The Best Budget Laptops for 2022

The Best Dell Laptops Prove That You Don’t Need a MacBook Anymore

When shopping for a new laptop, succumbing to choice overload is easy. There are so many laptop models available where a single-digit difference in the model number between choice A and choice B could mean completely different components and capabilities. We’re here to help relieve that burden and provide you with the best choices for a new Dell laptop. We recently featured Dell in our guide to the best laptops of 2022, and the company has an impressive line of sleek but powerful small laptops.

Dell has long been a reliable laptop manufacturer with options that range from casual web surfers to professional laptops capable of intensive gaming. Plus, Dell is undoubtedly a smart way to go if you’re a PC-over-Mac person. Even better, there are frequent Dell deals happening every week that make owning its laptops affordable on any budget — including the Dell Inspiron laptop for under $500.

So avoid that pesky choice overload and look at our recommendations for the Best Dell laptops.

1. Dell XPS 13


Dell took the previous XPS 13 and sent it into hyperdrive. Now the newest XPS 13 can come configured with up to a 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1250U processor for impressive processing speeds. Add that to a 1TB hard drive and up to 32GB of memory, and you have a super PC that’s also lightweight and portable. Let’s not forget about the 13.4-inch touch display for those who like to get hands-on with their content.

We love how it contrasts its performance with a modern design comprised of machined CNC aluminum in a package that measures 2.59 pounds and is 0.55-inches thin. Equally as astounding are the tiny bezels around the display, which shows off Dell’s meticulous design.

Why It’s the Best: Overall, this is an impressive computer and an excellent choice for college students and professionals needing the best Dell laptops. We recently named this computer the best PC laptop for college students.

Courtesy of Dell.

2. Dell XPS 15


Content creators, especially the visually creative variety, will appreciate the new 15.6-inch FHD+ InfinityEdge display. This 1920 x 1200 display has impressive contrast and gets plenty bright for vivid picture quality, so you can clearly see the smallest details. Still, you can opt for the upgraded 15.6-inch 3.5K (3456 X 2160) OLED display for superior details, vibrant colors and exceptional viewing angles. It’s great for content creators that intend to edit photos and videos.

Beyond the impressive display is a 12th Generation Intel Core i7-12700H processor with up to 4.7GHz of processing power. You can max the PC out with 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage to create a powerful content-making machine. You’ll most likely want to pair this with a proper USB-C hub to connect all of your favorite accessories to maximize connectivity.

Courtesy of Dell

3. Alienware M15 R7 Ryzen Edition Gaming Laptop


It’s crazy to think that a laptop is capable of graphics that compete with desktop gaming PCs. Still, thanks to the arrival of NVIDIA’s 3000-series GPUs, graphical innovations such as ray tracing are now available with a device you can easily toss in a bag and take with you anywhere you go.

And that’s what we have with the Alienware M15 R7, which packs an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU. What makes this even better is that even though it has an AMD Ryzen 7 6800H CPU, which is the best gaming CPU you can get right now, it’s significantly cheaper than a comparable configuration featuring an Intel CPU.

Courtesy of Dell

4. Dell G15 Gaming Laptop


For gamers on a budget, the Dell G5 15 is the cat’s pajamas. It has stellar computing and processing performance thanks to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H processor and up to 32GB of memory. That’s plenty of computing power for gaming. Add an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, and you get premium gaming power at a budget price. One downside is this laptop tends to get a little noisy and hot, but you can quickly reduce the heat with a laptop cooling pad and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Courtesy of Dell

5. Dell XPS 17


All the incredible power and features you’d expect from the XPS line, but supersized. Even though it sports a large 17-inch display, it’s not unwieldy, bulky or heavy. Dell did a great job expanding the screen by cleverly using thin bezels. Plus, that giant screen is touch-responsive, so content creators can go all-in with their hands. You can max this thing out to super-computer status, but that can vault the price upwards of $3,000. Even at ground-level components, you’re getting a powerful computer with all-day battery life and a giant, fantastic display.

Courtesy of Dell

6. Dell Inspiron 15 3000


This is a solid way to get a hard-working Dell laptop at an affordable price. Even when you max out the specs, it’ll only cost you $700. The Inspiron 15 3000 opted to go with AMD processors and components instead of Intel, which cuts down the cost for you but doesn’t mean it skimps on performance. You can still ramp this baby up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. And all models have plenty of connectivity. Sure, the keyboard isn’t backlit and isn’t the best display on the market, but if you need an affordable everyday driver, this is a great pick.

Courtesy of Dell

7. Dell XPS 13 OLED


The Dell XPS 13 is excellent, but your eyes will love the Dell XPS 13 OLED much more. We’ve raved about the advantages of OLED technology in today’s laptops, so it’s no exception here with Dell’s offering because you’ll feast on its high contrast, superb details, iridescent-looking colors and exceptional viewing angles that don’t show much distortion.

With an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive, this Dell laptop can be everything from your daily driver to your office powerhouse. And weighing 2.64 pounds, it’s a smart option for business travelers, especially considering the all-day battery life. It’s tough to find this combination of portability and power, which is what makes the Dell XPS 13 OLED a great Dell laptop option.

Read More: Once You Try an OLED Laptop, You’ll Never Be Able To Go Back

Courtesy of Dell

8. Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1


The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 adds a little more power to the already impressive Inspiron line, combined with a design that allows you to use the laptop in four unique ways. Weighing 3.31 pounds, the 2-in-1 is heavier than its non-flexible counterpart, but you can forgive that since you get a touchscreen in return for that tablet-like experience handling.

