Best Budget Laptop 2018-2019- Top Reviewed Under 500
Best Budget Laptop 2018-2019–The laptop is largely considered to be the hub of our digital lives, and while many suggest that the smartphone is changing that, the fact is, there’s still plenty that’s far easier to do on a laptop than on anything else. That’s especially true if you’re getting a laptop for work or for school, and with the new school year right around the corner that may well be the case. laptop buying guide 2018
While you may see headlines about devices like the latest MacBook Pro, it turns out you don’t need to spend thousands to get a decent computer — especially if you’re using it for things like word processing, web browsing, and emailing.
Best Budget Laptop 2018-2019-Laptops are more portable, efficient and user-friendly than before. Are you finding a laptop for yourself? Well, you are in the right spot. We have reviewed the 11 best laptops on the market right now. There are the laptops for every price range on this list. With that said, the laptops have gone through a substantial change within a short span of time. They are even more functional, user-friendly and carry awesome features than before. Meanwhile, they have changed the way we do ours work.
Laptops also had a great impact on our life style. Whether you want to do the serious job, play the game on the road or if you are a student. You can do all the sorts of work on your laptop
Here’s a quick rundown of the features to look for when you make your choice of Best Budget Laptop 2018-2019
Operating System: There are a few major computer operating systems out there. You’re probably most familiar with Windows, as its by far the most popular operating system, but there’s also Apple’s macOS, which is also very capable. Finally, there’s Google’s Chrome OS, which is a little more targeted to those with basic computer needs who like the idea of being able to use some Android apps on their computer and are plugged into Google’s ecosystem and web apps. We’re not including any computers with macOS on this list because there aren’t any that would fall under the “budget laptop” distinction of costing $500 or less.
Specs: Some computers are more powerful than others. Things like the processor and amount of RAM will dictate how quickly your computer runs, while the amount of storage indicates how many files you can keep on your computer at once.
Size: Laptops come in a range of different sizes, however, the smaller ones generally sit in the 10- to 11-inch range, while the larger ones can get as big as 17-inches. That’s handy for watching movies, but it comes at the cost of portability.
Then, of course, there’s cost. For this guide, we consider a “budget” laptop to be a laptop that costs less than $500. However, if you can afford to spend more than that, you will be able to get something more powerful and arguably better than the computers on this list.
Stay tuned for our official list of the best high-end laptops. You can also check out our guide to the best Chromebooks on Insider Picks.
Although the HP Pavilion x360 is our top pick, for various reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the Asus Chrome Flip, the Dell Inspiron 15 5000, the Microsoft Surface 3, and the Lenovo 110-15IBR.
- Best Budget Laptop 2018-2019 Best Selling
- 1. Dell XPS 9360
- 2. Apple MacBook Pro with Touchbar
- 3. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
- 4. Lenovo Yoga 910
- 5. Dell Inspiron 7000 Laptop
- 6. HP Spectre x360
- 7. Asus F556UA-AB54-BL
- 8. Acer Switch 3
- Best Budget Laptops 2018
- 9. Premium Lenovo 2-in-1
- 10. ASUS Chromebook Flip C213SA-YS02
- 11. Acer R11 Chromebook
- The best budget laptop that’s a Chromebook
- The best 15-inch budget laptop
- The best portable budget laptop
- The best budget laptop under $250
- This Week’s Best Laptop Deals
- Acer Swift 3 2018
- Best Overall: Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4
- Best Budget: Asus F556UA-AB32
- Best 2-in-1: Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible, 11.6-Inch HD Touch Screen
- Best for Portability: Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop
- Best for Durability: ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6″
- Quick Tips
- 1. Pick a Platform: Mac, Windows or Chrome OS?
- 2. Decide If You Want a 2-in-1
- 3. Choose the Right Size
- 4. Check That Keyboard and Touchpad
- 5. Pick Your Specs
- 6. Don’t Skimp on Battery Life
- 7. Plan Based on Your Budget
- 8.Mind the Brand
- Learn how to zero in on the features that really matter to you in this video:
- How will you use your laptop?
- How important is portability to you?
- Does your laptop look and feel right?
- Operating Systems
- OS X
- Chrome OS
- Screen size
- Display types
- Touch screens
- Intel® Processors
- AMD Processors
- Internal Storage
- Hard Disk Drives
- Solid-State Drives
- Battery Life
- Ports and Connectivity
- Gaming Laptops
- 2-in-1 Laptops
- Laptop Accessories
Best Budget Laptop 2018-2019 Best Selling
1. Dell XPS 9360
The Best Laptop 2018 – Editor’s Choice
Dell is one of the global technology leaders. The company was founded by Michael in 1984. The company is highly committed towards its customers. Dell introduced the fastest performing PC of its time, back in 1986. The company is producing computer related products with the epitome of quality to help people achieve more. Therefore, Dell is one of the leading manufacturers of computers.
Display – Design
Dell XPS-9360 is one of the best laptop brands. With a slim profile, the laptop carries a nice 13.3″ display screen. The build quality is really awesome with an 11-inch frame carrying a 13-inch display screen. Moreover, there is a 5.2 mm thin bezel which makes the gadget even smarter, thus, making the Dell flagship one of the smartest laptops on the planet. The model is built awesomely with premium material quality. The artfully constructed unit, thus, has a sleek and sturdy design.
The laptop is equipped with the Stunning QHD+ resolution i.e. 3200×1800. The display also had been optimized to a decent level. Now you get a catchy display with a detailed view – with 276 ppi. Get a clear eye view with the IGZO IPS panel from almost every angle. You can use it with a user-friendly touch display. Swipe, tap or pinch the screen with a flow. Now, every person would like to have a laptop like this with stunning features. But, it is a bit pricey.
Get a higher level of precision with the Accidental Activation Prevention which avoids the unintentional clicks from execution. Thus, providing a higher level of accuracy. Now, every person would like to have a laptop like this with stunning features. But, it is a bit pricey.
RAM – Hard Disk
You are good to go with a good boot and resume time, which saves a lot of time. Now with the solid state drives, you get a boot and resume time in seconds. This model comes with 8 GB DDR3 RAM and 256 GB SSD. What if you double the RAM and SSD capacity? You will have to pay approximately 200 bucks extra for that. If you are not going to do heavy processing than the previously described RAM and SSD capacity is good to go with a flow.
You can optimize the performance even more. You can do so by adding the Dell Thunderbolt Dock which transfers the data at a faster rate.
Processor – OS
It uses the Windows 10 Operating System. Get high-performance speed, reliability with the Intel Core i7 processor. It comes with the pretty awesome processor speed which is – 3.5 GHz. You get easy on the eyes picture quality. For graphics, the coprocessor used is Intel HD Graphics 620.
The use of a laptop without an internet connection is just a boredom. Therefore, Dell equipped the model with 1535 wireless adapter. Play online games, videos smoother and faster. The wireless adapter automatically prioritizes the network traffic, thus, ensuring the data processing at a faster rate with respect to priority. However, the wireless connectivity also depends on the signal strength being generated from the router.
What are the other accessories? When talking about ports and slots on the laptop, there is an SD card slot with USB 3.0 PowerShare. There is a Thunderbolt 3 (2 lanes of PCI Express Gen 3) type C which supports – PowerShare, USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps). Moreover, the laptop carries the Native Display Port 1.2 video output, HDMI, VGA and Ethernet port. The speaker of the Dell XPS 9360 is good enough to provide a clear sound. The speakers are strong enough to remain stable on the highs and lows.
All of these features combine together and make an amazing laptop that gives an amazing performance. Because of its versatile features, it is also liked by the business people. Therefore, it is also termed as one of the best business laptops. Whether you are going to do your ordinary work, business assignments, designing or if you are a student, you are going to have a good time.
- Sturdy design with a slim profile.
- It provides great value for the money.
- Increased portability with the compact design and lightweight.
- Excellent battery life.
- Speakers are not extraordinary.
- Not suitable for price-oriented people.
Best Business Laptop On the Market 2018
Who doesn’t know about Apple? Apple is a well-renowned developer of consumer electronics, computer software, and other online services. The products by the company include iPhone smartphone, the iPad tablet computer, the iPod portable media player, the Mac personal computer, and wearables. In addition to the hardware products, the Apple’s consumer software includes the iOS and Mac OS operating systems.
The Apple MacBook Pro is the best laptop on the list. With the Apple MacBook Pro, you get cutting-edge graphics, smart storage, high-performance processors and more, at a competitive price. It delivers you the amazing performance. It fairly offers the decent specifications for the price that you are paying for. Let’s move on to the features that make this good laptop worth buying.
