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 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.
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.
Laptops Under $400 – Overall 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.
With the current demand for portability as well as versatility many manufacturers are turning toward 2-in-1 or convertible devices. Dell’s answer is the Inspiron 11 300, a super lightweight device that combines the power of a laptop with the portability of a tablet. The long lasting battery will keep you going for over eight hours and the inclusion of a full size HDMI port is perfect for those boardroom presentations. While only having a pentium processor does mean multitasking isn’t as smooth as other devices on the market, the 4GB of RAM and 500GB of storage will do the job for most basic applications. Windows 10 also helps with the low spec of this machine as its far lighter on resources than its predecessor. Dell have included a 720P webcam which is great for Skype video conferencing and the Waves MaxxAudio® Pro processing means clear immersive sound. This device is mainly catered toward a student or business professional and should definitely be on your list if you are on the hunt for a bargain all-round laptop for home or the office.
- Intel Pentium N3540 2.16GHz Processor/ 4GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 11.6 Inch WXGA (1366×768) LED-lit Screen
- 500 GB HDD Storage
- Windows 10 Operating System
The Lenovo G50-80L000ALUS delivers surprisingly good performance for a budget laptop. It features an attractive all-black casing made of plastic, which feels cheaper than its pricier aluminum-clad counterparts. However, the Lenovo build quality is comparatively better than many competitors at this price range, and it is strong enough to survive your daily commute to school or work. Its 15.6-inch screen supports a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768 making it more than sufficient for daily computing and watching movies, reading ebooks and browsing the web. Its core hardware components include Intel Core i3-4030U processor, 4GB of RAM and a large 1TB HDD. Many laptops at this price are equipped with much slower Dual Core Intel Celeron processors or Intel Atom processors, so the Intel Core i3 should show a big jump in benchmarks while running everyday as well as multimedia tasks. Budget laptops are generally not expected to run graphic intensive tasks but with the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400, users will be able to enjoy some old or less demanding games. Despite its relatively large screen size and power hungry internals, it has a respectable 5 hours of battery life. For a sub $400 laptop, the G50-80L000ALUS offers a good combination of price, performance and features.
- G50 15.6″ Laptop – Intel Core i3 – 4GB Memory
- 4-cell lithium cylinder battery (2200 mAh)
- AC adapter, power cord
- Software: Veriface Pro and more
If you look at the touchscreen laptops in this budget segment, you’ll find that most of them cut down on performance to reach an affordable price point. However, the HP Pavilion 15-ac121dxis among the few models that offer better than average specs for dirt cheap. It’s plain black design is similar to other cheap HP Pavilion laptops, but it appears quite elegant due to the black licorice finish. The glossy surface on the palm rest area and screen bezels looks sleek but catch fingerprints easily. Overall, the build quality is solid considering its price. Weighing 5.34 pounds and measuring just 1.02 inch thin, it’s easy to pack and carry. It is slightly heavier than some competitors because it includes a multiformat DVD burner. Its non-backlit keyboard is full sized with a separate numeric keypad on the right for fast data entry. The standard 15.6-inch display with a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768 delivers crisp images and natural colors. The touchscreen is very responsive, allowing smooth navigation through the Windows 8.1 interface. The DTS Studio enhanced speakers offer sufficient volume and clarity to enjoy movies and music and the 15-ac121dx includes more than adequate hardware for the price. It comes with a spacious 750 GB hard drive and 6GB of RAM. Powered by the latest Fifth generation Core i3-5010U and adequate amount of system memory, it delivers reliable performance on daily tasks and can even handle multiple applications without delay. The battery life of over 3.5 hours is a bit shorter than expected. With two USB 2.0, a USB 3.0, RJ 45, HDMI port and an SD Card reader, all essential ports are included.