Courtesy of Dell

9. Alienware x15 R2 Gaming Laptop


For gaming or not, this computer is nothing short of impressive. Gamers will appreciate max configurations like an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Super graphics card combined with the processing power of a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H processor. With the speedy refresh rates, the gameplay is ultra-smooth. For the everyday user, it contains more than enough processing power and storage for regular tasks, as well as 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) display with NVIDIA G-SYNC compatibility that is great for streaming your favorite content. It’ll cost you a pretty penny, but the performance doesn’t lack a cent.

Courtesy of Dell

10. Dell Chromebook 3100


And finally, we have to talk about the Dell Chromebook 3100. It’s running Google’s Chrome OS and offers incredible value for students needing a reliable laptop without forking hundreds or thousands of dollars. It’s not heavy on the specs, but it doesn’t need to be because its Intel® Celeron N4000 processor is more than suitable for basic needs like word processing, surfing the web and sending emails. We like its portable size, attributed to its 11.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) display and 2.85-pound weight. It’s small and lightweight enough to fit in a backpack with ease.

We previously named the Dell XPS 13 the best Dell laptop for students, but for those on a budget with more minimal computing needs, the Dell Chromebook 3100 is an excellent and affordable computer.

Courtesy of Dell

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Best Dell Laptop for Small Business

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Due to recent innovation, Laptops are becoming more relevant for small business owners. Also, Dell laptops are quite efficient when it comes to handling business activities. Due to this, you need to get the best Dell laptop for your small business. After an inquiry into most Dell laptops available in the market, we recommend the ✅Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 laptop as the best Dell laptop for Small Businesses.

Over recent years, Dell has increased its business activities.

It is now offering everything, including detachable laptops to versatile workstations.

There are different varieties/models of Dell laptops available.

Hence, it could be pretty difficult to decide which Dell laptop will be best for your small business.

It is on this note, that we have compiled details on seven Dell laptops that have been considered the best for small businesses.

This will help you make a wiser and better decision that will suit your business plans and goals.

There also other factors to put into consideration before buying a laptop for your business.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Laptop

Size of the Screen

While functionality is the key priority, a larger screen laptop would also be beneficial.


You will need a laptop with a good keyboard for longer typing periods.

Also, the buttons should have reasonable downstroke movement and snappy sensitivity.


More RAM enables further software to run concurrently.

It also helps the device to access multiple software at a certain time, which is useful for multitasking.

Battery Life

This aspect is essential to workers who spend most of their day on the road or in the workplace.

Internal Specifications

Excellent laptops also feature SSDs (solid-state drives) that have high-performance storage capacity.

Intel Core Processor is the best choice for multi-tasking and interactive functions.

You’ll also need at least 4 GB when it relates to RAM.

Best Dell Laptop for Small Business

Name Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 Dell Precision 3530 Dell Latitude 5490 Dell Precision 7730 Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1 Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged CPU Intel Core i5/Core i7 Intel Xeon Processor E-2176M Intel Core i7-8650U Intel Core i9-8950HK Intel Core i7-8650U Intel Core i5-8350U Intel Core i7-8650U GPU Intel UHD 620 Nvidia Quadro P600 Intel UHD Graphics 620 Nvidia Quadro P5200 Intel UHD Graphics 620 Intel UHD Graphics 620 AMD Radeon RX540 RAM 8GB/16GB 32GB 8GB 32GB 16GB 8GB 16GB Storage 128GB/256GB/512GB 512GB PCIe NVMe Class 50 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD Two 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD 512GB SSD 256GB NVMe SSD 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Class 40 SSD Screen Size 12.6 x 7.9 x 0.6 inches 14.8 x 9.9 x 1 inches 13.1 x 9 x 0.8 inches 16.3 x 10.8 x 1.2 inches 2 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches 11.5 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches 13.7 x 9.6 x 1.3 inches Resolution 14-inch, 1080p 5.6-inch/1080p 14-inch, 1080p 17.3-inch/4K 13.3-inch/1080p 12.3/1920 x 1280 14-inch, 1080p Weight 3 pounds 5.1 pounds 3.8 pounds 7.5 pounds 3.2 pounds 2.8 pounds 6.2 pounds Battery Rundown 13+ hours 9 hours 9 hours 4+ hours 7 hours 9 hours 9+ hours

Compare The Top 7 On One Page

1. Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 Laptop

The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is first on our list of best Dell laptops for small businesses.

This Dell laptop has an elegant framework, incredible battery life, and powerful performance.

The keyboard and touchscreen are both excellent.

Also, once you move away from the laptop, a special sign-in presence function secures your laptop.

Furthermore, it has an 18hrs battery life.

Hence, if you’re a small business owner that travels a lot, this will be your best fit.

Also, it has a very sturdy design which makes it quite durable.

However, this Dell laptop may be a little bit pricey.

Also, the display quality of this Dell laptop is a little bit on the average side.

Besides, these downsides, this laptop is quite compact and lightweight.

Hence, if your business involves frequent movement from one place to the other then this could be your best choice.

Due to its unique features, this is the best Dell laptop for small business use.

This laptop is purchasable on Amazon; click on the image link above to buy it.

2. Dell Precision 3530 Laptop

This is yet another unique laptop on our list of best Dell laptops for small business use.

