Choosing A Processor An Os And More
Speed matters. Processors with multiple cores can process more data simultaneously, with four cores now increasingly common on laptops. Our ratings say how many cores a laptop’s processor has.
Clock speed, measured in gigahertz , along with the number of cores and other factors, determines how quickly a processor can process information. Many processors can up the speed a bit for a brief time to yield maximum performance. Generally, within a processor family, the higher the clock speed, the faster the processor. Clock speeds typically start at around 1 GHz for a mobile processor. Speeds can exceed 5 GHz for a desktop processor.
Power ConsumptionAnother important factor when choosing a processor, especially for laptops: Lower power consumption equals longer battery life.
If you’re looking for a very basic or budget computer to browse the web, email, and work on Office documents, basically every processor on the market should be sufficient.
If you plan to watch high-resolution videos or play mainstream games, the Intel Core i5 and AMD Ryzen 5 line of processors should be your starting point.
How Much Memory?The more memory a computer has, the faster it is, up to a point. Memory is measured in gigabytes . On both desktops and laptops 8GB has become common, with 16GB or more found on higher-end devices. Unless you regularly have multiple large apps open at the same time, 8GB should be your target.
Best Used Laptops Under $500
This is quite a competitive category because the answer depends more on what you need from your laptop than the price. However, since we already shouted-out the XPS 13 in the Best Used Ultraportable category, we have a different recommendation for the best used laptop under $500 that might surprise you:
Is Amd Better For Budget Laptops
AMDs release of the Ryzen 4000 line of CPUs shook up the budget laptop space. In short, the fastest machines weve tested that arent based on Intels 45-watt powerhouse CPUs have been running AMD, and thats a major advance. Intel is still a far more dominant force in the laptop space with a wider range of options available, but as far as the CPUs that go into budget and even premium thin and light laptops, Ryzen 4000 rules the performance roost.
We strongly suggest that you consider AMD when picking your next budget laptop. If you can find one that matches your needs, youll get much better performance per buck.
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Dont Skimp On Battery Life
If you’re buying a large, bulky notebook or a gaming rig that you’ll use only on a desk near an outlet, you don’t have to worry about battery life. However, if you plan to use the laptop on your lap, even if it’s at home and or work, you’ll want at least 7 hours of endurance, with 8+ hours being ideal. To determine a notebook’s expected battery life, don’t take the manufacturer’s word for it. Instead, read third-party results from objective sources, such as our reviews.
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Acer Predator Helios 300
Acers Predator line of gaming computers might not be as big of a name as Dells Alienware, but theyve been impressing reviewers and gamers alike in the past few years by putting out robust, high-performance, and inexpensive gaming laptops. Their aesthetics and chunky size/weight mean they wont be winning any beauty contests, but at these prices used, they are hard to beat.
Our reviews of the various Predator Helios 300 models over the years are available here.
Acers Predator Helios 300 is a great no-nonsense option to play most modern titles.
- If your budget is on the lower end , check out older Predator Helios models with Nvidias 10-series GPUs. Even a GTX 1060 is generally faster than a GTX 1650, and will be plenty for playing modern games on medium settings.
- If you will use the laptop with an external monitor for gaming, dont worry about the display.
- You probably do not want the AMD RX560-equipped models, as the performance is far below the Nvidia GTX 10-series.
- Unless its absolutely dirt cheap, make sure you are getting an Intel i7-8xxxH CPU to get the benefit of 6-cores.
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Hp Spectre X360 156 Inches
It is one of the best performing premium laptops available using the Intel Kaby Lake G series and powered by the 8th gen core i7 processor i7-8550U clocking at a speed of 1.8 GHz, which can be boosted up to 4 GHz and has 8 MB cache with 4 cores. This is combined with the NVidia GeForce MX150, 2 GB GDDR5 dedicated graphics card. The RAM is 16 GB and the hard drive storage is 512 GB PCle NVME M.2 SSD. The screen is a gorgeous 4K one.
As for connectivity, it has 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports along with an HDMI port. There is also a USB 3.0 port, along with a headphone jack and SD memory card slot. The display of 15.6 inches comes with a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels offering crisp images and makes use of 4K IPS technology with WLED backlit.
