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Which Is The Best Budget Laptop To Buy

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Best Overall: Surface Go 3

The best budget laptops you can buy in 2020

The Surface Go 3 might be tiny, but it’s a rather versatile laptop with enough performance from an optional Core m3 processor to get through most productivity work. Baseline models start with an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y CPU, which is still enough power for casual use. Compared to the Surface Go 2, the Go 3 is nearly identical save for the performance upgrade. Keep in mind that Instant On capabilities, thinner bezel, and larger display have carried over from the Go 2.

LTE is optional, with models starting at $500. Otherwise, models with Pentium Gold 6500Y CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB eMMC storage start at about $400. Scaling up, a model with Core i3-10100Y CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD costs about $630. Add LTE and the price jumps up to $730.

This is a typical 10.5-inch Surface display with 3:2 aspect ratio, 1920×1280 resolution, touch functionality, and Surface Pen compatibility. Thanks to the 2-in-1 form, you can use the device as a tablet for drawing and writing. Attaching a Type Cover with touchpad and keyboard turns it into a notebook with the rear stand deployed.

You get front- and rear-facing cameras, Wi-Fi 6, and dual 2W stereo speakers. Ports include USB-C, 3.5mm audio, Surface Connect, and a microSD card reader. This is a fantastic device for anyone who is always on the move and doesn’t need a particularly powerful PC. Models ship from the factory with Windows 11

Are Budget Gaming Laptops Worth It

Budget gaming laptops are absolutely worth it, and things only look to get better in this department. AMDs Ryzen 5 5000 and Intels 11th Gen Core i5 processors enable decent gaming performance at below £800 or £900. This is aided by Nvidias entry-level mobile graphics cards with more inbound in the form of RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti options.

Many may still see £800 to £900 as too pricey, but the performance you get is impressive in a world when many gaming laptops can cost upwards of £1,500. If you really want to game on a laptop under £500 to £600, youll have to resort to streaming services like Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Cloud Streaming.

The Best Cheap Laptops Of 2020

The best budget laptops are usually the ones offering decent entry level specs at a reduced price. However, you’ll sometimes find mid-range specs offering a step up at similar prices on cheaper machines. Below you’ll find our top picks of cheap laptops that do exactly that during busy sales periods.

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The Best Cheap Laptop For Surface Fans

The $399 Surface Go 2 is a 10.5-inch tablet thats about the size of a regular iPad. Youll have to buy the keyboard cover separately, but the overall package is still quite affordable if youre buying a lower-priced model.

You can configure the Surface Go 2 with a Pentium Gold or Core m3 processor. Those arent the fanciest or most powerful processors, but the system should still be adequate for your streaming and browsing needs, especially if you only need it to do one task at a time. It can run any Windows app, its easy to carry around, and it makes a solid secondary computer.

Best Buy Customers Often Prefer The Following Products When Searching For Best Budget Laptop

Best cheap laptops: We rate the best

Browse the top-ranked list of Best Budget Laptop below along with associated reviews and opinions.

Browse the top-ranked list of Best Budget Laptop below along with associated reviews and opinions.

  • Rating 4.4 out of 5 stars with 106 reviews

    Top comment

    Laptop…Nice Laptop. Specially for its price. Real good buy incase want to stay in budget and not going to perform any high end tasks…Great speeds for a budget computer. One of the best bang for your buck with both HDD and SSD storage.

    See all customer reviews

    Product Description

    Engineered for long-lasting performance, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 delivers powerful performance with Intel Pentium Processors and integrated Intel UHD Graphics, in a laptop that’s perfect for your everyday tasks, with features that you can depend on.See all PC LaptopsTop comment

    Laptop…Nice Laptop. Specially for its price. Real good buy incase want to stay in budget and not going to perform any high end tasks…Great speeds for a budget computer. One of the best bang for your buck with both HDD and SSD storage.

    See all customer reviews

    Product Description

    Engineered for long-lasting performance, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 delivers powerful performance with Intel Pentium Processors and integrated Intel UHD Graphics, in a laptop that’s perfect for your everyday tasks, with features that you can depend on.$479.99Your price for this item is $479.99Save $40The previous price was $519.99Add to Cart

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    How To Find A Good Laptop

    If your budget is tight and you want the most bang for your buck, or you just want to keep something out of the landfill, the used or refurbished laptop market is worth considering. I’ve had great luck buying used laptops on eBay from all sorts of sellers .

    To score the best deal, make sure you know the market. Do some research to figure out a machine that suits your needs. The easiest to come by, and therefore the best deals, tend to be on more boring, business-oriented models. I happen to like ThinkPads, which are used by and then dumped all at once by large corporations, which means there are lots to choose from, and they’re cheap.

    Aim for these specs: Try to get a laptop with at least an 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage , and at least a 13-inch display that’s close to HD.