The Dell Precision 3530 is designed with many ports such as USB, HDMI, SD card reader ports among others.

This feature gives you so many connectivity options.

Furthermore, this Dell laptop comes with a sleek and elegant interior and exterior design.

The sturdy features of this laptop make it quite durable.

Furthermore, it has an 8 hours battery life.

The audio quality of this laptop is also superb, this is because its’ speakers are quite loud.

Even more, the Dell Precision 3530 comes with a fingerprint feature.

This feature enhances the security level of this laptop.

Other unique features of this laptop include; a card reader, an internally developed Near Field Communication (NFC) reader.

It also has an Intel vPro for remote control and an Infrared (IR) camera for Windows Hello.

The 15.6-inch, 1920x 1080 Precision 3530’s anti-glare screen is properly bright and vibrant.

However, the quality of the display is a little bit above average.

The Precision 3530’s illuminated keyboard is extremely satisfying to type on.

This due to its’ convenient palm supports and soft-touch keys.

Lastly, the processing power of this laptop is quite impressive.

Hence, you can have multiple programs running at once, without the fear of it freezing while you work.

This is very beneficial for small business owners that multitask.

Apart from the issue of its not so brilliant display quality, this is a unique laptop based on the unique functions it performs.

Hence, this could be referred to as one of the best Dell laptops for small business use.

Click on the image link above to purchase this laptop on Amazon.

3. Dell Latitude 5490 Laptop for Small Business

Dell Latitude 5490 is a 14-inch device designed to work with great speed, convenience, and reliability.

Hence, it is another candidate for the best Dell laptops for small business use.

The Latitude 5490 has an 8th generation core i7 processor.

This enables you to perform a lot of multitasking activities on your laptop.

The latitude 5490 has a sturdy design.

Hence, it is quite durable.

Additionally, this Dell laptop has several essential security features.

These security features include a Windows Hello Windows with infrared( IR) webcam and a biometrical safety fingerprint sensor.

It also has a smart card reader.

The Dell Latitude 5490’s keyboard offers a pleasant typing experience.

This is mainly because of the main structures that give 1.9 millimeters of movement and involve 70 grams of force.

It also provides a variety of connectivity options.

This is due to the High Definition Multimedia Interface(HDMI), Video Graphics Array (VGA), and a USB type C port available on this laptop.

Furthermore, the central processing unit of this laptop performs very fast and it is quite efficient.

It also has a battery life of about 9 hours.

Although this Dell laptop is quite efficient, it has some drawbacks.

The laptop is quite heavy, this might be due to its sturdy features.

Also, the sensitivity of the fingerprint feature is not so excellent.

It also has poor audio and displays quality.

Furthermore, it tends to heat up if continuously used for a long period of time.

Its drawbacks are not so overwhelming.

Consequently, it could still be considered as one of the best Dell laptops for small businesses.

Get this laptop on Amazon by clicking on the image link above.

4. Dell Precision 7730 Laptop

Third, on our list of best Dell laptop for small business use is the Dell Precision 7730.

If what you need is an efficient laptop that can handle the multitasking activities of your small business, then this laptop would be a good choice.

This laptop has remarkably superior performance and a vibrant 4 K screen.

It also has a convenient keyboard layout and a solid construction quality.

The Precision 7730 is designed with solid materials which contribute to the overall unique features of the laptop.

It is made with a carbon fiber cover, a smooth-touch deck, and a steel frame.

Furthermore, this laptop has certain security features that help keep your sensitive business documents or contents secure.

You can add a fingerprint scanner to the finger rest to include a conventional smartcard viewer and a Near Field Communication (NFC) sensor to contactless cards.

Additionally, the display quality of this laptop is quite appealing to the eyes.

The brilliant 4 K display is amazingly detailed, and its colors are extremely bright and vivid.

Using the Precision 7730 under sunny conditions will not be much of a problem.

This is due to its’ smooth screen and outstanding maximum brightness features.

Furthermore, the processing capability of the Precision 7730 is excellent.

It has an Intel Core i9-8950HK CPUs and 32 GB RAMs.

Hence, this device can withstand multiple running programs at once.

However, this Dell laptop is quite big and heavy.

Hence, it might not be so suitable for you if your business involves a lot of traveling.

Also, the battery life of this laptop is relatively poor with just 4 hours of battery life after charging.

To remedy this situation you’ll need to have a constant power supply or backup power supply if your business involves long hours of work.

Overall, this is quite a unique laptop in terms of some of its features and functions.

Hence, this can be referred to as one of the best Dell laptops for small businesses.

Buy this laptop on Amazon by clicking on the image link above.

5. Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1

This is yet another good laptop on our list of best Dell laptops for small business use that offers a lot of unique features.

This laptop has a battery life of 10 hours which is very favorable if you work for long hours.

The Dell 7390 is fitted with an infrared (IR) facial recognition sensor.

Additionally, it has a fingerprint scanner and Near Field Communication (NFC) or Smart Card reader feature.

All these features help keep the laptop secure from intruders.

Furthermore, the 13.3-inch, 1920×1080 screen in Latitude 7390 is colorful and appealing to the eyes.

Also, the keys on Latitude have a pleasant press at 1.8 millimeters of key movement and 68 grams of needed push.

Similarly, the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 has a 3.6×2 inch touchpad on its’ thin surface.

This part of the laptop is receptive to movements like three fingers to display home screen and double-finger browsing.

