Best Cheap Laptops 2016 / 2017

Last Updated:April 15, 2017

Welcome to our weekly updated series on the best cheap laptops based on consumer feedback, hardware power, design and raw value for money.

cheap-laptopsLaptops are becoming faster and faster year in and year out -luckily fierce competition from manufacturers and retailers drives prices own and allow us as consumers to take advantage of major discounts and get more computing power for less. To help narrow your search down we’ve created weekly updated guides covering laptops in various price brackets from laptops under $400 all the way down to laptops under $100 and everything in-between. Our guides are updated regularly with new deals on cheap laptops on sale for the budget conscious and are focused strictly on laptops that stand out the crowd and deserve a spot in the limelight in the battle for the best budget laptop, either through hardware power, outstanding design, or a mixture of both. Unfortunately most major tech blogs and competitors rarely cover laptops within these price ranges which means for now our research is limited mainly to user reviews and direct consumer feedback. Needless to say in many cases this can be even more valuable. Mobile gamers will also want to checkout our popular guide to cheap gaming laptops which offer some additional deals aimed at budget gaming connoisseurs.

How We Decide

We pool reviews and data from hundreds of products to come up with our regularly updated budget laptop buying guides designed to fit any budget and ensure budget conscious users get the most bang for their buck without skimping on the features that are most important to them. Our team are dedicated to finding the best deals possible and our unique ranking score for each laptop takes into account user reviews across a host of leading retailers as well as leading publishers. Whether you are looking for an all-purpose home computer or an on-the-go portable netbook, we’ve got you covered.

Top Laptop Under $200

Lenovo Ideapad 110s 80WG0001US 11.6-inchLenovo Ideapad 110s 80WG0001US 11.6-inch

The Lenovo Ideapad 110s 80WG0001US is an updated version of the Lenovo IdeaPad 100s and now features a more powerful Intel Pentium processor. At a light 2.53-pounds and with its compact 11.6-inch display, this laptop is great for students or for those who are constantly on the go. While the older 100s offered an impressive 9 hour battery life, the new 110s only manages 7 hours off of a single charge. This might have to do with the Pentium processor that has replaced the Atom processor on the 100s. While the Intel Pentium N3060 processor is an improvement over the older Atom processor, it is still not suited for more intensive applications. However, if sending emails, using Skype and browsing the web are all you need it for, then this PC will be more than enough for you. The 2GB of RAM will allow you to use most applications, however it cannot be upgraded and it will struggle with resource hungry applications such as Google Chrome. The 32GB of eMMC flash memory is limited to only 17GB with Windows 10 installed, but users can install a MicroSD card to expand the 110’s storage space. We recommend a high speed 128GB MicroSD card or a good cloud-based storage solution. Like most Windows laptops in this category, you will get a 1 year subscription to Office 365 Personal, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. The display is not the brightest or the most vivid, however at under $200 dollars we can’t expect a Full-HD display.

Specs

  • 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 7 hours battery life
  • 2.53 lbs

Pros

  • Price
  • Good battery life
  • Three USB ports
  • Fast SSD storage
  • Clean and portable design

Cons

  • No optical drive
  • Slightly underpowered hardware
  • Limited storage space
  • Dim display

Summary

The Lenovo Ideapad 110s 80WG0001US is an affordable laptop for home and school use. However, the hardware is slightly underpowered for heavier use.

Lenovo Ideapad 110s 80WG0001US 11.6-inch
from $154.90 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 24-04-2017 10:14 UTC) Details

Laptops Under $200 – Full Guide >>

Top Laptop Under $300

HP 15-F222WM 15.6-inchHP 15-F222WM 15.6-inch

The HP 15-F222WM replaces the 2015 HP 15-F211WM in HP’s line-up of affordable laptops. Priced under $300, the HP 15-F222WM is best suited for home or office use. While its Intel Pentium N3540 processor and 4GB of RAM will easily cope with tasks such as Skype, Internet browsing and sending emails, it is slightly underpowered for more intensive tasks. You might want to consider either an Intel i3 or an Intel i5 based laptop if you intend on working with more intensive apps. Like its predecessor, you get the same 500GB mechanical hard drive which offers a decent amount storage space. However, the entry-level hard drive will mean slower Windows boot speeds and your apps will take a bit longer to load. You will be able to upgrade the hard drive to an SSD, however these are still expensive for the amount of storage space that they offer. One of the key features of the HP 15-F222WM is the touchscreen display. Despite the laptop’s low price, the touchscreen is fairly responsive and this will allow you to easily navigate around Windows or your favorite web browser. However, the HP 15-F222WM still features the same budget display panel which offers a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768 and average viewing angles. While the display does not offer Full-HD resolution, it will still allow you to stream your favorite series or movies in 720p quality. A minor drawback is that the HP 15-F222WM does not feature Bluetooth connectivity. While this is not a train smash, it would have been nice for HP to include it in there updated laptop.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 5.5 hours battery life
  • 5.05 lbs

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Touchscreen display
  • Decent amount of storage
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Slightly underpowered
  • Average keyboard
  • Poor webcam quality
  • No 5GHz WiFi connectivity
  • No Bluetooth

Summary

The HP 15-F222WM is a budget friendly laptop for home or office use. However, if you are looking for a more powerful machine that does more than basic tasks, then this laptop is not right for you.

