Finding the Best Budget Laptops Under $400

Last Updated: February 18, 2017 by

Finding-the-Best-Budget-Laptops-Under-$400

Welcome to our pro budget guide to the best laptops under $400 money can buy based on hardware performance, ease of use, design and raw consumer feedback.

One level up in the price range from our previous guide to laptops under $400 in our series of budget guides to cheap laptops, the $400 dollar price range offers a number of full fledged 15-inch laptop deals as well as more portable 13-inch netbooks that will cover all of our basic computing needs, perfect for studies, word processing media consumption and even entry level gaming. Most of the best full-size budget laptops start at around $350 upwards, the entry point for a new laptop with some half decent modern hardware, although for closer to $300 you will also find some seriously competitive deals on both portable netbooks and all-purpose budget 15-inch laptops. Gamers will also be happy to know that the integrated graphics on all current i3 based chips in this list offers Intel HD 4000 graphics, capable of running

Gamers will also be happy to know that the integrated graphics on all current i3 based chips in this list offers Intel HD 4000 graphics, capable of running many popular games including Counter Strike GO, Dota and League of Legends at playable framerates. The Quad Core based Pentium N3540 chips also offer Bay Trail based Intel graphics which also provide adequate performance for many popular games. Non-gaming users with a bigger budget should also head over to our all-purpose laptop guides for laptops under $500 and $1000 respectively or our high-end laptops guide for some more premium options.  Although often no possible in the mobile world of today, you may also want to browse some budget desktop PC’s on the market if you are considering going for a desktop PC instead. For an all-round solid setup be sure to give our guide to the best computer speakers over at SpeakerNinja a read too.

Primer Laptop Buying Guide

Before we go any further, if you’re not an expert on all of the technical jargon when it comes to PC’s we’d recommend checking out LaptopMag’s laptop buying guide. It’s an excellent resource if you’re not sure what to look out for when buying a new laptop written in pure non techie English. Fellow geeks please feel free to ignore.

Top Picks >> Under $400 >> Chromebooks >> Netbooks >>

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Laptops Under $400 – Top Picks

These are our top picks curated through hours of research each week to provide a one stop guide to the best budget  sub-$400 laptops on the market. This guide is updated regularly with new specials and laptops as they become available so you can be sure you’re not missing out on any great deals.

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. 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 $364.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 17-02-2017 21:46 UTC) Details

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inchAcer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inch

If you are looking for a budget friendly laptop that ticks all the boxes, then the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM is well worth a closer look. It not only features the latest Intel Kaby Lake processor, it also features next generation connectivity such as USB 3.1 Type-C and Bluetooth 4.1. Powered by a 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U processor and 4GB of DDR4 RAM, the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM will easily cope with basic tasks such as video streaming, web browsing and word processing. But the 4GB of RAM will struggle with more hardware intensive apps. Luckily, Acer has fitted the laptop with an access panel that makes upgrading the RAM a whole lot easier. If you are on a tight budget then we recommend installing a second 4GB RAM module, but if your budget is slightly larger, we recommend installing two 8GB RAM modules for a total of 16GB of RAM. While many sub $500 laptops are still being offered with entry level 1366 x 768 display panels, the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM comes with a Full-HD display. The 1920 x 1080 display offers great image quality and with Acer’s ColorBlast technology, you get more than twice the as many colors as other budget laptops. If you spend long hours working on your laptop, then Acer’s BluelightShield feature will help to reduce eye strain by reducing the amount of blue light that is emitted from the display. Overall the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM is packed for of great features that you would expect from more expensive laptops, giving it a great price to performance ratio.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 5.27 lbs

Pros

  • Full-HD display
  • 7th Gen Intel processor
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Battery life
  • Price to performance ratio

Cons

  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • Slower 5400rpm HDD

Summary

The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM offers a lot of great hardware for its sub $400 price tag. But you only get 4GB of RAM and we recommend upgrading to increase the laptop’s day-to-day performance.

