Whats The Difference Between A Laptop And Netbook
With the multitude of mobile electronic devices available today, terms like laptop, notebook, netbook, and tablet may become confusing to some users. In this guide, buyers interested in purchasing a laptop or netbook will learn about the differences in size, portability, input options, hardware, and pricing between all these types of machines. Below, we give you a quick description of the aspects you can keep in mind when looking for one or the other:
Best Laptop Under $500 For 2021
Here are some recommendations and buying advice so you can find the best budget-friendly laptop from Lenovo, Acer and others.
Parts-supply shortages and high demand for cheap Windows and Chrome OS laptops spurred on by the pandemic have made it a bit more challenging to find the best laptop under $500. There are a lot of cheap laptops that are just not worth it, so we urge you to consult our picks to help you sort through the competition and not make rash decisions when you’re shopping. You’ll also find some straightforward buying advice based on our years of testing and review experience to help you understand just what to expect from a laptop priced under $500, as well as what to look for if you want to continue your budget laptop hunt on your own.
How To Get Even More Savings
Timing is everything when it comes to savings. If you don’t need to have the absolute newest model of a particular laptop, purchase just after a new one is released and sellers are looking to offload their previous versions. That goes for buying refurbished, too, as many places will discount their current used models even further.
If you want to buy new, the best time is around Black Friday. If you cant wait until the end of November, prices also usually drop during the back-to-school months from July through September.
Be sure to check out credit card rewards malls to save a little extra. Some cards offer cash back if you purchase during a rotating bonus period or use the card at particular retailers, such as Apple or HP.
Other savings dont require a credit card. Cash-back websites, such as FatWallet and Ebates, give cash back on purchases at eligible retailers. And SavingCashback.com helps you compare all the rebates available for any given store.
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Check Out The On It Foundation
You can get a complimentary computer from the On It Foundation, if you have a student in your family whos:
- Enrolled in grades K-12.
- Gets a free or reduced school lunch,
- Attends a public school and resides in the United States.
If you dont qualify for a computer, then you can also find heavily discounted computers from the foundations Jump On It! Program, but more on that below.
Visit the FAQ page to learn how to apply for a free laptop.
- Where to apply:
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Best Budget Laptop For Under $3: Top Expert Picks
Sometimes a simple, affordable laptop is all you need. Check out these top picks of the best budget laptops and convertibles for $350 or less.
You might have seen prices slowly going up, and most of this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the pressures it has put on supply chains. Not only did we see disruption to manufacturing, but the shift to working and learning from home meant that hardware was flying off shelves as fast as it could be made.
But, if you look around, there are still some good laptop deals to be had out there. You can score a very nice, very capable Windows 10 or ChromeOS laptop for under $350.This segment isn’t as big as it was a year ago, so choices are a little more limited. But pick the right hardware, and you’ll get value for money.
- 15.6-inch FHD 1920 x 1080 anti-glare display
- Intel Celeron N4000 processor
- 6GB RAM
- 64GB eMMC storage
Short of buying a Chromebook from Google, Samsung’s offerings are the next best thing. And the Chromebook 4+ brings a lot of hardware to the table at a competitive price. You get a big 15.6-inch FHD display, 64GB of storage, and 10 hours of battery life in a thin-and-light package.
If you can live with 32GB of storage, you can save yourself $50, but for only an extra $30, you can bump the storage up to 128GB. This I well worth bearing in mind, especially if you are a digital packrat!
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB eMMC storage
And for all those Zoom sessions you’re doing, there’s a very capable 720p webcam.
The Best Budget Laptop Deals This Week*
*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains
All of these CPUs also host the silicon that runs the laptop’s graphics. The newest integrated graphics solutions can hold their own in browser-based games and even some online games like World of Warcraft. The higher demands of AAA titles, though, still require a discrete GPU, which you won’t find in this price range.
In years past, many of the barest-budget Windows laptops would come with just 2GB or 4GB of main system memory, but nowadays, at least in the Windows sphere, most come with 8GB. In terms of batteries, an ideal budget laptop has one with six cells or more. The battery life for a cheap laptop should come in at a minimum of seven or eight hours, and these days, many will last quite a bit longer.
