Laptops can be expensive. But a good cheap laptop can be had with any budget complete with built to last hardware. Sturdy construction. And an ergonomically sensible keyboard and touchpad.
Creative design and implementation enable manufacturers to produce solid laptops for 500 dollars and less. When it comes to size and weight, you’ll find that the term ‘entry-level laptop’ spans every category.
And the term ‘budget laptop’ is even more fluid; hitting every price point all the way up to $1000 and beyond.
Technology has made it possible to buy a usable laptop for less than $200. If you want to save money. And only need a laptop to perform basic tasks, like word processing, web surfing and watching DVDs. You may find that a budget laptop on the lower pricing spectrum is all you really need.
But the focus here will be to show you just what’s available in a good cheap laptop within different price points so that you can buy the best laptop for you with confidence. No matter your budget.
Good Cheap Laptop
A useful place to begin deciding on the best laptop for you is with your portability needs. An ultraportable with only a 7-inch display can weigh less than 4-pounds. While a desktop replacement or workstation laptop can weigh anywhere up to a beefy 7-pounds or more with a 17-inch screen size.
Start with a Checklist
The kind of work and play you plan to do will help you figure out a budget for your laptop by helping you identify what’s most important to you. And what features you don’t mind spending more on.
Road Warrior/Jet Setter
If work means you commute most days of the week. Or you need to travel a lot with your laptop for any reason. Portability is likely your biggest consideration. You’re going to need a laptop with a screen that’s 14-inches or smaller.
The second consideration has to be battery endurance. For those long commutes to and from the office, or that red eye flight to Barcelona. you’ll need a good cheap laptop that can still net you at least 6-hours of battery life.
Looking for Performance and Portability?
You need a thin and light ultraportable. Nothing delivers like an Ultrabook!
You get a 13- to 14-inch display with a mid-range i5 processor. And even a high-end Core i7. At least 4GB of RAM. And at least a 128GB SSD; which offers excellent performance. You can even get an Ultrabook for less than $500.
Working with Multimedia
This includes photos, graphics, and video. Or maybe you’re a gamer. Besides a large high def screen. You’ll want to invest in a laptop with lots of memory. You can get a good cheap laptop with 8GB of RAM for around $600-$800.
Since the work you do is visually intense. We recommend a laptop that comes with IPS technology.
You’ll need a large screen; either 15-inches or more. A high definition display (1920 x 1080) resolution will be great for playing PC games. A laptop with a 4K display will be even better for watching the most cinematic moments of your favorite movies.
And you know what will be an excellent way to store all that media? A large hard drive. As laptops with solid-state drives (SSDs) become popular. It’s much easier to get a good cheap laptop with 750-1000GB of hard disk space.
A laptop with an optical drive will make it easier to watch those movies. And an HDMI port will let you plug your laptop into a bigger screen for total immersion as you watch your favorite movie or play epic PC titles.
Manage Your Expectations: Know Where to Compromise
Entry-level laptops are great for users who may not know a lot about computers and simply want a device that can carry out standard tasks.
A good cheap laptop is generally light on hardware and performance. Though the case may be eye-catching. Construction isn’t as durable as more expensive machines.
Compensations are made on components like RAM, graphics, and processing power. You can expect non-critical features, like SSD to be eliminated for the less expensive hard disk drive.
If you work involves something like editing videos. Or you need to bounce between many open tabs, and crunch large spreadsheets. Entry-level laptops will not be for you.
But if your budget has room for it, you can get a system with a much better build quality that uses materials like aluminum and carbon fiber. More expensive laptops will also have stronger and faster performance. And offer a better viewing experience for watching movies and playing games.
Laptop Price Points
Here’s what you can expect from all the major price points you’ll encounter in your hunt for a good cheap laptop. We’ve also provided recommendations to help you find your perfect laptop:
A good cheap laptop in this range is either going to be a Chromebook; which run Google’s browser-centric operating system. Or low-end Windows notebooks; which have minimal storage capabilities, and slow processors.
Laptops in this range are very underpowered with limited functionality. So, they make great backup computers. And since they’re usually the cheapest and smallest type of laptops. They also make a great child’s first laptop.
These are considered budget laptops. You’ll love the performance they offer for basic tasks like web browsing and word processing. They often come in a 15.6-inch display.
Mind, however, that these laptops sometimes use older processors. And, you won’t get the snappier SSD. Full-HD display experience. Or a long battery life on all systems.
Here, a good cheap laptop is relative to your wallet’s threshold. At this point, you can buy a thin and light laptop. And you can expect more premium designs and better construction; with better performance.
You can also expect the latest generation processor. More RAM. And a sizeable hard drive. Manufacturers will start throwing in luxuries like SSDs and higher-resolutions so you can enjoy your laptop experience even more.
$1000 and above:
A good cheap laptop here carries the same meaning as a good cheap Lamborghini Huracan to the more expensive Koenigsegg Agera R.
You can opt for the sleekest ultraportable laptop that will be lightweight and very thin with a 13-inch screen or less. Or a desktop replacement laptop, which will be heavy with its 17-inch screen. You’ll also start seeing high-end gaming systems and mobile workstations the further up you climb this latter.
In this price range, you can expect more powerful and portable laptops with higher-resolutions. Faster processors, and discrete graphics cards.
Next up in the series, we’ll investigate the 4 Laptop Categories you need to know about when buying a laptop.
So, there you have it. Is there anything about buying a laptop on a budget that you feel we forgot to mention? If so, please join us in the discussion by leaving a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.