Buying Guide: How To Find The Best Budget Laptop

There is no doubt that all the expensive ones have more advantages and better performance. Still, it is possible to find a budget laptop that perfectly suits you. Laptops differ from other devices in their mobility and compactness. 

But not only these things make them very popular among computer users. They are also compact and powerful enough to cope with many tasks. In such a way, a laptop can be used as an effective tool for office use, gaming, and watching movies at home or work.

There are many different types of laptops from different brands and in different price ranges. Finding a budget laptop that perfectly matches your wishes and requirements is quite complicated. You will read 11 tips in this article to help you find a suitable budget laptop.

What is a budget laptop, and what can you expect from it?

Budget laptops are usually understood to mean laptops with a price of up to about $500. There are several laptops in this price category. These are mostly Windows and Google laptops because Apple MacBooks are generally much more expensive. 

A budget laptop often has a standard build quality, is not too fast, and is suitable for simple tasks, such as word processing and surfing the internet. If you open many programs simultaneously, the laptop often slows down immediately, and the computer needs a few seconds to perform certain actions.

Budget is often expensive, but this is not always the case with laptops. It is mainly a matter of adjusting your expectations. Suppose you want to buy a budget laptop, except that you have to compromise. 

The battery may also run out faster if you want a faster laptop. And if you want a very light laptop, it may have less memory. If you prepare for this in advance, you can easily find an excellent budget laptop!

1. Think about your use

Although there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all laptop, it is important to find the right device for you. The most important question to ask yourself before buying a laptop is, “How will I use this laptop?” It will be easier to decide which model is suitable for you based on your answer.

On the other hand, if you use your laptop mainly for writing, surfing the internet, sending emails, and streaming video—as many college students do—you will probably be fine with a laptop priced around $500. 

However, if you spend a significant amount of time working with graphics or manipulating audio files, investing in a more powerful machine is worth investing.

2. Determine your budget in advance

Budget laptops can cost anywhere from $100 to $500. If you want to buy a laptop but have a limited budget, you should be realistic about what you can get. For example, while a laptop with the best processor, an SSD drive, and an IPS panel with long battery life and a super-sharp display can be expensive, it might not exist within your price range. 

To find the right laptop for your budget, consider how much money you have to spend and what features are most important to you. Here are some best-selling cheap laptops.

Last updated on 2022-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Do you still want to buy a laptop with all the trimmings for a good price? Then look directly at tip 11.

3. Operating system

chromebook

Your most important consideration should be its operating system when buying a budget laptop. Windows and Chrome OS are the two most popular operating systems. Still, Chrome OS may be more economical for you since Chromebooks are often less expensive than laptops with Windows preinstalled. The least costly Chromebooks are priced from $100.

1. Chrome OS

Chrome OS is Google’s operating system that enables users to access most online services, such as Gmail and Google Drive, and a limited selection of apps, including Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Many people choose a Chromebook because they have reliable Internet connections, prefer Google services over other options, and want computers that perform quickly and provide a simple user experience.

2. Windows

Windows is a powerful operating system that can run most software, such as office suites, music, video editing, photo editing apps, games, etc. Windows also include tablets and touchscreen devices that are optimized for touch input. Because Windows is a more popular operating system than ChromeOS, most peripherals are designed for Windows first and might not work well with ChromeOS. Windows is not as fluid or seamless as ChromeOS; it requires a more powerful laptop to run smoothly.

Suppose you regularly use web-based applications to watch movies, listen to music, or read news articles, and occasionally use a word processor to open, review, and edit documents for work purposes. In that case, Chromebooks are a good choice. 

However, suppose you need to edit documents for work or advanced software applications not typically available on the Google Play store (such as specialized graphic design software). If that’s the case, Windows 10 will be the better option for you.

4. Display

Laptops featuring a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 are commonly known as 1080p laptops. Some budget laptops, however, come with a 1366 x 768 resolution. These laptops appeal to people who don’t want to spend too much money on a laptop but still want something that looks decent.

A resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels provides sufficient screen space for most applications. Lower resolutions can work on smaller screens, such as those measured at 11.6 or 12.5 inches, as long as the image quality is acceptable to the user and does not require excess zooming to see clearly. 

We recommend a display with a higher resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD) for any screen larger than 12.5 inches. The images are sharp, with no pixelation or fuzziness from enlargement.

The resolution determines how clear and detailed your image appears on your laptop screen. Higher resolutions allow you to draw finer lines and curves, making shapes appear smoother. The color range of higher resolutions is also expanded, creating graduated colors. 

Most operating systems automatically adjust the display’s resolution to suit the user’s screen resolution, although users can choose to customize this setting further.

When choosing a laptop, you should consider its display size. A 14- or 15-inch screen is a good option for most people because it balances portability and display size. A 13-inch screen can also be chosen for its portability, although I do not recommend going below 13 inches as the screen will be too small.

5. Processor

choose a mini laptop processor

When comparing two laptops with identical amounts of memory, speed, and storage capacity, their performances will differ exclusively due to the varying speeds of their processors.

The central processing unit (CPU) handles all complex calculations required for the computer to function. It operates in tandem with other parts of the computer’s hardware and the software or apps. It also handles input from and data provided by the user.

As you select a processor for your laptop, keep in mind that a system’s central processing unit (CPU) significantly influences performance. Lower-end laptops are often equipped with Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium, or Intel Core i3 CPUs.

Most laptops that cost less than $500 have an Intel Celeron processor, which will suffice for basic tasks. However, if you want to use the computer for resource-intensive applications, it’s better to get one with an Intel Pentium or Core i3 processor. It’s also possible to find budget laptops with better processors, but you may have to search longer for them.

