Best Laptops for the Money

Best Laptops for the Money

Looking for the best laptop for the money for organizing files, working with documents, websites, social network, and using as a storage? Let me make you sure that having $300 you can buy a good cheap laptop.

12 Best Laptops for the Money

Top 3 Best Laptops for the Money

For a photo retoucher, designer or video blogger a laptop or computer is the main earning tool but for other ordinary users it plays a smaller role. If you don’t want to spend too much money, because you don’t need to perform complex tasks, then the following 12 budget laptops under $300, $400 and $500 can become a good choice for you.


1. Lenovo IdeaPad 320

Lenovo ideapad 320 Buy for $280 on Amazon

Specs: 15.6” (1366 × 768), Intel Celeron N3350 Dual-Core Processor, Intel HD Graphics 500, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD

Pros+
  • High build quality
  • Expandable RAM
  • Much storage space
Cons-
  • Poor performance
  • Slow HDD
  • A bad battery
  • Poor speakers’ quality
 

Lenovo IdeaPad 320 is designed for travelers and students. Although it is heavier than some Chromebooks but it is light for a 15.6-inch laptop. The LED matte display has a resolution of 1366×768 that is a fairly standard resolution for cheap laptops in this price range. Most customers like its large screen, especially for working with images. Lenovo included a 1 TB large hard disk drive that allows you to save a lot of files, but 5400 rpm mechanical hard drives are slow. The battery life is not long, it is only 4 hours 30 minutes. It is less than Chromebook offers that usually works more efficiently when it comes to energy consumption. So, if you plan to spend the day in the office or at lectures, be sure to carry a power adapter.


2. Lenovo IdeaPad 110-15

Lenovo ideapad 110-15 Buy for $260 on Amazon

Specs: 15.6” (1366 × 768), AMD A6-7310 2.0 GHz, AMD Radeon R4, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD

Pros+
  • Good for basic use
  • Decent design
  • Much storage space
Cons-
  • 3 hours of autonomous work
  • Slow HDD
 

If you have a limited budget and are searching for the best cheap laptop for basic use, then Lenovo 110-15 15.6-inch will satisfy all your needs. But note that a 3-hour battery means that you almost always need to plug it in. It comes with a lower-level A6-7310 quad-core processor and 4 GB of RAM that provide decent performance when performing basic tasks (isn’t perfect for multitasking). But those who want to run demanding applications must search for other laptops. It is suitable for multimedia purposes, such as streaming video, viewing photos, picture editing functions, and text editing. It comes with a sufficient amount of disk space of 500 GB but a mechanical hard disk increases the download time of applications compared to the modern solid-state drives. The battery life is about 3 hours. It means that you will need to carry a power cable with you if you are going to use it outside your home or office.


3. Samsung Chromebook 3

Samsung chromebook 3 Buy for $190 on Amazon

Specs: 11.6” (1366 × 768), Intel Celeron N3060, Intel HD Graphics 400, 4GB RAM, 32GB flash storage

Pros+
  • Fast speed and excellent performance
  • Bright screen
  • Long battery life
Cons-
  • The bottom part may heat up
  • Weak speaker sound
 

There is a reason why Chromebook has become very popular at the market of affordable laptops today. They are reliable, easy-to-use that are ideal for work or studying and are not positioned as something more. Samsung offers the best budget laptops for students. In general, it provides the features you would expect from most Chromebooks. It starts with the Intel Celeron N3060 which in combination with 4 GB of RAM provides reliable performance in all directions. There are 32 GB of flash memory. That is usually sufficient for school and work files, such as images and documents. Chromebook 3 has a screen that can satisfy most people. Fast speeds and long battery life (11 hours).


4. Acer Aspire E-15

acer aspire e-15 Buy for $350 on Amazon Specs: 15,6” (1920 x 1080), Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i3-8130U, 6GB RAM, 1TB HDD

Pros+
  • The eighth generation processor
  • Great battery life
  • Full HD screen
  • Wonderful speaker sound
Cons-
  • RAM is 6 GB
  • SSD is not available
 

In terms of pure technical specifications, the Acer Aspire E-15 is almost flawless. This is another best inexpensive laptop that is equipped with an eighth generation Intel i3 processor, offering the latest technological advances and speeds. If you are looking for a promising device that can satisfy you and cause no worries, this is an excellent choice. The presence of the Intel UHD 620 is another big bonus providing a clear image and excellent performance in many modern and old games. It is equipped with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution screen providing high-quality graphics for games and movies. The speakers provide strong sound to match the visual quality of this device, as well as an excellent battery. When fully charged, the Acer Aspire E-15 can work more than a dozen hours a day or from 6 to 8 hours if you boot the system by playing games and using other software.


