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The 4 Best Laptops Under $300 - Fall 2022 Reviews

Best Laptops Under $300

A few years ago, finding a good laptop under $300 was near impossible. These days, you can easily find inexpensive hardware that can play videos and browse the web smoothly and efficiently. Most of the laptops on this list are Chromebooks because Chrome OS is a much lighter operating system than Windows and macOS, meaning it can run on lower-end hardware. While laptops in this price range can handle most everyday and basic tasks, you'll be hard-pressed to find the best gaming laptops under $300, as for gaming you need more powerful hardware than this price point allows for.

We've just started reviewing laptops, and have tested more than 50. Below you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops under $300, or you can check out our recommendations for the best laptops under $400, and the best laptops under $500.

  1. Best Laptop Under $300

    The best laptop under $300 we've tested is the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020). This 15.6-inch Chrome OS laptop is very portable and has a battery that lasts about 12 hours of light use. It has a 1080p display that provides enough room for multitasking, a comfortable keyboard, and a small but responsive touchpad. As it's a 2-in-1 convertible with a 360-degree hinge, you can use the laptop in tent mode for media consumption and presentations or flip the screen all the way around and use it as a tablet.

    Performance-wise, the base Intel Pentium Gold is powerful enough to handle most web-based tasks on Chrome OS and Android apps from the Google Play Store. You can upgrade to a faster Core i3, but expect to pay a little more. The main downside is that you can only get a maximum of 4GB of memory, so it might stutter a little if you have too many things running at the same time. The port selection is okay; you get two USB-Cs that support charging and video output, a USB-A, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack.

    See our review

  2. Best Compact Laptop Under $300

    If you need a compact laptop that's easy to carry around, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (2021) might be a good fit. It's a great option for younger students that only need to do simple tasks like web browsing, text formatting, and video playback. Its compact size makes it very portable, and it feels decently well-built even though it's entirely plastic. The keyboard feels surprisingly comfortable to type on for such a small device; however, the touchpad isn't great as it doesn't track all that well, so it's best to use a mouse.

    This laptop's MediaTek SoC isn't very powerful, but it's good enough to run Chrome OS, and it's very power-efficient, giving you nearly 16 hours of battery life. It's also a fanless device, so you don't have to worry about loud fan noise in a quiet classroom.

    See our review

  3. Best Windows Laptop Under $300

    Need a Windows laptop instead of a Chromebook? Check out the HP Pavilion x360 11 (2021). As Windows devices are generally more expensive than Chromebooks, the price is slightly over the $300 mark. The benefit is that you have a full operating system that will let you install third-party x86 applications that Chrome OS doesn't support. The build quality is decent even though it's plastic, and as its name implies, it has a 360-degree hinge so that you can use it as a tablet. The screen looks reasonably sharp, the keyboard provides a satisfying typing experience, and the touchpad's tracking is decent.

    Its Intel Pentium Silver CPU has enough processing power to handle general productivity tasks like web browsing, text formatting, and video playback. However, it isn't particularly power-efficient as the battery lasts a little less than eight hours of light use. Also, you can only get it with 4GB of memory, which means you'll have to limit the number of apps you open simultaneously. It ships with Windows 11 in S mode, but you can switch to the full version of Windows free of charge.

    See our review

  4. Best 2-In-1 Tablet Under $300

    If you're looking for a 2-in-1 tablet with a detachable keyboard, get the Lenovo Chromebook Duet (2020). You can detach the keyboard to make it easier to hold when viewing content or attach it when you need to type something. It has a sharp, bright, and colorful display, which is hard to find on inexpensive Chromebooks.

    The keyboard comes with the device, so there's no need to purchase it separately. It doesn't have the most comfortable keyboard; it's fine for a couple of emails but not for typing out a long paper. Battery life is excellent as it lasts nearly 12 hours of light productivity or seven hours of video playback.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Microsoft Surface Go 2 (2020): The Microsoft Surface Go 2 (2020) is an ultraportable device with a detachable keyboard like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet (2020), but it runs Windows. It feels better built than any of the Chromebooks on this list, and its webcam and microphone are far superior. Unfortunately, it has mediocre battery life, only the lowest-tier variant goes below $300 when it's on sale, and the keyboard is sold separately. See our review
  • Acer Chromebook 315 (2020): The Acer Chromebook 315 (2020) is a good alternative to the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020) if you don't need a 2-in-1 form factor. However, its keyboard isn't as comfortable to type on, and the touchpad doesn't always respond to gestures. See our review
  • Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021): The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021) is a larger alternative to the Lenovo Chromebook Duet (2020) with a stunning 13.3-inch OLED panel. Its larger size gives it a less-cramped keyboard, and it has a longer battery life for video playback with better-sounding speakers. However, it's more expensive and generally isn't available for under $300. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Aug 25, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.

  2. Jun 03, 2022: Minor structure change. Replaced HP Pavilion x360 11 (2021) with Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (2020) because it's better overall and cheaper.

  3. Apr 05, 2022: Changed the categories and structure. Removed HP Chromebook 14 (2021) and Acer Chromebook Spin 311 due to the category changes. Added HP Pavilion x360 11 (2021) as Best Windows Laptop for Productivity.

  4. Feb 04, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks, no change in recommendations. Added Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (2021) as a Notable Mention.

  5. Jan 14, 2022: Minor structure changes and verified accuracy of picks. Replaced HP Chromebook 14 (2020) with Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020) because it has a better screen, keyboard, touchpad, and webcam. Removed Samsung Chromebook 4 (2019) and added HP Chromebook 14 (2020) as a more compact alternative to the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020).

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops you can get for under $300. 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.