Best budget Windows laptops 2023

Best budget Windows laptops 2023

The Best Budget Windows Laptops for Everyday Use

If you’re looking for a daily driver that won’t break the bank, don’t overlook the affordable Windows laptops on the market. Companies like Acer, ASUS, and Dell offer a range of devices under $500 that are perfect for those on a tight budget or who don’t need the power of a high-end laptop.

Windows Laptops vs. Chromebooks and Tablets

While Chromebooks and tablets are popular options, they may not be the best choice for everyone. Tablets are highly portable but are more suitable for users who are tech-savvy and comfortable with mobile devices. Additionally, tablets can be just as expensive as some of the cheapest Windows laptops, especially when you add the cost of accessories like a mouse and keyboard.

Chromebooks, on the other hand, are great for users who mainly rely on web browsing. However, they have a more limited operating system compared to Windows, which can restrict the programs you can use. Furthermore, the quality and variety of apps available on Chromebooks can be inconsistent, especially when it comes to Android apps that have not been optimized for Chrome OS.

The Benefits of Cheap Windows Laptops

Cheap Windows laptops are capable of handling a variety of tasks, including web browsing, email checking, video streaming, and more. They offer a significant advantage in terms of Microsoft Office, as the native desktop apps are highly regarded and run smoothly even on low-powered budget laptops. While multitasking or working with large data sets and graphics might slow down these devices, they generally deliver excellent performance for everyday use.

In terms of storage, Windows laptops have an advantage over Chromebooks with their minimum 128GB SSDs. This is especially beneficial for those who prefer to save their important files locally. Cheaper Chromebooks often have less storage capacity since they are designed for cloud-based storage, limiting the size of programs and files that can be downloaded.

Another advantage of Windows laptops is the wide range of apps available for download. While the selection may not be as extensive as that on Android, Windows offers a more standardized and consistent user experience. Additionally, Windows allows users to download and use programs from other sources, such as direct downloads from developers, enabling access to a wider range of software.

What to Look for in a Cheap Windows Laptop

When shopping for a budget Windows laptop, it’s important to set realistic expectations, especially considering the limited power of these devices. Most laptops under $500 come with Intel Celeron or Pentium processors. However, there are options with more powerful CPUs, such as Intel Core i3/i5 and AMD Ryzen 3/5, available at the higher end of the price range.

Key specifications to consider when purchasing a sub-$500 Windows laptop include:

  • Intel Core i or AMD Ryzen 3 processors
  • 8GB of RAM
  • An SSD with at least 128GB of space
  • 1080p display
  • Mostly metal designs

It is recommended to prioritize the CPU when choosing a budget laptop, as it significantly impacts overall performance. While more RAM is beneficial for multitasking, budget laptops generally benefit more from a powerful CPU rather than excessive RAM. Storage requirements depend on individual needs, but it’s worth considering a laptop with extra storage for downloading larger programs. SSDs are the preferred storage option due to their speed and efficiency compared to traditional HDDs.

It is also worth noting that budget laptops can now feature more attractive designs, with many options in the sub-$500 range incorporating metal elements like aluminum. Regarding displays, there is a good mix of HD and FHD options available, with a 1080p display being recommended if possible. Touchscreens are not as common, but they can be found on 2-in-1 laptops.

Best Overall: Acer Aspire 5

A reliable and popular choice is the Acer Aspire 5 series. With options ranging from 14-inch to 15.6-inch displays, these laptops offer a great balance of performance and affordability. The latest models come with 11th-gen Intel Core i3 processors, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSDs. With solid battery life and a comfortable keyboard, the Aspire 5 is a great option for everyday use.

Runner-up: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

For users looking for a more portable option, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is an excellent choice. Powered by an AMD Ryzen 3 4300 processor, it offers a 14-inch 1080p IPS display and a 128GB SSD. The Flex 5 stands out with its excellent keyboard and impressive battery life, lasting approximately 16.5 hours. The 2-in-1 design adds even more flexibility to this budget laptop.

Another Good Option: Surface Laptop Go 2

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go 2 is a solid option for those willing to spend a little extra. Although it starts at $600, it offers a sleek design, a 12.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen, and an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor even in its base model. With long battery life and improved thermal system, the Laptop Go 2 delivers snappy performance and a comfortable user experience.

While these are our top recommendations at the moment, keep in mind that the best cheap laptop models can change frequently. When searching for a specific model, note that configurations and prices can vary among retailers. If you can’t find one of the recommended models, be sure to consider the key specifications mentioned earlier to guide you in finding the best budget laptop available.