The Top Low-Cost Laptops In 2023
These are the top cheap laptops available today.
The finest laptops for the money are enough for simple work and enjoyment. They aren’t outrageously expensive, but they also don’t seem cheap; they have acceptable battery life, excellent displays, and respectable performance.
Additionally, they aren’t all clunky grey clamshell computers. A Chromebook or tablet with a detachable keyboard is one of the finest laptops under $500, and if you’re ready to pay a little more, you can buy a cheap luxury laptop from companies like Asus or Apple.
We evaluated a large number of laptops from prominent manufacturers in order to determine the best options for those on a budget. Here is our most recent ranking of the top cheap laptops available right now, as determined by our own in-depth testing and evaluations.
The Top Cheap Laptops Available
1. Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
The ideal low-cost laptop in general
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a low-cost laptop with a stylish ultraportable form, a sharp-looking QLED display, and a reliable 8-hour battery life that doesn’t feel like one. Additionally, it will sound fantastic and have a Core i3 setup that gives Chrome OS a tonne of performance.
Our satisfaction level was lower due to the keyboard’s limited vertical travel. You’ll eventually get used to the tiny learning curve this generates. But it’s a terrific value to buy a Chromebook that feels this expensive and looks this beautiful for less than $500 (the Fiesta Red colour choice sticks out in a sea of silver and black computers).
2. Lenovo Duet 3
The top affordable Chrome tablet
Chrome devices make up the majority of outstanding budget laptops, and the Lenovo Duet 3 (or Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3, depending on where you buy it) is the greatest Chrome-owning tablet for as little as $359. Our is essentially a bigger, more costly version of Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet, which was introduced in 2020 and is still on this list despite being a surprisingly powerful and affordable Chrome tablet.
We enjoyed the original Duet since it cost less than $250 and had great battery life, dependable performance, and a nice built-in keyboard cover. The new 11-inch Duet 3 from Lenovo is somewhat more expensive but offers more ports, a bigger, brighter display, and more power thanks to a stronger Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor. It’s one of the greatest Chrome tablets money can buy, and Lenovo includes the keyboard cover without charging extra, enabling it to also function as a surprisingly good 2-in-1 Chromebook.
If money is tight, the original Duet higher down this list is a better option, but those who can afford it will benefit much from this fantastic Chromebook.
3. Microsoft Surface Go 2
The top affordable Windows 2-in-1
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is an incredibly powerful Windows 10 tablet that also serves as a low-cost alternative to a laptop. It’s a good Windows tablet on its own, with a sufficient processing power for basic web surfing and a battery life that won’t have you constantly looking for a charger.
However, when the optional Type-Cover attachment is included, the tablet really shines. By increasing its price from $299 to $359, the entry-level Surface Go 2 becomes a little notebook that is surprisingly competent. However, you must accept an Intel Pentium Gold CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage in order to keep pricing at $500. Although such features are hardly noteworthy, they should be sufficient for anybody looking for a 2-in-1 tablet for relatively straightforward productivity tasks, including web surfing and word processing, and a significant amount of emails.
4. Lenovo Chromebook Duet
The best budget Chromebook
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet could be for you if you’re searching for a nice cheap laptop and don’t mind the thought of a hybrid tablet/Chromebook. Instead of having to buy the tablet and detachable keyboard separately like with the Microsoft Surface Go, which offers a more expensive experience, you can get both of them for the current discounted price of $189.
The Duet isn’t as powerful as its more powerful sister, the Duet 3, but it’s enough for the majority of modern Chromebook functions. Plus. Due to its minimal specifications, it won’t drain the battery quickly. Additionally, it sports a 1920 x 1080 display that is extremely bright and clear and is equally useful for tearing through emails and browsing the web as it is for binge-watching YouTube.
5. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
The top-notch, budget-friendly clamshell Chromebook
The Spin 311 from Acer is precisely what most people anticipate from a Chromebook to be: compact, affordable, and competent enough to handle work and light play on a daily basis. For a Chromebook of this size and budget, the keyboard is amazing. The battery life is also good, and even while the performance isn’t outstanding, it’s enough for doing simple, everyday chores.
The Spin 311 is one of the finest Chromebooks for kids and can compete with some of the top Chromebooks at similar price points for anybody seeking for a very portable device that gets the basics right.
