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 Ideapad 100S Review: Windows 10 on a Budget

Why buy a Chromebook when you can have Windows? This lightweight and affordable laptop weighs just 2.2 pounds, runs Windows 10 and costs $200. Is it inexpensive or just cheap?[...] Read full article

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

The Asus Transformer Book T100HA is a Windows 10 2-in-1 with a removable keyboard. Whether or not it's right for you all depends on whether or not you need a[...] Read full article


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

Acer Review

Acer Aspire E 15 Review: One step forward, two steps back

The E 15 includes a full HD display, Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and dedicated Nvidia graphics for a penny under $800 - read our review to see[...] Read full article

Lenovo Review

Lenovo S21e Review: Good Enough Only At the Right Price

This budget laptop might not belong at the head of its class, but the Lenovo S21e Windows notebook is still reliable and affordable. Read on to see if that's enough. Read full article


Lenovo Ideapad 100 Review

This Windows laptop offers good enough performance, reliable build quality and a nice keyboard for less than $350. Let's find out if this is better than a cheap Chromebook or[...] Read full article


Acer Aspire Switch 10 E Review

The budget-minded Acer Aspire Switch 10 E is a 2-in-1 convertible with a plastic chassis and WXGA (1200 x 800) display starting at $280. Will the low price bolster the[...] Read full article

Lenovo Review

Lenovo ThinkPad E450 Review

Despite the E450’s modest size, this 14-inch laptop features a full HD display and comes in a variety of different configurations. Is the E450 as good as it sounds or[...] Read full article