Best budget laptops 2022on September 4, 2022 at 01:00 Tech Advisor

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Not everyone wants or needs a premium laptop, but budget options these days are better than ever before. Many offering surprisingly well-rounded packages at affordable prices. Here we review and rank the best budget laptops you can buy right now.

While some are more unknown brands, the likes of HP, Asus, Lenovo and Acer remain dedicated to including cheap laptops in their ranges.

If you just need to do basic tasks like browsing the web, checking email and office work then a budget laptop will be up to the job. Plenty will be fine for streaming video, too, albeit on lower-quality displays and with typically poor sound. Some even have enough power for photo editing without slowing down and casual games.

When looking at budget laptops, we’re typically meaning around $500/£500 or lower, but we may include the odd model that goes slightly over if it’s really worth it. Often they will be available at lower than the RRP from retailers before long anyway.

In our chart below we’ve rounded up a range of options at several different price points – al of which have been tested by our expert team, so you can buy with complete peace of mind that you won’t be disappointed.

But the best budget laptops don’t hang around for long, simply because they are so sought after and offer little profit margin for manufacturers. If your budget will stretch a little further we also review many mid-range and high-end laptops.

Best budget laptop 2022

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1. Asus E410 – Best Overall

Pros

Very cheap

Lightweight

Long battery life

Cons

Dim screen

Annoying NumberPad

RRP:



£249.99

Best Prices Today:


£249.99 at Amazon

It might not score as highly as other laptops here but most people will want as much as possible for under £300/$300 and the E410 is a great option if you’re one of them.

Things like a dim screen are inevitable and not everyone will like the quirky design on the lid. We also found the NumberPad in the trackpad a tad annoying but Asus has got a lot right here.

The E410 has excellent battery life, a lightweight design and performance is good enough for basic day-to-day tasks. Ticking key boxes at this price makes it a great value laptop.

Read our full
Asus E410 review

2. Honor MagicBook 14 (2021) – Best Performance

Pros

Stylish design

Powerful components

Nice keyboard

Above average speakers

Cons

Underwhelming battery life

Need to pay more for better display

Limited ports

RRP:



From £799

The Honor MagicBook 14 has long been one of our favourite laptops and often the best value on the market.

While the 2021 model took things to a more premium level and importantly a matching price, it’s now available for much lower prices meaning it’s still a budget option.

Battery life got a little worse and only the top-spec model gets an improved screen but you’re getting a well-rounded laptop with a Core i5, 512GB SSD, solid keyboard and more for a great (reduced) price.

Read our full
Honor MagicBook 14 (2021) review

3. Acer Chromebook Spin 713 – Best Chromebook

Pros

Excellent 3:2 display

Great battery life

Fast performance

Cons

Slightly spongy keyboard

Fan noise at times

RRP:



From £479.99 | Model reviewed £599.99

Best Prices Today:


Not Available at Amazon

The Spin 713 combines excellent performance with a gorgeous 3:2 ratio display and decent ports to be the best Chromebook option.

With Pentium or Core processors and a 360-degree hinge design, you get a versatile laptop that will suit many different use cases. There’s great battery life to keep you going when out and about.

It’s a powerful combination which puts the device on the top of the pile for those who want a Premium ChromeOS laptop without it costing the Earth.

Read our full
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 review

4. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 – Best for Portability

Pros

Solid performance

Great keyboard

Decent battery

Array

Cons

Prone to overheating

No backlit keys

Slow charging

RRP:



From £529 | Model reviewed £729

It’s great to see Microsoft offering a traditional laptop at a budget price, and this second generation is a significant step up over the original.

Performance has improved thanks to Intel 11th-gen CPUs, and it’s great to see the Core i5 available across all configurations. However, most people will need more than the 4GB of RAM and 64GB SSD on the cheapest model. The other obvious compromise is its size, but the 12.4in touchscreen display is still very impressive in real-world usage. At just 1.16kg, it’s also one of the lightest laptops you can buy.

Power efficiency gains mean battery life is significantly better, although charging if slower than we’d like. It also tends to run hot, while the the impressive keyboard still doesn’t have backlighting.

But if you can look beyond these trade-offs and are willing to spend a little more, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is a great option.

5. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 – Best Windows 2-in-1

Pros

Versatile design

All-day battery

Lots of ports

Cons

Slow charging

Awkward trackpad

RRP:



From £529.99

If you want a 2-in-1 laptop without breaking the bank then Lenovo’s IdeaPad range is a good place to look.

The Flex 5 doesn’t have the best trackpad or display but offers good build quality, those iconic 360 degree hinges for various modes, solid battery life and a nice keyboard. It’s even got Wi-Fi 6.

There’s also a good selection of ports and the Core i3 base model will be suitable for basic day-to-day tasks. 

Read our full
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 review

6. HP Pavilion 14 – Best Speakers

Pros

Premium design

Impressive audio

Good performance

Cons

Average battery life

Stiff keys

RRP:



From £550

The Pavilion 14 from HP is a good all-rounder if your budget will stretch, offering stylish design, good build quality and decent specs.

It does a bit of everything with a fingerprint scanner, a good webcam, a touchscreen and B&O speakers making it a good choice for those that want a laptop for a wide range of tasks.

Battery life is middling but performance is above average thanks to the latest 11th-gen Intel processors and other solid components. There’s also a nice selection of ports and good wireless connectivity.

The main spanner in the works here is the existence of the Honor MagicBook 14 at the same price.

Read our full
HP Pavilion 14 (2021) review

7. Acer Chromebook 515 – Best Display

Pros

Impressive 15.6in display

Decent performance

Plenty of RAM and storage

Good port selection

Cons

Underwhelming keyboard

No touchscreen on most models

Battery life could be better

RRP:



£499

Best Prices Today:


£379.00 at Currys PC World

The Chromebook 515 is a cheap laptop running Chrome OS, but there aren’t many real compromises here.