Furthermore, its processing capacity is enhanced by its’ Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 16 GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD.

Hence, multitasking activities are quite easy on this Dell laptop.

Some of the downsides to this device include the fact that it’s quite heavy for a business laptop and the keyboard seems too choked up together.

This laptop is also a little bit on the high side.

Besides that, this laptop is just right for those whose businesses involve a lot of multitasking activities.

Hence, it could be considered as one of the best Dell laptops for small business owners.

Click on the image link above to make a purchase of this laptop on Amazon.

6. Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1

Dell’s Latitude 5290 2-in-1 is yet another functional device on our list of best Dell laptops for small businesses.

This laptop is uniquely designed to provide excellent performance for its users.

It has a great display quality.

Its keypad and trackpad are also very comfortable to use.

Furthermore, it has security features to ensure the safety of your business details/ documents on your laptop.

These features include the Windows Hello fingerprints and Face unlock features.

Hence, users can sign in with the use of the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner or Windows Hello for facial recognition.

There is also a token-based smart card reader available.

The device also includes vPro for remote supervision.

The 12-inch screen with 1920x 1280 panel has a 3:2 screen resolution which is ideal for anyone who operates on the Internet or spreadsheet.

It is incredibly luminous and very vibrant.

The Latitude 5290 is quite fast with processing activities.

This is due to its i5-8350U Intel Core CPU, RAM 8 GB, and NVME SSD 256 GB features.

Hence, you can effectively multitask using this Dell laptop.

Despite its unique features, this laptop’s speaker quality is not so brilliant.

This may be considered as a drawback to this device.

If speaker quality is not so much of a big deal to your business, then you should be fine using this laptop.

Hence, this could still be regarded as one of the best Dell laptops for small business use.

To purchase this Dell laptop on Amazon, click on the image link above.

7. Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged Laptop

This is the last and definitely not the least on our best Dell laptops for small businesses.

When you need a powerful all-round laptop that can withstand heavy-duty tasks don’t look further than the Latitude 5420 Rugged.

The Latitude 5420 solves the major problems you’ve had before with robust computers.

It has a colorful 1080p screen, a comparatively sleek framework, and an efficient touchscreen.

In addition, its’ Core i7 Central Processing Unit (CPU) is reliable and efficient.

Furthermore, it has a battery life of 9hours.

The Latitude 5420, thanks to only the useful latch at the front of the laptop, is remarkably easy to carry.

This is however not a slim and lightweight device.

The Latitude 5420 has a robust framework with its very sturdy features which can even endure the toughest circumstances.

This laptop truly lives up to its name as it can be used outdoors conveniently without the dangers of it getting damaged.

This Dell laptop has a very bright display quality.

It also has a high processing quality/power.

However, this laptop is really on the high side.

Also, it’s is not so sleek and classy in its design.

Hence, you might want to reconsider choosing this laptop if you are the stylish type.

Besides that, this is a unique Dell laptop for small business use with a lot of very functional features.

Putting this into consideration, this can be considered as one of the best laptops for small businesses.

Click on the image link above to buy this Dell laptop on Amazon.

Conclusively on Best Dell Laptop for Small Business

The importance of a good laptop for small business owners cannot be overemphasized.

Furthermore, laptops enhance your productivity and efficiency in your small business.

Hence, you need to carefully consider your options when choosing the best laptop for your small business.

Dell laptops are quite beneficial for small business owners.

Putting this into consideration, we recommend the ✅Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 laptop as the best Dell laptop for Small Businesses.

Do enjoy the benefits of using the best Dell laptop for your small business.

The Best Budget Laptops for 2022

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. See how we test. (Opens in a new window)

But that doesn't mean they're not capable productivity partners. Check out our top tested picks below—our favorite budget laptops from our recent reviews, broken out by usage case. Then, check out our buying-advice guide to learn what trade-offs to expect and how to match a budget notebook's strengths and weaknesses with what you plan to do with it. Note: We've also broken out our current favorite picks in a detailed spec chart at the end of this article.

To be sure, you should be ready to compromise in one or two aspects. Economy models don't have the latest and fastest processors or the most memory and storage, and you shouldn't expect an ultra-colorful, super-high-resolution screen.

Apple won't sell you a new MacBook for less than $899, but the days when you couldn't get a decent laptop for under $1,000 are long gone. Today, it's possible to pick up a full-size, ultraportable, or 2-in-1 convertible Windows 11 notebook—powerful enough for home, work, or school—for around $500. Some compacts and Chromebooks cost even less.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 Best Budget Laptop for Most Buyers 4.0 Excellent Why We Picked It You can find cheaper budget laptops, but we don't think you can find a better one than Lenovo's IdeaPad 3 14, a 14-inch notebook that doesn't look or feel flimsy and combines a potent AMD Ryzen 5 processor with a decent full HD display and comfortable keyboard. Sure, it would be nice if its 8GB of memory and 256GB solid-state drive were doubled, but this 3.1-pounder doesn't feel shortchanged. Its performance puts price-bottom-feeder Pentium and Celeron systems to shame, and its dark-blue finish is as handsome as you'll find on a PC made of plastic instead of metal. Who It's For Families and students seeking a capable laptop with a few bonuses (Wi-Fi 6 instead of 5, USB-C and HDMI ports, a fingerprint reader) will consider the IdeaPad 3 14 a rare find. You won't mistake it for one of Lenovo's ritzy ThinkPads, but you won't be mistaken if you buy it. PROS Great performance