HP 15-F222WM 15.6-inch
from $267.88 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 24-04-2017 10:14 UTC) Details

Laptops Under $300 – Full Guide >>

Top Laptop Under $400

ASUS F556UA-AB32 15.6-inchASUS F556UA-AB32 15.6-inch

The ASUS F556UA-AB32 replaces the ASUS F555LA-AB31 in ASUS’s line up of affordable laptops. Sporting an updated Intel Core i3-6100U processor, the ASUS F556UA-AB32 now boasts more power than its predecessor. The Skylake-based processor allows the ASUS F556UA-AB32 to run the newer DDR4 RAM, which offers improved performance over its older DDR3L counterpart. While you still only get 4GB of RAM, this will easily cope with basic tasks such as Skype, Internet browsing and word processing. For more RAM hungry apps such as Google Chrome, we recommend adding a second 4GB RAM module, however this is not as easy as with other laptops on the market. If you intend on undertaking a RAM upgrade at home, then we recommend the Crucial 4GB DDR3L RAM module or even the larger Crucial 8GB DDR3L RAM module as great value for money options. ASUS have also doubled the storage space to 1TB, however you still get a slower 5400rpm mechanical drive that will mean slower boot and app loading times. Sporting a crystal clear 15.6-inch Full-HD display, the ASUS F556UA-AB32 will cater to media enthusiasts who enjoy streaming online content. The award winning ASUS SonicMaster audio is paired with stereo speakers to allow you to enjoy your favorite music or audiobooks while you work. ASUS have also used a polymer battery, which offers 2.5 times the lifespan of a standard Li-ion battery. This will allow you to work for longer between charges. Another new feature is the addition of a USB 3.1 Type-C port, which will allow you to use a host of next generation computer peripherals. ASUS have once again included their Ice Cool technology which keeps the touchpad and palmrest area of the laptop nice and cool at all times for ergonomic comfort while typing. All-in-all you get a great laptop for a bargain price.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 6 hours battery life
  • 5.1 lbs

Pros

  • Intel Skylake-based processor
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Ample storage space
  • Polymer battery

Cons

  • Only two full size USB ports
  • Slower hard drive
  • Not easy to upgrade
  • VGA webcam

Summary

The ASUS F556UA-AB32 offers decent hardware for everyday users at a bargain price. However the slower storage drive and the limited RAM might annoy some users as it is not easy to replace.

ASUS F556UA-AB32 15.6-inch
from $389.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 24-04-2017 10:14 UTC) Details

Laptops Under $400 – Full Guide >>

Top Gaming Laptop Under $300

Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW 15.6-inchAcer Aspire ES1-572-31KW 15.6-inch

The cut throat budget laptop market has seen many great laptops being offered by most of the big name brands. Acer is no stranger to the budget market and has been releasing laptops for the budget conscious buyer for a number of years. What you won’t get with the Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW is a high performance gaming laptop, but you will be able to play some of your favorite classics. The integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 graphics chip will even allow you to play Diablo III and CS: GO on medium graphics settings. With almost a quarter of all Overwatch players using integrated graphics, it comes as no surprise that you will be able to play this fun and fast paced shooter. However, don’t expect to play more demanding titles such as Battlefield 1 or Fallout 4 on this machine, as it’s more suited to the casual gamer. The Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW is powered by a Skylake-based Intel Core i3-6100U processor and 4GB of RAM, which will cope with basic tasks with ease. But the 4GB of RAM is slightly underpowered with Windows 10 and it will struggle with certain games. Luckily Acer has made it quite easy to access the internal hardware to upgrade the RAM, we recommend at least 8GB of RAM for smoothest performance. The 1TB mechanical hard drive offers ample storage space for installing games, saving photos and even your favorite videos. To cut costs Acer has used a 5400rpm drive, which for day-to-day use is more than acceptable. However, users who are after faster Windows boot and application loading times can easily upgrade the hard drive to either a hybrid or a SATA based solid state drive.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 6 hours battery life
  • 5.29 lbs

Pros

  • Skylake-based i3 processor
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Ample storage space
  • Price

Cons

  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • Integrated graphics
  • 1366 x 768 pixel display
  • Only one USB 3.0 port

Summary

The Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW is a budget friendly laptop that can be used by the casual gamer thanks to its Intel i3 processor and its HD Graphics 520 GPU. However, the hardware will not run current AAA gaming titles smoothly and is not suited for hardcore gamers.

