Best budget laptops 2023on January 4, 2023 at 17:52 Tech Advisor


If you’re buying a new laptop, you might think spending $1,000/£1,000 or more is the only way to guarantee the device is up to scratch.

But while paying that sort of money will usually get you a great laptop, plenty of great portable PCs are available for significantly less than that.

They’re not all Chromebooks, either. Most devices running Chrome OS are on the more affordable side, but there are lots of Windows machines available for around $500/£500 or less – that’s the rough criteria for inclusion here.

However, there are no MacBooks in this list, with Apple yet to make a laptop that could be considered truly affordable. The likes of Asus, Acer, Microsoft and Lenovo are here though, so you don’t have to take a punt on a company you’ve never heard of.

All of the options in this list are fine for basic tasks such as browsing the web, checking email and general office work, but some will surprise you with just how capable they are. However, if your budget does stretch further, it’s also worth considering mid-range and high-end laptops.

Best budget laptop 2022

1. Asus E410 – Best Overall


Very cheap


Long battery life


Dim screen

Annoying NumberPad

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
Review Asus E410

2. Honor MagicBook 14 – Best Performance


Stylish design

Powerful components

Nice keyboard

Above average speakers


Underwhelming battery life

Need to pay more for better display

Limited ports


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
Review Honor MagicBook 14 (2021)

3. Acer Chromebook Spin 713 – Best Chromebook


Excellent 3:2 display

Great battery life

Fast performance


Slightly spongy keyboard

Fan noise at times


From £479.99 | Model reviewed £599.99

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
Review Acer Chromebook Spin 713

4. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 – Best for Portability


Solid performance

Great keyboard

Decent battery



Prone to overheating

No backlit keys

Slow charging


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


Versatile design

All-day battery

Lots of ports


Slow charging

Awkward trackpad

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
Review Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

6. HP Pavilion 14 – Best Speakers


Premium design

Impressive audio

Good performance


Average battery life

Stiff keys


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
Review HP Pavilion 14 (2021)

7. Acer Chromebook 515 – Best Display


Impressive 15.6in display

Decent performance

Plenty of RAM and storage

Good port selection


Underwhelming keyboard

No touchscreen on most models

Battery life could be better



Best Prices Today:

£449.00 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
Review Acer Chromebook 515

8. Acer Swift 1 – Best Connectivity


Slim, light build

Strong connectivity

Fingerprint reader


Basic performance

Stiff hinge

Average trackpad


From £349.99 | Model reviewed £549.99

Best Prices Today:

£349.99 at Acer

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
Review Acer Swift 1 (SF114-34)

9. Avita Liber V – Best Webcam


Nice design

Decent webcam

Good keyboard and trackpad


Poor battery life

Display lacks colour


From £459.99

Best Prices Today:

£559.00 at Currys PC World

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
Review Avita Liber V

10. Lenovo IdeaPad 3i – Most Colourful


Stylish design

Good performance

Nice keyboard and trackpad


Poor scren

Limited battery life

Lo-res webcam


From £349 | Model reviewed £379

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
Review Lenovo IdeaPad 3i 14



What type of display should I look for in a budget laptop?

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

Remember, the size of the screen will have an impact on things like the weight of the laptop and how many ports it has. A thinner and lighter laptop generally means less key travel and potentially durability, too.

It’s typical to find a budget laptop with an basic resolution of 1366×768 (HD) but if you can find higher you’ll be much better off – aim for 1920×1080 (Full HD) or better. While they’re relatively few and far between, a matt finish is less reflective than glossy and so easier to use in bright or sunny environment.

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.


What should I consider in terms of performance?

While not the only factor, performance is heavily dependent on the processor your laptop has. Many budget devices are equipped with an Intel Celeron, Pentium or similar – these should be avoided unless you only ever perform basic tasks.

Look for either an Intel Core processor or AMD Ryzen if you can – several of the laptops in this chart do offer these. Go for Core i5/Ryzen 5 or higher if possible, but Core i3/Ryzen 3 are good basic chips if everything else is to your liking. It’s also worth considering ARM-based chips from the likes of Qualcomm, although the battery life benefit may be offset by a hit to performance.

Almost all budget laptops use integrated graphics rather than a discrete GPU, but this is fine for most people. Only demanding tasks such as high-end gaming and video editing require more power.


How much storage and RAM will I need?

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.


Which software should I choose?

These days, the majority of laptops you buy are running Windows. That’s been Windows 11 since its release in 2021, although it’s worth checking if any 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 good, we have a separate guide to the best Chromebooks you can buy.


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. There’s a chance it can go out of stock without us noticing, but we check as often as we can.

Also, remember that laptop makers will make many variations of the same laptop, with only small differences between them (such as the size of hard drive or amount of RAM). It’s generally safe to buy one of these alternatives if you understand what those differences will mean for you.

Budget Laptops, Laptops

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