Affordable Computing: 10 Best Budget and Cheap Laptop 2021
Laptops have come a long way from being steeply-priced devices that cost a small fortune.
Thanks to the technological revolution that is constantly ongoing, you can purchase sturdily built, high-performing laptops while also watching your budget.
It is largely the constantly shifting and evolving electronic landscape that has made such budget cuts possible. This works out perfectly for anyone who needs a computing device for work or school but is unwilling to spend too much.
Selecting a budget laptop can be a tricky affair. While the market abounds in affordable picks, thanks to the perpetually rising competition among technology companies, it is crucial to make a well-considered decision.
The right laptop must match your lifestyle and needs while delivering adequate performance on all fronts. For instance, if you require a multi-core processor with plenty of high-speed storage for your requirements, a budget laptop must cater to this without cutting too many corners.
However, it is imperative that you must be prepared to make some compromises along the way. For instance, you might need to adjust to a smaller storage capacity in return for a dazzling display. Likewise, you may have to restrict your needs to professional/academic while reserving gaming for a different device.
- Essential Requirements of a Budget Laptop
- Our Picks: 10 Best Budget and Cheap Laptops 2021
- 1. ASUS L210 Cheap Laptop
- 2. Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT Cheap Laptop
- 3. HP 14-dq0070nr Cheap Laptop
- 4. ASUS L410 Cheap Laptop
- 5. ASUS VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS34 Cheap Laptop
- 6. ASUS VivoBook 15 M515 Budget Laptop
- 7. Acer Swift 3 SF314-43 Budget Laptop
- 8. HP 14-fq1021nr Budget Laptop
- 9. Lenovo Flex 5 2-in-1 Budget Laptop
- 10. ASUS VivoBook S15 S533 Budget Laptop
- Final Word
Essential Requirements of a Budget Laptop
Fortunately, leading brands such as HP, Lenovo, Acer and ASUS have now come up with multiple options for budget watchers. The compromises you need to make are also, happily, fewer and farther between.
From VivoBooks to 2-in-1 devices, portable laptops to heavyweight performers, you can choose from among several quality products while remaining assured of quality. Here are a few essentials to look for:
- Performance: While it is a stretch to expect top-notch productivity in a cheap laptop, you should look for a reliable CPU with ample RAM and good support for graphics. Intel, for instance, has evolved its Celeron and Pentium processors substantially, making it possible to fit them into cheaper laptops without losing out on output.
- Storage: Not many affordable laptops come with too much storage. However, you can find many options with at least 128GB of memory. It is best to opt for an SSD since you will be getting more durability. Some computers may not have much internal memory but provide free cloud-based storage to stock your important documents.
- Display: Many cheap laptops come with a touch-screen display to enable convenient usage, especially in tablet mode. However, a touch monitor isn’t mandatory. Depending upon your needs, you can look for an FHD screen, preferably with narrow bezels and an immersive screen-to-body ratio.
- Long battery life: Since many inexpensive laptops are intended to be good travelers, they should have significant battery backup. Ideally, look for at least 7-8 hours or more.
- Connections: Most budget devices now come with USB ports, HDMI and Wi-Fi connectivity. You may also find a Type-C port and an SD card reader.
- Build and design: It is imperative for cheap laptops to have a sleek, light build that allows you to carry them around. Look for a lightweight chassis under 4lbs and a thin profile. Other helpful features include an ergonomic keyboard, ideally with backlighting. Some laptops even provide a fingerprint sensor.
Our Picks: 10 Best Budget and Cheap Laptops 2021
We have compiled a list of the best budget and cheap laptops 2021 that enable you to perform day-to-day tasks at work, school or home without spending a lot of money.
Many leading brands in the laptops category now manufacture budget devices that don’t cost a bomb, nonetheless, deliver satisfactory performance.
Starting at less than $300, these computers smartly combine processing power with style and portability. In a world where the cost of living perpetually seems to go north, an opportunity to save on essentials – such as computers – is music to the ears!
1. ASUS L210 Cheap Laptop
At $219.99, the 11.6” ASUS L210 cheap laptop is among your best options in the affordable category.
It runs on an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, 4GB RAM, 64GB of memory, and offers a year of Microsoft 365 Personal.
While not top-of-the-rung, this is quite a decent configuration at this price range, suitable for regular tasks like browsing the internet or wireless streaming.
This portable and flexible device ((0.7”, 2.2 lbs) comes with a 180° lay-flat hinge that makes it a cakewalk to share and collaborate with colleagues or friends.
