Face it. A computing device is fundamental to your productivity.
But shopping for laptops under $400 (or any other budget) can be a headache.
Choosing the right laptop doesn’t have to be anxiety ridden.
With so many options competing for your attention. The key is knowing what you need it for.
Asking yourself questions, like: do I need this laptop for professional or personal use? What features do i have to have? Do I want it new, or am I okay with a refurbished unit? Will I use it at home? Or do I need the best travel companion? Will help narrow your focus.
Laptops under $400
- Laptops under $400
- The Run Down
- Here’s What You Can Expect from Laptops under $400
- What the Ideal User Is Looking for in Laptops under $400
- Here’s Exactly What to Look for As You Shop for Laptops under $400
- The Display Size on Laptops Under $400
- AMD/Intel Graphics Cards in Laptops under $400
- Laptops Under $400 and the Intel CPU Family
- Laptops Under $400: Intel i3 vs i5
- How Much RAM Do I Need in Laptops Under $400
- How Much Hard Drive Space Do I Need in Laptops Under $400
- Laptops Under $400 and Their Keyboard Functions
- The Research Method
- 9 of the Laptops under $400-Reviews
- 1. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33B 15.6-inch
- 2. Asus F556UA-AB32 15.6-inch
- 3. Dell Inspiron (Touch) i3543 15.6-inch
- 4. Dell Inspiron i3169 (2-in-1) 11.6-inch
- 5. HP (15-ay191ms) Touchscreen Signature Edition 15.6-inch
- 6. Dell Inspiron i5555 15.6-inch
- 7. HP 15 (Touchscreen) Business Laptop 15.6-inch
- 8. Lenovo Flex 4 (Yoga 510) 14-inch
- 9. Lenovo IdeaPad G505 15.6-inch
If you already know what you’re looking for in laptops under $400. Here are the top picks:
400 Dollar Laptop-Comparison
|Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33B 15.6-inch||15.6-inch||2.4GHz Intel Corei3-7100U||Intel HD Graphics 620||4GB DDR4 SDRAM||1TB HDD, DVDRW||Check|
|Asus F556UA-AB32 15.6-inch||15.6-inch||2.3GHz Intel i3-6100U||Intel HD Graphics||4GB DDR4DL||1TB HDD, No Optical Drive||Check|
|Dell Inspiron (Touch) i3543 15.6-inch||15.6-inch||2.16GHz Intel Core i3-5005U||Intel Graphics||4GB DDR3||500GB HDD DVD/CD||Check|
|Dell Inspiron i3169 (2-in-1) 11.6-inch||11.6-inch||0.9GHz Intel Core m3 6Y30||Intel Graphics||4GB DDR3L SDRAM||500GB HDD, No Optical Drive||Check|
|HP (15-ay191ms) Touchscreen Signature Edition 15.6-inch||15.6-inch||2.4GHz, Intel Core i3-7100U||Intel Graphics||8GB DDR4 SDRAM||1TB HDD, SuperMulti DVD Burner||Check|
|Dell Inspiron i5555 15.6-inch||15.6-inch||2.2GHz AMD A8-7410 Quad-Core APU||AMD Radeon R5 Graphics||6GB Single Channel DDR3L||500GB HDD, DVD/CD||Check|
|HP 15 (Touchscreen) Business Laptop 15.6-inch||15.6-inch||2.2GHz AMD Quad-Core A8-7410||AMD Radeon R5 Graphics||4GB DDR3L 1600MHz||1TB HDD, SuperMulti DVD/CD Burner||Check|
|Lenovo Flex 4 (Yoga 510) 14-inch||15.6-inch||2.2GHz AMD Quad-Core A8-7410||AMD Radeon R5 Graphics||4GB DDR3L 1600MHz||1TB HDD, SuperMulti DVD/CD Burner||Check|
|Lenovo IdeaPad G505 15.6-inch||15.6-inch||1GHz AMD E1-2100||ATI Radeon 8210||4GB DDR3 RAM 1600MHz||320GB HDD, DVDRW||Check|
The Run Down
To run every day applications, you don’t need the latest and greatest specs. And you don’t need to drop a lot of coin to get something decent.
The good news is there are quite a few systems to suite your specific requirements in the $400 arena. But, distinguishing between bargains to come up with the best fit for your needs can be difficult.
So, to make your life easier. We’ve put together a list of 9 of the best laptops under 400 dollars currently available. Along with an informative guide.
Throughout this guide. You’ll see our detailed rundown of the most important specs, benefits and perks of laptops under $400.
If you want actionable tips to help you:
- learn about the build quality you can expect in this range
- find out if your the type of user that benefits most from these systems
- know more about hardware specifications to best compliment all your programs
We’d love to answer these questions in this guide.
Need something else? No worries. You’ll find links along the way to articles that feature different laptops. Within similar price margins. With the best options for your budget: like this one below.
(Keep an eye out for helpful PRO TIPS along the way.)