Display – Design
Get the stunning display with the 13″ screen size. It has the brightest and most colorful display ever with the maximum screen resolution of 2560×1600 pixels. The display is featured with the bright LED backlighting. The display is really promising on this good laptop. This the best laptop that Apple has ever made. In addition to the sleek design, the top-notch feature is the touch bar – which is a thin OLED display located over the display.
The touch bar is an alternative to the function keys which occupy the substantial area over the keyboard. The touch bar is more versatile and user-friendly. You can login with just your fingerprints. Moreover, it shows you the relevant tools such as – volume and brightness controls, the auto-suggestion of words while you type and more. With that said, it also gives instant access to online purchases with Apple pay and fast logins.
Coming back to the display, the graphics are made even more powerful with 64MB of embedded DRAM. That boosts the graphics, thus, creating amazing work. The graphics are powered with the graphics coprocessor – Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640.
Now you get a smooth experience with the expanded trackpad. The second-generation butterfly mechanism has been integrated into the keyboard. Thus, the keyboard performs at the next level – if compared with the other models. The mechanism stated above gives the key stability 4 times of the traditional scissor mechanism. On the other hand, the touch trackpad gives you enough space to your fingers to gesture and click. The trackpad is a blend of comfort with functionality to avoid you from wrist pain issues.
RAM – Hard Disk
The MacBook Pro includes the blazing fast solid-state drive. The capacity of SSD in this model is 256GB which is good enough for normal use. The memory speed is pretty awesome and the memory is power efficient. The memory works great with the minimum load time, meanwhile, you can launch multiple apps or transfer huge files in a short span of time. The laptop is good enough to provide the portability and functionality at a reasonable price. All these features combine to make up the best value travel laptop.
With that said, one of the most important features is the RAM of the laptop. You are getting a pretty awesome RAM in this unit i.e. 8GB – 2133MHZ LPDDR3. Now, you can play average games, do your ordinary tasks, make your business assignments with a flow.
Processor – OS
Now take the full advantage of the hardware with the Mac OS Sierra. The Mac OS Sierra includes an amazing collection of applications to boost the experience. To break the monotony, the model also features iCloud, iOS devices and Apple Watch to work together and make working with it a breeze.
The processor used in this unit is dual-core Intel Core i5 which has a nice speed of 3.1 GHz. The speed of the processor is boosted to 3.5 GHz during high processing tasks.
The most important feature that powers the whole unit is the battery. The MacBook Pro has stuffed the more performance into a compact design. The battery life is pretty awesome. However, the battery also depends on the intensity of processing. If you are watching videos, playing games or doing other heavy stuff, then, the battery life reduces as compared to the light processing.
To create the universal port the Thunderbolt 3 combines the high bandwidth with the versatility of the USB-C industry. As twice the bandwidth of the Thunderbolt 2, it provides data transfers, video output and charging on a single connector – with a throughput of 40Gb/s.
- It gives a super-fast performance.
- The best MacBook Pro ever.
- High-speed processor with a turbo boost.
- Doubtful battery life.
- Expensive for some people.
A Brilliant Laptop for Everyone – Editor’s Choice
Microsoft is a multinational technology company. The company develops and sells its products all over the world. There is an array of products from the company which includes – Xbox video game consoles, Microsoft Surface tablet lineup. Today we are including one of the best laptops from the company that is – Microsoft Surface Pro 4. You are getting a nice blend of Windows tablet and a fully functional laptop.
The base version of Surface Pro 4 is just a tablet. You get the main unit with the kickstand – without the Surface Pen or the stunning Type Cover Keyboard. But, if you want the surface pen along with the type cover board then you will have to spare more bucks for that. However, the tablet alone gives a decent value for the money. But, you get even more functionality with the laptop.
Display – Design
The Microsoft Surface Pro is the best laptop for 2018 if you are on the budget. It works with a perfect harmony because of its design and features. You get a sturdy design with a very lightweight gadget. Switch between laptop and tablet whenever you want.
The Microsoft flagship comes with the 12.3″ screen that has a high contrast and high glare. The display is good enough to avoid your eyes from straining. Now you get the stunning display with maximum resolution of 2736×1824 pixels. The graphics coprocessor used is Intel Iris and HD graphics. The model is equipped with the rear camera – the resolution of the camera is 8 MP, thus, gives a detailed view. These great features make this unit better and more powerful than its siblings.
RAM – Hard Disk
With the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, you get the chance to run multiple applications at once. Basically, the unit comes with the 4GB RAM – you will have to pay more if you add more GB’s to the RAM or Storage. On the other hand, the basic hard drive has the capacity of 128 GB. The 128 GB Flash Memory SSD is good enough for basic tasks, however, if you want to add more then you will have to spare more money for that. That’s your choice, whether you want more storage space or not.
Processor – OS
The operating system used in this unit is Windows 10 Pro. However, the processor featured is from the Core M Family (Intel Core i7, i5, and m3) with the 2.2 GHz speed. The processor is quieter, runs smoothly and more efficient than before. Thus, you get the space to streamline your life.
Want to know the difference between Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7? Watch this Video.
You get a nice battery life of 9 hours. Hopefully, you would get the mentioned battery life if you don’t play videos and games constantly. However, this isn’t sure that the battery life would make a remarkable difference. In addition to the other nice features, you get one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port. Moreover, there is a wireless display adapter, so that you can project the display on the bigger screen – such as a large screen 4k tv or a home theater projector.
With that said, it carries all other basic ports and accessories that a laptop has. What to expect more in such a friendly price tag? You get the features of both the tablet and laptop for the money.
- The best budget laptop offers specs for the price you are paying.
- Blend of quality and functionality.
- Stunning design with excellent performance.
- The surface pen is sold separately.
Awesome build Quality 2-in-1 Convertible laptop
Lenovo is known for creating some of the best laptops in the market, and you may have a question of their quality control, then it can’t be denied that they have improved a lot within a few years. The company is one of the best sellers of computers, laptops etc.
Today we have Lenovo Yoga 910 on the list. This is a wonderful 2-in-1 touch screen laptop with versatile features. If you are after a budget laptop that offers something special at a competitive price, then, you should look no further than Lenovo Yoga 710. Without any further delay, let’s talk about its features.
Display – Design
With this model, you get a 14 inches Full HD – 1920×1080 display with a 360-degree hinge. With the LED backlight and IPS technology, there is a clarity with impressive colors over the screen. There are four versatile modes in this unit which are – tablet, laptop, tent, and stand.
When changing from PC to tablet, stand or tent position the laptop automatically switches apps to the full screen. With the Intel HD Graphics 520, you get the nice image quality, basic photo editing, and casual gaming. Want to see on bigger screen? No problem! Now, you can connect the laptop to an HDTV or 4k monitor for the big picture.
RAM – Hard Disk
The system is equipped with the 8GB SDRAM DDR4 2133 MHz – with a high bandwidth. Now, run your games, video or photo editing applications, browse multiple tabs at once with a flow. A flash-based 256GB SSD results in faster data access and start-up times. There is a reduced heat production during processing, approx. no noise and less power draw on the battery.
Processor – OS
The processor featured in the system is Intel Core i5-6200U with a speed of 2.8 GHz. Thus, enabling the processing at the higher rates. The data packets are transferred with Tubo Boost Technology. The processor requires a low voltage in normal, but, the turbo boost technology provides extra power to process the data faster. The operating system used in this system is Windows 10.
The backlit keyboard makes the typing easy even in the dim light. With the 360 degrees flip-and-fold design the laptop becomes even more versatile. The battery is pretty awesome. However, the battery life also depends on your usage practices. If you play games, videos more, then, you will have the reduced battery life. For wireless connectivity, there is a Next-Gen Gigabit WiFI. In addition to these features, the flagship is featured with Bluetooth 4.0, Media Card reader (SD, MMC), 2 USB 3.0.
All these features make up the awesome laptop for you. What to expect more at such a competitive price? If you want to have a strain on your wallet, then this is the best option and you should look no further than Lenovo Yoga 2018.
- Awesome build quality.
- Excellent display, stunning design at a competitive price.
- 2-in-1 laptop with versatile features.
- No optical drive.
Best Gaming Laptop On the Market Right Now
Dell is a well-renowned company known to produce some of the best laptops to the computer industry. This series is for both the gamers and other folks who are after the best system while remaining on the budget. This series has a lot to offer to both kinds of people. If you want to go for ROG Zephyrus GX501 and don’t have enough budget to buy, then, Dell Inspiron i5577 is the best option for you. The unit provides fantastic value for money.
Display – Design
The model has a very sleek and sturdy design. There is a 15.6-inch 4k UHD touchscreen display with a maximum resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. With that, you get a clear stunning display – good for gaming environs. The Anti-Glare LED Backlit display just makes the setup as it should be for a gaming enthusiast.