- 5th Gen Intel® Core™ i3-5010U 2.1GHz
- 6GB DDR3L SDRAM
- Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive
- 15.6″ WLED-backlit high-definition touch screen 1366 x 768
- 750GB Serial ATA hard drive (7200 rpm)
- Intel® HD Graphics 5500
The Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5102 features an old school design with a black polycarbonate casing with a non-removable back panel. The sealed back panel makes it very difficult to replace the battery or to upgrade internal components thought it makes for a sturdier build. The textured surface on the back looks and feels nice to the touch but it doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a budget laptop. For a 15.6-inch laptop it packs relatively thin profile and manageable weight of only 4.6 pounds, much lighter than many competitors. It has a traditional keyboard with scissor-switch keys that can be popped off. The keys are not as high quality as those on modern chiclet-style keyboard but are full size and comfortable to type on. The 15.6 screen has a 1366 x 768 resolution which is standard in this price range. Text and images look clear without any unwanted pixilation or color distortions. In the connectivity department it features two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, a gigabit Ethernet port and a VGA port. The C55D-B5102 is equipped with an AMD A8-6410 quad-core processor with integrated AMD Radeon R5 graphics which perform well on everyday tasks as well as multimedia benchmarks. The R5 Graphics will let you play old games fluently and some new at lower settings, which is not something you’d usually expect from a sub-$300 laptop. To seal the deal it for performance conscious users has 4GB of RAM and a generous 1TB hard drive, the highest specs you’ll get in this price bracket.
- AMD A8 quad-core accelerated processor & AMD Radeon R5 graphics
- 15.6″ LED-backlit TFT high-definition widescreen display / 1366 x 768 resolution
- 4GB DDR3L Memory / 1TB Hard Drive
- DVD±RW/CD-RW / AMD Radeon R5 graphics
- Windows 8.1 64-bit / High-Definition webcam
The HP 15-G227WM has basically the same specs as the cheaper HP 15-F305DX but sports a more attractive red chassis and includes additional accessories like a wireless mouse, an 8GB Flash drive and a zipper laptop sleeve. At just 4.8 pounds and measuring 1-inch thick it is one of the thinnest and lightest 15-inch laptops with an optical drive. The full-sized keyboard in black looks appealing surrounded by a glossy red surface. The laptop provides the usual assortment of ports that includes three USB ports, an Ethernet port, and an HDMI port. The 15-G227W’s WLED screen offers a max resolution of 1366 X 768 pixels which is enough for basic viewing. You can’t get Full-HD displays at this price except on Chromebooks like the Samsung XE503C32. For processing, this laptop uses an AMD A6-5200 Quad Core processor and it has 4GB of RAM. This not an upgradeable unit, meaning there is no expansion slot for the RAM. Browsing multiple Internet tabs, emailing, Skype chats and casual photo editing are some of the things you’ll be doing on this machine. However, the entry-level AMD processor along with a weak AMD Radeon HD 8400 Graphics makes it too slow for advanced gaming and demanding applications. While the CPU is not particularly power efficient, the laptop lasts an impressive 5 hours on battery. At under $400, there are better alternatives equipped with the faster Intel Core i5 or Core i3 processors, but if you’re a user with modest requirements the better built and sleeker 15-G227WM will serve you well at your home, office and school.
- AMD Quad-Core A6-5200 processor 2.0GHz, 2MB L2 Cache
- 4GB DDR3 SDRAM system memory
- 500GB SATA hard drive, SuperMulti DVD Burner
- 15.6″ HD BrightView WLED-backlit display
- 10/100Base-T Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN
The Asus F555LA-AB31 is a new addition to the Asus family. Sporting a crystal clear 15.6” matte Full HD display that is viewable from nearly all angles, the F555LA is perfect for media enthusiasts. The award winning Asus Sonicmaster sound paired with the brilliant display make watching HD content a pleasant experience, although some users did report minor screen bleed around the edges. Asus have 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. Another great advantage is Windows 10 being pre-installed which is far better at utilizing hardware efficiently allowing for better performance than windows 8.1. While not the fastest on the market, the Intel Core i3 coupled with 4GB of DDR3 RAM make for an all round pleasant computing experience running basic day to day apps for a bargain price.