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inch
from $349.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 17-02-2017 21:44 UTC) Details

ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 14-inchASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 14-inch

While most budget laptops offer very similar hardware specs, the ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 features hardware specs that are found on higher-end laptops. The sleek design features a brushed aluminum lid and a imitation metal keyboard deck which gives the ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 a high-end look and feel. The Intel Quad-Core Pentium N3700 processor and 4GB of RAM will not win any awards, but will cope with day-to-day tasks such as web browsing, Skype and word processing. While the eMMC solid state drive offers fast Windows boot and app loading times, the 128GB of storage space is limited and users who want to store media will have to look at external and cloud storage options. The Full-HD display offers a maximum resolution of 1920×1080, but the maximum brightness level is lower than many of its competitors and its coverage of the sRGB spectrum is lower than many other Full-HD displays. The Intel HD Graphics are sufficient for running apps such as Netflix and VLC, but it is by no means a gaming chip and will only be able to process older and classic gaming titles. The thin and light design is backed up by a long battery life of over 9 hours off of a single charge, making the ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 a great budget laptop for users on the go.

Specs

  • 14 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 9 hours battery life
  • 3.3 lbs

Pros

  • Thin and light
  • Full-HD display
  • SSD
  • Battery life
  • USB Type-C

Cons

  • Heat under load
  • Low brightness levels
  • Average sound

Summary

Overall the ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 is a great performing budget laptop that offers a sleek design, a solid state drive and a Full-HD display.

ASUS VivoBook E403SA-US21 14-inch
from $399.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 19-02-2017 21:38 UTC) Details

ASUS VivoBook X540LA-SI30205P 15.6-inchASUS VivoBook X540LA-SI30205P 15.6-inch

The ASUS VivoBook X540LA-SI30205P is another one of ASUS’s budget laptops that offers good value for money. For under $400 you get a USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen 1) port, Bang & Olufsen designed audio and a comfortable keyboard for word processing and emailing. Powering the ASUS VivoBook X540LA-SI30205P is a 5th generation Intel Core i3-5020U processor and 4GB of DDR3L RAM, and while it is not the most powerful hardware it will allow you to complete basic tasks with ease. You can easily and cheaply upgrade the RAM to 8GB and this will allow you to run more memory intensive apps such as Photoshop. The 1TB mechanical hard drive offers ample space for storing all of your work and multimedia files, but you do get a slower 5400rpm hard drive for the price. You can upgrade the hard drive to a faster 7200rpm hard drive or if you don’t mind the reduced storage space, then you can look at a superfast solid state drive. The display offers vivid colors and the image quality is good for its price, but the TN display doesn’t offer very good viewing angles. With a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768, the display doesn’t stand out from its competitors and is what we would expect from a laptop priced under $400. When it comes to battery life, the ASUS VivoBook X540LA-SI30205P is no winner either, you can expect between 4-5 hours off of a full charge under ideal conditions.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 4.19 lbs

Pros

  • Value for money
  • B&O designed audio
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Ample storage space

Cons

  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • Older Intel processor
  • Average battery life
  • Only 2 full size USB ports

Summary

The ASUS VivoBook X540LA-SI30205P is a budget friendly laptop that offers great value for your money, but the 4GB of installed RAM might leave it feeling sluggish when it comes to multitasking.

ASUS VivoBook X540LA-SI30205P 15.6-inch
from $318.50 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 17-02-2017 21:44 UTC) Details