Great performance USB-C port included

USB-C port included Sturdy chassis

Sturdy chassis Comfortable keyboard and touchpad

Comfortable keyboard and touchpad Integrated fingerprint scanner

Integrated fingerprint scanner Users can upgrade RAM (at their own risk) CONS Lackluster speakers

Lackluster speakers Dull display Sold By List Price Price Amazon $609.99 $484.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 Review

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 A Solid Alternative to the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 4.0 Excellent Why We Picked It The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 offers a budget-friendly middle ground between Microsoft's premium tablets and larger laptops, with an affordable compact notebook design. From the color options and aluminum lid to the 11th Generation Intel Core i5 processor inside, the Surface Laptop Go 2 delivers a near-premium experience despite its low price. The hardware inside delivers performance that's more than capable, and pairs it with an updated webcam, a taller 3:2 aspect ratio display, and even some room to grow with SSDs that can be replaced or upgraded. With more style and a better build quality than most affordable laptops, it's a budget laptop win. Who It's For Anyone who has enviously eyed a Microsoft laptop will be thrilled to see an affordable option, and the Surface Laptop Go 2 delivers just that. From the Intel processor to the 3:2-aspect-ratio display, it's got some features you usually can't find at this price, and it's better-made than most of the competition. PROS Competitive performance from updated CPU

Competitive performance from updated CPU Stylish, colorful design

Stylish, colorful design Quality build and comfortable keyboard

Quality build and comfortable keyboard Reasonably priced

Reasonably priced Swappable SSD and chassis parts for longevity CONS Less-than-1080p display with nonstandard resolution

Less-than-1080p display with nonstandard resolution Updated (but still ho-hum) webcam Sold By List Price Price Amazon $599.99 $599.99 See It (Opens in a new window) Best Buy $699.99 $599.99 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 Review

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14-Inch (2022) Best Budget Convertible 2-in-1 Laptop 4.0 Excellent Why We Picked It The 2-in-1 laptop is no longer a status symbol, but you'll still pay a good amount for great performance and additional features. The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is a well-built machine with capable performance, a bright display, and a comfortable keyboard—not to mention a rock-solid convertible design from the company that pioneered the 360-degree-hinge on 2-in-1 laptops. If you want a modestly priced, versatile, and conveniently portable convertible laptop for office tasks, web browsing, and video calls, you'll be hard pressed to beat the IdeaPad Flex 5i. Who It's For With a sub-$500 starting price, excellent performance, and a better-than-average keyboard, the IdeaPad Flex 5i is a big win for budget shoppers who want a great 2-in-1 laptop without any major compromises. PROS Sturdy as a tablet or laptop

Sturdy as a tablet or laptop Includes both HDMI and USB-C ports

Includes both HDMI and USB-C ports Responsive, bright touch screen

Responsive, bright touch screen Decent performance for the price CONS Display's color coverage is lacking

Display's color coverage is lacking Battery life is shorter than average

Battery life is shorter than average Active pen not included

Active pen not included Proprietary power port instead of USB-C charging Sold By List Price Price Amazon $449.00 $449.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14-Inch (2022) Review

Microsoft Surface Go 3 Best Budget Detachable 2-in-1 3.5 Good Why We Picked It If Lenovo's Yoga series leads the way among 2-in-1 convertibles, Microsoft's Surface family stars among Windows detachables, which are lightweight tablets with snap-on keyboards that can both serve as laptops and challenge Apple's iPad slates. The Surface Go 3 is the smallest and cheapest in the line, and it shares the business-oriented Surface Pro's worst fault—charging extra for the keyboard cover instead of bundling it in the box. But it also shares enough of the Surface Pro's good points to be our favorite budget tablet-and-keyboard combo. Who It's For Much more capable than an Android or Amazon tablet, the 10.5-inch Surface Go 3 is an affordable way to get access to Windows apps in a detachable form factor. Chromebook detachables are better bargains, but Microsoft's mini can serve consumers and small office denizens well. PROS Low starting price

Low starting price Lightweight

Lightweight Sunny display with vivid colors

Sunny display with vivid colors Windows Hello webcam with 1080p video support

Windows Hello webcam with 1080p video support Integrated kickstand

Integrated kickstand SD card reader for easy storage expansion

SD card reader for easy storage expansion Long battery life CONS Keyboard cover not included

Keyboard cover not included Only one USB-C port

Only one USB-C port Optional extras pump up price quickly

Optional extras pump up price quickly Disappointing computing performance, even with Core i3 upgrade Sold By List Price Price Amazon $629.99 $629.99 See It (Opens in a new window) Microsoft Store $399.99 $399.99 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Microsoft Surface Go 3 Review

HP Laptop 17 (2022) Best Budget Big-Screen Laptop for General Use 4.0 Excellent Why We Picked It Plenty of low-cost laptops have screens measuring 12 to 14 inches diagonally, but 17-inch laptops (at any price) are growing rarer every year. HP's 2022 refresh of its Laptop 17 brings full-HD visuals to a large work and leisure environment for a reasonable sum. And it doesn't skimp out on the hardware that powers it. While you shouldn't expect to game on a laptop like this, expect reliable performance for working or watching video at an approachable price. Who It's For This large laptop from HP is designed for folks that fit in the Venn-diagram crossover between (1) desiring a large display with acceptable sharpness and color, and (2) getting it for as little money as possible without making too many compromises. Anyone who wants an affordable, big-screen laptop for working and watching movies will be well-served by the 2022 HP Laptop 17. PROS Large, bright screen