There is a backlit keyboard on offer too, with a long-key travel distance and a 6” multi-touch pad. This keyboard is perfect for long-drawn work projects or academic assignments.
Thanks to the 12-hour battery capacity, you can easily use this laptop on the go. Working while on the move is sustainable as well, due to the efficient, fan-less design.
2. Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT Cheap Laptop
At just $399.99, the 15.6” Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT cheap laptop is an intelligent solution to combine processing power with audio-visual excellence.
It is fueled by a powerful eleventh-gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, 4GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD – suitable for a myriad of tasks like photo-editing, checking e-mail, etc.
The FHD monitor employs a narrow-bezel design and offers as much as 82.58% screen-to-body space.
Add to that a blue-light filer and sharp colors, and you have the perfectly absorbing user experience for multimedia content. And yes, you can carry these experiences with you – at 4.19lbs and 0.7”, this device is fairly portable and sleek.
Acer has bolstered this offering with additional features for convenience as well, including Amazon Alexa and Acer Purified Voice Technology for improved sound clarity during video calls.
An ergonomic hinge is especially beneficial for smooth typing, while also facilitating heat dissipation and finer acoustics.
3. HP 14-dq0070nr Cheap Laptop
At only $299.99, the 14” HP 14-dq0070nr cheap laptop is an excellent bargain for budget watchers.
An Intel Celeron N4020 processor enables this device to facilitate day-to-day tasks well.
The configuration – 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage – is not a bad deal at this price.
The device comes pre-loaded with a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365, giving you access to all the applications you might need for regular tasks at work or school.
Display-wise, you get an HD touchscreen with 4K graphics and a screen-to-body ratio of 79%. The bezel is so narrow that any viewing experience is supremely immersive. The best part is that since this laptop is quite portable (3.24lbs, 0.71”), you can enjoy multimedia experiences while traveling.
Fortunately, the battery backup is brilliant at 11 hours and 30 minutes, letting you work without being tethered to a charging station. HP has also provided HP Fast Charge technology to allow you to ramp up to 50% in under an hour.
4. ASUS L410 Cheap Laptop
ASUS has several affordable devices among its offerings, and the 14” ASUS L410 cheap laptop at $259 is one of the good ones.
Fueling this computer is an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, 4GB RAM and 64GB of memory – well adapted to regular processing activities.
It has an FHD display that employs a narrow bezel, enabling an engaging screen-to-body ratio of 78%.
If your day involves considerable number crunching and data entry, you will benefit from the new NumberPad that gets activated with one touch.
One of the best features of this laptop is its lightweight build. It is only 0.72” thin and weighs 2.87lbs. This makes it easy to lug around on a busy day.
Plus, there is a 180° lay-flat hinge that is perfect for sharing/collaborating. The backlit keyboard allows you to work even in dimly lit surroundings without straining your eyes.
5. ASUS VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS34 Cheap Laptop
With a price tag of just $454.99, the 15.6” ASUS VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS34 cheap laptop packs a mighty punch.
Check out the specifications: an Intel i3-1005G1 processor, 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD, and an FHD monitor with an immersive screen-to-body ratio of 88%.
This device is compatible with Google Classroom as well, making it an excellent pick for students.
This VivoBook has particular regard for portability and compatibility. It comes set with an ergonomic backlit keyboard that has an integrated fingerprint sensor for added security and quick access.
The build is lightweight (3.75lbs) but sturdy, and the quick-charging battery (60% in 49 minutes) makes it comfortable to travel with it.
If you need to plug into several devices and peripherals, you will be pleased with the plethora of connectivity options: USB ports (Type C, 3.1 and 2.0), HDMI and a microSD card reader.
6. ASUS VivoBook 15 M515 Budget Laptop
Another interesting offering from ASUS is the 15.6” ASUS VivoBook 15 M515 budget laptop, available at only $599.99.
VivoBooks have developed a reputation of affordability combined with the flexibility of use, and this one well lives up to its lineage.
It boasts an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a beautiful FHD monitor with a screen-to-body ratio of 83%. This configuration makes it ideal for some CPU-intensive tasks like multimedia streaming.
For extra security and ease of access, ASUS has provided a fingerprint reader, making it more convenient to work in shared environments.
Since this laptop weighs only 4.19lbs, it is easy to carry around without coming down with a backache. Build wise, the keyboard has a metallic support brace under it, making it more comfortable to type, especially when you are pressed for time.