It comes with the HP stylus pen with enhanced precision and sensitivity. It also has a webcam of 2.0 MP and a battery life that lasts around 5.5 hours. The dimensions of the HP Spectre x360 are 9.9 x 14 x 0.7 inches and it weighs 4.41 pounds.
Which Operating System Should You Choose
Just like your smartphone, laptops will look and work slightly differently depending on their operating system. There are three main players: Microsoft Windows, Apple’s macOS, and .
Each system will decide how your interface looks, which app stores are available, and how customisable your screen is, along with which apps will be pre-installed and how easily it will integrate with your other devices like phones and speakers.
All our top choices below are under £550 and will be either Windows or Chrome OS. Apple doesnt really do budget laptops, and a new MacBook can cost you £800 and up, so weve left them out.
Windows is the most popular laptop OS in the world, so youre probably familiar with this one. Its likely the same setup as most office computers and laptops youre used to. Almost all Windows laptops are customisable and upgradeable so you can add extra storage or improve the processing power to make it faster.
Your laptop could also be a Chromebook that uses Googles operating system. Popular for their affordability, Chromebooks have smaller internal storage and processing power than Windows models, but utilise cloud-based storage to keep hold of files. Youll need to have an internet connection to access those files but can free up the main laptop to store more apps and will keep costs low.
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Can I Switch The Touchpad Off On A Laptop
Yes, you can turn OFF the touchpad on your laptop, provided you have installed a mouse. You can add a wired or wireless mouse to your laptop which can handle all the functions of the touchpad. There is normally a touchpad icon on the bottom bar and you can click on it to switch the touchpad ON and OFF.
How Do I Choose The Best Laptop
We hope our student laptop guide proves invaluable for anyone out there shopping for a system that’s capable, a decent value, and a boon to your productivity. We’re constantly updating this list with newer models and updated information, so be sure to keep checking back regularly, and we’ve also included some crucial buying advice to help you narrow down the ideal learning tool for going back to school.
Today’s computers need to be able to do much more than the primitive number-crunchers of old. They need to support a huge range of software, given that several courses have special requirements, as well as the standard office packages.
When it comes to software, Microsoft’s Office 365 suite is free for students, and there are also and the associated Google Docs suite to consider as well, with the latter also free to use.
These laptops need to be able to run HD video lectures without shuddering of course, while a set of good speakers always comes in handy when the university day is done. These machines have to be affordable too, given the increased cost of schooling all around the world.
Integrated webcams are important as well, for web lectures and broadcast media-related courses, but these are now included as standard on every laptop. You’d be hard-pressed to find a model without one.
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Asus Zenbook 14 14 Inches
The Asus Zenbook 14 comes in an unbelievable screen-to-body ratio offering a large and ergonomic viewing experience. It has a screen with bezels measuring just 2.9 mm at the sides, offering a 92% screen-to-body ratio. The 14 inches display screen is a Full HD one with NanoEdge bezels and a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It also has an additional innovative screen pad of 5.65 inches with an interactive trackpad that is touch-enabled, so that you can access smart controls with greater efficiency. You can also access handwriting features on the screen pad, take notes, etc. The laptop design is ergonomic with a special ErgoLift offering improved typing positions.
It is powered by the 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U, a quad-core chipset with a Cache of 6M and clocking at a maximum speed of 4.6 GHz. This is combined with the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card. The RAM is 16 GB and the hard drive memory is 512 SSD. The dimensions of the Asus Zenbook 14 are 12.6 x 7.8 x 0.7 inches and it weighs 2.98 LBS. It is supported by the Windows 10 Pro OS.
As for ports, there are two full-sized USB A ports with one being full 3.1 speed and the other offering a slower 2.0 speed. There is one USB Type C port, one HDMI out, and one microSD slot.
Who Should Buy This?
- For creative people who need to take notes easily, jot down ideas, etc. and for video editors.
- For those who want a laptop for doing their daily, regular computer tasks.
Best Budget Chromebook Tablet For Kids
- Handy tablet gestures and Android phone integration
- Only one USB port and no headphone jack
- Cramped keyboard
- Superb OLED display in an under-$500 detachable
- High-quality front and rear cameras
- Comes with keyboard cover and kickstand
- No audio jack, or 4G or 5G LTE option
- Stylus supported, but costs extra
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Who Are The Best Laptop Makers
The truth is that today there are very few makers who are pumping out bad laptops. Indeed, we think the biggest mistake a person can make today is buying a laptop that is badly suited to their needs.