5. Dell Inspiron 15 3567

dell inspiron 15 3567 Buy for $390 on Amazon

Specs: 15,6” (1366 x 768), Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i3-7130U, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD

Pros+
  • Great processor
  • SSD for fast loading and short boot time
  • Pleasant visual effects on the TrueLife display
Cons-
  • Low RAM
  • Small disk space
 

What I like the most - it has a 128 GB SSD. This is the only model in the laptops under 400 list that has an SSD. So if you want to take advantage of this technology for less than $400, this could be your best option and the big name would be a plus. A solid-state drive brings a lot of useful things including lightning-fast download time and quick file transfer. Unfortunately, it only has 128 GB of space and does not have a regular hard disk to compensate for this lack of memory. This means that buying this Dell model you will have to take into account the additional cost of some external storage. Without an extra hard drive, you simply won't have enough space to download games or other large files. This laptop comes with a great I3 processor and delivers impressive visual effects on the display. It is also equipped with Intel HD 620 graphics, which can run a lot of old games at medium settings or modern games at low.


6. Lenovo IdeaPad 330

Lenovo ideapad 330 Buy for $350 on Amazon

Specs: 15,6” (1366 x 768), AMD A12-9720P, Radeon R7, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD

Pros+
  • Powerful processor
  • Excellent graphics card
  • Compact and has a small weight
  • Good battery life
Cons-
  • The display is not FullHD
  • No SSD
 

The first thing that stands out in the Lenovo product is its sleek and stylish design. The silver chassis is extremely thin and light, with a beautiful black frame around the 1366 x 768 screen. Despite the large 15.6-inch display, it is nice and neatly folded, perfect for people who move a lot. If you are looking for a portable device, this is an excellent choice. From a performance point of view in gaming, it’s hard to find something better than Lenovo IdeaPad 330 in this price range. This laptop is equipped with a quad-core A12-9720P processor with a Radeon R7 graphic card. The R7 is a low-level graphics card compared to more expensive models but in this price range, it is one of the best affordable laptops produced in 2017. A lot of RAM helps when it comes to demanding programs on this device. On the other hand, the display is relatively weak and the colors may seem a bit blurry while watching movies. You may need to adjust the brightness and contrast settings to get a clearer image. In addition, like many other laptops on this list, the lack of SSD is a disadvantage.


7. ASUS VivoBook F510UA

asus vivobook f510ua Buy for $500 on Amazon

Specs: 15,6” (1920 x 1080), Intel i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD

Pros+
  • Ultra-slim Nano Edge display
  • The 8th generation processor
  • Light and thin
  • Clear visual effects and nice graphics card
Cons-
  • The most expensive model
  • No SSD
  • You need some time to get used to the keyboard
 

When you first see this ASUS, you will immediately notice its display. This laptop has a standard 15.6-inch screen, like most of the others on this list, but it is one of the few models equipped with an ultra-slim Nano Edge display that provides maximum screen size and minimal lost space. The result is the best laptop under 500 with an elegant look and high portability, an extremely thin 0.8 inch in the folded state and a weight of 3.7 pounds. In short, this is a very light, convenient laptop that will be popular with people who want to work on the go. One of the main reasons why people choose laptops, not PCs, is mobility, and this VivoBook is one of the easiest. Under the cover, it is equipped with the eighth generation Intel Core I5 processor. This is the most powerful processor in our list, offering the best speeds and performance for games and other processes. The inclusion of Intel UHD 620 graphics processor helps to ensure good graphics performance. It is also very easy to upgrade with additional RAM and SSD.


8. HP Pavilion 15

hp pavilion 15 Buy for $415 on Amazon

Specs: 15,6” (1366 x 768), Intel i3-7100U, Intel HD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD

Pros+
  • Powerful processor
  • The touch screen offers additional functionality
  • Convenient keyboard
Cons-
  • Basic 1366×768 display
  • No SSD
  • Cheap plastic
 

This laptop has a lot to offer, starting with the WLED touchscreen display. Touch screens have an advantage for many users and can be useful in many ways. Unfortunately, the screen itself has a fairly low resolution. It is just 1366x768. It means that it cannot offer the same things as a standard display of 1920x1080. This is definitely a disadvantage of this particular model but many users may not even notice the difference. This best laptop for the money has 1 TB hard drive that offers more than enough storage space. The seventh generation processor and HD 620 graphics provide good performance for both everyday tasks and complex programs.


9. Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Touchscreen 

dell inspiron 15.6 Buy for $480 on Amazon

Specs: 15,6” (1366 x 768), AMD A6-9200, Radeon R4, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD

Pros+
  • Amazing quality
  • Wide storage possibilities
  • The touchscreen is a nice bonus
Cons-
  • The processor is poor
  • Basic GPU
  • Poor gaming performance
 

Dell laptops are the most reliable and favorite models in the world of PCs, and many computer users choose Dell products whenever possible. It comes with a certain standard of quality that can be seen on this 15.6-inch Inspiron model, equipped with an AMD A6-9200 dual-core processor and Radeon R4 video card. From a technical point of view, the combination of the processor and the graphics processor is not the strongest. Nevertheless, thanks to Dell’s intelligent optimization, this laptop delivers surprisingly good performance for most everyday tasks. The presence of a 1 TB hard drive and a 128 GB solid-state drive is a real advantage of this device. SSD provides super-fast download time and download speed of programs and applications, and the hard disk space is more than enough to store movies and other content. 8 GB of DDR4 RAM complement the package and help ensure that this Inspiron laptop is a very reliable machine with great durability. This best inexpensive laptop is also equipped with a touch screen that can be very useful for certain users.


10. Dell Inspiron 11-3000

dell inspiron 11-3000 Buy for $370 on Amazon

Specs: 11,6” (1366 x 768), AMD A6-9220e, Radeon R4, 8GB RAM, 500GB HDD

Pros+
  • 2-in-1 laptop touchscreen
  • Very light and easy to carry
  • Excellent battery life
  • Attractive design
Cons-
  • A very small screen can be a problem
  • Weak GPU
  • Lack of SSD
 

This laptop is the smallest and most lightweight device suitable for a specific type of user. It stands out from the other best cheap laptops thanks to the 11.6-inch screen that can be considered as a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, a smaller screen provides better overall graphics performance and higher visual accuracy. A small screen also helps make this device incredibly comfortable to carry and use in motion. It is ideal for students or busy professionals who need a compact device with sufficient performance, as well as a battery for long autonomy. The battery of Inspiron 11-3000 is one of the most powerful components that can ensure perfect operation of the laptop for more than 10 hours. The 360-degree hinge allows you to completely flip open the laptop screen, turning it into a tablet and it opens up many new possibilities and ways to interact with the device.


11. ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook

asus c302ca-dhm4 Buy for $470 on Amazon

Specs: 12.5” (1920 x 1080), Intel m3, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC

Pros+
  • Sturdy hinge design
  • FHD screen resolution
  • Has 2 USB-C ports
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Clear and bright display
Cons-
  • More expensive than other Chromebooks
  • You need an adapter
 

The second device in this list is the best 2 in 1 laptop from Asus with a 12.5-inch screen. It comes with a Core-M3 processor from Intel, it belongs to the same series that is used in the 12 inches MacBook. This is a special processor for ultrabooks. Its goal is to provide performance with very low power consumption. The amount of RAM is 4 GB but considering that this device works on Chrome OS and not on Windows, this is a reasonable value. Chrome OS has low weight and was designed to work on equipment with low specifications. It has an all-aluminum body and weighs just 2.65 pounds. The battery life on average is about 10 hours with one charge. Storage is limited to 64 GB of flash memory but since you’re choosing a Chromebook, you’ll get 100 GB of free space on Google Drive for two years. The Full HD display has a resolution of 1920x1080 with touch support. Besides, you can use this model as a convertible tablet or viewing device. The cover closes at different angles to provide ergonomic support for different use cases, such as watching movies, reading books or working with documents or browsing the Internet. Connection options include 802.11AC wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, 1 USB Type-C and microSD slot.


12. Acer Chromebook R 13 Convertible

acer chromebook r 13 Buy for $360 on Amazon

Specs: 13.3” (1920 x 1080), 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, MediaTek MT8173C

Pros+
  • Long battery life
  • Fast loading and high performance
  • FHD screen resolution
  • Good display
Cons-
  • Chrome OS, not full Windows 10
  • Small disk space
 

Unlike many standard Chromebooks, you get an ARM processor in the Acer R 13. Why does it matter? The ARM processor works better with Android programs, it means that you get much better functionality from Google Play applications than with similar computers. For users who bought this model, the main advantages are extremely high battery life, fast loading, and an excellent screen. Buyers who write their feedback after using the device for several months often criticize several design issues. All of them deal with the usual problems of the laptop that is capable to rotate 360 degrees. First, the power button is in an uncomfortable position. That’s why you can press accidentally. Whether you pack this best value laptop or put it in your backpack, you can turn it on and off by accident. The same problem occurred in the SD card slot. The inserted SD card is also quite easily removed, so be careful when holding R 13 in tablet mode for the first few days.