HP Pavilion 15-BA079DX 15.6-inchHP Pavilion 15-BA079DX 15.6-inch

HP has been releasing budget friendly laptops for a number of years and it is fair to say that they have mastered the art of producing good entry level laptops. What sets the HP Pavilion 15-BA079DX apart from some of the other HP laptops is the fact that it is completely black and features a responsive touch screen. While it has a plastic construction, it does look quite elegant thanks to the all-black color scheme. While it is in no way a laptop for power users, you do get a 7th generation AMD A10-9600P processor and 6GB of RAM, which will easily cope with all your day-to-day tasks. You won’t have any issues running basic tasks such as web browsing, Skype and word processing. The display is quite average and as with almost all budget laptops you get an entry level 1366 x 768 pixel display. While it won’t offer great viewing angles, it does offer vivid colors and good image quality for 720p video streaming. The 1TB mechanical hard drive offers ample storage space for all of your home and office needs. But it is a slower 5400rpm hard drive which will mean that Windows will take longer to boot and some apps might take longer to launch. You can always swap out the hard drive for an SSD, but for basic everyday use it is not necessary. HP claims a battery life of around 5 hours, but realistically you can expect between 3-4 hours off of a full charge.

Specs

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

Pros

  • 7th generation AMD CPU
  • Ample storage space
  • Lighter than most 15.6-inch laptops
  • All-black color scheme
  • Touchscreen display

Cons

  • Slower Windows boot time
  • Only one USB 3.0 port
  • No AC WiFi

Summary

The HP Pavilion 15-BA079DX is a budget friendly laptop that looks elegant and features a 7th generation AMD processor. But it is not suited for power users looking to edit photos or videos.

HP Pavilion 15-BA079DX 15.6-inch
from $599.99 $374.80 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-11-2016 01:15 UTC) Details

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More Laptops Under $400

Acer Aspire E5-575-54E8 15.6-inchAcer Aspire E5-575-54E8 15.6-inch

With the Aspire E5-575-54E8, Acer has once again created a budget friendly laptop with great hardware and next generation ports. The metallic visual effect gives the Acer Aspire E5-575-54E8 a sleek design that is also extremely beautiful. Powered by a powerful Skylake Intel Core i5-6200U and 6GB of DDR4 RAM, the Acer Aspire E5-575-54E8 will cope with day-to-day tasks with ease. The hardware will also run more intensive apps such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, but we recommend upgrading the RAM to 16GB for better performance. While its slightly more expensive big brother the Aspire E5-575G-53VG features a Full-HD display, the Aspire E5-575-54E8 has a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768. The Acer CineCrystal technology offers brilliant colors and crisp image quality, but the maximum brightness levels are lower than average. To ensure that users have ample storage space for their work and multimedia files, Acer has fitted the Acer Aspire E5-575-54E8 with a 1TB mechanical hard drive. The USB 3.1 Type-C offers users the ability to use next generation external devices and gives the Acer Aspire E5-575-54E8 an edge over many of its competitors. While it is not designed to be a gaming laptop, the Acer Aspire E5-575-54E8 can be used for casual gaming thanks to its Intel HD Graphics 520 GPU chip.

Specs

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

Pros

  • USB Type-C
  • 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Good battery life
  • Price

Cons

  • Dim display
  • Slightly thicker

Summary

The Acer Aspire E5-575-54E8 is a powerful budget friendly laptop that offers great hardware specs and even features a USB 3.1 Type-C port. But the display panel offers lower maximum brightness levels that will be noticeable in well-lit areas.

Acer Aspire E5-575-54E8 15.6-inch
from $379.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Walmart.com
(as of 24-07-2016 05:37 UTC) Details

ASUS-Transformer-Book -T100TAF-C1-GR

Dell Inspiron i3552-8040BLK 15.6-Inch

Dell has quite a range of cheaper laptops especially in the Inspiron series to suite most budgets. The Inspiron i3552-8040BLK comes in at just under $400 and for the price you get a quick Quad Core Intel Pentium N3700 running at 1.6GHz and 4GB of DDR3 RAM, although this isn’t upgradable. Dell has also included an SSD instead of a traditional hard disk drive which delivers very fast bootup and load times. The tradeoff, unfortunately, is that the drive is only 128GB so the user is left with minimal storage. Windows 10 is pre-installed and runs fairly well with this hardware spec. The screen is clear and bright and the battery life is good. Users did complain that the machine did feel a bit plasticky however still sturdy. The Intel HD Graphics are based on the Braswell architecture and don’t offer much in the way of gaming especially for newer games however some older games will run at acceptable framerates on lower graphical settings. All in all this is a great laptop for the user on a tight budget and only needs to perform basic tasks.