However, there are laptop makers who have proven themselves over decades of strong laptop production. These makers produce laptops with a high level of fit an finish, strong core functionality and, crucially, excellent after care service in terms of support.
The makers we consider that do these things best are: Dell, Lenovo, HP, Apple, Asus, Acer, Microsoft and LG.
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.
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Is $350 The Right Price Point For You
Don’t be under the illusion that $350 is going to buy you a monster system that can do everything. It’s not. If you are looking for a system that can handle things like photo and video editing, or a gaming system, then you are looking in the wrong place.
But, if you are looking for a basic system capable of browsing the web , or doing word processing and spreadsheets, then these are the systems for you.
What Are The Best Laptops
Our pick for the best laptop overall is the Dell XPS 13, which packs speedy performance and a gorgeous bezel-less display into an incredibly slim and lightweight design with long battery life. And thanks to Black Friday deals, you can currently get the Dell XPS 13 for a bargain price. If you can afford the more expensive model with an OLED touchscreen, it’s well worth the expense.
If you love the idea of an OLED laptop but want something a bit more affordable, Asus has an OLED-equipped Zenbook 13 that packs great power and amazing battery life, and it’s usually a few hundred bucks cheaper than the XPS 13.
Windows 11 is out now, but even eligible Windows 10 machines may not receive an upgrade offer until 2022. Many of the laptops on this list can now be bought with Windows 11 pre-installed, but not all of them. If you want a laptop right now that’s guaranteed to run Windows 11 and show it off to full effect, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is a great choice. It’s a powerful, well-built 2-in-1 that can do some decent gaming or video editing. The optional $129 Surface Slim Pen 2 stylus is a bit pricey, but it pairs nicely with the Studio and works well on the convertible’s 120 Hz touchscreen.
The Acer Swift 3 is the best budget laptop for shoppers watching their wallets. If you need more ideas for a high-quality budget laptop. For our full recommendations, check out our picks for the best laptops below.
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What Am I Losing By Getting A Cheap Laptop
Laptops in the $600-or-below price range are not going to be good for PC gaming. You wont get a 4K resolution display or a refresh rate higher than 60Hz. RAM is going to max out around 8GB, which isnt bad but also isnt spectacular. Youre also unlikely to get more than 500GB of storage space.
In this price range, laptops are going to be best for web browsing, word processing, Zoom calls, and streaming. As long as you dont expect more than that, youll be fine.
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.
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Can These Laptops Be Used For Gaming
Most laptops listed above do not have a dedicated graphics card for gaming. However, the Acer Aspire 5 and even Asus VivoBook supports casual and lightweight gaming. To understand this better, if the device has an Integrated Intel UHD 620 GPU or a better version, a little bit of gaming is possible. However, you must refrain from graphic-intensive games.
How To Choose The Best Laptops Under $500 For You
Choosing the best laptop under $500 for you really depends on where you are at with your budget. Our top performers, the Acer Aspire E 15 and the Acer Aspire 5, typically range around $300 to $400, so you wont even need to expand your budget to $500. Even if these laptops are slightly out of budget right now, you should consider saving if you can, as they boast Intel Core i3 processors, which you wont find in most laptops under $500.
However, if you dont mind using the ChromeOS, it might be best for you to use a Chromebook. Here me out. Its cheap, and since the operating system is stripped down, it will perform better than your average Windows 10 laptop for the same price. Laptops like the HP Chromebook 15, HP Chromebook x2 and Samsung Chromebook 4 are examples of great chromebooks you can buy under $500.
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An Affordable Laptop With A Bold Look
If youre looking for an affordable Chromebook that stands out from the crowd, the $549 Galaxy Chromebook 2 should be on your list. It comes in a bold fiesta red color . Its a touchscreen convertible with stylus support .
On top of the design, the Galaxy Chromebook 2 includes an excellent QLED panel, which is one of the best displays weve ever seen on a Chromebook. You also get a solid keyboard, decent battery life , and a port selection that includes two USB-C ports, a microSD slot, and a headphone jack. Its easily one of the best Chromebooks you can buy and one of the best cheap laptops as well.