This is one of the best 4k gaming laptops. Most of the budget laptops lack the build quality, but, this is not the case with this model. This is one of the good looking gaming laptops in the market. The overall build quality is awesome, the laptop is sturdy too. You will be okay with it if you don’t throw it at everything when you go out.
RAM – Hard Disk
The RAM featured in this gaming model is 12 GB DDR3 SDRAM. With that RAM, you get an awesome speed to play your games flawlessly. The flagship is equipped with the storage of 1 TB HDD with 8 GB SSD Hybrid Drive storage. Thus, making the model to fulfill the needs that a gaming enthusiast looks for.
Processor – OS
The next thing about which most of the people care about is the processor type and speed. In this unit, the processor used is 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 with a turbo boost technology up to 3.50 GHz. Now, you can take your gaming experience to the next level with this laptop. The operating system used with the help of which we can execute these features is Windows 10 home.
There is a 6-cell lithium ion battery which is good to go. Still, if you are wondering that whether you would be able to use the laptop for a long time without losing much battery. Then, you will be pleased to know that we managed to reach 7 hours of usage. In our testing, we involved a mixture of Netflix, gaming and some word processing. But, in your case, it depends that how you use the laptop. However, we don’t have anything to say other than the average battery life. When talking about the ports, you are not going to miss any port that you are going to have in any other good value model.
- Fantastic value for the money you are paying.
- Awesome build quality with sturdy design.
- Stunning display with awesome graphics.
- Average battery life.
The All Rounder Laptop On the Market – Editor’s Choice
Basically, the HP is known well for the hardware products like – Elite Books and Pro Books. But, the company surprised everyone with its awesome line of laptops which includes the gaming as well as other laptops. The product we are reviewing now is HP Spectre x360 which is one of the best laptops on the market right now. Let’s have a look at its features.
Display – Design
When talking about the design, it has an extremely light and thin profile. The laptop is featured with the 13.3″ diagonal display – FHD UWVA Brightview WLED backlit-narrow bezel multi-touch Ultra HD (1920×1080). With the touchscreen, you can browse pages, swap the screen with a flow. The laptop is convertible to tablet, thus, getting more for what you pay.
RAM – Hard Disk
The model pays you fairly with a 16 GB DDR3 SDRAM which is good enough to enable you to browse like a pro. However, you will have to pay a hefty amount for all these features. On the other side, the next thing to care about is the storage space. The hard drive has a good capacity which is – 512 GB SSD. Remember, that the laptop may get hot during high processing, therefore, it would be a rational decision to buy a laptop cooler along with the laptop.
Processor – OS
Now, comes the processor of the HP Spectre x360, in this model, there is an Intel Core i7 (2.7 GHz up to 3.5 GHz, 4MB cache) processor. The operating system is Windows 10. There are two processors in this model. As far as the performance is concerned, we found this laptop pretty powerful.
The miscellaneous features include an HP Active Pen, Bluetooth 4.2, Bang, and Olufsen. We found the sound by this model so clear and audible; the sound was stable both on the highs and lows. The sound is delivered by the Quad Speakers (located above the keyboard) with HP Audio Boost.
While most people care about the camera, there is an HP TrueVision FHD IR camera with dual array digital microphone. On the sides, you get 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (HP Sleep & Charge) 2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type C, HP USB Boost, Thunderbolt) and one microphone/headphone combo.
- Very light and thin profile.
- Awesome build quality.
- Stunning design and display.
- Great performance for the money.
- There is a thick bottom bezel.
The Best Built Laptop 2018 With Slim Profile
It wouldn’t be useless to say that Asus is one of the companies that has a keen role in making the computers even better than before. The company is doing well in the field of gaming and general computers. Asus is highly committed to making products for making the life of people smart.
Display – Design
This is the laptop for the people on the budget. WIth this unit, you get the powerful 15.6″ Full HD display screen. The design is made thin and light to increase the portability. To increase the reading comfortability, there is an eye care mode to protect your eyes from fatigue. Pretty cool? Maximum resolution is 1920×1080 pixels. It has got good size dimensions – 10.1 x 15 x 1 inches.
RAM – Hard Disk
Well, it has got the 8GB DDR4 RAM. Moreover, the Asus F556UA-AB54 is loaded with the 256 GB SSD. However, you can always attach an external hard drive, if your laptop runs out of memory. The storage space is good enough for basic needs. Correct me, if I am wrong.
Processor – OS
Want a fast processing unit? Then, don’t worry, it has an Intel Core i5 processor with a speed of up to 2.5 GHz – Turbo up to 3.1 GHz. Not sure that the turbo option would make a difference or not. With this notebook, you get the Windows 10 pre-installed. It’s fast at multitasking, not literally.
It has got the ASUS IceCool Technology to keep the laptop cool during heavy loads. But, it would be recommended to buy a laptop cooler for better performances. By installing a cooler with your main device, you can work hours and hours without overheating the laptop. The mixture of hardware, software, and other cool features make this notebook worth buying. Nevertheless, the final decision would be yours!
You get the multiple ports for best connectivity. There is a wide array of connectivity options which include – USB 3.1 Type-C, VGA port, HDMI, SD card reader and more. When talking about the audio, there are six preset modes, with the help of which, you can fine-tune the audio. In addition to the preset modes, you can do the settings manually.
You get the large 106mm x 74 mm touchpad. The touchpad has a palm rejection feature installed, which differentiates between the accidental palm contact and actual fingertip. There is a pretty awesome polymer battery. Not sure, how it will behave with you. In a nutshell, the laptop carries the average features. Not extraordinary and not so bad. The plus point is that you wouldn’t don’t have to strain your bank to buy this unit.
- Best laptop for the people on the budget.
- Lightweight and portable.
- An array of connectivity ports.
- Excellent performance.
- Disappointing battery life.
WikiHow: “Tips to Expand Laptop Battery Life“.
The 2-in-1 Laptop for Those On Budget
If you want to go after Microsoft Surface Pro 4 but you want to spare a lot less, then the Acer Switch 3 2018 is the best option for you. It has been designed around the design of Surface Pro, but, it is less capable, lower features. But, this is the blessing in disguise. You pay a lot less money and enjoy as if it is Surface Pro. Let’s discuss its features in details.
Display – Design
The machine has got a 12.2″ Full HD display screen with the resolution of 1920×1080 Multi-Touch IPS Display. The device is well-designed and crafted. The design is versatile, slim and portable enough. Thus, you can easily switch between the laptop and tablet. With the active pen, you can write with a flow. Give an outlet to your creativity with the Acer Active Pen, pretty awesome.
There is an adjustable U-shaped kickstand that you can open and close effortlessly. Get the most feasible viewing angle – up to 165 degrees. Get a detailed view with the help of IPS technology, not literally. To power the graphics there is an Intel HD Graphics 505 installed in the machine.
RAM – Hard Disk
The Acer Switch 3 is featured with the 4GB LPDDR3 RAM. It would be pretty safe to say that the RAM is enough for basic processing. But, you will have to look beyond this model if you don’t find the RAM enough for your needs.
With that said, unlike other best laptops, there is a 64GB internal storage. The storage might be low for you, but, you can always attach an external hard drive. If you are going to surf web pages, process the documents, or do some basic level stuff, then, you will be okay with the internal storage space. However, if you are expecting the next level speed from this model, then you are not going to be satisfied.
Processor – OS
The processor used in this tablet/laptop is Intel Pentium N4200 Quad-Core Processor with the speed up to 2.5 GHz. The processor is good to go with the basic processing. The downside is that it will not be okay with the multitasking. When talking about the operating system, there is the Windows 10 Home operating system, which is good to go.
Regardless of the average features, there is an array of ports for connectivity. I am not going to name every port here. Well, you are not going to miss important ports for connectivity. You get the 2MP front facing HD camera with the resolution of – 1600 x 1200 and a 5 MP full HD rear-facing camera with the resolution of – 2560 x 1920. To backup this compact machine, there is a 2-cell Li-Ion battery (4670 mAh).
Making the long story short, if you want a 2-in-1 machine in a very budget friendly manner, then, I would suggest going for this one.
- Excellent build quality.
- Awesome performance.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Good battery life.
- Very small internal storage.
Best Budget Laptops 2018
The Best Cheap Laptop for Price Oriented People
To make the list balanced, here are some best budget laptops under 500 dollars for those on budget. One of them is Premium Lenovo 2-in-1 touch screen laptop. With the features nearer to the laptops with higher price tags, it offers its users the value that they are paying for. Let’ see its features in details.
Display – Design
With this model, you get a nice 14″ touch screen display. The graphic coprocessor is Intel HD Graphics 510 that gives a detailed view, pretty nice. The screen resolution is 1366 x 768 with 10 points multi touch screen for hands on control. The machine is very stable and has a sturdy design.
