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Our top picks for 2020

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Just because you’re not a big spender doesn’t mean you can’t get a workhorse of a laptop.

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A new laptop is always a big investment, one that you’ll likely need to make every few years to keep up with the ever-changing technology. You might even put it off after an initial browse when you start to see how pricey a new laptop can get, and how many incredible options there are out there. 

But you don’t always need to break the bank to get a suitable laptop. You’ll still have a huge range of products to choose from if you’re only looking to spend a few hundred bucks. And if you just need another device to check email on, browse YouTube, or pull up recipes, maybe a budget laptop is all you need.

Cheaper laptops may not have all the features of top-of-the-line computers, but you can get reliability and the basic features that you’ll be using every day. 

Each individual will find different specs most important. Depending on what kinds of tasks you’re hoping to accomplish with your new laptop, maybe a larger screen display is what you’re looking for. Perhaps if you’re the kind of worker who enjoys taking your laptop to the corner cafe, battery life is super important. Maybe you’re looking for a place to store all your photos and documents, in which case, more storage space is what you’ll have in mind. A commuter may value a lighter laptop over a heavier machine, for ease of transport. It’s all up to the individual, and just because you’re looking at a lower price point doesn’t mean you don’t have all these options available.

Whether you’re looking for a machine for school, work, or fun, you can find a laptop that can handle the basics for less than $300. It may sound impossible in today’s world, and that’s why we’ve listed our favorites for you below.  


32GB storage • Reliable webcam • Excellent battery life

No touchscreen • Performance cannot handle too much at once • Chunky bezels

Fast speeds and 12.5 hours of battery life, plus double last model’s storage make this our favorite laptop for under $300.

Samsung Chromebook 4

Fast speeds and 12.5 hours of battery life, plus double last model’s storage make this our favorite laptop for under $300.

  • Processor:
    Intel Celeron N4000
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    32GB flash storage
  • Display:
    11.6 inch HD LED
  • Weight:
    2.6 pounds

Chromebooks are the go-to for affordable laptops, and the Chromebook 4 only improves on earlier models. This simple, reliable notebook will do the trick for work, school, or basic daily use.
The Intel Celeron N4000 along with 4GB of RAM provides reliable performance, and, at 32GB of storage, this model offers double the storage of the Chromebook 3, which itself was a well-loved affordable option. 
The Chromebook 4 has a slightly more modern design than the 3, and it charges via USB-C, which also serves to transfer data at speeds up to 5Gb/s and can connect to a 4K monitor. It includes a USB-A port as well.
This laptop boasts a fast startup speed and quick reconnecting WiFi. 


Impressive display • 13 hours of battery life • Lightweight

Chunky bezels • No audio jack • Small display

This is a great intermediate between tablet and laptop, for those who want the best of both worlds.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

This is a great intermediate between tablet and laptop, for those who want the best of both worlds.

  • Processor:
    MediaTek Helio P60T
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB eMMC
  • Display:
    10.1 inches
  • Weight:
    2 pounds

With a colorful display, robust storage, and 13 hours of battery life, this is our favorite Chromebook. It’s small and lightweight, yet powerful and reliable enough to handle heavy browsing.
This is a great choice for tablet fans who want something even lighter and more versatile. The keyboard will allow you to treat this as a laptop whenever you please. 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM are packed inside this two-pound machine.
While this has only one USB-C port, and is missing an audio jack, you’ll be able to connect to just about any accessory via Bluetooth. 


14 inch display • Two USB-C ports • Decent battery life

Performance not as high as other models • Chunky bezels

This is best for basic tasks, but won’t be able to handle high-demand apps and browsing.

HP Chromebook 14

This is best for basic tasks, but won’t be able to handle high-demand apps and browsing.