Here’s What You Can Expect from Laptops under $400
A cheap laptop can still handle games like League of Legends and every day apps without strain. There are many brands offering fully-fledged 15-inch examples. As well as 11-inch convertibles.
They may not have the fastest or most cutting edge hardware. But laptops under $400 represent some of the most well-built machines to cover your basic computing needs, like surfing the web. Word processing. And media consumption.
You can expect:
- 4-8GB of RAM
- backlit keyboards
- dual core processors
- 320GB -1tb hard drives
- integrated graphics cards
- Full High Definition screens
- and laptops with touchscreens
Pro Tip #1: When it comes to build quality. Business grade laptops are going to give you more value than consumer models. And performing upgrades will be way easier.
What the Ideal User Is Looking for in Laptops under $400
Laptops under $400 are perfect for students. Business people. And anyone in the market for something that will nimbly surf the web. And perform daily tasks.
Since your shopping for a laptop in this space, you have a sharp focus on what it to do.
You’re looking for an entry-level, all-rounder that’s slim and lightweight. Mainly for general web browsing. Word processing. Playing some games. Watching Youtube. And a movie or 2.
You’re not so much concerned about things like the longevity of the battery. But, you expect a good deal.
Here’s Exactly What to Look for As You Shop for Laptops under $400
The Display Size on Laptops Under $400
11-15-inch sizes sprawl the gamut of affordable laptops at this price.
Users who perform graphically intensive activities should opt for 15-inch systems, however. They offer the most real estate for getting visually demanding work done.
Pro Tip #2: If you commute. Size is important. The lighter the system the better. Consider an Ultraportable. They’re thin, light and fast.
AMD/Intel Graphics Cards in Laptops under $400
These machines can play high definition content smoothly on low to medium settings without a hiccup. The two integrated graphics cards pushing them along this front are: the base-level Intel HD 620. And AMD Radeon R5.
While the integrated Intel HD, and AMD Radeon graphics cards can run many popular games, like Hearthstone. They won’t play GTA V.
Here’s how AMD Radeon R5 Graphics fairs against Intel HD 620.
And here’s how to optimize your game settings for any Intel graphics card.
Pro Tip #3: Games will run smoother at 1366 x 768-pixel resolution than 1920 x 1080 with these cards.
Laptops Under $400 and the Intel CPU Family
Intel’s U series chips will fall short when it comes to gaming and animation. But for surfing the web and editing spreadsheets. They’ll help you stay productive. With low battery consumption.
U series chips are mostly what you’ll find in laptops under $400. They represent the sweet spot between performance. And good battery life.
Add a large battery. And a power-efficient display. And you’re talking about getting well over 10-hours of endurance from a single charging session.
Laptops Under $400: Intel i3 vs i5
Core i3 processors are best suited for users who just want a budget machine with an Intel CPU. While the Core i5 is for the mainstream user who wants a bit of oomph in his or her daily computing.
Here’s a chart comparing both against the powerful Core i7 family.
PCMag.com goes into much better detail about the difference between Core i3. And Core i5 processors.
How Much RAM Do I Need in Laptops Under $400
Professional work usually means you’ll be depending on memory-hungry applications. We recommend 8GB of RAM for a smooth experience.
How Much Hard Drive Space Do I Need in Laptops Under $400
When money is a concern, a Solid-State Drive is not necessary up front as it will likely inflate the laptop’s price. But an SSD is more reliable than HDD. And worth looking into down the line. You can check prices here.
Hybrid storage is the solution that goes one step further to make use of both a mechanical hard drive. And a small SSD, which holds the operating system. The SSD also acts like a cache to speed up the OS and boot times.
Pro Tip #5: As always. We recommend purchasing a laptop that’ll allow you to upgrade to an SSD in the future for faster bootups, and faster overall system performance.
PCWorld.com shows you how to make common upgrades to your laptop, correctly.
Laptops Under $400 and Their Keyboard Functions
The best laptop under $400 has a backlit, and spill-proof keyboard.
Illuminated Keyboards help you see what you’re doing in low light and in the dark.
Spill-Proof Keyboards let you drink your beverage of choice while you work with peace of mind.
Laptopmag.com has 22 keyboard shortcuts for you to try when you get your new laptop.
The Research Method
These picks are based on a price point between $300 and $400. Best all-round performance. User experience. At least 100 Amazon reviews. And at least 3.5 out of 5 stars when this guide was published.
We’ve put together a range of laptops to fit almost anyone’s need. From 11.6-inch and 15.6-inch examples. And even Ultrabooks.
Now, from among the most progressive brands we bring you: Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo.
9 of the Laptops under $400-Reviews
When you need to get the job done, this 10.2 x 15 x 1.2-inch desktop replacement is one of the most ideal laptops under $400. The latest 7th gen ‘Kaby Lake’ processor. A backlit keyboard. Good connectivity with all the ports you’d expect. And a battery life that’s more than adequate for enthusiast, level media consumption. Are just some of the features that push this Aspire to the head-of-the-class in the budget category. You can play some casual games on the Intel HD 620 graphics card. But if you’re doing anything more than the minor color correction when photo editing. You should look elsewhere. You might find the keyboard space is a bit cramped.