It has a lightweight and slim profile, thus, good enough for transportation. You will be okay with it if you do casual gaming, everyday internet surfing, and basic photo editing. The product’s size dimensions are 13.4 x 0.8 x 10 inches. What is the RAM and storage capacity? Let’s see that.
RAM – Hard Disk
There is a 4GB SDRAM DDR3 for smoother processing. Now, you can run smoothly multiple apps and browse multiple tabs at once with a flow. The adequate high bandwidth makes the system to run flawlessly. When talking about the storage space which is good to hold your growing collection of data, that is 500GB. I think there are rare chances that your machine would go out of space. With that said, if it happens then you can attach an external SSD.
Processor – OS
With this laptop, you get Intel Pentium Dual-Core 4405U processor with the speed of 2.1 GHz. The basic dual core processor is good for multitasking and everyday internet productivity, correct me if I am wrong. The system runs on Windows 10 Home 64-bit, the best windows operating system ever.
The next nice feature is the integrated HD webcam along with the microphone. There are two USB 3.0 ports and 1 USB 2.0 ports. With this device, you lack the Type-C USB port, which is the downside of this machine. There is a built-in media reader and microphone/headphone combo jack. In addition to these ports, there is an array of necessary ports on the sides. For backup, there is a 3-cell Lithium-ion battery with a nice backup time. It would be safe to say that the battery time would vary with respect to usage practices.
- Lightweight and slim profile.
- Excellent build quality.
- Nice value for the money.
- Awesome for basic needs.
- Average battery life.
The Best Budget Laptop With Good Quality 2018
Here is another laptop on the list from ASUS. Unlike the ASUS F556UA-AB54-BL, you will have to spare half of the amount for ASUS Chromebook Flip C213SA-YS02. Let’s see what is different in this model.
Display – Design
Buying this model, you get an 11.6″ touchscreen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The notebook looks to have a sturdy design and developed to bear the daily wear and tear. You would be okay with it if you don’t throw it anywhere when you go out. The design is sleek and smart enough to carry with you when going out. For the basic needs of everyday life, this is the best option for you.
RAM – Hard Disk
The display is satisfying, the design is compact enough, but, you will be unpleasant about the storage space which is 32GB flash storage. Nevertheless, you can add external storage. But, there should be at least the double of this storage at this price tag. If you are not to perform the tasks beyond the basic ones then it is good to go. When it comes to the RAM, this model has a 4GB DDR4 RAM.
Processor – OS
The ASUS Chromebook flip is featured with the Intel Dual-Core Apollo Lake N3350 processor. The processor is very basic as compared to the other processors, correct me if I am wrong. The operating system used is Chrome.
There are two cameras for increased productivity. One camera is on the bezel for the perfect angle and the other one is on the keyboard for fun. Regardless of its average features, it has a good startup time. It takes second to reach your desired file on the computer.
It provides good value at its level. You might feel comfortable using it as an ordinary business laptop, student laptop or for powerpoint presentations. This laptop isn’t capable of playing advanced games. The battery life is also not extraordinary; it would be safe to declare the battery as an average battery.
- Sturdy Design.
- Good performance.
- Fast wake-up time.
- Less storage space.
- Disappointing battery life.
Awesome Build Quality – Cheap Laptop Right Now
This is the second laptop from Acer, but, this is the laptop for which you wouldn’t have to pay a hefty amount. It is Acer R11 Convertible 2-in-1 Chromebook. People have developed the taste of using laptops that are more compact, lighter and portable. Also, within a few years, the use of a touchscreen laptop has been on a constant increase. While most of the touchscreen laptops are very expensive. To address the issue, here is the budget laptop with a touchscreen.
Display – Design
What you get with this unit is an 11.6” HD touchscreen with a resolution of 1360 x 768 pixels. The coprocessor for graphics is Intel HD Graphics which helps in producing a nice display. Moreover, the screen dimensions are (L x W x H) 11.57 x 8.03 x 0.76 inches. The display technology used is LED backlight and HD IPS Touchscreen Display, pretty awesome.
You get the touchscreen feature at a cheap price, for which, you will have to compromise on the storage space.
RAM – Hard Disk
The storage space in this model is 16GB which will only be suitable for the person with the very less productivity requirement. However, there remains the option to attach the external storage – which you will have to buy separately. On the other side, it carries the 4GB DDR3L SDRAM which will be nice for simple processing.
Processor – OS
The operating system in this machine is Chrome. The processor is Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 with a speed of 1.6GHz.
With that said, there is a Bluetooth 4.0, built-in HD Webcam, 1 USB 3.0 port and 1 USB 2.0 port. Moreover, there is a HDMI port and an SD card reader. The entire unit is backed up by the 3-cell Li-ion Battery (3220 mAh). The battery life is average, consequently, we can’t term it as an excellent battery life. Well, making the long story short, this is the worth buying budget laptop on the market. It is the best option with the given range of features.
- It is cheap.
- Smooth keyboard.
- Fast performance.
- User-friendly design.
- Battery life is not so good.
- Lack advanced level features.
There you have it, buddies. The 11 best laptops 2018 have been listed and reviewed. Though, it was not an easy task to pick up the best laptops because they are so indistinguishable. However, finding the winner was not impossible. For this list, the best value laptop is the HP Spectre x360. The said laptop is the winner because of its outstanding features and the values it provides for the money.
So, folks, never consider any laptop the best because of its design and visuals. You should always make a rational decision based on the quality. In your opinion, what is the best laptop on the market right now? Or, if we missed any laptop worth mentioning, then, let us know!
The best budget laptop overall
Why you’ll love it: The HP Pavilion x360 is versatile thanks to its ability to work in tablet mode, and it offers above-par performance for the price and plenty of ports.
If you’re looking for the best laptop you can possibly get in your $500 budget, then the HP Pavilion x360 is for you, specifically the 13-inch variant with the touchscreen.
As you might assume, the x360 is actually more of a two-in-one than a straight up laptop, so you can actually flip the screen all the way around to use the device as a tablet if you so choose. But the tablet/laptop combo isn’t the only great thing about this computer. It also boasts an Intel Core i3-6100U, which is coupled with 6GB of RAM. The result? A very capable computer that should be powerful enough for any businessperson, student, or just the average Joe who wants a web-browsing and emailing machine.
You’ll also get a 500GB hard drive, which is a disk drive. That’s an important aspect to consider here. The drive is not a solid-state-drive, so you’ll need to be careful when moving it while it’s on.
When it comes to input and outputs, this computer will give you two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, one headphone jack, and a HDMI port, so you’ll have plenty of room for your peripherals.
This Windows 10 computer didn’t just catch our attention. Laptop Mag gave it 4/5 stars, and it’s sitting with an average of 4.1/5 stars on Amazon. The downsides? The display on the computer isn’t all that great, and the aforementioned disk drive isn’t as nice as a solid disk drive, but it is pretty common for computers in this price range.
Pros: Excellent performance for the price, plenty of ports, Windows 10
Cons: Disk drive, slightly under-par display
The best budget laptop that’s a Chromebook
Why you’ll love it: The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA is sleek and stylish, it runs Android apps, has a touchscreen, and tops the charts as the best Chromebook you can buy.
Asus has long offered a number of great laptops at a reasonable price, and it was pretty quick to jump onto the Chromebook train when Google launched Chrome OS. In particular, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4 is an excellent computer, offering great value for money. We named it the best Chromebook in our buying guide.
For starters, the raw specs are really quite good. The laptop has an Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage. Now, that might not sound like much compared to other computers on this list, but Chromebooks are a little different. For example, they largely use web-based apps rather than local apps, meaning a lot of storage isn’t all that necessary, and the computer doesn’t really need to process intensive apps.
On top of that, the battery life on this device is good, too. You’ll get more than 10 hours of use from the computer, which is more than many other computers on the market. It even boasts a backlit keyboard coupled with a touch-sensitive display, so you can use it like a tablet if you so choose. It also runs Android apps, so it can double as a tablet.
So what’s the downside? Well, the laptop is a little more expensive than other Chromebooks, and while we like the fact that it has two USB-C ports, it does mean that you might need to use some adapters until all your peripherals make use of the new connectivity options.
Pros: Light, usable as a tablet, powerful for a Chromebook
Cons: Pricey, may require adapters
The best 15-inch budget laptop
Why you’ll love it: The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 has a giant 15-inch screen and decent specs for less than $500.
Looking for something with a slightly larger display than what your average sub-$500 laptop might offer? The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 has excellent specs under the hood, plus it boasts a large, 15-inch display, so you’ll have plenty of screen for those in-bed movie nights.