Acer Aspire ES1-572-31KW 15.6-inch
from $319.99 $299.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 24-04-2017 10:15 UTC) Details

Gaming Laptops Under $300 – Full Guide >>

Top Chromebook

ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6-inchASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6-inch

If you are looking for a strong and sturdy Chromebook that can handle the abuses of the classroom, then the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 is well worth considering. It has been specially designed with nano-molding technology to ensure that it is tough as nails and the rubber bumpers help to protect this Chromebook from impact in unforeseen accidents. It has even been tested by ASAS to endure a 3.9 foot drop. ASUS have also given the Chromebook C202SA-YS02 a spill-resistant keyboard to ensure that this Chromebook will still function in the event of an unforeseen spillage while it is being used. The 180-degree hinged display allows for easier viewing while in group discussions and gives the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 a bit more flexibility when relaxing with your feet up on the sofa. Powering the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 is an Intel Celeron N3060 processor and 4GB of RAM, which combined are more than powerful enough for most Chrome OS tasks. While the standard Microsoft Office cannot be installed on Chrome OS, you will be able to use Google Docs, QuickOffice and Microsoft Office Online for all of your word processing needs. The 16GB of storage will allow for a handful of applications and documents to be stored on the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02, however, it has been designed to be used in conjunction with Google’s Drive cloud storage. You get 100GB of cloud storage space for 2 years from Google, thereafter it will cost $1.99 a month to keep the same amount of storage. If you would prefer an offline solution, then we recommend purchasing a 128GB MicroSD card and installing it into the MicroSD slot for a more permanent storage solution.

Specs

  • 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Chrome OS
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 2.2 lbs

Pros

  • Rugged design
  • MicroSD slot
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • Price
  • 4GB of RAM

Cons

  • Limited storage space
  • No optical drive
  • Non-upgradable
  • Limited amount of apps
  • Linux not supported

Summary

The ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 is a rugged Chromebook that has been designed for the classroom and features double the RAM as many of its competitors.

ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6-inch
from $199.00 $191.25 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 24-04-2017 10:14 UTC) Details

Chromebooks – Full Guide >>

Pro Tips For Making Your Decision

Depending on what you plan on using your new laptop for there are various specs to look out for that may influence your purchasing decision. Although budget laptop users won’t need to get too involved with the technical details as the market for low-end hardware is relatively small, a basic understanding of what everything means and what to look out for based on your unique needs will give you the edge when making your decision.

Students

Students generally only require a laptop that can comfortable browse the web, use word processing apps and watch the odd movie. Due to the mobile requirements of moving around on college or at school mobility is also a prime concern for many students so keeping your laptop lean and lightweight should also be high on your agenda. As a general rule look for laptops with 4GB or more of RAM, a portable design (11-inch or 13-inch laptops are a great idea for users who will be taking their laptop everywhere they go and don’t make sacrificing the screen real estate) and a battery life of 5 hours minimum. Chromebooks are a popular option for those looking for simplicity and who don’t require the use of any MS Office or Windows apps thanks to their mobility and quality designs.

Gamers

Budget gamers are already covering in our guide to gaming laptops under $500 where you’ll find the top picks on cheap gaming laptops with decent entry level GPUs that won’t completely fry your budget.  As a general rule, if looking in the sub-$400 market and gaming is not a primary concern, you can also get away with playing many older games with the integrated Intel HD graphics found on most budget laptops in our cheap laptop guides as well as the Radeon R series equivalent on AMD based laptops. In many cases it may not be worth sacrifices the portability and ease of use in favor if better graphics unless you know you will be doing a fair amount of gaming on your new laptop.

Business

Every business owner knows how important the bottom line is. Why spend $1000 plus on an office laptop when a $400 will get the job done just fine? Business users generally have similar needs as students with word processing and other office applications at the top if the priority list, although laptops designed for office use may not require quite as much portability unless you plan on taking your laptop to meetings often. As per our student recommendations look for a laptop with at least 4GB of RAM for standard office applications and web browsing. If your business requires photo or image processing or more advanced appliations 8GB is recommended. Build quality is also an important factor for many business owners – there’s no point investing in a budget laptop if it’s going to need to be replaced in three years. Lenovo and Dell are two manufacturers who are well know for there business oriented budget laptops which may not have the sleek designs found on many competitors but are built to withstand the test of time with sturdier build quality.

