You can get a good laptop on a budget; you just have to know which one to pick. Here are what we recommend for those looking to spend anywhere from $300 to $800 on a new laptop for school, work, or play.
Cheap laptops are getting better and better. The question to ask is: what’s most important, and what are you willing to sacrifice? Even the best cheap laptops aren’t perfect in every area — they have some strengths but cut corners to achieve their price tags. You can almost certainly find a budget laptop with a touchscreen, a premium-looking chassis, an HDMI port, a backlit keyboard, or stylus support. But you may need to consider which of those features you want the most and which you can go without.
My current pick for the best budget laptop of 2023 is the Gateway 14. It’s a device you can easily find for well under $500, and it nails the basics while providing excellent battery life and a number of different fun colors — as well as user-accessible storage. It’s a great pick for those who want to buy a functional, attractive laptop for as low a price as possible.
But if cow spots don’t float your boat, not to worry. I’ve got a diverse list of suggestions here for you at a variety of sub-$1,000 price points, including gaming laptops, business laptops, convertibles, Chromebooks, and more. Some of my favorites in this category include the Asus Chromebook CX5, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3, and the HP Victus 15. Many of these laptops also appear on our best laptop, best Chromebook, and best student laptop lists.
1. Gateway 14
The best cheap laptop of 2023
CPU: Intel Core i5-1135G7 / GPU: Intel Iris Xe / RAM: 16GB / Storage: 512GB / Display: 14.1-inch IPS display, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz, no touch option / Dimensions: 13.1 x 8.75 x 0.75 inches / Weight: 4 pounds
If you’re looking for the best specs you can get for as low a price as possible, your best bet is the $376 (as of this writing) Gateway 14. This cow-spotted (in spirit) device comes in a few funky colors that will stand out from the crowd. (The model I reviewed is a bold bright blue.) It offers some of the best specs you can get for under $400 as well as an excellent port selection and speedy performance. There’s even an empty drive slot so you can stick in as much storage as you need.
There are a few compromises to be aware of. The microphones are weak, for one, and the touchpad is clunky and loud. However, these are reasonable compromises to make for the Gateway’s low price, especially since they are both easily remedied with external peripherals. In the grand scheme of the laptop market, the Gateway 14 offers unparalleled specs, performance, and battery life for its price. Plus, it looks super cute.
Read my Gateway 14 review.
2. Framework Laptop
The best cheap DIY laptop
CPU: Intel Core 15-1340P/Core i7-1360P/Core i7-1370P, AMD Ryzen 5 7640U/Ryzen 7 7840U / GPU: Intel UHD/Intel Iris Xe, AMD Radeon 700M / RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB / Storage: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB / Display: 13-inch 2256 x 1540 3:2 matte / Dimensions: 11.68 x 9.01 x 0.62 inches / Weight: 2.87 pounds
While the Framework Laptop costs a bit more money upfront than many of the products on this page, it’s very likely to save you money in the long run. This computer allows you to swap out every single port (even the mainboard, as well as things like the speakers and hinges) yourself. In theory, this means the Framework will last you much longer than many cheaper devices will, because you can just replace certain parts when they run out of steam rather than needing to upgrade the entire system.
Not only can you buy the Framework as a prebuilt system, but you can also order it as a DIY kit, allowing you to assemble the entire thing yourself and swap out parts as you please. The DIY system is cheaper than the prebuilt option, and is a good choice if you want to save some extra cash.
Aside from its repairability and price, the Framework has some other great features. It has a bright, high-resolution, roomy screen, excellent audio, and a portable chassis that’s under three pounds. If you have the money to purchase a DIY kit up front, and the time to assemble it, it’s likely to save you significant money in the long run.
Read my Framework Laptop 13 review.
3. Asus Chromebook Flip CX5
The best cheap Chromebook of 2023
CPU: Intel Core i5-1135G7 / GPU: Intel Iris Xe / RAM: 16GB / Storage: 128GB / Display: 15.6-inch IPS, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz, touch option / Dimensions: 14.08 x 9.48 x 0.73 inches / Weight: 4.3 pounds
The Chromebook Flip CX5 really is that good. It’s sturdy enough to withstand all kinds of jolts and jostles in a backpack or briefcase, and has a unique velvety texture that’s very pleasant to hold. Add a wide port selection, a smooth and comfortable keyboard, and a vivid display, and you’ve got a chassis that can hold its own against plenty of midrange Windows laptops.
Performance is equally impressive. I never once heard its fan in testing, even when pushing a workload that slowed most devices down. Battery life is quite satisfactory, easily lasting a day. And the speakers delivered some of the best audio I’ve ever heard from a Chromebook. While the CX5 isn’t a perfect device, it’s one of the best ones we’ve ever tested under $700. Overall, budget shoppers who don’t mind Chrome OS won’t be disappointed in this machine.
Read my Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 review.
4. Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3
The best Chrome OS tablet
CPU: Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 / GPU: Qualcomm Adreno graphics / RAM: 4Gb, 8GB / Storage: 128GB / Display: 10.95-inch IPS, 2000 x 1200, 60Hz, touch option / Dimensions: 10.16 x 6.48 x 0.31 inches / Weight: 1.14 pounds
If you’re looking for an absurdly cheap Chromebook that absolutely gets the job done, you should definitely be looking at the Duet 3. This is a great, tiny laptop for budget shoppers with a magnetic detachable keyboard and kickstand. The screen even supports USI styluses, though a stylus is not included in this price. The keyboard is included, however, as are the keyboard and kickstand, which makes for a pretty solid package for a sub-$400 price.