When it comes to storage, some inexpensive systems still use spinning hard drives, with capacities often at 500GB, but increasingly, inexpensive Windows machines opt for small-capacity solid-state drives of 128GB or 256GB capacity. If you can get by with the capacity of a small SSD, we strongly favor opting for one, even over a roomier platter-based hard drive, for their durability.
In terms of features, budget laptops will come with at least one USB 3.0 port, and possibly a USB 2.0 port or two. You also may get an SD card slot. A Wi-Fi radio that uses the speedy 802.11ac protocol is also the norm now.
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Free Laptops For People With Disabilities
If youre disabled or know someone how is, you probably know that there arent many work opportunities for the disabled, which in turn means in most cases people with disabilities fall in the low-income category.
And where you live on a tight budget, affording a laptop or computer isnt as easy as it is with people with better job opportunities.
Thankfully, there are a few programs where the differently abled people can get a laptop or computer for free.
Check with these organizations to see if you qualify:
This is another great organization that helps the disabled community by offering all kinds of services including free gifts that could include tech devices such as a computer or laptop.
Best Windows Laptops Under $500
|Tested battery life:||9.5 hours|
Why we like this one: If the other options are unavailable or cost more than $500, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-45-R9YK is another solid 15-inch Windows laptop. Its fast enough to handle most workloads, and its 15-inch 1920×1080 screen looks vivid and bright, which is an achievement compared with many Windows laptops in this price range. It has a decentbut not great, and not backlitkeyboard with a built-in number pad, a responsive trackpad, and one USB-C port. The Aspire 5 also has a few more hours of battery life than our other Windows picks it lasted 9 hours 41 minutes in our tests.
Where it falls short: The Aspire 5 is big and heavy, so despite its long battery life its not especially convenient to use on the go. And like most inexpensive Windows laptops, it comes with a ton of unnecessary bloatware that takes up space and slows down performance. We recommend running Microsofts Refresh Windows tool to remove those unnecessary programs and make your laptop feel faster, and to help it be more secure. It also lacks a fingerprint reader, and its keyboard isnt as satisfying as that of the Asus VivoBook models above.
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Harness The Power Of Mobile Computing With The Right Laptop
Whether your job requires you to access a computer away from your desk or you’re someone who likes the convenience to move around your home and access the Internet, a laptop computer is the ideal device for you. There are many options available when it comes to laptops, and you can choose the screen size, operating system, processor and hard drive size to customize your device to meet your needs. At Walmart, you can find a wide assortment of laptops at everyday low prices, so no matter which one you choose, you can count on saving money on your purchase.
Craigslist Or Facebook Marketplace
Craigslist has a free section where people list items they dont need anymore but dont want to deal with selling.
People frequently offer free used computers just to get rid of them.
A quick search in Louisville and surrounding cities turned up the following from Facebook and Craigslist:
- HP printer J610 series
- Toshiba Touch Screen
- Panasonic CF-T5 Laptops
- Acer Chrome Book 11
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Attend An Online Public School
Some public school districts have online options for students who want to attend public school from home.
This education choice can be a good option for families who are considering homeschooling but arent confident in their teaching schools.
It can also be a good alternative for students who for other reasons dont fit well in traditional schools. Online public schools sometimes offer free laptops to students who choose their school.
Check with your local public school district for the online public school option availability.
Note that with both online public schools and online colleges, you are sometimes required to return the computer when youre finished with your schooling.
Where Can I Get A Cheap Laptop
Okay.so. I know Christmas JUST came and I should’ve asked for a laptop, but I already got some pretty awesome things, so asking for a Laptop would be a little Spoil-ish.So, I decided, that i’m going to save money for a Laptop.
WHY: This laptop IS NOT going to be for a All-Purpose use. I just need it to use my HD-PVR and to put all my Camera pictures on. Because I just got a Nikon for christmas. I would use my desktop, but unfortunately, the wires that connect the PVR to the computer are too short, and my computer is on the other side of the room.so yeah. I want a laptop because its portable. And it would be of great use to me.
But, I’m under 18 and i have been saving money. And i decided to spend it towards a laptop. But i only have about $350.So I need something that is sorta cheap. And will stay cheap. Because I don’t plan on buying it for a while. I know $350 isn’t going to buy me a good laptop. But like i said, I don’t plan on buying for a while so I’m going to save up a little more. I can’t buy anything over $600. That’ll take too long.