Large, bright screen Comfortable keyboard with number pad

Comfortable keyboard with number pad Thin and light for its screen size

Thin and light for its screen size USB-C port included CONS No keyboard backlighting

No keyboard backlighting No webcam privacy slider

No webcam privacy slider No SD card reader

No SD card reader 256GB SSD fills up fast

256GB SSD fills up fast Still heavy Sold By List Price Price HP $649.99 $649.99 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our HP Laptop 17 (2022) Review

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511) A Solid Alternative to the HP Laptop 17 3.5 Good Why We Picked It At $323, the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (model 3505) we tested is even more affordable than the HP Laptop 17 discussed above, with the same 1080p screen resolution—though with 128GB of solid-state storage (half as much). Its keyboard and touchpad are comfortable and its Core i3 processor can handle everyday apps with aplomb. The screen is relatively dim, but the laptop has an HDMI port so you can plug in an external monitor if you like (a feature almost never found on Chromebooks in this price range). A USB-C port would be nice, but you can't have everything. Who It's For Families on tight budgets or planning to give personal laptops to multiple kids will find the Inspiron 15 3000 a worthy choice. Its preinstalled Windows 11 S operating system limits you to software from the Windows Store, but you can convert to regular Windows 11 Home with a few clicks. It's pretty much as good as Windows gets in a larger laptop under $350. PROS Comes with Windows 11

Comes with Windows 11 Large 15-inch full HD display

Large 15-inch full HD display Solid build

Solid build Affordable CONS No USB Type-C ports

No USB Type-C ports Low maximum screen brightness

Low maximum screen brightness Weak speakers Sold By List Price Price Dell $459.99 $459.99 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511) Review

HP Victus 16 Best Budget Gaming Laptop 3.0 Average Why We Picked It Budget gaming is always about balancing capability and compromise, but the HP Victus 16 is made for affordability. It may not have the premium build of more expensive gaming rigs, but it delivers speedy gaming performance with a 16.1-inch display that's a little bigger than the usual 15.6 inches and matches it with decent gaming chops and a range of configuration choices. In addition to being one of the more affordable game-ready systems, the Victus makes the most of its 16-inch 144Hz display, and leverages an Intel Core i7-11800H and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 for surprisingly robust performance. It may ditch some niceties, like biometric security or Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, but if you can look past the plastic construction, you'll see a gaming machine that has more bang than you can usually get for your buck. Who It's For Made for gamers on a budget, the HP Victus 16 is both capable and affordable. It may skimp on build quality and ditch some of the more premium features, but the core of gaming performance is rock solid, giving you a better gaming experience than you might expect for the price. PROS Speedy 1080p gaming

Speedy 1080p gaming Attractive 16.1-inch screen

Attractive 16.1-inch screen Numerous configuration choices CONS Plastic build with weak screen hinge and chintzy touchpad

Plastic build with weak screen hinge and chintzy touchpad A pound overweight

A pound overweight No Thunderbolt 4 port

No Thunderbolt 4 port No Windows Hello biometrics

No Windows Hello biometrics Bizarre undervolting option Sold By List Price Price HP $1,199.99 $899.99 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our HP Victus 16 Review

Acer Chromebook 514 (2022, Kompanio 828) Best Budget Chromebook 4.0 Excellent Why We Picked It We're still opposed to cheap Chromebooks with dinky 11.6-inch screens, but we may have to change our stance on CPUs: Historically, we've warned that inexpensive models with ARM rather than Intel or AMD processors can be sluggish. The latest Acer Chromebook 514 relies on an ARM Kompanio chip, but it's a reasonably peppy performer, certainly livelier than systems with low-end Intel Celeron or Pentium silicon (if not a match for Intel Core or AMD Ryzen processors). The under-$500 Acer also offers solid design, great battery life, and a 14-inch full HD display. Who It's For Consumers and students seeking an internet browsing, email, and streaming media machine with enough punch for Google Docs or Microsoft Office Online productivity will be thoroughly satisfied with the Acer 514. Sure, $700 or $750 will buy you a better Chromebook, but the Acer isn't a penalty box. PROS Solid construction

Solid construction Better performance than most inexpensive Chromebooks

Better performance than most inexpensive Chromebooks Great battery life

Great battery life Padded carrying sleeve included CONS Slower than Intel Core-based Chromebooks Sold By List Price Price Amazon $459.99 $459.99 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Acer Chromebook 514 (2022, Kompanio 828) Review

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook Best Budget 2-in-1 Detachable Chromebook 4.0 Excellent Why We Picked It The flashiest, fanciest laptops boast ultra-colorful, ultra-high contrast OLED screens. So does Lenovo's IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook, a 13.3-inch tablet with snap-on keyboard, that's amazingly under $500. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU isn't a speed demon, but it's perfectly adequate for everyday productivity and creative apps, and just 1.54 pounds as a tablet (2.24 pounds with keyboard and kickstand). And the keyboard cover is included, not a pricey optional extra (are you listening, Microsoft Surface product managers?), though the stylus is $33 extra. Who It's For If you love the detachable 2-in-1 concept but balk at the cost of a Surface Pro or Apple iPad and accessories, the IdeaPad Duet 5 is the slate of your dreams. Its impressively sharp 5-megapixel front and 8-megapixel rear cameras make it equally useful for Zoom meetings and snapping shots or videos as you make your rounds as a realtor, or record fender-bender damage as an insurance agent. PROS Superb OLED display in an under-$500 detachable

