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If you're a regular reader, when you think of daily drivers, you probably don't think of cheap Windows laptops. But ignoring these tools would be a big mistake—if not for yourself, then for everyone else. Many people need to work within financial constraints, while others don't need all the power of a flagship laptop - they just want the best budget machine they can afford. Acer, Asus, Dell, and others make Windows devices under $500, and for good reason.
Which Is The Cheap And Best Laptop
Inexpensive Windows laptops are a great option for people who only use their computers to check email, shop online, or post on Facebook. (Hi, moms and dads?) It's also for kids who don't have the right to get their skinny little hands on a $2,000 gaming device. And, depending on your needs, these devices can make excellent daily drivers as well.
Best Budget Laptops In 2023
Now, you might be inclined to recommend a Chromebook or tablet to everyone mentioned above. Those instincts aren't wrong, but Chromebooks and tablets are the best choice for everyone. Tablets are only for the most mobile users, like children, who are already smart enough to steal smartphones from their parents. Tablets can also cost as much as some of the cheapest Windows laptops, and they don't come with a mouse or keyboard.
Chromebooks are a great option for those who mostly use a browser, but forgo the "traditional desktop" at the price. Chrome OS is a more limited operating system than Windows in terms of the programs you can install and run.
So what can you really do on a cheap Windows laptop? A lot, especially if you're doing it all at once (or a limited number of things). They're great for browsing the web, checking email, streaming video and more -- but yes, all of these things can be done on a Chromebook, too. However, Windows laptops have one big advantage when it comes to Microsoft Office. While yes, there is a browser-based version, the native desktop app is a must for most people and will run smoothly on even the most modest budget laptops. The only caveat is that if you are multi-tasking or working with large Excel datasets or lots of images and graphics in Powerpoint, you may experience slowdowns on less powerful devices.
In terms of features, one of the bright points of Windows laptops is storage. Even the cheapest devices come with at least a 128GB SSD. This is useful if you want to keep your most important files locally on your laptop. In contrast, cheap Chromebooks usually have little storage space because they're built around keeping all your documents in the cloud. Not only is this inconvenient if you need to work offline, but it also limits the size of programs and files you can download. So it's not the time to binge Netflix shows before a long trip or use a Chromebook as a gaming laptop.
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Windows also has thousands of apps that you can download from its app store. Chromebooks have some Chrome apps, lots of browser plug-ins, and the ability to download Android apps, but quality control is ... controversial. Android apps in particular are often not optimized for Chrome OS, leading to an unstable user experience. Windows may not have as many apps as Android, but at least the experience is pretty standard.
Windows also allows you to download and use programs from other sources, such as directly from developers. You can run Adobe Creative Suite, some VPNs, and programs like GIMP, Audacity, and ClipMate on Windows devices, which is not possible on Chrome OS. Chromebooks limit your use of apps and programs to those in the Play Store and the Chrome Add-ons Store, reducing other apps and programs in your Downloads folder that consume unused space and icons.
While there's a lot you can do on a Windows laptop for a little money, you should set your expectations accordingly. The biggest drawback to buying a cheap laptop (of any kind, really) is limited power. Many Windows laptops under $500 run Intel Celeron or Pentium processors, but you can find some with Core i3/i5 and AMD Ryzen 3/5 CPUs at the higher end of the price range.
We recommend that you buy the most powerful CPU you can afford, as that will determine the overall speed of your computer. RAM is also important, because the more memory, the easier it is for a laptop to manage things like dozens of browser tabs while editing Word documents and playing music in the background. However, for a laptop under $500, you're better off buying the best CPU you can afford, rather than a laptop with a lot of RAM, because the CPU will have more than enough power to handle most of the laptop's design work. manage the budget (if you're editing RAW images or 4K video, you'll need to invest in more RAM... and a $500-plus laptop).
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When it comes to storage, think about how much you want to save locally. If you primarily use Google Docs or keep most of your content in the cloud, you probably don't need a computer with a lot of online storage. Remember that your digital space is also taken up by apps, so if you know you'll be downloading a large program, it might be worth getting more storage space than you think you'll need. Last note: SSDs are everywhere these days, not to mention faster and more efficient than HDDs, so we recommend buying a laptop with this type of storage.
You don't have to settle for an all-plastic notebook either. Some options in the sub-$500 price range are made at least partially from metals like aluminum. These are not only more attractive, but also more durable. As for the screen, there's a healthy mix of HD and Full HD options in this price range, and we'd recommend getting a laptop with a 1080p display if you can. Touchscreens aren't as common as standard panels in the sub-$500 space, but you'll really miss it if you own a 2-in-1 laptop.
One last note before we make our picks: The cheapest laptop models change all the time. Unlike more expensive flagships, these laptops can be upgraded several times a year. This can make it difficult to find a specific model on Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, or another retailer. Also, we found that the price depends on the setting and the store you are looking at. We've listed some of our favorite current models below, but if you can't find one nearby, remember our list of features to look for in a cheap laptop — they'll lead you to the best machines out there. .
Acer's Aspire 5 series has been a solid choice for a long time—we love its solid performance, comfortable keyboard, and good array of ports.
Best Cheap Laptops Under $500, From Samsung, Asus, And More
The Acer Aspire 5 series has been a solid choice for a long time. We recently tested a model with a 14-inch 1080p display that has an 11th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. Now, you can pick up a model with a 15.6-inch display, an 11th-generation Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for about $300.
The device we reviewed performed similarly to the Aspire 5 model we previously tested, with a good display and a comfortable typing experience on the keyboard. The latest Aspire 5 supports WiFi 6, and most models have a variety of ports, including one USB-C (detached from the back of the power supply), three USB-A, an HDMI connector, and an Ethernet port. Battery life is also excellent: the average battery life for this model is 10 hours. In previous versions we were around 6 hours, so this is a much needed improvement.
If you want a more portable budget laptop with battery life that will keep you going all day, Lenovo's Flex 5 14 is a solid choice. It runs an AMD Ryzen 3 4300 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, and has a 14-inch 1080p IPS screen and plenty of ports, including a USB-C connector. If you care about the future, a USB-C port is a must. You may not have many USB-C accessories right now, but that will certainly change in the next few years.
The typing experience is also top-notch: While there's no number, the keys have a rounded bottom, similar to those found on Lenovo ThinkPad machines. her
The Best Cheap Laptops You Can Buy In 2022
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