Media Junkies

If you’re planning on using your laptop mostly at home for handling all of your movies, music and other media then portability won’t be your biggest concern which means you are free to focus on areas such as screen quality and laptop audio. Unless you have an external monitor or TV lying around you may also want to explore some 17-inch options where possible. Look for a laptop with a 1 TB hard drive if possible, or at a minimum 500GB, and as above note 4GB of RAM or more as requirement for smooth performance with HD video playback and other tasks.

Hardware + Benchmarks

Your laptops hardware provides the engine for your daily computing and understanding the key components to look out for can help you make the right decision and get the best performance possible. No one likes a computer that freezes and lags under heavy load seriously hindering your ability to work and by checking benchmarks we can easily get  an idea of which hardware will perform the best and which laptops therefore offer the best value for money.

Processors

Your CPU (central processing unit) is the brains of your PC and does most of the number crunching to bring your computer to life. AMD and Intel are the only two mainstream CPU manufactures and compete kneck kneck expecially in the budget market. AMD configurations are generally cheaper than Intel’s and provide excellent value for money although Intel is often still the crowd favorite.

Budget Intel Core-sereis CPU’s  – Fastest to Slowest

Budget AMD A-series, FX-series and E-series CPU’s  – Fastest to Slowest

Intel Pentium-series, Celeron-series and Atom-series CPU’s  – Fastest to Slowest

Graphics

Your GPU (graphic processing unit) differs from your CPU in that in is created specifically for graphic processing in applications such as games and multimedia editing apps.  Generally speaking unless you plan on playing any video games or doing any serious photo or video editing a decent graphics card is not paramount to your laptop experience. Most CPU’s these days come with integrated graphics which are built in as opposed to dedicated graphics cards which are generally found on more powerful machines. As with CPU’s, the main contenders are AMD and Intel who compete neck and neck for the market.

Budget GPU’s – Fastest to Slowest

RAM

Your laptops RAM (or random access memory) is also an important piece of the your PC’s arsenal. RAM is like short term memory for your PC, and the more RAM you have the less change there is of your PC bottlenecking due to limited memory which can seriously hinder performance. For most users, 4GB of RAM is more than sufficient for daily use, although if using advanced applications or running multiple applications at once performance can suffer. If you find yourself running out of RAM you can always just take your laptop in for an upgrade or do it yourself.  Most RAM today is standardized DDR3 RAM and on budget laptops you generally won’t find anything faster.

Display & Screen Quality

Your laptops display is another core piece of your computing experience. If your laptop suffers from poor color production or poor viewing angles  this can put on a dampener on using a PC for many users.  In general on budget  laptops you will find only TN (thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal) displays which can offer variable quality and are almost always inferior to the IPS ( in-plane switching) technology found on more pricey laptops. That said, many budget Chromebooks have started offering IPS displays which puts these budget Chromeboons on the level of more expensive laptops in terms of raw display quality.

Screen resolution is also an important part of your display. In general budget laptops use a 1366 x 786 resolution which is currently the most used screen resolution worldwide. This is compared to the 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution found on more expensive laptops. The extra resolution provides extra screen real estate and makes entertainment and gaming more immersive. Here again Chromebooks stand out from the crowd with many budget Chromebooks offering Full HD IPS displays that are far superior to their budget laptop counterparts.

Most budget laptops come with screen sizes ranges from 11 to 15 inches, with the odd 17-inch also available for users looking for a larger display.

Design & Features

Last but not least, your laptops design, though sometimes a matter of personal preference, is also a huge influencing factor and brings up a number of practical considerations. Some users prefer more basic designs while others simply won’t be satisfied with a run of the mill design that’s too chunky or boring. The obvious consideration here is portability. If your laptop is too big and too heavy, it’s going to turn lugging your laptop around with you and having your PC on you more of a chore than its worth for some people. On the other side of the coin, many smaller laptops make sacrifices in terms of performance to achieve their incredibly lightweight form. Generally Chromebooks and Netbooks of the 11-13 inch variety are popular choices for mobile users, including hybrid tablet / laptops, with some 15-inch options also coming in under the 4.5 pound mark which is comparable to some 13-inch laptops, and again many 15-inch and 17-inch laptops coming in with much heavier weights which are clearly designed more for home or office use with minimal commuting.

In terms of features laptops come with a standard set of connectivity options including USB 3.0, USB 2.0 Ethernet, Bluetooth and Wifi but be sure to check each model to be sure it has all the options you need. Some budget laptops still offer DVD drives, although the general trend is more towards external portable DVD drives with many manufacturers opting to leave them out in favor of a more lightweight and slimmer design.

Our Gaming Laptop Guides

Now that you are well equipped, feel free to browse the guides below for our top picks. You can use this page as a reference when comparing specs and other features or drop us a line if you have any specific questions.

Happy hunting!

The LaptopNinja editorial team

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