- Intel 2.1 GHz Core i3-5010U
- 4GB DDR3 SDRAM system memory
- 500GB SATA hard drive, SuperMulti DVD Burner
- 15.6″ Full HD display
- 802.11b/g/n/AC Wireless LAN
Note: This product is priced above $400. Like most low-end laptops, the plastic shelled Lenovo G50-59421807 has neither an outstanding appearance or powerful internal hardware. Designed for the average user, it sports a minimalistic design and packs just enough power to run basic tasks on Windows 8. The textured black casing looks professional and doesn’t attract as much fingerprints as glossy surfaces on competitors like the HP Pavilion 15 and Dell Inspiron 15. With a bright 15.6-inch screen, a full-size keyboard and a battery life of almost 5 hours, it is well-suited for productivity users who want a comfortable machine for working with documents. At 4.6 pounds it is much lighter than common 15-inch laptops, and it also includes an optical drive. It’s equipped with an Intel Core i3-4030u processor, 500GB Hard Drive and 6GB of RAM as opposed to 4GB in many competitors. It handles normal tasks such as video streaming, web browsing and spreadsheets without any issue. With a higher than standard amount of memory, it keeps Windows from bogging down as you open multiple browser tabs and multiple programs. Furthermore, you can add up to 16GB of RAM and upgrade hard drive via empty slots inside the bottom cover. Light gaming is also possible with the integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics. Overall, budget buyers will love the G50-59421807 for its large screen laptop, slim profile and comprehensive spec sheet.
- Intel Core i3-4030U 1.9 GHz Processor
- 6 GB DDR3 RAM
- 500 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
- 15.6-Inch HD (1366 x 768) Display
- Windows 8.1
The HP 15-f215dx features a straightforward design which hides a lot power under the hood. It has smooth plastic body that is light and comfortable to carry. While most competitors are equipped with underpowered Intel Celeron and entry-level AMD processors, this 15-inch laptop features a powerful AMD A8-6410 quad-core chip which is designed for mid-range performance. Backed by 4 GB of RAM, the A8 processor can easily tackle daily web, office and multimedia tasks, and the integrated AMD Radeon R5 graphics will let you play modern games at medium to low settings. Its 750GB hard drive is the biggest you will see at this price range, but its speed is quite slow at 5400 rpm. However, features like faster Hard Drives, premium build and high-res screen are expected only on higher-end systems. There is no doubt that it one of the top performers here, but its power comes at the cost of battery life which averages just around 4.5 hours. Other features include the usual USB ports, an HDMI port, card reader and a DVD burner. Overall, the 15-f215dx is one of the fastest notebooks at this price, and it has better price to feature/performance ratio than most competitors.
- AMD Quad-Core A8-6410 Accelerated Processor with AMD Radeon R5 graphics；
- 4GB DDR3L SDRAM/750GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm);
- 15.6″ WLED-backlit high-definition display/1366 x 768 resolution;
- DVD±RW/CD-RW drive/Built-in webcam and integrated digital microphone;
- Windows 8.1 64-bit /Built-in wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n);
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.
- 4th Gen Intel Core i3-4030U processor / Intel HD graphics
- 15.6″ LED-backlit high-definition capacitive touch-screen display
- 4GB DDR3L SDRAM / 750GB hard drive
- DVD±RW/CD-RW / TrueVision high-definition webcam /Bluetooth 4.0 interface
- Windows 8.1 64-bit / Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n
If you’re not an advanced user, your laptop usage will be limited to basic tasks like web browsing, watching videos and running everyday software. The Acer Aspire E1-532-2616 with its Intel Celeron 2957U processor and 4GB of RAM is another contender capable of taking care of your daily tasks with ease and has received universal praise as a top budget notebook. As with most laptops in this category, its Intel HD Graphics won’t let you run any modern games or graphics designing applications, but low requirement games might be playable. Like most of its counterparts, it has a 500GB hard drive which is enough for most people but it may run out quickly if you’re into downloading large media files. It has a nice full keyboard with well-spaced keys, allowing you to type your long reports with high accuracy. It has a 15.6-inch screen with good viewing angles and fairly accurate colors for an enjoyable viewing experience. Budget users could care less about the design and looks, but they’ll be glad to know that the E1-532-2616, with its sleek surface and thin profile, isn’t the cheapest looking laptop here despite its low price. It includes all the necessary ports and connectivity options as well as a DVD-writer to backup your files. The Acer Aspire E1-532-2616 is another great option for those looking for a cheap yet well-built laptop to tackle daily tasks smoothly.