The laptop boasts an Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, which is coupled with a hefty 8GB of RAM, and that’s more than enough power for most use-cases. On top of that, you’ll get a 1TB hard drive, so you’ll have plenty of room to store all your media and files.
Unlike plenty of other computers on the market these days, the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 does indeed come with a disc drive, so you’ll still be able to watch your DVDs and listen to your CDs if you so choose. It can be a helpful addition. The laptop also offers a USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI, and a headphone jack.
So what are the downsides to this machine? Well, for starters the screen isn’t the best on the market, and a review from PCWorld noted that the trackpad could have been more accurate. However, the site did give it some praise and a respectable 3.5 rating. Laptop Mag gave it a decent review for a budget laptop.
Pros: Powerful, lots of storage, disc drive for DVDs and CDs
Cons: Mediocre display, somewhat expensive, trackpad isn’t overly accurate
The best portable budget laptop
Why you’ll love it: The Microsoft Surface 3 offers Microsoft’s great hardware look, along with a sleek profile and enough ports and storage to get you through most things.
Microsoft has come out with a number of great computers over the past few years, and the Microsoft Surface 3 has been hailed for its top-quality performance and its slim and portable design. While the Surface Pro lineup is perhaps the most notable, the company also has a few lower-cost devices, like the Microsoft Surface 3.
The Microsoft Surface 3 is perhaps more of a tablet than a laptop, but it boasts a desktop-class operating system in Windows 10 and is compatible with Microsoft’s self-built keyboard that you can use to type up your emails, papers, and Facebook posts.
The computer also has a number of ports built right into it, including a USB 3.0 port, a micro USB charging port, a microSD card slot, and even a Mini DisplayPort. It also boasts a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you’ll be able to listen to your music while you work. You’ll also get a 128GB flash drive, so you should have plenty of room to store your files.
Of course, there are a few downsides to consider. This laptop doesn’t necessarily have a desktop-class processor, so it might not work as well for those looking for a high-performance machine. Regardless, it has strong reviews from CNET, Engadget, and PC World.
Pros: Sleek, very thin, low-cost, portable
Cons: Not very powerful
The best budget laptop under $250
Why you’ll love it: The Lenovo 110-15IBR offers enough ports for most, a large display, and 500GB of storage – but the best thing about it is that it costs less than $250.
While $500 is a pretty reasonable budget for a new computer, sometimes it’s hard to reach even that. Luckily, there are still some great options in the sub-$250 range. Sure, you may not get the most powerful computer on the market, but you should get one that’s good enough for basic tasks. Case in point: the Lenovo 110-15IBR.
This laptop boasts a somewhat large 15.6-inch display, along with an Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a hefty 500GB of storage, which is plenty for almost all uses.
When it comes to ports, you’ll get a USB 3.0 port, USB 2.0 port, HDMI port, and a headphone/microphone combo port. The computer also offers Microsoft’s latest and greatest operating system, Windows 10, which is largely considered the best Windows operating system ever.
There are a few trade-offs at this price. For example, you won’t be able to do too many processor-hungry tasks, and the computer may not last as long as some of the others on this list. The 5.5-hour battery life could also be a little better than it is, and the graphics won’t impress much. Still, for this price, it’s a bargain.
Pros: Ultra-affordable, large display, plenty of storage
Cons: Low performer, lackluster graphics, short battery life
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider’s Insider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended.
This Week’s Best Laptop Deals
1 of 11
- 14-inch Full HD IPS display
- Intel Core i3, i5 (reviewed) and i7 available
- 8GB RAM
- 256GB SSD
- Backlit keyboard
- Weight: 1.5kg
- Windows 10
- Tested battery life: Around 8 hours
- Review price: £650
The best laptop for most people
This 14-inch laptop is a great buy if you want a light, all-metal laptop that can manage basic tasks as well as a bit of light photo editing.
Be warned, however, that Acer has released a newer version of the Acer Swift 3, which we consider to be slightly inferior (it has a poorer screen) and is rather more expensive than the model we originally reviewed. The launch of the new 2017 model likely means stocks of the 2016 model will soon diminish, so grab them while you can.
Its 1.5kg weight and small footprint make it very bag friendly, and the choice of specifications available mean you can spend from £500 to £750 on one. The model we reviewed cost £650, which is the best value, but the £500 Core i3 model is great for those who’ll just be doing a bit of light web browsing and document work. At the time of writing, Ballicom is stocking the Core i5 model we reviewed for a very competitive £580, which is well worth a look.
The only minus points are that the display lacks the most vibrant colours so won’t be suitable for people who edit photos on a professional basis, and it’s heavier than some slightly more expensive rivals, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad 720S.
View now at Amazon
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/guide/best-laptops#x09J5Re1RSPVG5SW.99
Best Overall: Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4
The Acer Aspire E 15 sits at the crossroad between value and performance in a way that only a college student could truly appreciate. This device is half the price of some ultrabooks out there, but boasts really impressive specs that translate into the perfect campus laptop. An incoming freshmen can confidently coast on this device through their entire four years at school, and even take it to grad school after that.
First off, you get a 7th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and a capable graphics card in the Nvidia 940MX that can run most games at a decent clip. That means that this laptop can handle intensive graphic design programs or other major-specific software that budget laptops stall on.
It’s a bit heavy at 5.27 pounds, but the extra weight is justified with a large 15.6” true HD screen, DVD drive and a six-cell battery that holds a 12-hour charge. It also comes with USB Type-C, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, and the latest WiFi 802.11 ac. And the obsidian black case looks attractive, despite being made of plastic instead of metal.
Best Budget: Asus F556UA-AB32
Sometimes paying a little bit extra gets you a whole lot more. That’s the case with Asus’s best-selling “premium budget” F556UA-AB32. It is not the cheapest in the budget category, but it packs enough upgraded graphics and computing power to justify the purchase.
First, it is the cheapest laptop that offers Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution on a beautiful 15.6-Inch screen. If you ever plan on watching movies on your laptop (and you will, trust me), then this upgrade will make a world of difference. And its Intel Core i3 processor, 4 GB RAM, and 802.11ac WiFi will let you run those videos lag-free, which is more than can be said for other budget laptops.
The case sports a simple but stylish design of concentric matte black circles, and an ergonomically designed keyboard feels very comfortable. Sure, this device won’t play the latest games or stand toe-to-toe with devices like the Spin, but it will satisfy everything the normal user wants without breaking the bank.
Best 2-in-1: Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible, 11.6-Inch HD Touch Screen
Every college student needs a laptop that can both handle homework, but also be there in the early morning hours when you’re five hours deep into a Netflix binge. The Acer Chromebook R 11 gets an A+ in both. With an Intel Celeron N3150 Quad-Core Processor 1.6GHz with Intel Burst Technology up to 2.08GHz combined with 4GB of onboard memory and 32GB of internal storage, it multitasks with ease. And once you’ve submitted that report, you can flip the screen all the way backward to enjoy your favorite games and shows in tablet mode on its 11.6-inch HD IPS touch display with 1366 x 768 resolution. The battery life is rated at about 10 hours, so it’ll last you through all your classes and then some, plus you get 100GB of free storage on Google Drive for two years.
Best for Portability: Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop
When you’re constantly dashing between your dorm room, the library and the lecture hall, you need a laptop that can keep up. And if its name is any indication, the MacBook Air is one of the most portable computers on the market. At .68 inches thin and 2.96 pounds light, it’s easy to toss into your backpack and won’t weigh you down as your trekking across campus.
But don’t let its small frame deceive you: The MacBook Air is remarkably powerful. It houses a 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz) and has 8 GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 RAM to boot. Reviewers on Amazon agree that its 13.3-inch LED-backlit 1440 x 900 display is among the best and brightest out there, and they praise its backlit keyboard for helping them through late-night assignments. On top of that, it lasts up to 12 hours between charges, so you don’t have to tote around a clunky charger.
Best for Durability: ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6″
The ASUS Chromebook C202 is a rugged computer that’s capable of braving all the elements on the periodic table. It has a spill-resistant keyboard, a rubber bumper to protect it from bumps and scratches and nano-molding technology on its edges and corners to reduce impact of falls. It scored magnum cum laude on a drop test, capable of landing safely from up to 3.9 feet. The C202’s 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display even comes equipped with anti-glare technology, so you can work while you catch some rays on the quad. On the inside, it packs an Intel Celeron N3060 Processor with 2M cache, up to 2.48 GHz and 16GB of flash storage. If that doesn’t earn it a spot on the honor roll, we don’t know what does.