12 Best Budget Laptops

Image Name Features  
Lenovo ideapad 320
Lenovo IdeaPad 320
  • 15.6” (1366 × 768)
  • 4GB RAM
  • 1TB HDD
Check PRICE
Lenovo ideapad 110-15
Lenovo IdeaPad 110-15
  • 15.6” (1366 × 768)
  • 4GB RAM
  • 500GB HDD
Check PRICE
Samsung Chromebook 3
Samsung Chromebook 3
CHEAP
  • 11.6” (1366 × 768)
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB flash storage
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Acer Aspire E-15
Acer Aspire E-15
OUR CHOICE
  • 15,6” (1920 x 1080)
  • 6GB RAM
  • 1TB HDD
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Dell Inspiron 15 3567
Dell Inspiron 15 3567 Display
WITH SSD
  • 15,6” (1366 x 768)
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB SSD
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Lenovo IdeaPad 330
Lenovo IdeaPad 330
FOR GAMING
  • 15,6” (1366 x 768)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 1TB HDD
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ASUS VivoBook F510UA
ASUS VivoBook F510UA
BEST DISPLAY
  • 15,6” (1920 x 1080)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 1TB HDD
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HP Pavilion 15
HP Pavilion 15
  • 15,6” (1366 x 768)
  • 8GB RA
  • 1TB HDD
Check PRICE
Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Touchscreen
Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Touchscreen
  • 15,6” (1366 x 768)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Check PRICE
Dell Inspiron 11-3000
Dell Inspiron 11-3000
  • 11,6” (1366 x 768)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 500GB HDD
Check PRICE
ASUS C302CA-DHM4
ASUS C302CA-DHM4
BEST MOBILITY
  • 12.5” (1920 x 1080)
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB eMMC
Check PRICE
Acer Chromebook R 13 Convertible
Acer Chromebook R 13 Convertible
  • 13.3” (1920 x 1080)
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB eMMC
Check PRICE

How to Choose a Laptop?

Choosing the best laptop costing less than $500 is not always easy, especially if you are not sure exactly which components should be looked for. If you perform basic tasks of a photographer, such as sorting photos, communicating with clients, social networks, or just browsing web pages, then any of the laptops mentioned above will suit you.

1. Brand

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You will see many original models sold for reasonable money but if you purchase the best laptop brands, it will help you avoid a headache. Opting for a reputable manufacturer gives you more confidence about quality and assurance if you have some troubles.

2. Price

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Naturally, do not expect much in this price category. Small amenities, such as a backlit keyboard or a fingerprint sensor, are rare in this category. When we were preparing this article, most items here are sold less than $500 but you must go to the product page to find out the current cost on Amazon.

3. Screen Size

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I mean the actual size of the display, measured diagonally. This approach is completely independent of the actual pixel density and screen resolution. Lightweight laptops often have smaller screen sizes but on average you will see 15-inch laptops under 500.

4. Resolution

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The higher screen resolution is, the better image quality you have. In this price category, you should expect a screen with a resolution of 720P and in some cases a screen with a resolution of 1080P and weaker characteristics.

5. Processor

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Is the "brain" of the computer and a big determining factor in its overall speed. Best budget laptops are equipped with an Intel Corei5 processor but some models may offer an equivalent of AMD.

6. RAM

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“Random Access Memory” stores temporary data for the faster response. Eventually, you will get 8 GB or less in these budget laptops. Luckily, you can upgrade and add even more. But as a rule, we recommend models that offer at least 4 GB of RAM.

7. VRAM

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Is a graphics processor that allows processing high-resolution 3D content. Most laptops will not offer a dedicated graphics card at this price but many of them have more powerful integrated solutions.

8. Drive

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It can be a hard disk or SSD that stores all of your data, including the operating system, various programs, and personal files. Drive speed is essential as well as overall drive size. A large disk may contain more files and a faster disk can process them more efficiently. Some models have multiple hard drives or a hard drive mixed with a memory card to increase memory capacity. Only good cheap laptops have SSD.

9. Operating System

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As usual, modern computers at this price are run by Windows 10 Home. But you will sometimes see that a Chromebook will run under Chrome OS which is an easy operating system with some hard limitations.

10. Battery Life

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If you travel a lot or use it remotely, for example, in a library, plane or cafe, then you probably need a good battery. At this price, you will not see surprising battery life on most laptops but some of them exceed 10 hours of work during normal use.


Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments. read more