At 10.1 x 15 x 1-inches, here’s another one of those Windows laptops under $400 that doesn’t skimp on the features. It shines as an above average, budget desktop replacement with features like Full HD. A 1TB hard drive for files. And 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution good for basic photo/video editing. Although the keys (with 10 key numberpad) are not backlit. IceCool technology for the palm rest makes banging out assignments a comfortable experience. Not only do you get the standard connectivity options you would expect. But you can easily upgrade the system with 16GB of RAM, and SSD.
If what you’re after is value. A durable build quality. And solid battery life in laptops under $400, this 1 x 10 x 15-inch laptop delivers what Dell is known for in spades. Some of the more impressive features include a backlit keyboard. And of course, a 10-finger capacity touch-screen. A lean budget can still get you capable laptop. With good looks to make mainstream rivals jealous. But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Unfortunately, our unit doesn’t come with backlit keys. But the large touchpad offers the same full gesture support as the touchscreen. The very basic connectivity includes a DVD/RW.
One of the unique features of this 11 x 1 x 8-inch Ultrabook is a screen that can flip all the way around to transform into a tablet. Dell proves you don’t have to sacrifice functionality for the sake of minimalism with plenty of expansion ports. A 500GB hard drive for all your media files. A good keyboard (if not a tad on the small side). And you can upgrade the RAM up to 8GB. Although a 5400RPM hard drive is common in entry-level, budget laptops. 500GB hard drive seems especially slow here in this configuration with the Core m processor. And for a 2-in-1, the display is less than adequate.
Are you a user in the hunt for value? Look no further than this insanely inexpensive budget, desktop replacement. The 7th gen processor. Multi-touch display supporting 10-finger gestures (a feature once exclusive to premium laptops). And 8GB of RAM. With a 1TB hard drive. Are just some of the highlights that serve as a clarion as top brands battle it out in this category. Some features we’re willing to overlook in this 15 x 10 x 1-inch laptop is a low resolution 1366 x 768-pixels display. Though it’s common in the budget category. The glossy coating makes a bad situation worse.
Okay. So, it’s not the most powerful laptop with 6GB of DDR3 RAM. And integrated AMD R5 graphics card delivering average performance. But for light gaming. The 2.2GHz, AMD A8-7410, Quad Core APU is decent. That along with the 500GB hard drive. And 1366 x 768-pixel display. Makes this 1 x 10 x 15-inch laptop a bargain for users looking for a cheap machine for school, work. Or a family computer for everyday use. And even with a so-so battery life. It’s an adaptable system that offers good value. With the LED-backlit display delivering bright, crisp pictures.
Looking for a standout laptop that pulls no punches? This 15 x 10 x 1-inch HP, like the Dell touchscreen above is also powered by AMD. They keyboard is snappy and comfortable to use offering plenty of travel. It features the usual 1366 x 768-pixel resolution common on these laptops. But it suffers when it comes to color reproduction. Images aren’t as bright and sharp. And the touchscreen has trouble keeping up with quick finger gestures. You get all the ports you come to expect. With the bonus of an optical drive. Expect to get about 5-hours of battery life. Which is on par with system in this category.
It’s a competent, full-fledged laptop that offers a 360-degree flip-and-fold design. The system is a bit heavy for a convertible at 4.5-pounds. But within that bulk. The 13 x 1 x 10-inch system gives you a 10-point multi-touch display offers for hands-on control. RAM that’s expandable up to 16GB. A 2.1GHz Dual Core Intel Pentium processor. And 4GB of DDR4 RAM. And the full-size keys have good travel. The 500GB SATA HD at 5400RPM is slow. Resulting in an overall slow performing system. The Flex’s considerable size makes tablet mode clumsy to use.
A value-focused laptop that delivers on a bargain hunter’s dream. This offering from Lenovo is perfect for surfing the web, and performing a few tasks on the go. They’ve even managed to squeeze in an optical drive in the 15 x 10 x 1-inch. But the 5.7-pounds makes it heavy to be a very mobile platform. To keep costs low. It’s kitted with an AMD APU, though it’s de-tuned to be more power efficient. That along with the low impact Radeon HD 8330 GPU. And 1366 x 768 resolution display. The system returns a battery life of about 4-hours. Gameplay won’t be exceptional. But you can get normal work done.
Thank you for making it to the end of this guide. That was a lot of information.
But we hope this list concludes that you no longer need to dip into your savings just to buy a laptop to meet your daily computing requirements.
Many brands offer a range of accessible models. They may not all have the highest performance. But the hardware is enough to help you get essential work done. And even catch up on your entertainment needs.
We’d love to continue this conversation about laptops under $400 in the comment section below. If you want to add something to the article, you can contact us here.