9 Best Budget Laptops | December 2016

9 Best Budget Laptops
Best Mid-Range
★★★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 38 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Most office workers and students do not need much more from their laptops than a reliable way to browse, watch video, and work with documents. The good news is that models that do just that are relatively cheap these days. But finding the best budget options can be exhausting, so our selection helps to take the guesswork out of the process. Skip to the best budget laptop on Amazon.
9
The incredibly inexpensive Acer Cloudbook 14 is strictly designed for portability, battery life, and wireless access to the web. For photos and videos, you will want to use cloud storage or USB drives, as this laptop only has enough storage for the OS and Office software.
  • free office 365 for one year
  • bright and easy to read led screen
  • runs out of memory quickly
Brand Acer
Model AO1-431-C3TM
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
8
The Samsung Notebook 3 is an HD multimedia laptop designed for easy upgrading if you want to keep it running fast in the future. As with many Samsung products, it has vivid colors on a display that does not suffer from ghosting or bleeding.
  • beautiful lcd screen
  • sleek all black design
  • somewhat dated processor
Brand Samsung
Model NP300E5K-L04US
Weight 5.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
7
The Lenovo Ideapad 310 is an excellent multimedia laptop that comes with 12GB of RAM, so you can keep tons of browser tabs open, HD video playing, and Office applications running all at the same time. It has 1TB of storage capacity that can be expanded with SD cards.
  • dedicated graphics processor
  • high quality speakers
  • slow 5400 rpm hard drive
Brand Lenovo
Model ideapad 310 (80ST001NUS
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
6
The HP 15-F222WM is an entry-level touchscreen laptop that has a few nice features, including a long battery life, easily upgradable storage, and a lightweight casing for portability. It's worth considering if you are willing to sacrifice performance for its large screen.
  • front-facing webcam
  • quad-core processor
  • comes with preinstalled bloatware
Brand HP
Model N5Y13UA#ABA
Weight 6.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
5
The beautifully designed HP X360 Convertible is another strictly cloud option that has low storage and memory, but has more than enough for mobile use, homework, and general Office applications. It stands out thanks to its 802.11 AC and Bluetooth 4 wireless capabilities.
  • fast solid state drive
  • latest generation intel celeron cpu
  • weighs only 3 pounds
Brand HP
Model Y4A25UA
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
4
For faster processing and legendary customer support, check out the Dell Inspiron Series. The touchscreen laptops come equipped with fifth generation Intel i5 processors, modern WiFi, and an Ethernet port that many newer models skip, making it ideal for frequent travelers.
  • led backlit display
  • intel hd 5500 graphics
  • includes 10-key number pad
Brand Dell
Model I3558-5501BLK
Weight 7.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
3
The HP 15-AY011NR has a full 1080p HD display as well as a 6th generation i5 processor and 8GB of memory, making it a productivity workhorse among other budget models. It has modern AC wireless connectivity and a fast M2 SSD for storage.
  • faster than celeron and i3 models
  • great for binge watching video
  • rapid boot times
Brand HP
Model W2M74UA#ABA
Weight 6.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
2
The ASUS F556UA is on the upper-end of budget systems regarding price, but in return you get a super-fast 256GB SSD, USB 3.1, and most other specifications you would expect to find in more expensive laptops. On top of that, it simply looks stunning and is very lightweight.
  • latest i5-7200u cpu
  • modern lithium polymer battery
  • ethernet and vga ports
Brand Asus
Model F556UA-AB54
Weight 6.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
1
The Acer Aspire E 15 has an ultra-modern 7th generation Intel CPU and DDR4 memory, paired with MU-MIMO enabled wireless for the absolute best in connectivity and energy efficiency. This brand-new hardware enables the laptop to have an unbelievable 12 hour battery life.
  • latest usb type c
  • hdr enabled webcam
  • massive 1tb storage space
Brand Acer
Model E5-575-33BM
Weight 7.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Budget By What Year's Standard?