Specs

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

Pros

  • Clear display
  • SSD performance
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Maximum RAM is 4GB
  • Minimal storage space
  • No Ethernet

Summary

An affordable budget laptop that offers fast boot up and load times thanks to the SSD. You may want to purchase and external hard drive, however for additional storage.

Dell Inspiron i3552-8040BLK 15.6-Inch
from $339.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 19-02-2017 21:32 UTC) Details

Dell-Inspiron-11-i3147-10000SLV (2)

Dell Inspiron 11 i3147-10000SLV 11.6-inch

The Dell Inspiron i3147-10000SLV is a versatile device offering the convenience of a tablet and laptop in a single package. Its silver colored chassis looks very classy and thanks to sturdy hinges it feels much more solid than a standard budget netbook. It is only 0.8-inch thick and weighs only 3 pounds but still feels bulky in tablet mode when the 11-inch screen is flipped over the keyboard. Despite its small body, the keys are well-spaced and big, so that the typing is as accurate and comfortable as a desktop keyboard. It is powered by a Quad-Core Intel Pentium N3540 processor, which is better than most Intel Atom processors in both performance and battery life. While it is not a machine for serious media editing or gaming, low-resolution image editing, streaming movies, web surfing and casual gaming are possible. The system runs well on the default 4GB of RAM and 500GB, but if you want an extra boost you can upgrade to 8GB of RAM and an SSD. The 6 hours of Battery life is excellent, beating out many similar convertible laptops. By removing the bottom panel, users can easily expand the device’s memory and hard drive. It comes with Windows 10 preinstalled so you don’t have to spend time upgrading like with other laptops that come with the older the Windows 8 operating system. The i3147-3750SLV is not designed for gamers or power users, but if your needs are only basic, it is a reasonably priced ultraportable hybrid packed with essential features and the latest Windows operating system.

Specs

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

Pros

  • Convertible design
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Bright and sharp display
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No SSD
  • Build quality of the keyboard

Summary

A portable hybrid device with a great display and long battery life. The storage and RAM are easily upgradable, however we do recommend adding a SSD for improved performance.

Dell Inspiron 11 i3147-10000SLV 11.6-inch
from $387.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 19-02-2017 21:28 UTC) Details

HP 15-ay091ms Signature Edition 15.6-inchHP 15-ay091ms Signature Edition 15.6-inch

The Signature Edition series of laptops from Microsoft are seemingly unique as they are free of any 3rd-party trialware and bloatware apps. This is a niche offering and perfect for users who would otherwise remove the preinstalled bloatware from their system. The design of the HP 15-ay091ms is similar to most of HP’s budget range and the sturdy plastic shells will be durable enough to withstand being carried around daily for school or college students. The 6th generation Intel Core i3-6100U processor and 8GB of RAM will easily handle everyday tasks and will even be able to run more intensive apps if needed. The 1TB mechanical hard drive offers ample space for storing multimedia and work files. The keyboard is well laid out and makes word processing quite easy and effortless. The Display is a standard 1366 x 768 display panel which is exactly what we expect to find on budget laptops. But this doesn’t stop it from delivering vibrant details and good colors. The display also offers 10-finger multitouch, meaning users will be able to effortlessly navigate around Windows 10. While the colors are good, the viewing angles are very average and this is due to the TN panel that has been used. While one of its predecessors the HP 15-r018dx lacked Bluetooth connectivity, HP has given the HP 15-ay091ms Bluetooth 4.0 for users who want to use their Bluetooth peripherals and save their USB ports. Overall the HP 15-ay091ms Signature Edition is a clean cut budget laptop that has HP’s legendary reliability and a clean version of Windows 10.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • 4.68 lbs

Pros

  • Bloatware free
  • Good display
  • Skylake processor
  • 1TB of storage space

Cons

  • Average battery life
  • No AC WiFi
  • No VGA port
  • Only 1 USB 3.0 port

Summary

The HP 15-ay091ms Signature Edition has been tuned for performance and does not come with any preinstalled 3rd-party bloatware. But the battery life is just above average and only offers around 6 hours off of a single charge.