6. Apple iPad 2021 with Smart Keyboard
The notebook that comes closest to an Apple for around $500
Of course, the iPad isn’t a true laptop. However, an optional Apple Smart Keyboard that costs around $449 may be added, transforming the tablet into a kind of low-cost hybrid laptop. In that sense, it is similar to the Microsoft Surface Go.
This iPad is capable of doing simple email tasks, word document drafting, and light picture and video editing. Even if it lacks power, very few of the laptops on this list do. Although iPadOS has its drawbacks, it can nevertheless handle a fair number of commonplace activities. The basic iPad is a reliable tablet for light work and serious pleasure, even though it appears a little antiquated in comparison to the more costly iPad Air 5. This is because of the extensive, carefully selected ecosystem of apps available in the Apple App Store.
7. Acer Aspire 5
The finest cheap laptop when battery life is not a concern
As long as you don’t intend to unplug the Acer Aspire 5 frequently, it’s a wonderfully small laptop for about $500. It has a beautiful 15.6-inch 1080p display, a reasonable assortment of ports, and a comfortable keyboard. However, because of its dismal battery life, which lasted less than 7 hours in our lab tests and frequently ran out after only a few hours of streaming video in real-world situations, it isn’t the cheap all-star its predecessor was.
The Acer Aspire 5 is an excellent option if you need a new laptop right away for a reasonable price, but several of its flaws may be difficult to overlook, most notably its short battery life. Having said that, it fulfils all of your fundamental computing requirements, including consistent performance and a wide variety of ports.
8. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED
The ideal budget Windows laptop
With a stunning 1080p OLED display and outstanding battery life in a thin, light body for less than $1,000, the AMD-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is a great deal.
Sure, the speakers aren’t great, the camera isn’t great, and there isn’t a headphone port, but you can get past these drawbacks. At this budget, it is impossible to find a more capable Windows ultraportable with an excellent screen than the OLED-equipped Asus Zenbook 13.
How To Pick The Ideal Laptop For Yourself
It may be difficult to predict what to expect from a cheap laptop. You won’t get the state-of-the-art performance or a pricey design. A few display qualities, such as how well it handles colours and how bright it becomes, may also need to be sacrificed. But it doesn’t mean you should settle for a laptop that feels cheap; instead, you should pick one that is fairly priced. So, here are some factors to take into account while purchasing a laptop.
Windows or Chrome? Unless you have a budget of $1,000 or more, even the cheapest model of the MacBook Air 2020 will be beyond your price range. As a result, you’ll likely need to choose between a Windows laptop and a Chromebook depending on your needs.
The lightweight operating system, Chrome OS, can be operated on even the most basic hardware and delivers a full variety of functions and web-based applications to do many of your daily computing tasks. Applications for Android are now also supported.
Windows, on the other side, need a little more power to operate correctly. It does, however, offer a considerably larger range of apps than Chrome OS does at this time. Additionally, Windows is always being upgraded, so even years after you purchase your laptop, you will be able to access the latest applications Microsoft has to offer.
Clamshell or convertible: There are primarily two types of low-cost laptops: traditional clamshell laptops and static 2-in-1 convertibles. Clamshells offer a conventional laptop experience with a keyboard and a non-touch screen and are often the least expensive of the group. However, if you want a touchscreen device that can also be used as a tablet, convertibles (or detachable, like the Surface Go), are something to consider. Never accept anything less than 1080p: You shouldn’t settle for the majority of laptops with a 1366 x 768 display unless you’re absolutely on a tight budget. Nowadays, many low-cost laptops come standard with a 1080p display quality, which is important if you want to watch Netflix content or spend hours browsing the internet.
How We Evaluate Laptops
Every laptop was put through a stringent battery of benchmark testing and real-world scenarios in order to determine how well it will function in regular use.
Our in-house light metre and colourimeter are used to gauge each laptop’s display’s average brightness and colour quality. We do many tests on our PCs, such as Geekbench 5 (to gauge CPU performance) and other 3DMark tests (to assess graphics capability). A bespoke battery test makes the device browse the internet via Wi-Fi until its battery runs out. We also perform a file transfer test to gauge how quickly a machine’s hard disc is.
We conduct benchmarks for well-known titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Red Dead Redemption 2 while evaluating dedicated gaming computers.