    Finding used laptops on eBay: Once you know what you want, search for it on eBay. Scroll down and check the option to show only “Sold Listings.” Now take the 10 most recent sales, add up the prices, and divide by 10. That’s the average price don’t pay more than that. Keep the lowest price in mindthat’s the great deal price. Now, uncheck the Sold Listing option. See what’s between the lowest price and that average price. Those are the deals you can consider. I suggest watching a few. Don’t bid or participate at all. Just watch them until the end and see how high the auctions end up going.

    More Of Today’s Best Laptop Deals

    Our price comparison software works 24/7 to bring you the best prices on some of our favorite gaming laptop models this side of the Winter sales events.

    Save more money next month in the Black Friday laptop deals for stellar deals on ultrabooks and workhorses.

    Ive recently graduated with a BA Hons degree in Journalism after what feels like an eternity. In that time, roughly seven years, Ive written for the likes of Expert Reviews and Tech Spark, with my passion for all things tech and gaming related leading me here as Hardware Editor of GamesRadar+. This past year alone Ive helped produce a documentary series for the BBC, and been active in the field of music journalism through my escapades seen in No Clean Singing and Vinyl Chapters.

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    Best Pick For The Biggest Possible Screen


    • HDMI port and microSD card reader


    • Even older USB 2.0 ports
    • Disappointing battery life


    • Handy tablet gestures and Android phone integration
    • Only one USB port and no headphone jack
    • Cramped keyboard


    • Thin, light design with excellent build quality
    • Nifty built-in kickstand
    • Face-recognition camera with 1080p quality
    • Fanless, silent operation


    • Pleasing light design, with aluminum construction
    • Backlit keyboard
    • Solid port and slot selection, including USB Type-C and microSD
    • Eight-hour battery life

    What Am I Losing By Getting A Cheap Laptop

    What is the best budget laptop to buy in 2021?

    Laptops in the $300-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. Bells and whistles-wise, dont expect a ton of extras like touch screens or backlit keyboards to come standard on every model though a few of them certainly offer one or the other. As long as you dont expect more than something serviceable which is all some of us need! youll be fine.

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    What Is The Best Cheap Laptop

    The best cheap laptop of 2021 is the HP Envy 13, making it the best ultrabook on the market today for its price. Starting at $799, the new HP Envy 13 is our favorite thanks to its sleek, portable design, bright 4K and 1080p display options, and fast performance. New to the latest model is a webcam kill switch and fingerprint sensor for those who value security and privacy. And unlike its predecessor, the latest Envy 13 has great speakers.

    The HP Envy 13 is the best laptop for anyone who wants a premium machine but is trying to save a buck. Its sibling, the HP Envy x360 13, is also on this list for those after the best cheap 2-in-1 laptops. It’s an absolute steal for what it dishes out.

    In the case of the Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA , the secret sauce is Intels new Tiger Lake chips. Under Intels new Evo initiative, Intel Tiger Lake chips offer more powerful performance, longer battery life, and the introduction of Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6. Plus, you get the added bonus of the ZenBooks beautiful yet durable chassis. Alternatively, you can opt in for the OLED version of this laptop specs won’t be as good, but the display will be far brighter and more vivid.

    There’s plenty of great contenders on this list though, so check out the best cheap laptops of 2021 below.

    Best Budget Laptops To Buy At A Glance

    • Great all-round affordable touchscreen laptop: HP Pavilion 14, £549
    • Best shoestring Windows 10 buy: Asus E410, £200
    • Best budget convertible laptop: Microsoft Surface Go 2, £399
    • Best budget performance buy: Lenovo IdeaPad 5i 14, £450
    • Best low-cost ultraportable: Acer Swift 1, £399
    • A top cheap 15.6-inch screen option: Dell Inspiron 15 3000, £500
    • Best for high-end performance: Dell Inspiron 14, £550
    • Best Chromebook deal: Asus Chromebook C523, £230

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    Best Overall Laptop: Dell Inspiron 14 5402

    The Dell Inspiron 14 is a very competent laptop for its price range. It has an 11th-generation Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, and while thats far from high-end, its part of Intels latest lineup. That means its built on the latest 10nm process, and it offers solid entry-level performance. It has two cores and four threads, and its capable of boosting as high as 4.10GHz.

    That processor is backed up by 8GB of RAM and 256GB of fast SSD storage, which isnt bad at all. That should get you some solid multitasking capabilities, and 256GB is already a lot of storage for school projects. The display is Full HD, which isnt a guarantee in this price range, and it has fairly small bezels all around. You also get a pair of stereo speakers for sound. All of that makes it the best overall Dell laptop under $500.

    The laptop does come with Windows 10 Home in S mode, which means you can only download apps from the Microsoft Store. This should give you extra security and better performance over time, but it can be a bit limiting. You can always switch out of S mode though, and because its using a recent processor, this PC will get the upgrade to Windows 11 when it releases.

    Tip Number Two: Avoid Tn Screens If You Can

    Top 5 Best Cheap Laptops To Buy In 2018

    Look at the specs page of a laptop for a mention of this. It may also be called SVA, which some manufacturers use to signify standard viewing angle.

