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The 3 Best Laptops Under $300 - Spring 2024 Reviews

Best Laptops Under $300

A few years ago, finding a good laptop under $300 was nearly impossible. These days, you can easily find inexpensive hardware that can play videos and browse the web smoothly and efficiently. Most laptops on this list are Chromebooks because Chrome OS is a much lighter operating system than Windows and macOS, meaning the system requirements are lower. Unfortunately, you won't find any Apple laptops in this article, as MacBooks are much more expensive. We've also omitted the 'best gaming laptop under $300' category since gaming requires powerful hardware that typically costs more.

For under $300, we're talking mostly about laptops designed for general productivity and media consumption, like text processing, web browsing, and video playback. In the case of Chromebooks, just make sure you can do everything through a Chrome browser or Android app, as Chrome OS is limited in the type of applications you can install.

We've tested more than 110 laptops. Below, you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops under $300. You can also check out our recommendations for the best laptops under $400, the best laptops under $500, and the best student Chromebooks.

  1. Best Chromebook Under $300

    The best laptop under $300 we've tested is the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i Chromebook 14 (2023). It's a simple 14-inch Chromebook designed for light tasks like text processing, web browsing, and video playback. It feels reasonably well built for its price, and it's very compact, so it's easy to carry around. The battery lasts around 13 hours of light use or 12 hours of video playback on a full charge, so you won't even have to bring the power adapter when you're out and about. Even if you do, the laptop charges over USB-C. You get Wi-Fi 6E wireless connectivity, an excellent 1080p webcam, and a decent number of ports, including a full-size HDMI.

    You can configure this laptop with an Intel N100, N200, or a Core i3-N305 CPU and up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Most of the configurations are below $300; however, if you can stretch your budget slightly, we highly recommend getting the top-end Core i3 model, which you can often find on sale for around $400 USD on Lenovo's website. Not only will you get more processing power for heavier multitasking, but you'll also get a sharper and brighter FHD, touch-sensitive display. The keyboard feels spacious but a bit mushy, and unfortunately, the touchpad is small and not always responsive. There's no fingerprint sensor or a facial recognition camera for quick logins, which is to be expected for a budget-friendly device.

    See our review

  2. Best Windows Laptop Under $300

    The best Windows laptop we've tested under $300 is the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i 15 (2023). As with our pick above, this 15-inch model usually costs more but is regularly on sale on Lenovo's website. It's a great option if you just want a simple device that can handle light productivity tasks but prefer Windows over Chrome OS. It's available with various Intel 13th Gen CPUs, from a Core i3 to i7, and up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. You get a comfortable keyboard, a small but responsive touchpad, and a surprisingly good 720p webcam. There's a fingerprint sensor for quick logins, which is surprising considering the price.

    As for the display, the cheaper configurations come with a low-quality TN panel, so you'll have to spend a bit more if you want an IPS display, which has a better viewing angle and color reproduction than TN screens. Another downside of this laptop is its short battery life, which lasts less than seven hours of light use. Ports include two USB-As, a USB-C, an HDMI, and an SD card reader. The USB-C supports video output and charging.

    See our review

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

    Our best 2-in-1 pick is yet another Lenovo offering, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 (2022). For around $300, you can get a configuration with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It has a sharp 2000 x 1200 IPS display that gets bright enough for use in most indoor settings, and unlike most cheap devices, this display has full sRGB coverage, meaning colors won't look washed out. It has a great 1080p webcam for video calls and a detachable keyboard, so you don't have to buy it separately.

    Unfortunately, just like any budget-friendly device, there are a few compromises. First, the speakers are bad. They don't get very loud and sound unnatural, with no bass whatsoever. The lack of a 3.5 mm headphone jack doesn't help, so you'll need a USB-C audio adapter or Bluetooth headphones. Second, the keyboard feels cramped and uncomfortable to type on, making it useful only for short emails and messages. Last but not least, battery life. You can get around 14 hours if you only browse the web, but video playback cuts it to a little less than five hours.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Acer Chromebook 315 (2020): The Acer Chromebook 315 (2020) is a cheaper alternative to the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i Chromebook 14 (2023). It has a bigger screen and slightly longer battery life; however, its CPU isn't as fast. Also, its end-of-life is June 2026, meaning it has a little over two years left of software support. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Apr 16, 2024: Verified that all picks are valid and available. No change in recommendations.

  2. Feb 13, 2024: Minor text edits for clarity. No changes in product picks.

  3. Dec 14, 2023: Replaced the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020) with the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i Chromebook 14 (2023) because the C340 is near the end of its OS support. Replaced the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (2020) with the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i 15 (2023) because the Slim 3i has 8GB of RAM at the same price as a Flex 5 with 4GB.

  4. Oct 16, 2023: Small text changes to provide more information about the Chrome OS limitations and Chromebooks' end-of-life. No change in recommendations.

  5. Aug 18, 2023: Replaced the Microsoft Surface Go 3 (2021) with the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 (2022) because the Surface Go 3 is becoming hard to find and has increased in price.

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.