Asus has avoided the temptation to include a basic processor, opting for an 11th-gen Core i3 instead. Performance is solid as a result, especially when combined with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.

This helps power a vibrant 15.6in Full HD display, while you also get plenty of ports and a slick design. They keyboard isn’t the best, though, while battery life isn’t the best and most models don’t have a touchscreen.

But for the price, the Chromebook 515 is an impressive all-rounder that’s worth considering.

Read our full
Acer Chromebook 515 review

8. Acer Swift 1 – Best Connectivity

Pros

Slim, light build

Strong connectivity

Fingerprint reader

Cons

Basic performance

Stiff hinge

Average trackpad

RRP:



From £349.99 | Model reviewed £549.99

Not all budget laptops are stunners, in fact very few are and the Swift 1 is a classic example of a simple design.

While it offers a basic style and build quality along with limited performance to match, it will be plenty good enough for anyone looking for a very cheap laptop to do simple tasks like email and word processing.

Despite its low cost, the Swift 1 comes with some surprising features such as a fingerprint scanner, USB-C, HDMI and Wi-Fi 6. 

Read our full
Acer Swift 1 (SF114-34) review

9. Avita Liber V – Best Webcam

Pros

Nice design

Decent webcam

Good keyboard and trackpad

Cons

Poor battery life

Display lacks colour

RRP:



From £459.99

Avita is back with another budget-friendly laptop that ticks a number of boxes including a stylish design and good build quality.

You’re getting an AMD Ryzen 3 for a great price and the Liber V is very portable. Highlights include a decent keyboard and a large trackpad. It’s also got a solid selection of ports including USB-C and HDMI.

While it’s speedy enough for office work, the display lacks colour for anything on the creative side and the battery life isn’t as long as rivals.

Read our full
Avita Liber V review

10. Lenovo IdeaPad 3i – Most Colourful

Pros

Stylish design

Good performance

Nice keyboard and trackpad

Cons

Poor scren

Limited battery life

Lo-res webcam

RRP:



From £349 | Model reviewed £379

Best Prices Today:


£349 at Lenovo |
£359.00 at Amazon

Lenovo hasn’t quite cracked the formula here for a great budget laptop with poor battery life and a dim screen with limited viewing angles.

However, if you only need a cheap laptop to have around the house for basic tasks like checking email and web browsing, then the IdeaPad 3i is good value for money.

It also looks a lot nicer than most around this price thanks to its colourful brushed aluminium case so you won’t want to hide it away. It offers good performance for the price along with a nice keyboard and trackpad.

Read our full
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i 14 review

What should I look for in a cheap laptop?

Which specifications are important depends on what you want to do with your laptop. You may want lots of storage or you might need as much power for the money as possible.

Screen

Starting with the screen, you need to decide on a size. Most laptops will be 13- or 15in but you can also go smaller or larger if you want something even more portable or if it rarely needs to move.

Remember that the size of the screen will have an impact on things like the weight of the laptop and other things like the keyboard and even how many ports and connections it can have.

It’s typical to find a budget laptop with an unexciting resolution of 1366×768 (HD) but if you can find higher, probably 1920×1080 (or Full HD) then you’ll be much better off. Look for a matt finish which is preferable to a glossy screen that reflects like a mirror when it’s bright and sunny.

You’ll also want to look out for the type of display and this is often an area where costs are cut so viewing angles can be poor as well as brightness and colour. Get an IPS rather than TN screen if you can.

Processor

The processor is the heart of the computer and has a large impact on how fast it runs.  You might well find many with an Intel Celeron, Pentium or similar and these are to be avoided if you can unless you will be sticking to basic tasks.

Look for either an Intel Core processor or AMD Ryzen if you can – and some of the laptops in this chart do offer these. Look for a Core i5/Ryzen 5 processor if you can, but an Core i3/Ryzen 3 is a good compromise if everything else in the laptop is to your liking.

We run various benchmarks on every laptop so be sure to read the full review to see the results and what they mean for daily use.

Storage and memory

Don’t confuse storage and memory. The latter – normally called RAM – is for temporarily storing information when you open an app or file, while storage is the space to store files and programs.

In both cases, it’s better to have as much as possible. A lot of budget laptops will come with a 500GB or 1TB hard drive but only 4GB of RAM. An
SSD (solid state drive) is more common now and helps keep things speedy but don’t expect more than 8GB of RAM at these budget prices.

Remember that you can also always use cloud storage if you need additional space.

Software

These days, the majority of laptops you buy are running Windows. Since its release in 2021, that’s been Windows 11, although it’s worth checking if the Windows 10 device you’re considering meets the new hardware requirements.

Even on devices with Windows pre-installed, Microsoft Office apps aren’t included by default. You’ll need to get those separately – see our buying guide for details – although there are ways to get access for free.

We’ve also included some Chromebooks here as laptops running Google’s Chrome OS are typically very affordable. The operating system is fairly basic and relies on an internet connection for a lot of tasks, but this will be perfect for some people. 

If that sounds particularly good, we have a dedicated chart of the best Chromebooks you can browse.

What if I can’t find the exact laptop reviewed?

We do our best to make sure all the laptops listed here are available to buy in the US and UK. However, the budget laptop market is extremely volatile, and retailers tend to secure limited stock of any model so there’s a chance it can go out of stock without us noticing – we check as often as we can.

Also remember that laptop makers will make many variations of the same laptop, with subtly different specifications such as a different sized hard drive. It’s generally safe to buy one of these alternatives if you understand the differences in specification.

Budget Laptops, Laptops

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