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How To Find The Best Cheap Laptop
When shopping for the best affordable laptops there’s a lot to consider. Here’s a good breakdown on how to find the best laptop for you.
What’s your budget?
Sure you can find some diamond-in-the-rough, decent Windows laptops and high-quality Chromebooks for under $500, but you may have to deal with a low-performing CPU or a poor multitasker. If you’re a light laptop user, those will be OK, but if you need something more powerful, you may aint to aim higher — the best mainstream laptops typically cost more than $700. If you can, we suggest aiming for the $700 to $900 range.
Do you want a 2-in-1 or a clamshell?
If you enjoy the awesomeness of converting your laptop into a tablet, then the 2-in-1 laptops are a good choice. But keep in mind that most times, you’ll be able to get a lower price and stronger-performing features with a traditional laptop.
How much battery life do you need?
If you’re on the go, you’re going to need to make sure you snag a laptop that lasts more than 10 hours. But if you’re a homebody or you’re tied to your desk all day, perhaps you can sacrifice some battery life and save some money in the process. Check out our longest-lasting laptops list.
What specs do you need?
Aim for a Core i5 CPU if you want decent performance. Memory and storage, you should aim for 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. As far as display, don’t get anything less than 1080p screen — your eyes will thank you later.
Lenovo Thinkpad X131e 11
Ok, I know I made a big deal about SSDs earlier, and this refurbished laptop has an HDD. But this HDD has 320GB of storage, which makes this cheap laptop a sweet deal. And unlike the Chromebooks that we looked at earlier, this machine runs Windows! This makes this laptop ideal for school projects that may require the Microsoft platform. It even comes with an HDMI port if you want to plug in a screen, which is fairly unusual for products in this price range. And did I mention that its a Lenovo ThinkPad? Many people praise this series of laptops for its utilitarian design and rock-solid reliability.
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Cheap Laptops: Spotting The Best Laptop Deals Under $200
One of the first things we often check when shopping for cheap laptops is the amount of storage on offer. As shoppers, we’ve become accustomed to comparing prices and models based on the number of gigabytes next to the model name. However, there may be more to it than that, especially when you’re browsing the cheaper shelves. You may also need to pay attention to your operating system when picking up a budget laptop deal under $200.
Some cheap laptops are more worthy of your cash than others, and many simply need to be avoided. For example, you’ll easily find a Windows machine that offers just 16 or 32GB of storage, but with update file and software sizes increasing, you may quickly find that insufficient. However, finding a Chromebook with 16 or 32GB of storage for under $200 makes for a great cheap laptop deal. That’s because these machines run on Chrome OS which doesn’t require updates and operates largely through your browser.
Similarly, a lot of laptops hold incredibly low price tags because they are labelled as ‘FreeDOS’. This means they don’t have an operating system on them already, so you will need to buy Windows 10 to get them set up.
What Are The Trade
As long as you manage your expectations when it comes to options and specs, you can still get quite a bit from a budget laptop model, including good battery life and a reasonably lightweight laptop body.
A bright spot is you don’t have to settle for a traditional clamshell laptop with a fixed display and keyboard. You can also get a convertible laptop , which has a screen that flips around to turn the screen into a tablet, to position it for comfortable streaming or to do a presentation. Keep in mind that all convertibles have a touchscreen, which is a prerequisite for tablet operation, and many support styluses for handwritten and sketched input. Don’t assume a stylus is included, though.
One thing you won’t find at these prices: a MacBook or any other Apple laptop. An iPad will run you more than $500 once you buy the optional keyboard , which is above our budget here. A base-model iPad with an inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard and cheap stand for the iPad might suffice.
You’ll see a lot of cheap laptops listed as coming with Windows 10 S, a stripped-down and locked-down version of the operating system intended for use by schools — it only allows you to install applications from the Windows Store, forces you to use Microsoft’s Edge browser and includes a subset of the administrative tools in Windows 10 Pro. You can upgrade to the full version for free, though.
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The Best Cheap Tablets And Hybrids: 2
Tablets rose in popularity throughout the 2010s, and though we have plenty of reviews of thoseâtake a look at our overall roundup of the best tablets, as well as our favorites running the Windows 10 and Android operating systemsâthey 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 10 and Chrome OS-based models that cost $500 or below. They come in both permanently attached designs, and in detachable-keyboard designs.