The cheapest laptops you can buy in 2022

Do you want a laptop and you don’t have a lot of money? No problem! Just find out well before opening your wallet, even more so if you are going to buy a cheap laptop. Answer these questions: what do you really need? Which features are a priority, and (especially) which are not? In this guide to the best value for money in laptops , you will see computers that bring exactly what you need and that, in addition, will not leave you in the red.

Our favorite

Dell XPS 13 (9315)

Why should you buy it? Because it’s an amazing laptop for under $1,000.

For whom it is? For anyone who wants a premium laptop for a lot less money,

Yes, the XPS 13 9315 costs $829 in its entry-level model, so it’s at the higher end of the budget range. But it’s on this list because you simply won’t find a Windows laptop under $1,000 that can match the excellent build quality, attractive aesthetics, and exceptional battery life of the XPS 13.

For that price, you get a 9-watt Intel Core i5-1230U CPU with 10 cores and 12 threads that delivers competent productivity performance. It’s not the fastest laptop we’ve reviewed, but it’s fast enough to get the job done. However, since it comes with fewer watts, it offers excellent battery life. You even get a 512GB SSD, which is a lot for this price, with build quality and good looks that are rare without spending much more.

The best for students

Surface Laptop Go 2

Why should you buy it? It’s affordable and fits a student’s mobile lifestyle.

For whom it is? Students, shoppers on a budget.

Students generally want a few things in a laptop: first, that it’s easy to carry, that it provides good enough performance to get their homework done, and second, that it doesn’t embarrass them when they take it out to take notes. Oh, and it must be affordable.

Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Go meets all of those criteria and more. For starters, it’s the first Surface device to be offered at budget prices — in this case, $550 for a 10th-gen Ice Lake Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 64GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD).

You can spend a little more, say $700, and double the RAM and storage. Those are remarkably low prices for a Surface laptop and should appeal to students of all skill levels.

The Surface Go is a fully portable device, with a 12.4-inch IPS display that, while not quite FHD, is still very high-quality and a joy to use. It’s solid for both productivity and media.

Finally, the Surface Laptop Go is an attractive device that comes in a variety of colors to allow students to choose the one that’s right for them. It’s as well built as all Surface devices and shares a common aesthetic: It’ll look great on a desk.

The best budget Chromebook

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3

Why should you buy it? It’s extremely affordable, with a great screen and all-day battery life.

For whom it is? Anyone on a tight budget who doesn’t mind sacrificing performance.

Chromebooks have become popular and affordable options in recent years, and many have won us over as well. One form factor that hasn’t done as well as others is the Chrome OS convertible tablet. That changed with the introduction of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, which is not only a useful tablet, but a great value thanks to the included stand cover and detachable keyboard.

The low price of Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet 3 comes with some limitations and basic specifications. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage don’t provide stellar performance, though it’s good enough for the kinds of tasks you’ll want to run on it. The screen is very nice, with a 15:9 2K (2000 x 1200) resolution that isn’t quite as sharp as Apple’s basic iPad with which the Duet competes.

If you want a tablet for web browsing, light productivity work, and media consumption, the Chromebook Duet 3 and Chrome OS have you covered. It’s a very comfortable size as a tablet, although it’s a little chunky with the kickstand cover and backlit keyboard cover attached, and it feels great in the hand. Not only is it the best budget Chromebook, but it’s one of the best budget laptops you can buy, period.

You’ll have to get used to Chrome OS too. It’s not as functional as Windows, and it works best when you have an active Internet connection, but it’s more developed today than it was in the past. If you use a lot of Google web services and enjoy streaming services like Netflix, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 could be a great way to save a lot of money on your next upgrade.

The best budget laptop for gaming

HP Damage 15

Why should you buy it? It is the best gaming laptop.

For whom it is? Gamers and only gamers.

Although gaming laptops are often expensive, the Victus 15 is an exception to the rule. For just under $800, you get some impressive specs. That includes a 12th-gen Intel Core i5-12500H, Nvidia GeForce RTX 1650 graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), with options for faster CPUs, more powerful graphics, additional, faster storage and a good amount of memory, if you don’t mind spending a little more. Each model comes with a 15.6-inch 1080p IPS display, and for just $40 more, that display can run at a 144Hz refresh rate.

With decent build quality and surprisingly good gaming performance, the Victus 15 offers a solid all-around gaming package at an impressively competitive price. It does have its weaknesses, not least because the starter graphics card isn’t quite as powerful as what you’ll see in more expensive laptops, but it’s still sufficient for entry-level gaming.

