As 2022 draws to a close, we can look back wistfully at Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all the delicious deals contained within. If you're still hankering for a super-cheap laptop, though, we've got these budget picks for you to peruse.
Trying to find a good laptop for under $200 is a huge struggle, especially if you can't find a model you like with a huge discount. There are plenty of super-cheap laptops floating around, but a lot of them use heavily outdated or underpowered components that won't last as long as you want them to.
Now, we have considered some older (and renewed/refurbished) models for this list in order to help you get the best possible laptop for under $200. Obviously, you're not going to get anything here that can go toe to toe with the best gaming laptops, but you can do standard everyday tasks like browsing the web and answering emails - and even play some of the best laptop games.
Fortunately, there are many low-cost laptops available right now that provide higher specifications for around $200. A superior solution can be found at a lower cost. Although the budget laptop segment is unsuitable for intense gaming and graphics usage, it will do well enough to operate casual programs like browsers, MS Office, and other software without latency. The following is a ranking of the eight best laptops based on price/performance.
Not everyone needs or can afford the latest, most powerful laptop out there. For simple tasks, such as running web-based apps such as Google docs, browsing the Internet, or sending an email, a low-powered, low-priced laptop fits the bill. That's where budget laptops come in..
With nearly 13 hours of battery life, a crazy-powerful M1 processor, and an incredibly smooth trackpad and keyboard, it should be no surprise that the MacBook Air M1 shoved our previous top laptop out of its spot.
Lenovo's Chromebook Flex 5 is a perfect mix of power, sophistication, and value. This 13-inch 2-in-1 laptop, usually found for under $400, uses quality mid-range components and has a stellar build quality that can rival laptops twice its price.
One aspect where the Zenbook 14 far surpasses its predecessor is in performance, arguably the aspect that most affects your experience with a laptop. Its new Ryzen 5 4500U processor is blazing fast, crushing the old Intel Core i5-8500U in benchmarks, and its lower power consumption means the Zenbook 14 has a battery life of almost eight and a half hours. Overall, this is a great budget laptop for those in need of a powerful but uber-portable traveling companion.
While our top laptops pack a punch with super-fast processors, the Stream 14 offers something closer to a gentle nudge with its performance. We run Cinebench to test most Windows 10 laptops, but the Stream only rendered about half the image after an hour of chugging (an entry-level, $400 Lenovo Ideapad 3 finished rendering the image in less than 15 minutes).
I'm Joanna Nelius, Senior Editor of Electronics at Reviewed. I've been reviewing gaming products and laptops for the last several years, having written for PC Gamer, Maximum PC, and Gizmodo in the past. In addition to gaming desktops and laptops, I also specialize in CPU and GPU reviews.
First, we look at how well each laptop performs. Because the laptops in this guide are mostly designed for running web applications like Google Docs, we utilize the web-based benchmarks Basemark and Speedometer in the most popular web browser (Google Chrome). We also test with Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23 in order to compare its potential processing power across any app.
Most laptop displays do well in a dark room, but what about outdoors Is a glossy screen better than a matte one To figure out this information, we test the brightness of the display. We do this with a colorimeter like the SpyderX or X-Rite i1Display Studio, small, plug-and-play USB devices that measures luminance and color accuracy. We measure the white levels and black levels at max brightness and then again at 50% brightness.
Next, we tested the battery life of each laptop to see how long you can use them between charges. With their displays adjusted to a brightness of 200 nits, we set them to continuously cycle through popular websites, simulating the way you would use the laptop when idly browsing the web.
Their processors are fast enough to provide a smooth web browsing experience, allowing you to use many web apps and browser plugins, run uncomplicated software or play simple games. Using Google Docs or creating simple documents in Microsoft Word or Excel are reasonable tasks to ask of a sub-$500 laptop. Every one of the computers in this guide could handle writing essays for homework, researching schoolwork online, or making a presentation to show in class.
If you have a bit more space in your budget, many of the laptops we tested offer upgrade models that have faster processors and more drive space, which can make them more flexible for more demanding tasks. While you may not be able to run recently released major studio games on a budget laptop, you may be surprised to know how much more powerful these laptops have become in recent years.
The best laptops under $500 are cheap laptops that shouldn't leave you feeling like you dug them out of the bargain bin. There are value-priced notebooks that include full-HD displays, solid performance, and long battery life.
Whether you are looking for a typical clamshell laptop or you want a 2-in-1 convertible laptop that can walk the line between a tablet and a laptop, we've got some great affordable options for you. Our top pick even managed to find its way onto our best laptops page. Remember, if you can't find a laptop that meets your expectations for the budget, you can always look at some of the best tablets or best kids tablets for your needs.
After reviewing dozens of value-priced systems, the best laptop under $500 is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5. This outstanding 2-in-1 Chromebook earned 4.5 out of 5 stars and an Editor's Choice award from us on the strength of its gorgeous OLED display and over 13 hours of battery life. If Chrome OS isn't your thing, we have some cheap Windows laptops to recommend as well. The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 and Acer Aspire 5 are strong choices.
While it may not be the scrappy budget champ that the original Chromebook Duet was, the Duet 5 has bulked up and is ready to take on some heavyweight competition, making it the best laptop under $500.
When we first reviewed the IdeaPad Flex 5 it hovered around $500-$650 depending on the configuration, but you can now find it for under $500 or even $400 for the base model, making it an even better value and easily the best Windows laptop under $500.
The Acer Aspire 5 isn't going to blow you away if you compare it to laptops for $1,000 and up, but for a Windows 11 laptop that you can find for under $500 it is a solid choice. The Intel 11th gen processor and Intel UHD graphics are enough to handle any productivity or web browsing tasks you toss its way and even some older games.
You certainly need to set your expectations properly when picking the Acer Aspire 5, but it delivers a solid overall build and experience for the price if you are looking for a first Windows laptop or simply a laptop that can handle basic computing tasks without breaking the bank.
Choosing the best laptop under $500 for you really depends on where you are at with your budget. Our top performers, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook and Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14, typically range around $300 to $500, so you may come in well below that $500 mark. Well it may be tempting to look at some options even lower, consider saving up for one of these top options if possible as the compromises start stacking up the lower you go.
Unless you have specific Windows software you know you need then don't let Chrome OS scare you off. Chrome is less processor intensive, which is great for some of these lower-powered laptops and delivers everything that most users need for typical computing tasks like web surfing, content consumption or light productivity work.
In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop's display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests.
To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution.
We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 11 laptops, a runtime of over 10 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise.
The ASUS VivoBook is an affordable mini laptop that's great for young students, thanks to its affordable price and portable size. It's equipped with dual USB Type-A ports, a USB-C port, a microSD card slot, and an HDMI out port. Its 11.6-inch display is bright with a 1080p resolution.
Out of the box, the IdeaPad 3 runs Microsoft Windows 10 in S Mode, but you can always upgrade to full Windows 10 for free. Buyers who want a more colorful laptop should consider the similar Lenovo IdeaPad 1 laptop, which comes in a brighter blue hue, but has a larger 14-inch screen.
What makes the laptop really shine, though, is its extensive battery life: You can expect 13 hours of use before needing to recharge. This laptop has received glowing reviews from both Laptop Mag and Wired for its convenient fingerprint sensor, impressive performance, and lightweight design.
If a touchscreen is important for you, the HP Envy 13-inch laptop is an excellent alternative that packs a powerful processor, a large 256GB solid-state drive, and a convenient fingerprint reader to unlock the laptop. 59ce067264