HP 15-ay091ms Signature Edition 15.6-inch
from $329.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Microsoftstore.com
(as of 21-01-2017 10:24 UTC) Details

Lenovo Z50-75 Signature Edition 15.6-inchLenovo Z50-75 Signature Edition 15.6-inch

Lenovo is no stranger when it comes to offering great laptops for the budget market. One of their latest offerings is the new Lenovo Z50-75 Signature Edition laptop, which offers decent specs and a very attractive price. Its plastic shell looks very unassuming, but it is quite sturdy and will take a bit of a beating without breaking. Sporting AMD’s more powerful FX-7500 processor and a healthy 8GB of RAM, the Lenovo Z50-75 Signature Edition will cope with day-to-day tasks with ease. Featuring a more powerful Radeon R7 GPU, the Lenovo Z50-75 Signature Edition can be used for casual gaming and for video editing. But we do recommend upgrading to 16GB to improve performance while using video and photo editing apps. For those users who need quite a bit off storage space, the Z50-75 offers a sizable 1TB mechanical hard drive for all your multimedia files. Though it is a 5400rpm drive, users can look at upgrading to a Hybrid or solid state drive for increased performance. But a 1TB SSD will set you back quite a few dollars. The display is rather average and this is one area where Lenovo has cut costs. But despite its maximum resolution of 1366 x 768, users can comfortably enjoy 720p videos. While many other laptops offer decent battery life these days, the Z50-75 barely manages to squeeze out 5 hours under ideal conditions. With its average battery life, the Lenovo Z50-75 Signature Edition is more suited as being a desktop replacement at home or at work.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 5.15 lbs

Pros

  • Quad Core FX processor
  • 1TB of storage space
  • 8GB of RAM
  • Price

Cons

  • Battery life
  • Display quality
  • Only one USB 3.0 port

Summary

The Lenovo Z50-75 Signature Edition is one of the latest budget offering from Lenovo, offering decent hardware it will do great as a home or office laptop. But the poor battery life limits its portability.

Lenovo Z50-75 Signature Edition 15.6-inch
from $349.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Microsoftstore.com
(as of 14-09-2016 06:12 UTC) Details

ASUS Transformer Book T100HA-C4-GR 10.1-inch

ASUS Transformer Book T100HA-C4-GR 10.1-inch

If you are constantly on the move and need a device to keep up with you then the Asus Transformer Book T100HA-C4-GR 10.1-inch might just be your perfect travel companion. Able to hold its own in the laptop game the T100HA-C4-GR is also a fantastic 10.1″ tablet. With the full power of Windows 10 at your disposal paired with the new Intel Atom Quad Core Cherry Trail x5-Z8500 processor and a 4GB or DDR3 RAM this device can handle most basic applications with ease. Asus also included a USB type-C connector which ensures compatibility with future peripherals and a 64GB SSD to make sure you have plenty of storage for your files and ultra fast boot times. The bloatware that Asus deemed fit to install does, however, slow down boot times a bit so be sure to uninstall it. Secondly the sound quality leaves something to be desired although this is to be expected in such a thin device but is easily remedied with a pair of headphones. All in all the ASUS Transformer Book T100HA-C4-GR 10.1″ should be considered by anyone who is frequently on the move and doesn’t want to be confined of a traditional laptop.

