Below is a complete review of the top budget-friendly laptops on the market.
The best budget laptops are the right choice for basic work and play. You don’t have to break the bank to get them but they don’t feel cheap as well. They offer nice screens, decent performances, and a battery life that is effective enough.
Many of the best budget laptops are tablets or Chromebooks with detachable keyboards, all available for under $500. You can get an affordable premium laptop from the likes of Apple or Asus if you’re willing to spend a bit more. A lot of laptops were reviewed and tested by top manufacturers to find the best budget-friendly options.
Back to School sales and the best budget laptops
Back-to-school sales are in full swing and the best laptops are always in high demand when the sales begin, so I would advise you to start shopping as early as possible. Having a great laptop suitable for both work and play is essential for anyone going back to school or heading to college. You can also check out our Back to school deals for the best prices and guides for all of your shopping needs.
Some of the best budget laptops available on the market are listed below.
The best budget laptops you can buy:
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 doesn’t feel like a budget laptop, with a sharp-looking QLED touchscreen, a slick ultraportable design, and solid 8-hour battery life. It also provides incredible speed for Chrome OS with its Core i3 configuration and it sounds great.
The vertical travel in its keyboard is a bit shallow and you may need to learn to adapt to this over time. However, getting a Chromebook that looks this good and is available for under $500 is a bargain.
- Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 0.6 inches
- Weight: 2.7 pounds
- Display: 13.3-inch QLED (1080p)
- CPU: Intel Celeron | Core i3 processors
- RAM: 4GB, 8GB
- Storage: 64GB, 128GB
- Improved battery life
- Beautiful design
- Gorgeous QLED display
Key travel could be better
2. Lenovo Duet 3
Chrome devices dominate the list of great budget laptops and the Lenovo Duet 3 is the best Chrome tablet that you can get for as low as $359. This is effectively a more expensive and bigger follow-up to the Chromebook Duet Lenovo released in 2020.
The original Duet was cherished for its0 amazing battery life, its well-packed-in keyboard cover, and solid performance, all of which were available for roughly $250. Lenovo’s new 11-inch Duet 3 is a bit more costly but delivers a better, bigger and brighter display, more ports, and the added capability of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 chip. The Lenovo Duet 3 is one of the best Chrome tablets available in the market, and Lenovo includes the keyboard cover at no extra cost.
- Dimensions: 10.16 x 6.48 x 0.31 inches
- Weight: 1.2/2.1 lbs (tablet only/tablet + cover)
- Display: 11 inches, 2,000 x 1,200 pixels
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2
- RAM: 4-8GB
- Storage: 64-128GB
- 10+ hours of battery life
- Sharp and bright display
- Decent packed-in keyboard cover
- Surprisingly loud for a Chrome tablet
- Still no headphone jack
- Lackluster cameras
3. Apple iPad 2021 with Smart Keyboard
Although the Apple iPad isn’t a laptop, it can be equipped with an optional Apple Smart Keyboard that can convert the tablet to a form of hybrid laptop available for under $500. It is a little like the Microsoft Surface Go in this respect.
If you need to draft up a word document, do some email work or do some light video or photo editing, this iPad is very capable. It is not a powerhouse machine unlike some laptops on this list but it is however capable of working through \everyday tasks. You’ve also got the rich curated array of apps to choose from in the apple store, making this iPad a solid choice for light work and serious play.
- Weight: 1.07 – 1.09 lbs
- Display: 10.2 inches (2160 x 1620 pixels)
- CPU: A13 Bionic0/
- GPU: A13 Bionic
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 64GB, 256GB
- Bright and colorful display
- Superb battery life
- Fast chip
The design is a bit dated
4. Acer Aspire 5
The Acer Aspire 5 is a full laptop and a great device available for under $500. It is a solid buy as long as you don’t plan on unplugging it very often. It offers a nice 15.6-inch 1080p display, a good port selection, and a keyboard that’s comfortable to type on. However, due to its disappointing battery life, it isn’t the budget all-star its predecessor was. When tested in lab testing and under real-world conditions, it lasted less than 7 hours and ran low after just a few hours of streaming video.
While the Acer Aspire 5 is a good and budget-friendly deal, many of its quirks may be had to look over, especially its middling battery life. Nevertheless, it still ticks all the boxes for your basic computing needs including multiple ports and steady performance.
- Weight: 3.7 pounds
- Display: 15.6-inch 1080p
- GPU: Intel Core i5
- RAM: 8GB RAM
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- Full keyboard layout
- Upgradeable hardware
- Ample port selection
- Poor battery life
- Slippery trackpad
5. Asus Zenbook 13 OLED
The AMD-equipped Asus Zenbook 13 OLED is an incredible excellent value device that offers an eye-catching 1080p OLED display, a slim and lightweight package, and an exceptional battery life for less than a thousand bucks.
The speakers aren’t too amazing, and there’s no headphone jack, but these shortcomings can be worked around. The Asus Zenbook 13 is the device you should be going for if you need a Windows ultraportable with a great screen and long-lasting battery life.
- Display: 13.3-inch 1080p OLED
- Weight: 2.5 pounds
- RAM: 8 GB
- Storage: 512 GB
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
- GPU: Integrated Radeon graphics
- Stellar battery life
- Great performance
- Beautiful 1080p OLED display
- Middling sound quality
- No headphone jack
Closing Thoughts on Best Budget Laptops in 2022
After reviewing the best budget laptops in 2022, we came up with a list of laptops we believe most people would find interesting. While Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is at the top of our list, there are others you can check out, depending on what you need a laptop for.