Runner-Up, Best Budget: HP Stream 14-inch
College students have a plethora of laptop options to choose from in the space, but the combination of portability and budget-friendly pricing make the HP Stream 14-inch laptop a great choice. The 14-inch display combined with a 3.17-pound lightweight plastic frame makes it a perfect companion for backpacking to and from classes. Powered by an Intel Celeron 1.6GHz, dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM and a 32GB eMMC drive, this laptop is built with the student in mind. While the 32GB eMMC drive doesn’t offer a lot of storage, Microsoft bolsters storage with 1TB of OneDrive cloud space and Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) free for one-year. Additionally, you can spring for a separately-purchased microSD card and triple your storage allotment for less than one-quarter of the laptop’s total price.
Ideally, a student would utilize the Stream 14 for classwork and Web browsing. You get the full power of Windows 10, a quick start up and shut down (thanks to the eMMC drive), as well as an aesthetically pleasing design available in both blue and purple.
Best for Creatives: Apple 15″ MacBook Pro, Retina, Touch Bar
Let’s face it: You rarely see a designer who isn’t using a Mac. That’s in large part due to the fact that Mac screens are so beautiful. And the 2017 reboot of Apple’s beloved MacBook Pro is no exception: It features a gorgeous 2,880 x 1,800-pixel, 500-nit Retina display. It also packs a powerful Radeon Pro discrete GPU that, when combined with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, delivers smooth real-time performance when carrying out tasks such as rendering 3D models in Autodesk Maya 2017.
Apple’s addition of the Touch Bar replaces those dusty function keys with an interactive bar that changes based on what you’re doing to show you relevant tools. In Final Cut Pro, for example, you can navigate through your project with an interactive display of your entire timeline, and in Adobe Photoshop, you can adjust your layers, pick a hue and control brush size. So whether you’re heading to Graphics 101 or beginning your senior capstone project, you won’t want to be caught using anything but this omnipotent laptop.
Best for Note-Taking: Microsoft Surface Book (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB)
If you’re a student who prefers to take notes by hand but then has trouble organizing them come exam time, consider purchasing Microsoft’s Surface Book. It’s a handy 2-in-1 laptop with a detachable screen that makes it easy to use like a notepad. It comes with a Surface Pen, which has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity and an eraser on the other end. The fact that it runs Windows 10 means you’ll have access to a store full of apps designed to enhance the Pen’s usability, such as OneNote, Xodo and more.
The Surface Book’s 13.5-inch, 3:2-aspect-ratio PixelSense screen has a bright display and a superb resolution of 3,000 x 2,000, making viewing media a delight. It’s powered by a 6th-Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors with up to 16GB of memory and 1TB of storage. Its silver case looks and feels a lot like a MacBook, but when your Apple-addicted classmates see how versatile the Surface Book is, they’ll be begging to take notes for you.
There’s a wide variety of sizes, features and prices, which makes choosing the right laptop a challenge. That’s why you need to figure out what your needs are. To make the right call, just follow these steps.
If you’re in a hurry, these are the most important things to consider when choosing a new laptop. For a lot more detail, see the sections below.
- 12.5 to 14-inch screens offer the best balance between usability and portability. Larger screens are fine if you don’t travel much and smaller models are great for kids.
- If you’re spending over $600, shoot for these minimum specs:
- Core i5 CPU
- 1920 x 1080 screen
- 8GB of RAM
- SSD Storage instead of a hard drive.
- 8+ hours of battery life is ideal if you plan to take your laptop anywhere at all.
- Consider a 2-in-1 if you want to use your laptop as a tablet. If not, a standard clamshell notebook may be a better choice.
- Chromebooks are good for kids. Windows laptops and MacBooks both offer plenty of functionality; which platform you prefer is a matter of personal taste.
1. Pick a Platform: Mac, Windows or Chrome OS?
This is not an easy question to answer, especially if you’re not familiar with both Macs and PCs. But this quick overview of each platform’s strengths and weaknesses should help.
Most laptops come with one of three operating systems: Windows, Chrome OS or MacOS (for MacBooks only). Choosing the right one is a personal preference, but here’s a quick summary of what each offers.
The most flexible operating system, Windows appears on many more makes and models than Chrome OS or Mac OS X. Windows notebooks range in price from under $150 to several thousand dollars and offer a wide array of features from touch screens to fingerprint readers to dual graphics chips. Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system, provides a number of improvements over Windows 7 and 8, including the ability to switch between tablet and desktop modes, a revamped Start menu with live tiles and the powerful Cortana digital assistant. Since its launch in July 2015, Windows 10 has also added a host of improvements, including the ability to use follow-up questions with Cortana, search your email using natural language and use your stylus to scribble almost anywhere.
Apple macOS High Sierra
All MacBooks come with Apple’s latest desktop operating system, macOS High Sierra. Overall, the operating system offers similar functionality to Windows 10, but with a different take on the interface that substitutes an apps dock at the bottom of the screen for Microsoft’s Start menu and taskbar. Instead of the Cortana digital assistant, Mac users get Siri. They can also perform transactions with Apple Pay, take calls or texts from their phones and unlock their laptops with an Apple Watch. However, macOS isn’t made for touch, because no MacBook comes with a touch screen.
Found on inexpensive “Chromebooks” such as the Lenovo 100S Chromebook, Google’s OS is simple and secure, but limited. The user interface looks a lot like Windows with an application menu, a desktop and the ability to drag windows around, but the main app you use is the Chrome browser. The downside is that many of the “web apps” you use don’t work particularly well offline. However, that’s changing as a few Chromebooks, including the high-end, Google PixelBook, can now run Android apps.
If you need a device to surf the Web and check email, navigate social networks and chat online, Chromebooks are highly portable and tend to offer good battery life at low prices. They are also extremely popular with schools and parents, because they are hard for kids to infect with malware.
2. Decide If You Want a 2-in-1
Many PC laptops fall into the category of “2-in-1s,” devices that can switch between traditional clamshell mode, tablet mode and other positions in between such as tent or stand modes. The 2-in-1s generally come in two different styles: detachables with screens that come off the keyboard entirely and flexible laptops with hinges that bend back 360 degrees to change modes. Most of these systems are much better at serving one purpose than the other, with bend-backs being laptops first and detachables offering a superior tablet experience. However, if you don’t see the need to use your notebook as a slate, you’ll usually get more performance for your money with a traditional clamshell laptop.
If you decide you want a 2-in-1, note that bendables usually have far better battery life than their detachable brethren.
3. Choose the Right Size
Before you look at specs or pricing, you need to figure out just how portable you need your laptop to be. Laptops are usually categorized by their display sizes:
- 11 to 12 inches: The thinnest and lightest systems around have 11- to 12-inch screens and typically weigh 2.5 to 3.5 pounds,
- 13 to 14 inches: Provides the best balance of portability and usability, particularly if you get a laptop that weighs under 4 pounds.
- 15 inches: The most popular size, 15-inch laptops usually weigh 4.5 to 6.5 pounds. Consider this size if you want a larger screen and you’re not planning to carry your notebook around often.
- 17 to 18 inches: If your laptop stays on your desk all day every day, a 17- or 18-inch system could provide you with the kind of processing power you need to play high-end games or do workstation-level productivity.
4. Check That Keyboard and Touchpad
The most impressive specs in the world don’t mean diddly if the laptop you’re shopping for doesn’t have good ergonomics. If you plan to do a lot of work on your computer, make sure the keyboard offers solid tactile feedback, plenty of vertical travel (distance the key goes down when pressed, usually 1 to 2mm) and enough space between the keys.
Look for an accurate touchpad that doesn’t give you a jumpy cursor and responds consistently to multitouch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom. If you’re buying a business laptop, consider getting one with a pointing stick (aka nub) between the G and H keys so you can navigate around the desktop without lifting your fingers off the keyboard’s home row.
5. Pick Your Specs
Notebook components such as processor, hard drive, RAM and graphics chip can confuse even notebook aficionados, so don’t feel bad if spec sheets look like alphabet soup to you.
- CPU: The “brains” of your computer, the processor has a huge influence on performance, but depending on what you want to do, even the least-expensive model may be good enough. Here’s a rundown.
- Intel Core i5: If you’re looking for a mainstream laptop with the best combination of price and performance, get one with an Intel Core i5 CPU. Models that end in U (ex: Core i5-7200U) are the most common. Those with the a Y in the name are low power and have worse performance while models with an HQ use more wattage and appear in thicker gaming and workstation systems. Intel’s new 8th Generation, “Kaby Lake Refresh” CPUs have model numbers that begin with 8 (ex: Core i5-8250U) and double the number of cores from two to four, which dramatically improves performance.
- Intel Core i7: A step up from Core i5, which Models with numbers that end in HQ or K use higher wattage and have four cores, allowing for even faster gaming and productivity. There are also Core i7 Y series chips that have lower power and performance. Keep an eye out for CPUs that have a 8 in the model number (ex: Core i7-8250U) because they are part of Intel’s latest, 8th Generation Core Series, and offer better performance. However, 8th Gen processors are only available in the U series right now.
