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

Asus Review

Asus Transformer Book T100 vs T200: Battle of the Budget 2-in-1

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Lenovo Review

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e Chromebook Review: An alternative to low-end PCs

Lenovo's newest ThinkPad for schools is a Chromebook with amazing build quality. This device offers all the bells & whistles of a low-end notebook for school, but is the $479[...] Read full article

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Dell Inspiron 14 5000 Series Review

This 14-inch budget notebook is available in multiple configurations packing just about anything you want in its nearly 5-lbs frame. Keep reading to find out if it's worth the higher-than-expected[...] Read full article

Asus Review

ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C Review: Why Android Laptops Stink

Find out why we love and hate Android notebooks. Keep reading to see if this Asus 2-in-1 is a better choice than a cheap Windows laptop. Read full article

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Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series (2014) Review

The Dell Inspiron 11 is a 2-in-1 with a reasonable low purchase price for general use. Keep reading to find out if this hybrid notebook can do more than satisfy[...] Read full article

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Samsung Chromebook 2 Review

The 13-inch Samsung Chromebook 2 delivers long-lasting battery life and a strong build. The device is capable of providing a basic computing experience on-the-go, but experienced users will be disappointed[...] Read full article

Review

Asus C200M Chromebook Review

With its sleek build and low-power processor, can the Asus C200M still stand out from the crowd of similarly-specced Chromebooks? We believe so. Read on to learn more. Read full article

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Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series Review

The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series is a well-rounded, middle-of-the-road Ultrabook that does fairly well in multiple categories. Read our full review to find out more. Read full article

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Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Review

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series is a jack-of-all-trades with an i7 processor, NVIDIA graphics, loads of RAM and a large hard drive space. Is this the right choice for[...] Read full article

Review

Dell Chromebook 11 Review

Featuring more RAM than most other Chromebooks in its price range of $300 or less, does the Dell Chromebook 11 muscle its way to the top of our ChromeOS ratings?[...] Read full article

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