Specs

  • 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixels (IPS)
  • 9.5 hours battery life
  • 2.28 lbs

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Ultra portible
  • Convertible between a tablet and laptop
  • Touchscreen
  • Windows 10
  • USB Type-C connector

Cons

  • Dull design
  • Poor sound quality
  • Lots of bloatware
  • Keyboard feels flimsy

Summary

The Asus Transformer Book T100HA is the best of both worlds combining a laptop with a tablet while still using Windows 10. While the Asus preinstalled bloatware is a pain the machine performs well and has a crystal clear screen to boot.

ASUS Transformer Book T100HA-C4-GR 10.1-inch
from $299.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 19-02-2017 21:29 UTC) Details

Lenovo-Flex-3-80LX0026US-11.6

Lenovo Flex 3 80LX0026US 11.6-inch

Like the Satellite Radius, the Flex 3 is a budget convertible with a versatile 360-degree hinge, a responsive touchscreen and low-end hardware suitable for basic tasks like video streaming, web browsing and word processing. It has a travel friendly design that weighs just 3 pounds and measures only 0.8 inches thick, with a large battery to get you through the day and then some. With rounded corners, smooth black-plastic finish and brushed-finished interior, it has an almost high-end aesthetic. As a budget convertible, it had to make compromises somewhere and this can be seen on the island style keyboard which feels cheaply made with shallow keys. The touchpad offers better performance with fast response and fluid navigation. The 360 degree hinge allows the keyboard to flex to seamlessly switch to one of these four modes: Laptop, tent, tablet and stand. However, most users will probably spend most of their time on either the tablet or laptop mode. Another budget feature is its 11-inch touch panel with a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. If you put it against a high-end laptop, the low quality of the display becomes evident with faded colors and low brightness. However, the screen is similar to the ones on other budget hybrids and it’s perfectly usable for daily use. Music lovers may be disappointed with its bottom mounted speakers, which produced mediocre audio despite Dolby Digital enhancements. With a 2.16 GHz Intel Celeron N2840 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB Hard Drive, the Flex 3 carries similar hardware as many budget competitors including Radius 11, Stream 11 and Toshiba Chromebook 13. The notebook does well in real world tests involving everyday computing. However, the system performance declines under stressful scenarios like rigorous multitasking and HD video encoding. Forgetting all the minor issues, the Flex 3 is easily one of the best 2-in-1 convertibles in the budget category when it comes to build quality, multimode design and endurance.

Specs

  • 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • 5 hours battery life
  • 3 lbs

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing design
  • Responsive touch panel
  • Lightweight
  • Very affordable
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Dull display
  • Underpowered CPU

Summary

A lightweight affordable device with a accurate and responsive touchscreen. The battery life is impressive and the price is even better. The critical points would be the dull display that lacks crisp colour and the entry level CPU which doesn't handle demanding apps too well.

Lenovo Flex 3 80LX0026US 11.6-inch
from $329.99 $300.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 19-02-2017 21:28 UTC) Details

Toshiba-CB35-B3340-Chromebook-2

Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2 13.3-inch

While most manufacturers brought out a more portable 11-inch Chromebooks, Toshiba wanted to give people more screen space with its 13.3-inch CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2. The original Toshiba Chromebook was criticized for being large, bulky and less portable than many competing Chromebooks. The latest Chromebook 2 has a new and improved design that is sleeker, thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and is closer in size to its small-screen rivals. The keyboard is excellent and so is the trackpad featuring smooth multi-touch gesture controls. Other areas of improvements include screen quality, battery life and processing power. The screen is a Full-HD 1920×1080 IPS display, with rich colors, crisp text and excellent viewing angles. Packed neatly inside is a power efficient Intel Celeron N2840 processor which runs cool and silent and facilitates a lengthy battery life of up to 9 hours. Although, not a particularly fast CPU, it beats most older Intel Atom equipped machines. While the average user should be happy with the Chromebook 2, power users will prefer something in the line of the Intel Core i3 equipped Acer C720. Connectivity ports are also abundant, with multiple USB ports, a full-sized HDMI port and an SD card slot – an essential feature since the system comes with only 16GB of internal storage.