- Intel Celeron 2957U (1.40GHz)
- 4GB Memory 500GB HDD
- Intel HD Graphics
- 1366 x 768
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
The Toshiba 10.1″ Satellite Click10 is a tablet/notebook hybrid running the latest Windows 10 operating system. Measuring 0.4 inch thick and weighing 1.3 pounds, it is heavier and thicker than most high-end tablets of its size, but it’s equally powerful for daily tasks and costs less despite including a keyboard dock. Like other hybrids, this device can function both as a portable on-the-go notebook and a multimedia tablet by detaching the keyboard. Switching to tablet mode takes a few seconds, as it can be unlocked by a press of a button on the keyboard. The device is equipped with plenty of ports, including two full-sized USB 2.0 ports on the keyboard, and a micro USB port, micro HDMI output and microSD card slot on the edge of the tablet. Despite its small size, the keyboard is great for typing because of the full-sized and well-spaced keys that are distributed right to the edge of the keyboard. By itself, the tablet lasts 8 hours but the battery inside the keyboard dock extends its stamina to 15 hours to get you through the day. The 10.1 inch IPS screen has 1920 x 1200 resolution, delivering sharp and vivid visuals. Whether you’re using it in laptop mode or tablet mode, the display quality remains the same in any angle. Its internals include an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB flash storage. Hence, it is clearly not a powerhouse, but for email checking, video playback and typing on the move, it’s more than adequate. All in all the Click10 is a value for money option for users who are looking for a cheap yet reasonably fast alternative to the pricier Microsoft Surface 3.
- 1.6 GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Quad-Core
- 2GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 RAM
- 10.1″ TruBrite TFT display
- 1920 x 1200 Native Resolution
The Aspire E 15 E5-571-33BV is reasonably priced 15-inch budget laptop featuring a relatively thin frame, long battery life and the specifications to meet the requirements of a basic user. Its black chassis has an uncluttered design with a brush metal finish for a professional look. There is a full sized island-style keyboard for a tactile typing experience, while the dedicated numeric keypad enables fast and accurate data entry. The Precision Touchpad is compatible with Windows 8 multitouch gestures like pinch, flick and swirl, which makes navigation as smooth as on a touchscreen. The 15.6-inch HD LCD display is fairly sharp, bright and shows colors accurately for a satisfying multimedia and entertainment experience. If you want to watch Full-HD contents on a larger screen, you can output your Laptop’s video to a HDTV via the HDMI port. Powered by a 4th Generation Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of Ram, it provides reliable performance for daily tasks at school, office or home. The onboard Intel HD 4400 graphics can also handle older games at medium settings smoothly. If needed, its memory can be upgraded to 16GB. However, the underside is covered by one piece and there aren’t any removable hatch to access individual hardware components, which means accessing the empty RAM slot can be tricky for non-technical users. Under moderate use it can run almost five hours on battery, outlasting most of its competitors in the endurance department.
- Intel Core i3-4005U Processor (1.7 GHz)
- 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 500 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
- 15.6-Inch Screen, Intel HD Graphics 4400
- Windows 8.1, 7-hour battery life
The ASUS D550CA-RS31 features an elegant design with a textured finish for a comfortable grip with superb scratch prevention. Weighing just 4.7 pounds, it is more lightweight than many other 15-inch budget priced models and hasn’t excluded the DVD burner to shed its weight. The Intel Core i3 processor is a nice upgrade from the slower Celeron and Pentium N series normally found on cheaper devices. The overall performance is just below the former Intel Core i5-2467M and the 6GB of memory is the highest amount of RAM offered in this price range. The C55-A5281 is the only other laptop with same amount of RAM, but it has a slower processor and a much higher price. This configuration allows you to breeze through general tasks as well as some slightly demanding applications like Photoshop. However, the integrated Intel HD 4000 won’t allow you play the latest games on anything less than the absolute lowest settings. While all the usual connectivity features are included, there are only two USB ports onboard which may be a limitation for some users. The D550CA-RS3 is a great laptop that makes minimum sacrifices on the essential features, doesn’t cost as much as other portable alternatives and delivers a smooth experience for the average Windows user.
