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The 5 Best Budget And Cheap Laptops - Summer 2022 Reviews

Best Cheap Laptops

While premium laptops have gotten more expensive over time, cheap and budget options have improved significantly in quality. You can easily find some great devices that provide a satisfying user experience, from dirt cheap under $300 Chromebooks to budget gaming laptops with a dedicated GPU costing up to $1,200. The list is short for now, but it'll grow as we review more laptops.

We've tested more than 50 laptops, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best cheap and budget laptops you can get. You can also check out our recommendations for the best laptops under $300, the best laptops under $400, and the best laptops under $500.

  1. Best Cheap Laptop

    The best cheap laptop we've tested is the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020). It's a very well-built and portable Chromebook with a battery that lasts a little over 12 hours of light use. It's also a 2-in-1 convertible, meaning you can flip the screen around and use it as a tablet. The screen is decently sharp and provides just enough space for split-screen multitasking. The keyboard feels great to type on for extended periods, and while the touchpad is a bit small, it tracks all movements and gestures well.

    As for performance, its Intel Core i3 CPU is powerful enough to provide a smooth experience on Chrome OS. However, you can only get a maximum of 4GB of memory, so you might experience occasional stutters if you have a lot of applications or Chrome tabs open at the same time. It isn't a fanless device, but it never gets hot or loud, which is great for quiet classrooms and offices. If you're new to Chrome OS, it's best to check that you can do all your assignments or work through a Chrome browser or Android apps first since it doesn't support x86 applications.

    See our review

  2. Best Cheap Gaming Laptop

    Looking for a cheap gaming laptop is hard as most laptops with a dedicated GPU tend to cost more. However, there are some great options out there as long as you don't mind a few compromises, like the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021). It's a 15.6-inch laptop that provides a good 1080p gaming experience. It's available with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 7 5800H CPU and various NVIDIA dedicated GPUs, ranging from an entry-level GTX 1650 to an RTX 3060 with ray-tracing and DLSS support. You can configure it with a 60Hz, 120Hz, or 165Hz 1080p panel and up to 16GB of memory.

    The memory and storage drive are both user-upgradeable, which means you can potentially save some money by upgrading yourself. The main downsides are that it gets hot and loud under load, and its battery lasts less than an hour when gaming, so you'll have to play with the laptop plugged in most of the time. There's also an Intel version of this laptop if you prefer to go with team blue, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i (2021), although it doesn't have as many GPU options.

    See our review

  3. Best Cheap Multimedia Laptop

    If you need a device for watching online videos, TV shows, or movies, check out the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021). It's a 2-in-1 Chrome OS tablet with a kickstand and detachable keyboard. It's compact and lightweight, and its battery lasts nearly eight hours of video playback. Its 13.3-inch OLED display produces saturated colors and deep, inky blacks, with no uniformity issues like backlight bleed or clouding. Above its stunning display sits a surprisingly great webcam, and there's also a camera on the back should you need to take a photo.

    As for the quality of the speakers, they're only passable as they sound slightly unnatural and don't get very loud. If you want to get some work done, know that the keyboard feels cramped, and the touchpad isn't very responsive, so it's okay for responding to short emails but not ideal for typing out a long paper. Nonetheless, this is a great multimedia device for anyone looking for good picture quality at an affordable price.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Laptop

    If our cheap picks don't suit your needs and you can afford to spend a little more, the best budget laptop we've tested is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021). It's a thin and light Windows laptop intended for general productivity tasks like text formatting, web browsing, and video playback. It feels well-built despite its budget price, and its battery lasts around 9 hours of light use. You can configure it with an AMD Ryzen 5 or 7 CPU and up to 16GB of memory. There are two 1080p display options, an IPS and a TN panel; we recommend getting the IPS display as it has better color reproduction and gets brighter to combat glare.

    Unfortunately, although the keyboard feels spacious and provides satisfying tactile feedback, it can cause some fatigue over time as the keys require a fair amount of force to actuate. Also, you can't charge the laptop via USB-C, meaning you'll have to carry the charger with you. Some models have a fingerprint sensor, so it's best to check the specs before buying if it's a feature you want.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Gaming Laptop

    The best budget gaming laptop we've tested is the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021). It's more expensive than our cheap pick, but it's still relatively affordable, considering how expensive gaming laptops can be. This 15.6-inch laptop has tons of configuration options, a sturdy build, and a wide port selection, including an HDMI 2.1 port. Its understated design wouldn't look out of place in a professional working environment, although it's a little bulky and heavy, so it isn't the most portable.

    Configuration-wise, we recommend getting the 1080p or 1440p 165Hz panel for the best visual experience. You'll have to pair the 1440p panel with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 to get the most out of it. Otherwise, any GPU will do if you're only gaming at 1080p, though the GTX 1650 will only get you around 60 fps in most titles with low settings. You can choose between an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 7 5800H, both of which are powerful enough to provide smooth gameplay. The memory and storage are user-upgradeable, so you can get an 8GB model and upgrade it yourself later on, which might end up costing less.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • HP Victus 16 (2021): The HP Victus 16 (2021) is a great budget gaming laptop and a good alternative to the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021). However, it's hard to find due to low availability. See our review
  • Lenovo Chromebook Duet (2020): The Lenovo Chromebook Duet (2020) is a good alternative to the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021) if you want a more compact or cheaper device. However, it has an IPS panel, which isn't as good for dark room viewing as the Duet 5's OLED. See our review
  • Acer Chromebook 315 (2020): The Acer Chromebook 315 (2020) is a cheaper alternative to the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020). However, it isn't a 2-in-1 convertible, meaning you can't use it as a tablet, and its Intel Celeron CPU is slower. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Aug 29, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020) with the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 (2021) because the Acer is discontinued and hard to find.

  2. Jul 11, 2022: Minor structure change. Removed Lenovo Chromebook Duet (2020) and added Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) as 'Best Cheap Gaming Laptop'.

  3. May 17, 2022: Replaced the HP Victus 16 (2021) with the Lenovo Legion 5 Gen 6 15 (2021) because the HP is hard to find.

  4. Apr 26, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations. Added Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2021) to Notable Mentions.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap and budget laptops you can get. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you prefer to make your own decision, here’s the list of all of our laptop reviews, sorted by price from low to high. Keep in mind that most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it’s best to see the full review for information about other variants.