Specs

  • 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Chrome OS
  • 9 hours battery life
  • 2.95 lbs

Pros

  • Great display
  • Clear HD Audio
  • Low price
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • No touchscreen
  • Sharp corners

Summary

An affordable and responsive Chromebook, unfortunately lacking a touchscreen and the sharp corners could be uncomfortable for some.

Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2 13.3-Inch
from $269.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 19-02-2017 21:21 UTC) Details

HP Pavilion 15-R018DX

HP 15-R018DX 15.6-inch

The HP 15-R018DX is a competitively priced laptop with a speedy fourth generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel HD 4400 graphics and a generous amount of storage. The lack of dedicated graphics means it is by no means a serious gaming or video editing machine but the integrated graphics does allow for low-level gaming and even modern games such as Modern Warfare 3 should run smoothly on medium settings. It will, of course, breeze through common office or multimedia applications. The battery won’t last long while playing games but it is acceptable under light use.  Overall, the 15-R018DX  has a solid set of features making it a another great choice for hobbyist gamers on a tight budget.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 8.1
  • 4 hours battery life
  • 4.92 lbs

Pros

  • Large screen
  • Ample storage
  • High quality webcam

Cons

  • No Bluetooth
  • Short battery life

Summary

A good all round machine of which its major selling point is the affordable price. Bluetooth and a longer battery life would have been appreciated.

HP 15-r018dx 15.6-Inch
from $370.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 19-02-2017 21:20 UTC) Details

Dell Inspiron I3542-11001BK 15.6

Dell Inspiron I3542-11001BK 15.6-inch

When it comes to laptops, most budget buyers will prefer performance over aesthetics. The Dell Inspiron I3542-11001BK provides sufficient power for everyday tasks and some more moderate level apps. It has a 15.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 plus a touchscreen which adds extra functionality for Windows 8 navigation, a standard configuration for full sized laptops in this price bracket. Its simple design is constructed entirely out of plastic which helps to keep its weight and cost low. Packing an Intel Core i3-4030 processor and 4 GB memory, it won’t have any problem tackling simple programs but if you want to run bigger applications it is recommended you upgrade the memory to 8 GB. The 750 GB storage can store lots of documents and videos but the transfer rates will be slower than the new 7200 rpm Hard Drives. If storage is your main concern, the i3542-3267bk comes with a bigger hard drive for the same price, but it doesn’t have a touchscreen. The i3542-11001BK has enough USB ports for you to connect multiple peripherals like an external HDD or a Bluetooth mouse and also includes a multiformat DVD burner with double-layer support which lets you record up to 8.5 GB of data in a dual layer DVD. Overall, potential buyers will be impressed with this bestseller’s value for money performance despite its no frills design.

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 8.1
  • 4 hours battery life

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Good performance
  • Sharp touchscreen

Cons

  • Poor sound quality
  • Build quality
  • Webcam quality

Summary

A good entry level machine with good hardware and a responsive touchscreen. Unfortunately the sound quality and webcam leave much to be desired.

Dell Inspiron I3542-11001BK 15.6-Inch
from $351.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 19-02-2017 21:22 UTC) Details


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Chromebooks Under $400

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Top Netbooks Under $400

For those of you that prefer to netbooks, the following is the list of the best Netbooks available for below $400.  These netbooks all have 11-inch screens and are highly portable making them perfect for students or professionals on the move.

This covers all of the current laptops that we’d recommend checking out. If you can spare a few bucks be sure to check our guide to laptops under $500 . For more options and reviews be sure to checkout our other guides to cheap laptops which can help save you time and money in the search for the ultimate machine to meet your needs. If you have more than a few hundred bucks to spare then our best all-purpose laptop guides will be your best bet to find top of the line machines at awesome prices. If you find a new laptop you think deserves a spot on our list not listed here feel free to drop us a line and we’ll get right on it. Let the hunt continue!

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