Budget Laptops Buyers Guide

Shopping for a general purpose notebook can be one of the easiest or the most stressful activities for a family or a student. “General purpose” laptops make up the overwhelming majority of budget notebook and netbook sales worldwide. These systems range from $250 netbooks with 10-inch displays to 17-inch desktop replacement notebooks with budget configurations in the $600 price range.

A general purpose notebook usually doesn’t have a high-performance processor, discrete graphics or entertainment-oriented features like 1080p displays, Blu-ray drives or high-quality stereo speakers. These budget-priced laptops are intended for basic tasks like browsing the web, sending email, using Microsoft Office or similar productivity software, watching web-based videos, balancing your checkbook or playing light games. Although some of these affordable laptops are durable enough to handle years of family or student use, build quality generally isn’t a priority for a general purpose laptop. These systems are priced to essentially be “impulse purchases” for consumers who need a new family PC or laptop for their young student.

You can usually expect the weight of a general purpose notebook to vary greatly in proportion to the size of the display. A typical 10-inch netbook weighs three pounds or less while a budget desktop-replacement notebook with a 17-inch screen will tip the scales at seven pounds or more. Of course, these systems always come with standard 802.11a/b/g or n Wi-Fi and sometimes are even available with a cellular modem or Bluetooth.

Recent Budget Laptops Reviews

Lenovo Review

Lenovo Yoga 710 14 Review

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Dell Review

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Review

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Lenovo Review

Lenovo ideapad Miix 310 Review: Last of the Atoms

The Lenovo ideapad Miix 310 is an Intel Atom 2-in-1 running Windows 10. It might be the last of its kind, so hopefully Lenovo delivered a high-value winner. Read full article


HP Pavilion x360 11 Review: Best of Both Worlds?

This 11.6-inch convertible notebook has a bright display, as close to a full-size keyboard as you'll find in this class, and decent speakers. We take it for a 360-degree spin[...] Read full article

Lenovo Review

Lenovo Flex 3 11-inch Review: No Longer the Yoga Half Measure

The new Flex 3 ditches the cheaper half measures of the old Flex, opting for a full 360-degree display hinge. The result is a budget option that actually feels like[...] Read full article

Lenovo Review

Lenovo Ideapad 100S Review: Windows 10 on a Budget

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Dell Review

Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Review: The Too Pricey, Too Compromised 2-in-1

There are many mid-range 2-in-1s on the market, so what separates the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 from the pack? Nothing good, unfortunately. Read full article

Asus Review

Asus Transformer Book T100HA Review

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Lenovo 100s Chromebook Review

This 11.6-inch laptop might not have enough performance for everyone but it can handle basic web browsing with ease. Starting at $179, the 100s Chromebook feels like a great deal[...] Read full article

Asus Review

Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA Review

The Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA is an Intel Celeron-powered Windows 10 2-in-1. It's not the most powerful, but this 2-in-1 was built for mobility. Find out how well in[...] Read full article