And hey thats fine. If you have that kind of money to spend on a top end laptop or gaming notebook. Here at PCMag, we review more than a hundred laptops each year., And we know that its not always that simple. Tight budgets are a real thing. And sometimes performance thats. Simply good enough is available for a lot less money. If you know what youre looking for. Thats, where we come, in. Plenty of capable Windows, laptops and Chromebooks can give you all of the functionality you need, often for less than 500 or 600. Sure youll have to give up some of the latest new features or take A step down in build quality, but making the right trade off can get you a great performance and save you. A lot of money. Now lets be real.. We cant find you a powerful 4K gaming rig or the latest Apple laptop. Thats. Not what were about in this video., But if you need an affordable and capable Windows machine or a well made Chromebook for web browsing or schoolwork weve got you covered. Well, even show you our favorite, affordable gaming laptop and some 2 in 1. Convertible models that are a laptop and a tablet in one flexible, machine., So lets take a look at the six best budget laptops, weve tested. For the best budget laptop for most people. We love the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14, which you can find in configurations for less than 600.

. This 14 inch Windows laptop delivers great performance in a surprisingly sleek and sturdy design.. Yes, its plastic, not metal, but the chassis is rigid and doesnt feel cheap.. It comes dressed up in a subtle, dark, blue color and looks better than your average low cost laptop. And it performs as well as it looks.. You get a six core AMD Ryzen five 5500U processor that delivered strong results in our PCLabs productivity test and can do a decent job with content creation work. With enough performance for day to day work and even some low end multimedia capability. This 14 inch laptop punches well above its weight.. It also has a great selection of ports.. You get a USB C port, an SD card slot, an HDMI output and an integrated fingerprint scanner. And thats, a surprisingly robust selection for a budget laptop.. On top of that, the comfortable keyboard and responsive touch pad are a real treat.. Now the IdeaPad 3 14 isnt perfect.. The display is a bit dull and the sound is so so. And you get less memory and storage than youd find in a more expensive system.. But you can solve most of those issues with a pair of headphones and an external drive., And for less than 600 bucks well put up with a less than perfect display.. There are two kinds of laptop 2 in 1 convertibles, the kind whose screen rotates 360 degrees and becomes a tablet and the kind where the keyboard detaches from the screen.

. This is the kind that rotates. The Lenovo Ideapad Flex. 5I 14. Is our favorite budget 2. In 1, laptop that doesnt pull apart into two pieces. Prices for this affordable 14 inch model start in the mid five hundreds. And its a pretty great pick for the price. With a choice of Intel or AMD processors. A 14 inch touch screen and a 360 degree hinge its our Editors Choice for affordable convertibles.. Now, a 14 inch screen is especially good for laptop use, since you get enough display panel to multitask without the compromises of a smaller display.. Lenovo also offers an optional pen for the Flex 5i. In case note. Taking and sketching are your thing. And the laptops keyboard offers solid, typing comfort.. The touch pad could be a little bigger, but we were impressed that Lenovo includes a fingerprint reader that offers convenient password free logins.. The ports are also a nice mix with two USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type C, an HDMI output and an SD card slot.. The unit we tested had an 11th generation Intel Core i5 processor, with 16 gigabytes of RAM, which gets you through everyday productivity performance that is equal to 2 in 1 systems that often cost much more., Plus with nearly 13 hours of battery life. In our testing that solid performance should last through the day. Now the IdeaPad Flex is not a gaming laptop. Intels Iris Xe, built in graphics are better than earlier Intel graphics, but they are no match for a dedicated graphics chip from NVIDIA or AMD.

. Still the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex, 5i 14 is a capable well engineered convertible laptop and you get excellent bang for your buck for most other uses.. If you want a proper tablet, while still getting a capable Windows machine, you have no doubt considered Microsofts Surface Pro family.. Those Pro Windows tablets are a bit bigger than say an Apple iPad and they arent really budget models.. If youre willing to look at a little smaller, though Microsofts Surface Go 3 is a sized down detachable Windows 2 in 1. That will work well for most folks.. Its the affordable entry point to the Surface family. The Go 3 has a distinctive Surface tablet: design complete with a built in kickstand and an optional keyboard. Cover. Prices start at around ‘9 for the most basic model without a keyboard included and at that price level it competes against Chromebooks and the Apple iPad, not against higher Windows laptops and the Apple iPad. Pro, like Microsofts, bigger Surface Pro models, do., The combination of Microsofts refined, fine tablet design and its detachable keyboard pairs nicely with Windows 11 to deliver a compelling productivity experience.. Now the Surface Go 3 isnt a powerhouse. In our benchmark test. We saw the Surface, Go 3 fall behind pricier tablets like the Surface Pro in general, productivity task and graphics. Performance.. The Surface Go 3 is far more affordable than its Surface Pro siblings, but the trade off is that lesser level of performance. And in true Microsoft fashion.