Superb OLED display in an under-$500 detachable High-quality front and rear cameras

High-quality front and rear cameras Comes with keyboard cover and kickstand CONS Ho-hum compute performance

Ho-hum compute performance No audio jack, or 4G or 5G LTE option

No audio jack, or 4G or 5G LTE option Stylus supported, but costs extra Sold By List Price Price Lenovo $384.99 $384.99 See It (Opens in a new window) Best Buy $499.00 $499.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Amazon $429.99 $379.88 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook Review

Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 Best Budget Convertible 2-in-1 Chromebook 4.0 Excellent Why We Picked It Convertible laptops are the show-offs of the notebook world, flipping and folding between laptop, tablet, and presentation easel modes with versatility that makes fixed-form-factor systems jealous. Finding a nifty convertible for $429 complete with stylus pen is enough to raise an eyebrow, but Asus' Chromebook Flip CM3 delivers with little compromise. This 12-inch Chrome OS laptop weighs just 2.5 pounds and packs impressive performance, as well as a 3:2 screen aspect ratio that makes tablet operations feel more like holding a pad of paper than wielding an ungainly 16:9 widescreen 2-in-1. Who It's For The Flip CM3's touchpad and battery life are underwhelming, but otherwise it's a screaming deal if you're looking for an ultra-light, ultra-flexible portable partner. Whether you're creating reports with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, or sketching and scribbling with the pen, it's a fine choice for students and small-business entrepreneurs alike. PROS Includes a stylus

Includes a stylus Includes multiple USB-C ports

Includes multiple USB-C ports Lightweight

Lightweight Excellent performance CONS Clumsy touchpad

Clumsy touchpad Glossy display is prone to glare

Glossy display is prone to glare Disappointing battery life Sold By List Price Price Amazon $284.28 $284.28 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 Review

Dell Chromebook 11 (3100) Best Budget Chromebook for Kids 4.0 Excellent Why We Picked It Like many Chromebooks in the $200-to-$300 range (we've seen this one as low as $239), Dell's Chromebook 11 (model 3100) has a petite 11.6-inch screen. Unlike them, it's a bit bigger because it's a bit tougher: designed to survive 30-inch drops onto a steel surface, as well as water, milk, or juice from keyboard spills. Its black textured plastic is handsomer than you'd expect; its keyboard is comfortable; and it packs no fewer than four USB ports. Who It's For The 3100 offers perky browsing performance in a compact package, making it ideally suited for daily classroom life. If you're not sure even the Dell's rugged design can stand up to your youngsters, four years of accidental damage protection is only $60 extra. PROS Compact

Compact Sturdy, kid-friendly design

Sturdy, kid-friendly design Spill-resistant keyboard

Spill-resistant keyboard Optional LTE

Optional LTE Plenty of USB ports

Plenty of USB ports Reasonably priced accidental damage coverage CONS Poor Wi-Fi signal reception

Poor Wi-Fi signal reception Display limited to 1,366 by 768 resolution

Display limited to 1,366 by 768 resolution No SD card reader

No SD card reader Clumsy touchpad Sold By List Price Price Amazon $259.24 $259.24 See It (Opens in a new window) Dell Technologies $518.39 $339.00 Check Stock (Opens in a new window) Read Our Dell Chromebook 11 (3100) Review

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 Best Extreme-Budget Windows 10 Laptop 4.0 Excellent Why We Picked It Yes, it's only $299 list price (and maybe less than that if you hunt around resellers). No, it's not a Chromebook. The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 is a 14-inch laptop with full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels) screen resolution (not an unsatisfactory 1,366 by 768), a snappy keyboard (not a patch on Lenovo's famed ThinkPads, but a lot nicer than you'd expect), and a bonafide (albeit small-capacity) solid-state drive (SSD) instead of the puny, poky eMMC flash storage of some super-economy notebooks. Its AMD Athlon Silver processor is slow compared to AMD's Ryzen or Intel's Core CPUs, and its screen brightness peaks at 220 nits instead of the 300 or higher we prefer, but check that bottom line again: $299. 'Nuff said. Who It's For It would be great if the IdeaPad 1 had a USB-C port and 8GB instead of 4GB of memory (don't expect to multitask much or open more than two or three browser tabs), but then it would cost considerably more. Consumers seeking a real computer for the price of a toy need look no further. PROS Crisp 1080p display

Crisp 1080p display Comfortable keyboard

Comfortable keyboard HDMI port

HDMI port Multiple color options

Multiple color options Lightweight

Lightweight Long battery life and snappy storage CONS No USB-C ports

No USB-C ports Dim 220-nit screen backlight

Dim 220-nit screen backlight Uses relatively slow AMD Athlon Silver processor Sold By List Price Price Amazon $237.00 $153.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 Review

Buying Guide: The Best Budget Laptops for 2022

Ready to dive into the details around budget laptops? Today's good news is that you'll have to accept fewer compromises with budget laptops than you did in the past. Intel's Celeron and Pentium processors (which power most of the under-$400 laptop set) have evolved to the point that they can support most of your web browsing and basic productivity needs without feeling sluggish. (That's especially true with Chromebooks; more on them later.) That said, the $400-to-$700 Windows laptop market is mostly populated by systems based on the much peppier Intel Core i3 and Core i5 and AMD Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 families of processors. Opt for these CPU lines if you need more than just the basics. (See more about how to choose a laptop CPU.)