Back in the early 90s, that golden era of colorful, oversized suit vests, white boy break-dancing, and quality blockbuster cinema, V-Tech, a toys company with a heavy focus on bringing contemporary technologies into the hands of children, came up with a laptop computer for kids. It was called the Super Color Whiz, and it featured a dedicated slot for educational cartridge games, a full qwerty keyboard, and color LED screen.

Of course, that color screen was about two, maybe three inches across. At the time, screen technology was one of the most, if not the most expensive aspect of laptop computer manufacture, so it makes sense that V-Tech would make their biggest cuts to the screen. They were smart enough to keep it in color, though, as most kids' patience for black and white LED screens was already running thin back then.

When it debuted in 1994, it cost a whopping $149.99, and an additional $24.99 per cartridge. For the laptop and two cartridges, you'd pay just south of $200, which, in 1994, was worth about $320, according to the US government's own Consumer Price Index.

I point this out mainly to quell any and all fears that you aren't getting your money's worth when looking into "budget" laptops. The same amount of money that you would have spent for your child to play some colorful spelling games in 1994 can now buy you a machine like the ones on our list, all of which are capable of playing games, streaming video, communicating online via video chat, and anything else you could ask the majority of laptops on the market to do.

Will they run the latest and most CPU-taxing, RAM-eating MMORPGs? Probably not. Will they allow you to edit 4K footage into a cinematic masterpiece? Not a chance. Is that why any of these laptops exist? No, it isn't.

These laptops make small sacrifices to their processing power, RAM, graphics cards, and internal speakers to bring you a product that's perfect for a student going off to college, for a quick internet fix on vacation, or for a high-schooler to get a leg up on his or her classmates who might not have any computer to speak of.

Broken Windows

As you look up and down our list of the top ten budget laptops, you might notice that each and every one of them runs Microsoft Windows. In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know that I'm writing this on an Apple computer running Apple's operating system. Let's talk about why.

There was a time when this was because of Apple's clear superiority to Windows when it came to security and performance. In the past few years, however, Windows has caught up to Apple in almost every category of either, and Windows-platform machines are still the preferred tools of most colleges, hospitals, institutions, and gamers. I'm still an Apple man mainly because I'm used to it now.

To help you choose from among the computers on our list, it's important for you to know the reasons behind your purchase. For what will you use this laptop? If you spend a lot of time talking to relatives through Skype, or Facetime, or some similar video conference app, you'll want to make sure you get the most RAM (Random Access Memory) available among these laptops. They can all handle the video processing for such a service, but when the RAM gets too low, your picture will start skipping and freezing.

If you're more into surfing the web for adorable cat videos, streaming Netflix, etc., then not only is that RAM important, but a quality video card as well. These help render things like HD video fast enough for your computer to display it without any lag.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly for a laptop computer, you want to look at battery life. If you're getting a laptop for only short bursts of occasional travel, and you mostly want to be free to use it around the house, a killer battery life might not be the most important feature. If you work or stream materials on the go, however, there is little of more importance.

To Those Who Wait

If you want a very loose, very entertaining history lesson in early laptop computing, you could take a look at AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, which is a few seasons deep at this point. While the series takes plenty of liberties with the timeline and players in the development of portable personal computing, the actual history of the laptop isn't much clearer.

Sure, you've got release dates and spec sheets that we can all look back on now, comparing 1981's Osborne1 with its hilariously small screen to the more impressive Grid Compass that came out the following year, but as the 80s wore on, corporate espionage and subterfuge ran rampant.

The field has largely leveled out these days, with a few major players building hardware around the Windows platform, with Apple continuing to dominate its high-end market with a closed system, and with hobbyists continuing to build their own boxes.

With each year that passes, last year's technology, speed, and capabilities, which were considered cutting edge just 400 days prior, make their way into the laptops with a big "budget" sticker slapped on the box, and savvy consumers benefit from the tide.



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Last updated on December 23, 2016 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

Our professional staff of writers and researchers have been creating authoritative product recommendations and reviews since 2011. Many of our wikis require expert maintenance, and are authored by individual members of our editorial staff. However, this wiki is currently maintained by multiple members of the ezvid wiki team.


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