- Intel Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz. Win 8
- 6GB RAM. 500GB Hard Drive.
- DL DVD±RW/CD-RW Super Multi. 720P HD Webcam.
- Wireless 802.11N, Ethernet port.
- 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA, SDXC card reader.
The 17-inch Toshiba Satellite L75-B7270 offers users all the screen real estate they need for widescreen movies, Internet browsing, and spreadsheet navigation. Its thick and glossy design may not suit everyone’s taste, but at barely 6 pounds it is the lightest big screen laptop on this list. However, because of its large size it draws more power leaving it with a rather short 3.8 hours of battery life. It comes with an Intel Pentium Processor 3558U processor, 4GB of RAM upgradable to 16GB, and 500GB hard drive. Thus, it is a laptop suitable for regular users and is not intended for hardcore gamers or high-tech professionals. Standard features include a full-sized keyboard, a USB 3.0 port, a memory card reader, an HDMI port, Bluetooth, a DVD drive and DTS sound. The L75-B7270 is a great choice if you’re looking for a inexpensive desktop replacement with a large screen laptop, but if you need longer battery life check out the Dell Inspiron i5748-1143sLV which has the exact internal specs and a more modern design, albeit at a slightly higher price.
- Intel® Pentium® Processor 3558U (1.7 GHz)
- 4GB DDR3L memory: Upgradeable to 16GB, 500 GB Hard Drive
- 17.3-inch diagonal, HD+, TruBrite®, LED-Backlit Display. (1600 x 900)
- DVD SuperMulti drive supporting 11 formats.
- Windows 8.1
- 3.5 hours battery life
The Lenovo Miix 2 is a detachable hybrid tablet/notebook designed for budget buyers who can’t decide whether to get a basic Windows laptop or a large screen tablet. Its display is locked to a detachable keyboard via magnetic latches which enable it to be used both as tablet and a compact notebook. The Mixx 2 is primarily a tablet because all of its core hardware reside in the screen itself, and this makes it a bit top heavy when it’s attached to the keyboard. The keyboard looks a little cramped but is comfortable enough for typing. It can be docked in different ways to enter either typing mode, tent mode or display mode with the keyboard behind the screen. However, once docked, the display angle cannot be adjusted like with a standard laptop. The screen part measures 0.4 inches thick and weighs 1.3 pounds, which is on par with the dimensions of most 10-inch tablets. The keyboard dock has two full-size USB 2.0 ports and a subwoofer that provides bass to the tablet’s built-in JBL stereo speakers on the bottom. The tablet includes a mini-HDMI port, a micro-USB 2.0 port, a micro-SD card slot and a headphone jack. There is also a windows key at the bottom border. Overall, the device looks sleek with its silver finish and angular edges similar to many ultrabooks. Its 10.1-inch UPS screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and 10-point multi-touch feature. The display quality is optimum with accurate colors, decent brightness and wide viewing angles. With an Intel Atom Z3745 processor and 2GB of RAM, this device is very responsive and fast enough for document creation, movie streaming and simple image editing. Its battery life stands at a respectable 8 hours outlasting competitors like Asus T200TA and Aspire Switch 10.