6. Graphics

graphics card

Most low-cost laptops are equipped with integrated graphics accelerators. This graphics card is considered less desirable than a dedicated card because it shares memory with the system, reducing the amount of RAM available to the user at any given time. Most games will run at lower resolutions and detail levels when using integrated graphics.

You can play some 3D games on a budget laptop like Just Cause 1, GTA San Andreas, Counter-Strike, etc., but fully 3D games with bigger environments and higher fidelity assets can be too demanding to run.

What do you get for $500? AMD’s Ryzen graphics cards, such as the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U, can run modern games, like Call of Duty and Fortnite Battle Royale, at low detail settings. The integrated graphics card is powerful enough for some gaming but will not run most titles at high detail settings or high resolutions—this is a limitation of integrated graphics.

7. Storage 

types of laptop storage

Budget laptops generally feature solid-state drives instead of hard disk drives. Solid-state drives have higher reading and writing speeds when compared to traditional hard disk drives; this means that a computer with an SSD will generally perform faster than a computer with a hard disk drive. However, many budget laptops are equipped with both types of storage medium.

If you’re trying to stay within a tight budget, look for a hard drive with at least 128GB of storage. You’ll still have to rely on cloud storage for large files and apps larger than 10GB, but this will trick most people. If you can afford it, 256GB of storage is preferable, but you’ll have to spend more than $500 to get that much space.

You’ll find that Chromebooks, which run Google’s Chrome operating system, typically use solid-state storage devices—though some budget models may use a small 32GB or 64GB eMMC drive. Solid-state storage is much faster, though SSD drives are more expensive than the eMMC option. I recommend a larger SSD, but eMMC storage will work well for Chromebooks. 

8. RAM

choose a mini laptop ram

Multitasking and more demanding applications, such as rendering graphics or editing video, frequently require more RAM. 8GB of RAM is the sweet spot for a budget laptop because it provides enough memory to run basic programs smoothly without overheating the device. However, resource-intensive apps may still struggle on a low-budget laptop due to issues beyond insufficient RAM.

8 gigabytes of RAM is in the upper range of a $500 budget. You may want to go with 8 gigabytes of RAM if you can afford it, but you should buy a machine with 8 gigabytes if possible because 4 gigabytes or 6 gigabytes are less common and might not be enough for your needs.

For adequate performance for typical computing tasks such as editing office documents, receiving and sending emails, and surfing the internet, most budget laptops should have at least 4GB of RAM.

9. Ports

clean laptop ports

Most budget laptops offer one or two USB 2.0/3.1 ports that can be found either on the laptop’s sides or its front/back. In comparison, a few newer models also offer one or two USB 3.0/3.1 ports that are USB Type C-reversible, meaning that their orientation has no impact on their usability – such ports can be plugged in either way (up or down). 

Most budget laptops have an HDMI video output, either full-size or micro. The connectivity commonly used interface for headphones and microphones is the 3.5 mm audio combo jack. The 4-in-1 SD card reader or the more common micro SD card reader are found on most laptops. If you’d like to connect wirelessly, both Dual-band AC WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 are standard on most laptops. Some have a full-size Ethernet port, but it may not be necessary unless you need one.

10. Battery Life

laptop batteries never exceed 100 wh

The efficient processors in today’s budget and ultra-budget laptops enable these systems to provide good battery life even with small, compact batteries. For example, you can get around 5 to 10 hours of use per charge on a budget laptop, which is usually enough for all-day computing.

You are unlikely to get 7 to 8 hours of battery life when using a laptop whose manufacturers claim it will give you 10 hours on a single charge. We recommend choosing a budget laptop with at least 7 hours of battery life between charges, so you will have enough power to work while away from an outlet.

11. Think about a used laptop, refurbished laptop, or Chromebook

If you want to buy a good, budget laptop, you still have plenty of options. Think, for example, of a Chromebook, second-hand laptop, or refurbished laptop.

1. Chromebook

Chromebooks from Google are fast, reasonable, and very affordable. They are also excellent for surfing the internet, emailing, word processing, and watching Netflix. The operating system, Chrome OS, is a kind of extension to Google Chrome. Because everything happens in the Cloud (i.e., online), the production costs are low, and the laptop is budgeted. It is still very versatile because you can run many Android apps on the laptop. Various well-known laptop brands, such as Acer, HP, and Dell, make Chromebooks from 100 to 500 dollars.

2. Used laptop

If you are looking for a budget laptop, a second-hand laptop is worth considering. On Amazon and eBay, you will find various second-hand laptops. The biggest advantage? You can easily opt for a more expensive model without paying the full price. If you have a smaller budget but still want to take advantage of all the options of a more expensive laptop, then a second-hand laptop is excellent.

3. Refurbished laptop

Are you sure that your second-hand laptop works properly and looks fantastic? Then choose the refurbished laptop. This is also a second-hand laptop, but the manufacturer has completely checked it. If you choose a refurbished laptop from, for example, eBay or Amazon, you can be sure that the laptop’s condition completely corresponds to the website’s description. This way, you never make a wrong choice, and you once again benefit from all the options of a more expensive laptop, but for a smaller price.

Conclusion

If we speak about the budget laptop market, we will see many laptops manufacturers like Dell, Hp, or Asus. However, a perfect laptop for you is not necessarily the best one in this category. 

Usually, budget laptops have enough resources and performance to deal with the basic functions. Still, we must say that if you need a special laptop that has more advanced technologies and a more powerful configuration than if you choose a more expensive one. 

Likewise, budget laptops are not suitable for gamers or heavy-duty users. Budget-friendly laptops are better suited for students who need them for studying and writing simple documents.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you find this information helpful.

For any doubts, “contact us through the comments sections, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top