The type cover keyboard sells separately, bumping up the overall price by 100, so make sure that you factor that in. Youll probably want to get a keyboard.. The Surface Go. 3 is a good value in other ways. Though. The screen is bright and vivid, and you get a high resolution. 1080P webcam with Windows 11 for logging in via facial recognition.. The 1080p camera is a very good thing. If you do lots of video calling. And the battery life should take you through a full day of work or school.. If you want a Windows, 11 tablet that fits a tight budget, the Surface Go 3. Is a great and affordable place to start. The most expensive model? By far in this rundown of budget laptops? Is our gaming pick MSIs Katana GF66., But its all about context.? The Katana is a gaming laptop, which means it comes outfitted, with a discrete graphics card and high refresh rate display.. Those things simply bump up the price.. You dont see those things on laptops very often for less than 800 or 900.. In this case, the Katana we tested was in the low thousands, but its tricked out with an 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 gigabytes of RAM and NVIDIAs GeForce RTX 3060 graphics.. That puts it on the low end of gaming laptops, but its no slouch. Youll get solid frame rates in current AAA game titles., And the screen is a 1080p 144Hz panel, which means that youll enjoy ultra smooth action in decent detail.

As well., Though, our test model was a little over 1000, even the base model of the Katana will still offer a gaming grade, graphics and processing power, and it sells for just about 799.. If you want to splurge out for the model we tested, expect a spacious one, terabyte solid state drive speedy Wi, Fi 6 connectivity and a basic 15 inch display.. Overall, you get a surprising amount of playability thats, just portable enough to take on the go.. Just dont. Forget your charger since the Katana barely hit four hours in our battery rundown, test. And youll need the plug for gaming, which will drain it even faster than that. Sure wed love a brighter display, but gaming performance is rarely this affordable, making the Katana the best budget. Gaming, laptop weve reviewed so far this year. Now, if you really want to save a buck its hard to beat a Chromebook. By ditching Windows, but giving you a full suite of online productivity, apps Googles, Chrome operating system is perfect for all sorts of basic work, whether Its in an office at home or in a school environment, so long as you can do it in a browser., The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is our favorite, affordable, Chromebook, thanks to its flexible 2 in 1 design and perky AMD processor.. Plus you get more memory and storage than with most budget friendly Chromebooks.. The Spin 514 is also surprisingly well built.. The chassis is sturdy aluminum, with military standard protection against road hazards like shock vibration and environmental extremes, making it perfect for taking on the go.

Its a 2 in 1 design like the Lenovo Flex, we mentioned earlier. And you get some unexpected. Nice touches like really thin. Bezels around the 1080p touch screen, which is protected by Gorilla Glass. Plus it has a snazzy backlit keyboard.. The ports are also really good for a Chromebook with dual USB Type C ports, one USB Type, A port, an HDMI output and a microSD card slot., Even better. The Spin 514 lasted almost 11 hours in our battery test, meaning you may be able to leave its power adapter at home.. Now some of the cut corners in the low cost machine are things you would expect like the use of flash memory instead of a proper, solid state drive and Wi Fi 5 instead of the newer Wi Fi 6.. But this 2 in 1 Chromebook is as versatile as it is: affordable. Chromebooks arent entirely for kids, these days., But if youre buying a Chromebook for a young student, its hard to beat the Dell Chromebook 11. When it comes to budget laptops. This Chromebook is one of the most rugged weve seen making it as kid proof. As it is kid friendly. Like the Acer Spin 514. We just talked about this unit, runs Googles, lightweight, Chrome, operating system and its ideal for the classroom.. It has a ruggedized design for the rough and tumble life of a laptop thats thrown in backpacks and used in lunchrooms. Dell even offers a pretty a reasonable warranty plan that covers accidental damage, giving you peace of mind as you send the Chromebook off to school.

With your youngster. Now before you think of getting one for yourself too know that the 11 inch screen may be small for an adult., But the keyboard and chassis offer plenty of room for smaller hands to type on. And the keyboard is even spill. Resistant. And while the displays 1366 by 768 resolution may not be great for Netflix its fine for the screen, size and well suited for reading Wikipedia articles and typing up essays., You wont want to use this Chromebook 11 for a lot more than that, since inside is A basic Intel, Celeron, processor and just 16 gigabytes of local flash storage.. This is a machine built for homework and classrooms, not gaming and serious entertainment., But the no frills design also means that this rugged kid proof laptop sells for a song, making it one of the most affordable systems – weve reviewed.. So there you have it our favorite budget laptops so far in 2022., Whether you need a great performing laptop, a capable 2 in 1, an affordable gaming machine or a Chromebook for you or your kids. One of these will serve you well at a price. Youll be happy with. Check out PCMag.com for detailed reviews and test results of all these laptops and many more.

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