7. Acer Swift 3 SF314-43 Budget Laptop
If you are scouting for a relatively cheap but powerful device that can speed you through work and play, the 14” Acer Swift 3 SF314-43 budget laptop is a great pick.
While more expensive than some others on the list at $749.99, it comes with a stunning configuration: an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an FHD screen with 100% sRGB and 300 nits brightness.
You can also enjoy an incredible 85.73% screen-to-body ratio that makes any audio-visual experience more enjoyable.
This lightweight (2.65lbs) laptop is equipped with Amazon Alexa and Acer’s Purified Voice technology, both of which facilitate calling, collaboration and accessibility.
Acer has also prioritized sustainability by delivering over 12 hours of battery juice. A special air-inlet keyboard expels much more heat (8–10%) and comes with backlighting to guarantee uninterrupted use across different environments.
8. HP 14-fq1021nr Budget Laptop
Infused with HP’s trust and temptingly priced at $522.12 is the HP 14-fq1021nr budget laptop, a highly productive offering with an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor.
With 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and 9 hours and 45 minutes of battery backup, you can easily use this device for long-drawn, intensive projects.
The FHD monitor uses a micro-edge design which makes the visual experience engaging. Plus, it is also anti-glare, which helps protect your eyes from strain during long working hours.
Another bonus of this laptop, particularly for users who value portability, is its lightweight build. It weighs only 3.77lbs and is just 0.71” thick – perfect to slide into a backpack and get going.
You can connect to Wi-Fi 6 to enjoy high-speed connectivity on the go. Thanks to the swift charging that enables you to power up to 50% in 45 minutes, working without interruption isn’t a problem.
9. Lenovo Flex 5 2-in-1 Budget Laptop
Here’s the perfect pick for those seeking a flexible, 2-in-1 device at a budget: the 14” Lenovo Flex 5 2-in-1 budget laptop priced at $612.12.
Powered by a Ryzen 5 4500U CPU, 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and AMD Radeon graphics, this 2-in-1 is well-suited to professionals as well as students. Creative folks and those who need to be on the run can benefit from the multi-mode usage and long battery life of up to 10 hours.
This laptop easily molds into several other modes – tent, tablet and stand – with a 360⁰ hinge. While the tent is great for sharing and collaboration, the stand works best for multimedia experiences.
The touch display is FHD and built using a narrow-bezel design. Since a digital pen is included with the purchase, using this device like a tablet is highly intuitive.
Lenovo has prioritized a lightweight build (3.64lbs, 0.82”) for this laptop since it is intended as a companion for traveling and working in different settings.
10. ASUS VivoBook S15 S533 Budget Laptop
The final pick on this list is the 15.6” ASUS VivoBook S15 S533 budget laptop, available at around $700 and offering excellent performance.
ASUS has a knack for producing budget-friendly computers that don’t compromise on quality or performance.
This VivoBook is no exception to this, with its Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 8GB RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, and spectacular metal build with diamond-cut edges.
In fact, this 3.97lbs laptop is among the best picks for those seeking self-expression through unique colors; it is available in shades like “Gaia Green” and “Resolute Red”.
On the display front, you get a bright FHD monitor with a screen-to-body ratio of 86% and 100% sRGB. If you are an audio connoisseur, you will tremendously enjoy the AI Noise-Canceling Technology that makes your auditory experience clearer by filtering out extraneous noise from speech.
This computer also comes with Harman Kardon-certified sound and a backlit keyboard with a fingerprint sensor.
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- The 10 Best Laptops Under $300
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- 10 Best Laptops Under $400
The budget laptop market is wide and interesting today, populated with products from top manufacturers and trusted brands. Some devices such as VivoBooks and 2-in-1s have an edge because of their intrinsic focus on portability and affordability.
These devices may be your go-to pick when hunting for a cheap laptop, since they neatly combine performance with a lightweight chassis, a pleasing display, and a user-friendly experience.
Of course, you can also find the perfect laptop in other budget-friendly line-ups such as the Acer Aspire and the Acer Swift.
While zeroing down on a product, it is also helpful to narrow down your priorities. For instance, if long battery backup and continued usage is your prime requirement, you can benefit from a pick like the Acer Swift 3 SF314-43.
On the other hand, if you must get a heavy-duty performer, then look for a computer with a powerful processing configuration such as the ASUS VivoBook S15 S533.
Other priorities for different users may include a portable build, rich colors for audio-visual content generation/editing, or exceptional sound for auditory projects and extensive calling.
Pick wisely, and even a budget laptop can serve you well for a good, long time – or at least until you decide to upgrade!