- Intel Core i3: Performance is just a step below Core i5 and so is the price. If you can possibly step up to a Core i5, we recommend it.
- AMD Ryzen Mobile: A new set of chips that are designed to compete with Intel Core i5 and Core i7.
- AMD A, FX or E Series: Found on low-cost laptops, AMD’s processors — the company calls them APUs rather than CPUs — provide decent performance for the money that’s good enough for web surfing, media viewing and productivity.
- Intel Pentium / Celeron: Common in sub $400 laptops, these chips offer the slowest performance, but can do if your main tasks are web surfing and light document editing. If you can pay more to get a Core i3 or i5, you’d be better off.
- Intel Core m / Core i5 / i7 “Y Series” — Low-power and low heat allow systems with these processors to go fanless. Performance is better than Celeron, but a notch below regular Core i5 U series.
- Intel Xeon: Extremely powerful and expensive processors for large mobile workstations. If you do professional-grade engineering, 3D modeling or video editing, you might want a Xeon, but you won’t get good battery life or a light laptop.MORE: Which Laptop CPU is Right for You?
- RAM: Some sub-$250 laptops come with only 2GB of RAM, but ideally you want at least 4GB on even a budget system and 8GB if you can spend just a little more. For most users, 16GB or more is overkill.
- Storage Drive (aka Hard Drive): Even more important than the speed of your CPU is the performance of your storage drive. If you can afford it and don’t need a ton of internal storage, get a laptop with a solid state drive (SSD) rather than a hard drive, because you’ll see at least three times the speed and a much faster laptop overall.Among SSDs, the newer PCIe x4 (aka NVME) units offer triple the speed of traditional SATA drives. Sub-$250 laptops use eMMC memory, which is technically solid-state but not faster than a mechanical hard drive.
- Display: The more pixels you have, the more content you can fit on-screen, and the sharper it will look. Most budget and mainstream laptops have 1366 x 768 displays, but if you can afford it, we recommend paying extra for a panel that runs at 1920 x 1080, also known as full HD or 1080p. Some higher-end laptops have screens that are 2560 x 1600, 3200 x 1800 or even 3840 x 2160, which all look sharp but consume more power, lowering your battery life.MORE: Why 78 Percent of Laptop Screens Suck
- Touch Screen: If you’re buying a regular clamshell laptop, rather than a 2-in-1, you won’t get much benefit from a touch screen and you will get 1 to 3 hours less battery life. On 2-in-1s, touch screens come standard.
- Graphics Chip: If you’re not playing PC games, creating 3D objects or doing high-res video editing, an integrated graphics chip (one that shares system memory) will be fine. If you have any of the above needs, though, a discrete graphics processor from AMD or Nvidia is essential. As with CPUs, there are both high- and low-end graphics chips. Low-end gaming or workstation systems today usually have Nvidia GTX 1050 while mid-range models have GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 1060 and high-end models have GTX 1070 or 1080. Nvidia maintains a list of its graphics chips from low to high end, as does AMD.
- Ports: While the absence of ports is usually not a deal-breaker when choosing a laptop, it’s helpful to get the connections you need right on the system, rather than having to carry a slew of dongles. Most mainstream laptops will have USB 3.0 ports and HDMI out for video. However, an increasing number of laptops use USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports that are USB Type-C compatible. Getting Type-C is a definite plus, because you can use it to connect to universal chargers and docks.
- DVD/Blu-ray Drives. Few laptops come with optical drives, because all software and movies are downloadable. However, if you really need to read / write discs and your laptop of choice doesn’t come with a built-in DVD drive, you can always buy an external one that connects via USB for under $20.
6. Don’t Skimp on Battery Life
If you’re buying large, bulky notebook that you’ll use only on a desk near an outlet, you don’t have to worry about battery life. However, if you plan to use the laptop on your lap, even if it’s at home and or work, you’ll want at least 7 hours of endurance, with 8+ hours being ideal. To determine a notebook’s expected battery life, don’t take the manufacturer’s word for it. Instead, read third-party results from objective sources, such as our reviews.
7. Plan Based on Your Budget
These days, you can buy a usable laptop for under $200, but if you can budget more, you’ll get a system with better build quality, stronger performance and a better display. Here’s what you can get for each price range.
- $150 to $250: The least-expensive notebooks are either Chromebooks, which run Google’s browser-centric OS, or low-end Windows systems with minimal storage and slower processors, such as the HP Stream 11 and the Dell Inspiron 11 3000. Use these as secondary computers only or give them to the kids.
- $350 to $600: For well under $600, you can get a notebook with an Intel Core i5 or AMD A8 CPU, 4 to 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive, all respectable specs. However, at this price, most notebooks don’t have an SSD, a full-HD display or long battery life. There are a few noteable exceptions, such as the Acer Aspire E 15 and Asus VivoBook E403NA.
- $600 to $900: As you get above $600, you’ll start to see more premium designs, such as metal finishes. Manufacturers also start to add in other features as you climb the price ladder, including higher-resolution displays and SSDs.
- Above $900: At this price range, expect notebooks that are more portable, more powerful or both. Expect higher-resolution screens, faster processors and possibly discrete graphics. The lightest, longest-lasting ultraportables, like the Apple MacBook and the Dell XPS 13, tend to cost more than $1,000 (although you can get the Dell for less if you don’t opt for a touch screen). High-end gaming systems and mobile workstations usually cost upward of $1,500 or even as much as $2,500 or $3,000.
MORE: Best Laptops Under $500
8.Mind the Brand
Your laptop is only as good as the company that stands behind it. Accurate and timely technical support is paramount, which is why Laptop Mag evaluates every major brand in our annual Tech Support Showdown. This past year Apple came in first place, followed by Acer and Lenovo.
Support is only part of what makes a notebook brand worth your money. You also have to consider how the manufacturer stacks up to the competition in terms of design, value and selection, review performance and other criteria. In our 2017 Best and Worst Laptop Brands report, Lenovo placed first, followed by Asus and Dell.
Learn how to zero in on the features that really matter to you in this video:
How will you use your laptop?
- Light use: Surfing the Web, paying bills online, e-mail and social networking, organizing and sharing digital photos.
- Average use: Storing and streaming music and movies, tasks like spreadsheet and document creation.
- Demanding use: Multitasking with multiple tabs and programs, sophisticated graphics and photo editing, and video production.
More demanding users will want to invest a bit more in a higher resolution screen, a faster processor, more system memory, and a larger hard drive.
How important is portability to you?
Screen size, the type and capacity of built-in storage devices, and the presence or lack of a CD/DVD or Blu-ray drive all affect a laptop’s size and weight. Laptops generally fall into three categories of weight:
- 3 lbs. or less: These streamlined laptops are great for students and travelers who need to perform basic e-mailing and Web surfing tasks on the go.
- 4–5 lbs.: This midrange selection provides a balance between power and portability, great for users who occasionally work from coffee shops or airports.
- 6 lbs. or more: These workhorses provide powerful processing and larger screens, ideal for gamers and professionals who rarely use their laptops away from their desks.
Does your laptop look and feel right?
You can learn a lot about a laptop by handling it. Hinges and clasps should feel sturdy enough to withstand daily use. Test the lid and body — typically made from plastics or aluminums — to see if they are adequately rigid and lightweight. Make sure that the keyboard’s spacing and depth allow for comfortable typing. The trackpad and mouse buttons should allow you to solidly click, scroll and zoom without skipping. Also, if you rely on 10-key for data entry, be sure the machine you select has a numeric keypad. If you won’t have an opportunity to check it out in person, you can still check product pages and user reviews for recurring comments about look, feel and build quality.
The operating system is the heart of your laptop. It manages all software and hardware, including files, memory and connected devices. Most importantly, it lets you interact with your laptop and your programs in a visual way (otherwise, you’d be typing a bunch of computer code to get anything done).
Installed exclusively on Mac computers, OS X boasts an elegant and easy-to-use interface to complement Macs’ sleek aesthetics and impressive battery life. Macs have historically had fewer issues with viruses and malware. However, MacBooks start at a higher price point than other laptops, and no Mac model to date includes touch-screen functionality.
Windows is designed specifically around an intuitive touch-screen interface (though it can be used with a traditional mouse and keyboard), expanding your navigation options. It also features a new task manager, streamlined file management and a suite of built-in apps. Learn more about Windows 10.
Featured exclusively in the Chromebook line of mobile computers, this OS runs custom apps and cloud-based programs rather than traditional software. It’s great for surfing the Web, keeping up with your e-mail and social networks, and sharing your photos with friends and family, rather than more data-intensive tasks like video editing and hardcore gaming.