- 1.33 GHz Intel Atom Z3745 Quad-Core
- 2GB of 1066 MHz LPDDR3 RAM
- 64GB of Flash Storage
- Integrated Intel HD Graphics
Top Chromebooks Under $400
People usually associate Chromebooks with small-screen productivity-oriented laptops for schools or offices. The C910-C37P, on the other hand, offers larger screen real estate with a 15.6-inch Full-HD IPS screen. If you’re coming from a garden variety TN panels, you will see a big improvement in color accuracy, contrast and viewing angles. Despite its large proportions, at just 4.8 pounds, it’s not as heavy as similar sized Windows laptops, and its battery lasts a lengthy 9 hours – similar to many smaller chromebooks and Windows ultrabooks. As for its design, Acer has reinforced its textured cover to endure accidental force and drops, and the hinges are robustly fixed without feeling too tight. It has a typical Chromebook style chiclet keyboard that leaves out dedicated number pad and Windows buttons like delete, print screen and caps lock. Keys are well spaced so that the typing accuracy won’t be any different from a regular keyboard. Its internal hardware includes the new Intel Celeron 3205U Processor, 4GB Ram and a 32GB SSD. You get a more powerful system than ARM-based Chromebooks like the Samsung Chromebook 2 and Intel Celeron equipped Toshiba CB35. However, the CB35 has a better quality screen. Overall, audiophiles, movie lovers and productivity users will love the bigger, affordable and more capable C910-C37P Chromebook.
- Intel Celeron Dual-Core Processor 3205U (1.5 GHZ)
- 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 32 GB Solid-State Drive
- 16-Inch HD Screen, Intel HD Graphics
- Chrome, Up to 9-hour battery life
As Chrome OS is expanding in the market, the Chromebooks are slowly stepping into mainstream offline computing rather than running exclusively online. The Acer C720-3404 is an updated Chromebook model with significantly more computing power than its predecessors. It has an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM which are huge upgrades considering many previous as well as existing models feature far slower and less efficient Intel Atom and Celeron CPUs. Coming from an older generation of Chromebooks, users will experience a faster and more responsive performance in multitasking and a longer battery life. With these upgrades, Acer has upped the price of the C720-3404 quite significantly, making it as expensive as many entry-level Windows 8 laptops. However, the Windows laptops in this price range do not offer the same battery life and portability.
- Intel Core i3-4005U 1.7 GHz (3 MB Cache)
- 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 32 GB Solid-State Drive
- 11.6-Inch Screen, Intel HD Graphics 4400
- Chrome, 8.5-hour battery life
The Acer Chromebook 13 is Acer’s new and improved Chromebook that is both inside and out more sophisticated than virtually all competing Chromebook models. The upscale design consists of a slim, angular body that is just 0.17-inches thick and it even includes a full-sized keyboard and large touchpad. It has a Full-HD, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display not present in any large screen Chromebooks including the 13-inch Toshiba Chromebook and HP Chromebook 14. The biggest step up is the new NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor which lets the Chromebook 13 ditch its fan and maintain a slim profile, while delivering performance comparable to or better than the Intel powered Chromebooks. The new processor also helped it achieve a best in class 11 hours of battery life. However, on multitasking the C720-3404 with its Intel Core i3 processor proved stronger than the Tegra K1. It has 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, the highest configuration available on Chromebooks. If you are ready to embrace the Chrome platform in all its glory, the Acer Chromebook 13 makes a strong statement with its superior hardware, minimalistic design and a price tag of $379. For the same price, you can get the more portable 11-inch Acer C720-3404, which is faster but with a lower battery life and doesn’t include a Full-HD screen.
- NVIDIA Tegra K1 Quad Core 2.1 GHz Processor
- 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 32 GB Internal Storage
- 13.3-Inch Screen, NVIDIA Kepler GPU with 192 NVIDIA CUDA cores
- Chrome, 11-hour battery life
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.
- Intel® Celeron® Processor N2840
- 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM memory
- 16 GB Solid-State Drive
- 13-inch IPS Screen, Intel HD graphics
- 9-hour battery life
The Chromebook 2 is currently one of our top laptop picks running on Chrome OS. It is pricier than other competing models but is worth the premium price considering its stylish looks, lightweight design and solid set of features. Many consider this a netbook or a good tablet alternative but it actually looks and feels like a high-class laptop. There is also a big leap in quality over previously released Chromebooks including a sharper full-HD display, faster processor, double the memory and longer battery life. Regular online users will prefer this model over most Windows notebooks in its price range thanks to it’s top class design, excellent portability and exceptional battery life. Even though the Chromebook 2 is not currently on special, it comes highly recommended, although the more budget conscious may always want to consider the latest Toshiba Chromebook which offers similar performance at a cheaper price.