While I don’t recommend the Duet 3 for work use, it’s quite usable for social media use, leisure, and multimedia viewing. It has a sharp, bright, 11-inch screen, and the keyboard and touchpad are surprisingly comfortable. As a bonus, it’s just 2.09 pounds, which makes it great for carrying around in a backpack or a purse.
Read our Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 review.
5. Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro
The best budget laptop for business
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS / GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 / RAM: 16GB / Storage: 512GB / Display: 14.5-inch 2560 x 1600 90Hz IPS / Dimensions: 12.81 x 8.84 x 0.71 inches / Weight: 3.37 pounds
If you’re a small business owner or self-employed professional, it can be difficult to find sturdy laptops with the power needed for computing-heavy workloads that won’t break the bank. Your best option is often to look at devices like the IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro, which offer mid-range discrete GPUs and high-resolution, high refresh rate displays. This device has an excellent keyboard and a great port selection in addition to its powerful chips. And it’s now a bit old, which means it’s easy to find at prices well below $1,000.
The primary downside of this device is that its battery life isn’t great. I got around seven and a half hours of continuous use — which is good for devices with discrete GPUs, but not amazing for the business category. Still, if you’re looking a portable device from a company with an unbeatable reputation for business products, the IdeaPad is currently a deal worth considering.
Read our IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro review.
6. HP Victus 15
An affordable gaming laptop
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, Ryzen 7 5800H, Intel Core i5-13500H, Core i7-13700H, Core i7-12700H / GPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, Ryzen 7 5800H, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, RTX 3050 Ti, RTX 4050 / RAM: 8GB, 16GB / Storage: 512GB, 1TB / Display: 15.6-inch IPS, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz/144Hz, no touch option / Dimensions: 14.09 x 10.04 x 0.93 / Weight: 5.05 pounds
Gaming laptops are known to be fairly expensive, but the HP Victus 15 offers surprisingly good frame rates for a sub-$700 price. The base model is available with a GTX 1650, while those who want to run the most demanding titles and don’t mind spending a bit more can go for an RTX 3050, which adds $90 to the price. (There are even RTX 3050 Ti models, if you’re really a frame-rate perfectionist.)
I tested the GTX 1650 model, and it had no problem with lighter esports titles. The 144Hz screen, which is a huge bonus at this price point, was a joy to watch. You should expect to bump some settings down if you want modern AAA titles to fully take advantage of the display. On the outside, the Victus has a nice, unobtrusive look, and a portable-enough five-pound chassis.
Read our HP Victus 15 review.
7. HP Pavilion Plus 14
A (relatively) cheap OLED laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5-1240P, Core i5-12500H, Core i5-1235U, Core i7-12700H, Core i7-1255U/ GPU: Intel Iris Xe, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 / RAM: 8GB, 16GB / Storage: 256GB, 512Gb, 1TB / Display: 14-inch IPS/OLED, 2240 x 1400/2880 x 1800, 60Hz, no touch option / Dimensions: 12.34 x 8.83 x 0.72 inches / Weight: 3.09 pounds
The HP Pavilion Plus 14, currently available for $799, stretches what most would consider a budget price. But this 14-inch laptop has a luxurious OLED, 2.8K, 90Hz display that far outclasses its price. It’s also the thinnest Pavilion HP has ever built, and at just 3.09 pounds, it’s quite easy to carry around in a backpack or briefcase.
The webcam also offers a few unique (and at times hilarious features). Auto-framing keeps you centered as you move around your conference area, backlight and low-light adjustments keep you looking sharp, and “BRB Mode” can freeze your feed and stick a “BRB” sign on the bottom to let your coworkers know you’ll be right back. The main downside to consider is that battery life isn’t great – I got just under five hours to a charge out of my test unit, a typical result for a laptop with an OLED screen.
Read our HP Pavilion Plus 14 review.
8. HP Envy x360 15
An affordable laptop with a premium design
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 7540U/Ryzen 7 7730U / GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics / RAM: 8GB, 16GB / Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB / Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz IPS, touch option / Dimensions: 14.13 x 9.02 x 0.73 inches / Weight: 4.04 pounds
The HP Envy x360 15 looks a lot like HP’s high-end Spectre laptops. But it’s more affordable than those Spectres, with models currently available for well under $700. The chassis is incredibly sturdy with classy accents and a premium finish, making for a device that would fit right in among much more expensive 15-inch products.
In addition to the exceptional AMD Ryzen processors inside, the Envy x360 15 offers a number of excellent perks. You get excellent all-day battery life, a bright screen, and a loaded port selection. The keyboard is a lot of fun to type on, and the touchpad is smooth. If you value aesthetic and craftsmanship in your laptops, this is one to look at.
Read our HP Envy x360 15 review.
9. Acer Chromebook Spin 714
The best cheap 14-inch Chromebook
CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U, Core i7-1260P / GPU: Intel Iris Xe / RAM: 8GB / Storage: 256GB / Display: 114-inch IPS, 2560 x 1600, 60Hz, touch option / Dimensions: 12.31 x 8.82 x 0.71 inches / Weight: 3.09 pounds
If you’d prefer a more traditional Chromebook with a clamshell form factor, the $479 Acer Chromebook Spin 714 is an affordable option that’s all-around excellent. It has a gorgeous 16:10 display, compatible with a garaged stylus, that delivers a sharp picture and bright, vibrant colors with plenty of vertical space.
The screen alone would make the Chromebook Spin 714 a standout, but it has a number of other strengths as well, including a great keyboard, all-day battery life, and a comprehensive port selection, including an HDMI, in addition to Thunderbolt 4. It’s an especially good buy at a discount (which you can often find).
Read our Acer Chromebook Spin 714 review.
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