Laptop screen sizes range from about 11 to 17 inches. A larger screen is ideal for gaming, watching movies, photo and video editing, and viewing documents side by side. Keep in mind, a big screen can increase the overall size, weight and power consumption of a laptop.
Higher resolution equals better picture quality. Laptop screens come in a range of resolutions (measured in pixels, horizontal x vertical):
- HD: 1366 x 768 resolution is standard on mainstream laptops. Good for Web-surfing, e-mail and basic computing tasks.
- HD+: 1600 x 900 resolution is great for casual gaming and watching DVD movies.
- Full HD: 1920 x 1080 resolution allows you to watch Blu-ray movies and play video games without losing any level of detail.
- Retina display: 2304 x 1440, 2560 x 1600 and 2880 x 1800 resolutions are found in Apple’s 12″, 13.3″ and 15.6″ laptop displays, respectively.
- QHD (Quad HD) and QHD+: With 2560 x 1440 and 3200 x 1800 resolutions, respectively, the extremely high pixel density creates crisp detail and sharp text, ideal for professional photo and graphics work as well as high-def movies and games.
- 4K Ultra HD: 3840 x 2160 resolution boasts four times the pixels of Full HD, creating rich colors and images for viewing and editing incredibly lifelike images and graphics.
Different display technologies yield different colors and brightness levels. Many laptops employ LED backlighting, which can display bright colors without draining the battery. If you plan to use your laptop to watch movies and shows with a friend, choose a display with an IPS panel for wider viewing angles. Screens with a glossy finish generally provide richer colors and darker blacks, while matte displays will reduce glare if you frequently work outdoors or near windows.
Touch-screen laptops make navigating on your computer more intuitive. Tap to select, hold and drag to move items, swipe to scroll and pinch to zoom, just as you would on a smartphone or tablet. Currently available on many Windows laptops and select Chromebooks.
Your laptop’s processor is like its brain. Working in combination with system memory, the power of the processor determines the complexity of software you can run, how many programs you can have open at the same time, and how fast those programs will run. Most laptops feature an Intel® or AMD processor.
Intel’s processors are at the heart of every modern MacBook and the majority of Windows laptops. Most prevalent are Intel’s Core ™ series of multicore processors:
- Core i7: Intel’s top-of-the-line consumer processor. The choice of “power users” like hardcore gamers, graphic designers, photographers and videographers. It excels at serious multitasking and high-demand multimedia creation for projects in 3D or high definition.
- Core i5: Mid-grade Core processor and one of the most common Intel processors currently in use. Powerful enough for most computing tasks, and multitasks well so you can stream the big football game while looking up stats and sending e-mails.
- Core i3: The entry-level Core processor, more than adequate for everyday e-mail, Internet and productivity tasks. It’s also fine for common activities like listening to music.
- Core M: A processor designed for ultraslim devices, providing plenty of power for day-to-day surfing and e-mailing without being a major drain on battery life.
In value-priced laptops, you’ll also see Intel’s Pentium® and Celeron® processors. These are adequate for basic e-mail, Internet and productivity tasks, but their speed and multitasking capabilities are limited relative to those of the Core family.
AMD has two categories of processors that are most common:
FX and A-Series: Like Intel’s Core chips, these processors include a graphics processor built into the same chip. In order from top-of-the-line to entry level, they include:
- FX: Best Buy-exclusive powerhouse for serious gaming and heavy multitasking
- A10: AMD’s flagship chip, with blazing quad-core speed and exceptional graphics performance
- A8: Improved graphics performance enables immersive 3D gaming in HD
- A6: Smoother video streaming and enhanced photo quality
- A4: Responsive performance for music, photos and video
E-Series: Similar to Intel’s Celeron and Pentium processors, these are value-oriented chips with limited speed and multitasking capabilities. They’re appropriate for basic computing tasks like e-mail, Web surfing and word processing.
Variances exist within processor classes. Laptops designed for exceptional battery life often incorporate an ultra-low-voltage version of the listed processor, which usually sacrifices processing speed.
For heavy graphics work or gaming, choose a laptop with a dedicated graphics card and video memory. Having separate resources for your graphics allows for faster, smoother processing while you’re watching movies, playing games or multitasking.
Random-access memory, or RAM, is important because it helps your processor tackle multiple tasks at once. A minimum of 2GB is required for basic computing, but 6GB or more is recommended if you’re into graphics and advanced photo or video editing. Most laptops have 4GB–8GB pre-installed, and some have up to 32GB. If you think you might need more memory later, choose a model that lets you expand the RAM.
Traditional hard disk drives offer larger storage capacities, but add to a laptop’s weight and thickness while generating heat and noise. Alternatively, solid state drives (also known as SSDs or flash storage) are much lighter, faster, cooler and quieter than hard drives — but they’re also much more expensive per GB, so typically provide less storage space. Some laptops feature a hybrid drive, which combines a hard drive with a solid state drive for the benefits of both.
Hard Disk Drives
Traditional, mechanical hard disk drives are the most common type of storage because they’re relatively inexpensive and offer huge capacities. However, they also add significantly to a laptop’s weight and thickness, and generate both heat and noise. They come in two standard speeds: A 5400 rpm drive is sufficient for day-to-day Web surfing, e-mailing and document creation, but a 7200 rpm drive transfers data more quickly and may be worth considering if you regularly work with large files.
Solid-state drives, also known as SSDs (or, in Apple’s case, “flash storage”), are many times faster than hard disk drives, but typically offer far less capacity. SSDs also offer tremendous advantages in physical size, weight and power efficiency, along with negligible heat production and noiseless operation, making them an ideal choice for ultraslim, ultralightweight laptops. And unlike hard disks, SSDs have no moving parts to wear out.
Some laptops employ an SSD for all storage. Others dedicate a smaller SSD to house the operating system and applications (enabling faster start-up) and add a traditional hard drive for general data storage.
Manufacturers’ battery-life claims range from just a few hours up to 12 hours or more.
Laptop enhancements — such as increased processing power, larger and higher resolution screens, faster hard drives, or the addition of an optical drive — will drain your battery more quickly.
Ports and Connectivity
Laptops typically provide several options for staying connected to the Internet as well as to other devices. Most laptops provide the latest wireless standards plus Bluetooth capabilities so you can easily sync your smartphone, speakers and other portable devices.
If you are a frequent traveler, consider a laptop that connects to the 4G LTE network so you can access the Web even when you’re not near a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Keep an eye out for the following ports that are commonly used for connecting to TVs, cameras and other devices:
- USB 2.0: Connects external drives, gaming controllers, smartphones, MP3 players and other accessories.
- USB 3.0: Transfers data faster than USB 2.0, but only when used with USB 3.0 devices.
- USB Type-C: Provides blazing speeds and versatile power, featuring connectors with identical ends that plug in upside down or right-side up. Adapters allow for video as well as backward compatibility.
- Thunderbolt: Ultra-high bandwidth for fast data transfer between devices featuring a Thunderbolt or MiniDisplayPort connection.
- HDMI: Connect a projector or display HD media on your flat-screen TV.
- Media-card slots: Transfer photos from your digital camera or camcorder.
Designed specifically for high-performance games and tasks on the go, gaming laptops provide boosted power and beefed-up features. Advanced processors and graphics cards allow for faster, smoother gameplay, while enhanced speakers and larger screen sizes help bring the game to life. Some gaming laptops also include programmable keys, color-coded backlit keyboards and additional ports for convenient connectivity.
However, these resource-intensive features often heat up the laptop while cutting down on battery life and portability. Consider how often you’ll be taking your gaming on the road, and choose a laptop with a cooling system that leaves your hands comfortable and your graphics smooth.
If you like the power of a laptop but also need the portability of a tablet, consider a 2-in-1 (also known as “convertible” or “hybrid”) laptop. These devices provide the functionality of touch-screen laptops with versatile displays that shift or detach into a tablet. Best Buy offers a wide selection of 2-in-1s whose displays can twist, fold, hang or lock in place, providing the perfect angle for presenting at work or catching up on your favorite show on the couch.
An ergonomic mouse or extra layer of padding can make a world of a difference when you’re using your laptop on the go. Best Buy is your one-stop shop for all your laptop accessories:
- Laptop packages combine laptops with the software and accessories you need in one convenient bundle.
- Microsoft Office provides popular applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint for portable productivity.
- Printers allow you to quickly print your reports, assignments and photos right from your laptop.
- Sleeves and bags safely and stylishly transport your laptop and accessories.
- Mice provide precise control for quick navigating, scrolling and gaming.
- Hard drives allow you to supplement or replace your laptop’s configuration for greater storage space and faster speeds.