  • Processor:
    AMD A4
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    32GB flash storage
  • Display:
    14 inches
  • Weight:
    3.4 pounds

This basic Chromebook offers all you need for daily use, with a bit of a larger display at 14 inches. It’s sturdy, reliable, and boasts an AMD A4 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage.
You’ll also get two USB-C charging ports (one more than you’d typically find in a Chromebook) and a microSD card slot.
This is a great Chromebook for work or school, but won’t keep up with the demands of running lots of complicated apps. If you’re looking for a device to check email, run word processors or basic office software, this is a good bet.


Lightweight • Good performance • Low price

Bad webcam • Low-res display • No USB-C port

Budget-conscious shoppers will love the bang they’ll get for their buck with this laptop.

HP Stream Pro 11

Budget-conscious shoppers will love the bang they’ll get for their buck with this laptop.

  • Processor:
    Intel Celeron N4000
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB eMMC flash storage
  • Display:
    11.6 inches
  • Weight:
    2.37 pounds

This is our favorite budget laptop, and the best deal on our list. It may not be the latest product on the market, but it’s one of the best available for the price. 
At under 2.5 pounds and 11.6 inches, this laptop is highly portable, making it a great option for someone who travels often or has a daily commute. It sports a long battery life (13 hours and 15 minutes, the best we’ve found in our research) and pretty strong performance for the price point.
A micro SD card reader, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.1 port, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack are included, but unfortunately there is no USB-C port.


Looks great • Windows 10

Unimpressive webcam • Unimpressive display

Windows users will be happy with this sleek, affordable option.

Asus Laptop AMD E2- Series

Windows users will be happy with this sleek, affordable option.

  • Processor:
    AMD E2
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB eMMC
  • Display:
    14 inches
  • Weight:
    3.59 pounds

Budget laptop doesn’t mean you can’t look sleek. This one proves it. Ultrathin at 14 inches, this model comes in three different colors, the most popular being the modern dark blue hue. White comes in at a close second.
This laptop is for Windows fans. It runs Windows 10 in S mode. Powerful performance means you’ll have no issue multitasking with this machine.
It also features Bluetooth connectivity, so you’ll be able to sync with your compatible wireless devices. One USB 2.0 Type A port, one USB 3.0 Type A port, one USB 3.1 Type C port, and one HDMI output is included, as well as a headphone jack. 


Largest display for under $300 • Good performance

Slightly heavier than other models • Display is otherwise unimpressive

This is the largest screen you’ll find on a laptop under $300.

Acer Aspire 1

This is the largest screen you’ll find on a laptop that costs less than $300.

  • Processor:
    Intel Celeron N4020
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB eMMC
  • Display:
    15.6 inches
  • Weight:
    4.19 pounds

If a bigger screen is important to your work life or personal browsing, the Acer Aspire 1 has the biggest display for the price point, at 15.6 inches. 
It’s a basic laptop, great for your home office or for the kids’ schoolwork. It’s typical of what you’d see for a laptop that’s less than $300, with 4GB RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, but it is a bit heavier than other models (4.19 pounds). 
Wireless performance is good, and this laptop runs Windows 10. A comfortable keyboard and an attractive design sweeten the deal. The laptop includes two USB-A ports, a headphone jack, an HDMI port, and an Ethernet port.


Awesome display • Large storage capacity

Shorter battery life than other models • Runs warm

This is a great budget laptop for those who do video editing or any kind of visual work.

CHUWI HeroBook Pro

This is a great budget laptop for those who do video editing or any kind of visual work.

  • Processor:
    Intel Gemini Lake N4000
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    256GB SSD
  • Display:
    14.1 inches
  • Weight:
    3.06 pounds

If visual work or video editing is part of your daily life, this is the laptop for you. With a vibrant, 14.1-inch display and 256GB of SSD storage, this seems like anything but a budget laptop. 
The laptop is lightweight at just over three pounds, and slim at 0.8 inches. The design is sleek and modern, lending the appearance of a much more expensive notebook. 
The display has anti-glare properties and unbeatable viewing angles for the price. While it’s not the biggest display we have on this list, it is the best. 
Otherwise, performance and speed is great with this machine. Battery life isn’t the longest, however, as it lasts about nine hours. 





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