- Samsung Exynos 5 Octa 5800 2.0 GHz Processor (2 MB Cache)
- 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 16 GB Solid-State Drive
- 13.3-Inch Screen, 1920 x 1080 LED Full HD Resolution
- Chrome OS, 8.5-hour battery life
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.
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.
- Intel Pentium N3540 2.16 GHz Processor
- 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM; Integrated Intel HD Graphics
- 500 GB HDD Storage; No Optical Drive
- 11.6 Inch WXGA (1366×768) LED-lit Screen
- Windows 10 Operating System; Silver Chassis
The Transformer Book Chi with its all metal design boasts superior build quality than most notebooks at this price. However, you are trading off screen real estate and hardware performance for portability and hybrid functionality. While the original T100 felt more like a budget device, the T100 Chi swaps its predecessor’s bulky plastic chassis for a 0.5-inch aluminum unibody exterior. It uses a magnetic latch to hold the tablet and keyboard firmly together, instead of the flimsy clamps that were used in the original. Along the edge of the screen you’ll find a Micro USB 2.0 port, a Micro USB 3.0 port, micro-HDMI, a micro-SD slot and a 3.5 mm audio jack. Improvements have also been made in the display and performance department. The T100 Chi comes with a sharp 1,920 x 1,200 pixel-resolution touch display with excellent viewing angles.. The brightness is enough for indoor use, but the glossy surface makes it difficult to see outdoors. It also supports the Asus Active Stylus Pen that’s sold separately. Inside, it has a 1.46 GHz Quad-Core Intel Atom Z3775 processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage. This hardware is geared towards everyday tasks like spreadsheet editing, browsing, emails, video playback and light picture editing. A weak integrated graphics combined with a small memory and storage makes it unsuitable for running large applications and games. However, less power means more battery life, and the T100 Chi lasts almost 10 hours on a charge. In conclusion, this device is suitable for any basic user who is looking for extra mobility and a premium design on a budget.
- 10.1″ IPS, 1920-by-1200 resolution. Corning Concore Glass.
- Support for ASUS Active Stylus Pen (256 pressure levels).
- 64GB all-flash storage. 1TB Microsoft One Drive (1 year free).
- High resolution 5MP back Camera and 2MP front Camera.
- All-Alumnium .3-Inch Ultra-Slim Unibody Construction.
- 10-Hours Battery Life.
The Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L15W-B1120 is a sleek laptop with a 360-degree flip and fold hinge that allows its screen to fold into various angles to be used in five distinct modes – tablet, laptop, presentation, tabletop and audience mode. The sealed design of the satin gold chassis looks very sleek, and, without noisy vent fans, the laptop runs quiet all the time. Measuring only 0.8-inches thin, it will easily slip into your backpack. To achieve its compact form factor and a weight of just 2.8 pounds it has left out an optical drive and large ports including VGA and Ethernet. It has only two USB ports, an HDMI port and a card reader slot. Its 11.6-inch touchscreen is sufficiently bright for typing, web browsing, and videos but it’s not something you’d want to edit high-res pictures on. In terms of performance, the Intel Pentium 2.66GHz processor backed by 4GB of RAM will have no problem with basic tasks. The operating system boots quickly and there is no lag while opening multiple tabs in the browser. It has a 128GB SSD, which is blazing fast compared to normal hard drives and improves the overall Windows 8 experience with shorter loading times. While the storage is enough for most office and home users, if you want to install lot of big programs and backup HD movies, you will have to spend extra on an external storage. The battery lasts more than 5 hours in light use and about 4.5 hours on heavy use like watching BluRay movies with the Wi-Fi on and browsers open in the background. If you need a travel friendly laptop that can serve you has a tablet when needed, the L15W-B1120 packs excellent features for its price.