The keyboard is surprisingly good, and overall there are fewer sacrifices than expected to keep the price down for such a capable gaming machine. There are much better gaming laptops out there, but we’d be hard-pressed to find one that’s as powerful. It is a fantastic budget gaming machine.

Best budget laptop for business work

Dell Inspiron 15 3000

Why should you buy it? It is the best budget laptop for business.

For whom it is? Office workers who want to play in their spare time.

Whether you’re writing another spreadsheet or wrapping up a game at the end of a long work day, the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 strikes a great balance. It features high-end and efficient overall computing power, such as a 9th-generation Intel CPU (options include Core i3, i5, and i7 chips) and up to 12GB of RAM, plus a dedicated graphics chip. The standard model comes with a 3GB Nvidia GTX 1050 for entry-level gaming, but there’s also an option for a new generation 1650, which can play just about anything, if you tweak the settings enough.

With typical Inspiron build quality, we expect this system to borrow a number of great design features from the more premium , but more affordable XPS range. It’s not the lightest laptop—just over four pounds—but it has an excellent spill-resistant keyboard, full Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth connectivity, plus a top-mounted 720-pixel webcam for video conferencing.

Plus, it comes in an attractive black color, which helps it stand out from all its silver contemporaries.

The best budget 2-in-1 laptop

Microsoft Surface Go 3

Why should you buy it? It is the best budget 2-in-1.

For whom it is? Anyone who needs the mobility of a small 2-in-1.

The Surface Go 3 may be limited by its small size and, at the entry level, by a low-powered Intel Pentium processor—which can be upgraded to an Intel Core m3 for $130 more—but it offers something the world has never seen before. Windows: a truly affordable 2-in-1.

It’s built just as solidly as its big brother, the Surface Pro 7, and it packs a beautiful, bright screen. The best part? It’s actually thin and light enough to hold in one hand like a tablet.

While their performance doesn’t feel as powerful as an iPad or even a Chromebook, those devices can’t do as much as the Surface Go 2, which runs a full version of Windows 10.

However, when it comes to the battery, it is a bit lacking. It is its really low point, since we are dealing with a device made for portability. Plus, we’d expect the excellent Type Cover keyboard and a Surface Pen to be included in the box.

But even with this list of faults, the Microsoft Surface Go 3 is absolutely the best value 2-in-1 you can buy. Competitors in this price range lack their high build quality, and often have a less impressive screen or keyboard.

Research and Buying Tips

Are cheap laptops really good?

Absolutely! Depending on what you need your laptop to do, budget options can be just as good as their high-end counterparts. If you only need a laptop for watching Netflix and answering emails, a cheap Chromebook can save you hundreds of dollars and perform no worse than something that costs $2,000 or more.

That being said, you should be careful which system you choose. Cheap laptops tend to make some sacrifices where expensive options don’t, so make sure the computer you’re interested in can do what you need before you buy.

Do any cheap laptops have thunderbolt 3 or 4?

Certain features are less common on budget laptops, and Thunderbolt 3 and 4 are one of those. Many budget laptops offer USB-C support, but only a few offer Intel’s Thunderbolt 4 specification.

Do cheap laptops have good battery life?

There is everything. Models that prioritize portability tend to offer a bit more, and you’ll have to forget about a dedicated graphics chip if you want the longest battery life.

However, you can find many cheap laptops that offer a full workday and more, on a single charge. In some cases, an option like the Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 offers better battery life than many laptops that cost a few hundred dollars more. Many Chromebooks also offer impressive battery life thanks to how lightweight the operating system is.

Can I find a good screen on a cheap laptop?

Definitely, but just like with battery life or specific ports, you’ll need to pick the right laptop. A good screen will need to be a key component of the kit, as color accuracy and contrast can be some areas where savings can be made on certain computers.

The best-looking display in our budget recommendations comes with the HP Envy x360 13, which is another reason why it’s our pick for best for video editing.

Is AMD better for cheap laptops?

AMD’s Ryzen 4000 line came to shake up the budget laptop space. Simply put, the fastest machines we’ve tested used AMD, and that’s a major advance. While Intel remains the dominant force in the overall laptop world, offering a greater variety of options, when it comes to affordable laptop processors, Ryzen 4000 takes the crown.

Our recommendation is that when looking for your next cheap laptop, think AMD. If you can find an option that meets your requirements, you’ll get better performance without spending more.

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