(Credit: Molly Flores)

All of these CPUs also host the silicon that runs the laptop's graphics. The newest integrated graphics solutions can hold their own in browser-based games and even some online games like World of Warcraft. The higher demands of AAA titles, though, still require a discrete GPU, which you won't find in this price range. (If money is no object, check out our top-rated gaming laptops and ultraportables, as well as our favorite cheap gaming laptops.)

In years past, many of the barest-budget Windows laptops would come with just 2GB or 4GB of main system memory, but nowadays, at least in the Windows sphere, most come with 8GB. (A 4GB RAM count remains more common in Chromebooks and under-$300 Windows laptops.) In terms of batteries, an ideal budget laptop has one with six cells or more. The battery life for a cheap laptop should come in at a minimum of seven or eight hours, and these days, many will last quite a bit longer. (A lower-resolution screen, which is a feature of some of these machines, can consume less power, all else being equal, and end up being a benefit of sorts.)

(Credit: Molly Flores)

When it comes to storage, a handful of inexpensive systems still use spinning hard drives, with capacities often at 500GB, but increasingly, inexpensive Windows machines opt for small-capacity solid-state drives (SSDs) of 128GB or 256GB capacity. If you can get by with the capacity of a small SSD, we strongly favor opting for one, even over a roomier platter-based hard drive, for their durability.

Other budget systems, particularly Chromebooks and some under-$400 Windows laptops, will have only a small allotment (32GB or 64GB) of local storage, but compensate for it with generous offers of additional free cloud storage. Of course, as with anything cloud-based, you'll need to be online to access it. Also, know that budget machines with this little local storage, among them many Chromebooks, are using what is called "eMMC memory" as their main storage. This is not the same as the flash memory used in a true solid-state drive (SSD), and it will feel a tad sluggish if you're used to an SSD.

In terms of features, budget laptops will come with (almost always) at least one USB 3.0 port, and possibly a USB 2.0 port or two. You also may get an SD card slot.

Wi-Fi comes standard, with many affordable options opting for the 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) protocol that was standard a few years back. The newer Wi-Fi 6 standard is now common for budget systems, but the more advanced Wi-Fi 6E is still rare to see in budget models.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

An HDMI output and a USB-C port are definite pluses, and you can find these on even some of the very cheapest models. You shouldn't always expect a touch-screen display, however. (See our picks for the best touch-screen laptops.) Any 2-in-1 convertible machine, though, will by definition have a touch screen, as having one is necessary for using the machine as a tablet or in other orientations where the keyboard is covered up.

Is Buying a Chromebook Worth It?

Chromebooks used to be little more than glorified netbooks running Google's Chrome OS. While these Chrome OS-based laptops are still resolutely web-centric, they now have fuller feature sets. If you spend most of your working hours in the cloud, a Chromebook will offer you much of the functionality of a regular Windows or Mac laptop, and it may well deliver longer battery life, depending on the model.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

It will also likely cost you a lot less than other types of notebooks, as many Chromebooks come in at less than $300. Just be sure you have easy access to stable Wi-Fi wherever you'll use one, as Chromebooks have limited offline functionality and scant local storage.

Note that a Pentium or Celeron processor is adequate for a light-usage, budget-minded Chromebook. Intel Core and AMD Ryzen "C"-series processors tend to be found in the more premium class of Chromebooks.

The Best Cheap Tablets and Hybrids: 2-in-1s on a Budget

Tablets rose in popularity throughout the 2010s, and though we have plenty of reviews of those—take a look at our overall roundup of the best tablets, as well as our favorites running the Windows and Android operating systems—they are sufficiently different from traditional clamshell-style laptops that they don't always make good substitutes. Some come with detachable keyboards, but most of these are far less comfortable for typing on your lap than a conventional laptop.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Convertible 2-in-1s, however, do make a good substitute for traditional clamshells. These machines let you flip between a laptop and a tablet, by folding the keyboard out of the way. You should consider one of these convertible systems if you primarily want the typing capability of a laptop, but occasionally would appreciate the lie-back, passive-consumption convenience of a tablet.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

See our guide to the best 2-in-1 convertible and hybrid laptops for more information about this popular segment of the market. In part because of their added complexity compared with traditional clamshell designs, you won't find quite as many affordable ones, but there are a few Windows and ChromeOS-based models that cost $500 or below. They come in both permanently attached (generally 360-degree-rotating-hinge) designs, and in detachable-keyboard designs.

Make sure, though, when looking at one of the detachable tablets that you know what comes in the box. In some cases, you need to buy the keyboard base separately, and the total cost may not be as low as it first appears.

So, What Is the Best Cheap Laptop to Buy?

The best inexpensive laptops tend to go in and out of stock frequently. We've broken out the specs of our favorites below, and while we update this guide constantly, there's a good chance that at least one of our picks is back-ordered at any given time. But if you're on a strict budget, don't lose heart. You can definitely find PCs that will offer you enough performance to tackle your day-to-day tasks without a hitch.

For further in-depth breakdowns of our budget picks, take a look at our roundups of the best laptops for college students, the best laptops for kids, and the best Chromebooks. And for more general factors to consider when choosing a laptop, take a look at our buying guide with our top laptop picks overall.

Hunter Jones

Hunter Jones

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