- Intel Pentium 2.66 GHz Processor
- 4 GB RAM, 128GB Solid-State Drive
- 11.6-Inch Screen, Mobile Intel HD graphics
- Windows 8.1
Like many budget convertible laptops, the 11-n010dx x360 is basically a Windows tablet with an attached keyboard. When compared to the latest tablets, it is thicker and heavier, but considering its internal hardware and dual functionality, its price sounds more reasonable. The small 11-inch screen is what makes this laptop compact but the size is still large enough for a comfortable viewing experience while reading ebooks, browsing the web or watching movies. Inside, it houses an Intel Pentium N3520 Quad Core processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. This specification outperforms many Celeron processor equipped competitors available at this price range. Furthermore, the port options are plenty with three USB ports, an HDMI-out and Bluetooth. The built-in dual speakers with subwoofer produce clear sound enhanced by Beats audio technology, but it’s definitely not a stand out feature on this laptop. If you’re looking for a basic laptop with a modern design, the 11-n010dx x360 has a 360 degree flip and fold design. Besides the normal laptop mode, you can fold the screen on top of the keyboard to use it as a tablet or simply flip it into stand mode to sit back and enjoy your videos.
- Intel Pentium processor N3520 2.17GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.42GHz.
- 11.6-Inch LED-backlit touch-screen display with 1366 x 768 resolution
- 500GB hard drive (5400 rpm)with Microsoft Windows 8.1 64-bit operating system
- Note: Optical drive not included
More Laptops Under $400
Dell Inspiron 15 i3542-3267BK
Much like the i3542-5000BK, the Dell Inspiron 15 i3542-3267BK hits all the marks for a budget laptop. Like the 5000BK, the 3267BK is powered by an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM making it the perfect laptop for daily tasks and office work. The 3267BK is almost identical to the 5000BK in every way with the exception of the touchscreen and hard drive. The 3267BK is a standard laptop with no touchscreen but instead it includes a 1TB hard drive giving you even more space to store your favorite documents, music, pictures and movies. While the 3267BK won’t set any records, it still provides you with enough processing power for normal usage and allows for a smooth and quick working experience. The screen, while not a touchscreen, is bright and clear even though it only runs at 1366×768 resolution. While not a good machine for gaming, the Dell Inspiron 15 i3542-3267BK is a great machine for students at school or on the job and will handle all basic home computing needs as well.
- Intel Core i3-4030U processor 1.90GHz, 3MB Cache
- 4 GB DDR3
- 1000 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
- 15-Inch Screen
- Windows 8.1
The HP 15-g012dx packs some surprisingly powerful hardware in a modest package. It comes with a Quad-Core AMD A8-6410 processor, the new Radeon R5 graphics and a 750 GB hard drive which is larger than what many other alternative laptops are offering. The AMD A8 scores slightly lower CPU marks when stacked against the newer Intel Core i3 processor, but it will perform day to day tasks sufficiently. While it includes integrated graphics it still offers performance comparable to a lot of entry level dedicated GPUs and even some gaming titles from 2014 will run quite smoothly under low to medium settings. Remaining features are what you would expect in a budget laptop, but overall considering its hardware the 15-g012dx packs some real punch for its price.
- AMD Quad-Core A8-6410 Accelerated Processor with AMD Radeon R5 graphics
- 15.6″ WLED-backlit high-definition display
- 4GB DDR3L SDRAM / 750GB hard drive
- DVD±RW/CD-RW drive / HP TrueVision high-definition webcam
- Windows 8.1 64-bit / 802.11b/g/n WLAN
If you are shopping for a laptop on a seriously tight budget, then the Dell Inspiron i3542-1666 BK is the laptop to get. As one of the cheapest options in this list, it includes a Pentium 3558U Dual-Core CPU, 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive. At first glance, these specs may seem meager but in actuality it is on par with other, more expensive Dual-Core laptops in this list. Where this laptop truly shines is its battery life. With a battery life of over 6 hours, this is the perfect laptop for travelers or users who don’t enjoy being attached to wires throughout the day.
- Intel Pentium 3558U Processor
- 4GB DDR3
- 500 GB Hard Drive
- 15.6-Inch Screen, Integrated Graphics
- Windows 8.1
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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