out of juice, as well as a custom spreadsheet test that measures a laptop’s processing power. For more on our process, see this page on how we test laptops.
Dell Chromebook 7310 13
I had to put this one on the list. This is an absolute steal for the price. This refurbished laptop has a sleek body, an SSD, and a 13.3-inch screen . This also runs on Chrome OS, so if youre looking for something that is simple and easy to use, this budget laptop has your name written all over it.
Another note about the storage space on this computersince Chrome OS is Internet-based, you dont get much onboard storage . Not to worry, though. Google gives you a deal that gives you 100GB of Google Drive storage for a limited time.
100GB! Wawa-weewa! That’s enough to store about 33,000 pictures, 20,000 songs, or 22 tons of awesomeness! Don’t ask how I got that weight measurement for awesomeness…
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Best Budget Laptops Under $500 In 2022
BestAffordable LaptopsWindows Central2022
The best budget laptops under $500 don’t necessarily have to make too many sacrifices when it comes to quality and performance. We’d all have the latest and greatest Ultrabooks if we could afford them, but lots of us can’t or just don’t want to hand over thousands of dollars for a computer. Fortunately, there are many choices for the budget-conscious laptop buyer that still provide a great PC experience. The Surface Go 3 from Microsoft is a versatile, affordable 2-in-1 device that is also one of the best budget laptops under $500. There are a bunch of other great cheap laptops that we’ve rounded up here.
Lots Of Features: Asus Vivobook 15 156
I recently reviewed the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 another ultra-budget laptop and compared it to the ASUS Vivobook 15. They’re both 15-inch laptops with Windows 10 in S mode , and they both have a similar price. However, the Vivobook 15 has some extra features that you won’t find in the IdeaPad.
With the ASUS laptop, you’ll be looking at a 1920×1080 display with a thin bezel. The chassis is relatively thin, but it has plenty of ports. You get USB-C, HDMI, microSD card reader, three USB-A, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The keyboard has decent travel distance at 1.4mm, and it has a backlight to help with working after hours. A fingerprint reader is built into the touchpad for some added security.
Performance from the 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU will handle light productivity work without much issue, especially with 8GB of RAM. The 128GB SSD isn’t particularly large, but for the price, it’s easier to overlook. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi 5 is the standard here. This is still one of the best all-purpose laptops under $500 you’ll find.
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The Best Student Laptop
Many of the best cheap laptops might be good choices for high school and college students, but the Acer Swift 3s exceptionally durable build makes it an excellent choice for backpack-battering and dining hall spills. Its 14-inch screen also gives you more room for homework multitasking than some of the 13-inch machines here.
But the highlight of the Swift 3 is its Ryzen 4000 processors. We tested a model with a Ryzen 7 4700U, which did an excellent job handling our daily multitasking workload, and delivered seven-hour battery life as well.
On the outside, the Swift 3 isnt the thinnest or most beautiful laptop you can buy, but its a solid performer in most areas. It has all kinds of ports, including USB-C, USB-A, and an HDMI. The backlit keyboard has a nice click to it and has a reliable integrated fingerprint reader as well.
Dell Xps 13 Touch $850 Was $1050
- Surprisingly comfortable for a compact laptop
- Great hardware performance
The venerable Dell XPS 13 has been one of our favorite notebooks for years and has topped our list of the best laptops for just as long. Its also frequently found among the best laptop deals, as Dell is always running sales and deals year-round. This one isnt the lowest price weve ever seen those offers come during big seasonal sales like Black Friday but its still a great price on a machine that has sat at the top of our yearly best of lists for a long, long time.
This Dell XPS 13 Touch is one of the mid-range models, but it has performance where it counts. It runs on an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, which is comparable to the 10th-gen Core i7 chips. You get 8GB of blazing-fast 4,267MHz RAM, which blows most memory speeds out of the water. The new integrated Intel Xe graphics even allow you to play some less demanding games like Fortnite or Halo: The Master Chief Collection. You even get a touchscreen.
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Shopping For Gaming Laptops & Netbooks
If you’re buying a portable computer for gaming, consider browsing our gaming laptops and netbooks. For the power to run the latest first-person shooters and expansive, open-world titles, take a look at our serious gaming laptops. Casual gamers should browse our light gaming laptops and netbooks.
In short, gamers can find everything they need to make their PC laptop or netbook a formidable contender in the next battle royale.
For informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by any brands.
The next battle royale.
For informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by any brands.
Q: Look For A Big Amount Of Storage Or Upgrade Later
A: When youre looking at some of the budget laptops, they all come with different storage sizes. Some of them come with a decent storage size, yet others come with a faster storage type with less size. The most ideal situation, and what we recommend is to get a laptop with faster storage, and then upgrade later with an external or even internal storage. In the meanwhile, you can always store everything in the cloud. Its about playing it wisely so you can get the best outcome in the long run.
What Are Some General Concerns With Laptops
Because laptops are meant to be portable, battery life is often a concern. Luckily, batteries get better every year and the best brands and best values tend to offer really good batteries with lives of at least 6 hours initially, often even higher. Its always best to plug into a power outlet when possible, and batteries will always degrade over time and offer short and short amounts of power as they age.
Durability is also important. Laptops are often on the go but even the best backpack or laptop bag isnt impenetrable armor. A laptop that can take a few whacks over the course of its life without affecting its performance is a godsend. Some very nice computers that otherwise would qualify for this list had to be nixed due to bad reputations for durability.
Lastly, size matters. Most laptops come in 13-inch, 15-inch, or 17-inch sizes, with the size measured diagonally across the laptop. I personally find 13-inch laptops too small, with the keyboard feeling a bit too smushed without the larger side keys and no number pad. Others, however, swear the increased portability of the smaller sizes is key. A gamer, however, might want the bigger screen a 17-inch model affords. Know your needs and consider accordingly.
The Best Cheap Tablets And Hybrids: 2
Tablets rose in popularity throughout the 2010s, and though we have plenty of reviews of thosetake a look at our overall roundup of the best tablets, as well as our favorites running the Windows and Android operating systemsthey are sufficiently different from traditional clamshell-style laptops that they don’t always make good substitutes. Some come with detachable keyboards, but most of these are far less comfortable for typing on your lap than a conventional laptop.
Convertible 2-in-1s, however, do make a good substitute for traditional clamshells. These machines let you flip between a laptop and a tablet, by folding the keyboard out of the way. You should consider one of these convertible systems if you primarily want the typing capability of a laptop, but occasionally would appreciate the lie-back, passive-consumption convenience of a tablet.
See our guide to the best 2-in-1 convertible and hybrid laptops for more information about this popular segment of the market. In part because of their added complexity compared with traditional clamshell designs, you won’t find quite as many affordable ones, but there are a few Windows and Chrome OS-based models that cost $500 or below. They come in both permanently attached designs, and in detachable-keyboard designs.
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