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

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


Acer Chromebook 15 Review

While most Chromebooks aim to be as small and light as possible, the Acer Chromebook 15 delivers a beefy 15.6-inch display with 1080p resolution and packs a CPU good enough[...] Read full article


Acer Aspire R14 Review

This affordable 14-inch convertible ultrabook features a Core i5 CPU and a well built 360-degree hinge. The $650 price tag makes the Aspire R14 less expensive than Lenovo’s Yoga line,[...] Read full article

Toshiba Review

Toshiba Chromebook 2 Review: Surprising Value

Thanks to its 1080p high-definition display and reasonable performance, this is one of the best Chromebooks on the market today. Keep reading to find out why it gets our recommendation[...] Read full article

Lenovo Review

Lenovo Flex 2 Review

It’s hard to make a desktop-replacement laptop standout in a market dominated by gaming rigs, Ultrabooks, and 2-in-1s. But that hasn’t stopped the Lenovo Flex 2 15. Its 300-degree hinge[...] Read full article


E FUN Nextbook 10.1 Review

Looking for a last-minute Christmas gift at an affordable price? Your local Walmart probably has the E FUN Nextbook 10.1 Windows 8.1 2-in-1 laptop and tablet priced at $180, but[...] Read full article