When studying from home, having access to a computer helps make a big difference. Having the internet at your fingertips and the ability to perform office tasks is a great resource. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get a decent computer. Budget tier laptops offer much better performance and usability than they did only a few years ago. To help you find a good and cheap option we’ve collected a list of our top 5 budget laptops, with prices ranging from $280 to $680.
Note: All prices are in US Dollars from Amazon US for new models offered by official sellers and are correct at the time of writing.
HP Stream 14
The HP Stream 14 costs $280, it has the hardware and price of a Chromebook but runs Windows 10 S so you don’t need to worry about app compatibility. The screen is 14 inches across and has a 1080p resolution. The dual-core Intel Celeron N4000 CPU has a base clock of 1.1GHz and can boost up to 2.6GHz.
The Stream 14 has 4GB of RAM and a 64GB eMMC hard drive. The small hard drive is complemented by a year’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365 with an included 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage (worth $69.99 a year).
Note: Windows 10 S only supports apps installed from the Microsoft Store app, although you can upgrade to a full version of Windows 10 for free.
Acer Swift 1
The Acer Swift 1 costs $371.18 and comes with a 14-inch 1080p screen. The Intel Pentium Silver N5000 CPU has four cores, with a base clock of 1.1GHz and a boost clock of 2.7GHz. It comes with a 64GB HDD, which can be replaced, and 4GB of RAM. It also comes with Windows 10 S installed.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is available for $449.99 and has a 14-inch 1080p screen. The AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU has 4 cores and 8 threads as well as a base clock of 2.1 GHz and a boost clock of 3.7GHz. The IdeaPad 3 has 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for faster boot times. It comes with Windows 10 S installed.
ASUS F512JA-AS34 VivoBook
The ASUS F512JA-AS34 VivoBook costs $459 and has a 15.6-inch 1080p screen. The Intel i3-1005G1 CPU has two cores and four threads at a base clock of 1.2GHz and a boost clock of 3.4GHz. It comes with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. It comes with Windows 10 S preinstalled.
Acer Nitro 5
The Acer Nitro 5 costs $682.50 and comes with a 15.6-inch 1080p IPS display offering wide viewing angles. The Intel i5-9300H CPU has four core and eight threads at a base clock of 2.4GHz and a boost clock of 4.1GHz. It comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD as well as a spare m.2 and SATA slot so you can add extra SSD or HDD storage in the future.
The Nitro 5 comes with a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics chip making it ideal for budget gamers. The full version of Windows 10 Home is installed so you don’t need to install a free upgrade to install games from Steam or other video game stores.