    Instead, we want a screen described as IPS or WVA . This basically tells us it doesnt have a TN screen. Why the TN hate? These displays look pretty bad unless you view them dead on, and even then just dont look as good as IPS/WVA displays because they tend to have very low contrast. TN screens in budget laptops do, anyway.

    These are your two red alert messages. Avoid hard drives and TN screens, although the latter may be unavoidable if youre looking to spend as little as possible.

    The rest depends on your budget. If you want great performance, look for a laptop with an 11th generation Intel Core series processor or a 5th generation AMD Ryzen. All of these are excellent.

    You dont tend to find them in ultra-cheap laptops, leaving you with Intel Celeron and Pentium processors. These will do the job just fine for simple work, like writing documents, web browsing and video streaming. But if you want to use Photoshop, edit videos or play games, its worth saving a bit more for a powerful laptop.

    Most of the laptops here use Windows. Weve also included a Chromebook, a great option if you want to spend £200-300. Basic navigation in Chromebooks tends to feel faster than in Windows 10 when dealing with a low-end CPU, and while they cant run Windows apps, you can download Android apps for them.

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    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. If you can afford the more expensive model with an OLED touchscreen, it’s well worth the expense. In fact, it’s so good that it won the awards for best laptop display and best laptop overall in our Tom’s Guide Awards 2021. 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.

    If Mac is more your thing, the new MacBook Air with M1 is our recommendation for the best MacBook for most people, as it offer fantastic performance and long battery life.

    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.

    What Are The Best Laptops Right Now

    The Dell XPS 13 is currently our top overall pick for best laptop of 2021. Powered by a 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, the 1080p version of the laptop is ideal for work, play and light content creation. And with its bright, vivid display, the laptop is also great for watching videos. Plus, its also incredibly slim and light making it an ideal laptop for mobile professionals.

    Those in the market for a convertible should give the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 a look. If 13-inches is too small, we suggest the Dell XPS 17, which also earned a spot on this list thanks to its powerful performance that makes it ideal for students, mobile and creative professionals.

    For our Apple aficionados, the new must-haves are the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air m1 laptops. Apple’s new silicone marks a new chapter in Apple computing, and computers as a whole. The ARM-based chips bring an unprecedented amount of power and endurance, the likes of which that places the typically underpowered Air on a par with major ultraportables.

    See our picks for best laptops below.

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    How We Test The Best Chromebooks

    One of the unique ways we test Chromebooks is by dropping the devices to test its durability. No, we’re not kidding. Laptop Mag has its own in-house Chromebook drop test to measure how well Chromebooks can handle shocks. As Chromebooks are often used by on-the-go students and worker bees, it can be easy to have the device slip through one’s fingers while shuffling from office to office or classroom to classroom.

    We also test for the Chromebooks’ performance, battery life, screen brightness, multitasking muscle and more.

    As our Editor-in-Chief Sherri L. Smith describes it, when we bring a laptop into our laboratory, it’s our goal is to see how it would work if you brought it into your home or office. While we use a number of industry standard benchmarks such as Geekbench, we focus more on real-world testing.

    To measure battery runtime, the Laptop Mag Battery test surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until the Chromebook runs out of juice. To test the Chromebook’s processing power, we use the Geekbench synthetic test.

    We use a colorimeter to measure screen brightness and color gamut while other instruments help us determine a laptop’s key travel and ambient heat. See this page on How We Test Laptops for more details on our benchmarking procedures.

    See our Chromebook Buying Guide and our Windows 10 vs Chromebook face-off to learn more about Chromebooks. And check out our best laptops deals page to make sure you get the best price before you buy.

    Plenty Of Connectivity In A Soft

    Top 5 Best Budget Laptops To Buy In 2021!

    The Flex 5s chassis may be on the chunky side, but it’s not unattractive. Lenovo uses a unique soft-touch plastic coating on the sides and the keyboard deck, which makes the laptop pleasing to hold. The Graphite Gray color scheme of our review unit is also intriguing, making the laptop darker and moodier-looking than the mostly silver schemes of other Lenovo ultraportables. If you’d rather stick with a lighter color, the Flex 5 is also available in Platinum Gray.

    On the Flex 5’s left edge, you’ll find a power port, an HDMI 1.4b output, a USB Type-C port, and an audio combo jack. The USB-C port can be used to charge the laptop, and Lenovo includes an AC adapter with a USB-C plug, rendering the dedicated power port an anachronism. Since theres only one USB-C port on the entire laptop, its worth asking if your retailer can substitute a barrel-style AC adapter instead. That way, youll be able to charge the laptop and use the USB-C port at the same time.

    On the right edge, there are two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a rarity on ultraportable laptops these days, and handy for connecting one of the vast number of devices that haven’t yet moved to USB-C. The right edge also hosts a full-size SD card reader and the Flex 5’s power button. Side-mounted power buttons are easier to use when the laptop is propped up like an easel, but be careful not to accidentally press the button when you grasp the Flex 5 on its sides.

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