Read time: 4 minutes.
Whether you’re in college or in high school, broke or just a humble spending man, the fact is, we all pay attention to the price when we buy products that we do not know as much as we should.
Isn’t this a normal way of thinking?
Buying a piece of laptop or a notebook computer follows the same logic as basic hack. There are over fifty brands and, if you’re not among those tech nerds, you surely ask yourself: What’s the difference?
So, why some laptops cost $300 and some $3000?
There is difference and I’m going to write thoroughly about this in some other article, but just for the sake of the information, I’ll add. Laptops that cost over $1000 have better specs. They are faster, have better resolution and there is brand ( read: Apple ) influence.
How slow are cheap laptops?
Not as much as you’d think.
When it comes to basic operations such as opening word processor, browsing internet or watching video, difference is so small, that its barely noticeable.
With any laptop you can do operations that you need very fast. If you’re gamer, then logically, you’d need faster laptop, but if you’re common man or starting a simple business, then top 5 laptops under 300 dollars will do.
So, let’s find out which are those :).
Top 5 laptops under 300 dollars:
- Dell Inspiron i3552-3240BLK ( $289 )
- HP Stream 14-ax010nr ( $199 )
- HP 15-F222WM ( $290 )
- HP 14-bw010nr ( $232.08 )
- Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11E-G3 ( $300 )
1. Dell Inspiron i3552-3240BLK (15 inch)
If you are someone who doesn’t require a lot of storage space, this is a great entry level laptop for you. The performance boost from an SSD (even a low end SSD) will far outweigh many other upgrades including additional RAM.
This system is a perfect combination of processor + RAM + SSD for the price. When you purchase, be sure to check for updates in Settings -> Update and Security for the latest Windows 1511 build that was released. The update will take some time to install but when installed it will improve speed by about 30% for startup and regular usage.
- System has a good low end quad-core processor.
- SSD is great for speed.
- 15.6″ display looks good
- System is relatively light given its size.
- Windows 10
- HDMI out
- Limited storage space (not meant for those looking to store large amounts of pictures/videos/music)
- No DVD optical drive
- Charging cable has very thin connector to system, can be broken fairly easily.
- Feels cheap, though not as bad as you would think at this price point.
If you’re looking for a low end system with no frills just to get basic day to day computing done or for school work, this is a great system for you. Get an external hard drive to store your pictures and videos and you’ll be all set!
2. HP Stream 14-ax010nr (14-inch)
Another good deal for a cheap price. With the fast Intel Celeron N3060 Dual-Core 1.6GHz processor and 4GB DDR3L-1600 SDRAM (1x 4 GB) of RAM, it will surely satisfy your basic needs.
HP Stream 14 is an attractive, lightweight 14-inch Windows laptop with a long battery life and performance good enough for basic productivity and streaming media. Plenty of expansion ports. Includes 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage and Office 365 Personal for one year.
- Thin and light
- 1TB of OneDrive storage
- Two USB 3.1 Type-A ports
- Good battery life
- Limited offline storage space
- Underpowered for power users
- No optical drive
The Bottom Line: With the Stream 14, HP once again shows that a Windows laptop for email and online apps can be attractive and inexpensive.
3. HP 15-F222WM (15 inch)
The simple tasks are all it’s able to handle. Keep using it and you will see that webpages upload and download rate will make you use your smartphone instead. But keep in mind it’s the bare minimum for a laptop so the price is way below a touchscreen laptop. If you’re on a budget than “maybe” you want to take a look on this.
Overall, if you’re planning to buy a laptop this is the cheapest you’re going to get to have a touch screen built in. This was easy to setup if you read the instructions that shows you how to sync all of your devices so you can share videos, pics ect. You can take a pic with your phone and it will automatically go to your laptop and save.
- It’s pretty difficult to find a decent touchscreen laptop with a price this cheap.
- DVD, internet browsing works fine without any lag when starting up.
- Not that heavy, enough to recognize it if you put it in your bag but that’s about it.
- The plastic design does make this computer lighter.
- Touchscreen works like a charm without any sensor errors where it might make your screen assume you’re touching it when you’re not.
- The most basic programs such as emails and Microsoft office will work without a hitch.
- Battery life true in what it provides.
- Setting up the computer for the first time is quick as well.
- You do have the option to upgrade the hell out of it in the long run. RAM, Drive, software, everything is a fair game as you can make this compete with the higher end competitors.
- The screen froze two times on me after I watch a decent amount of online videos and use other smaller programs (PowerPoint, office, ect). I don’t know if this is a glitch or if this computer can’t handle multi-tasking.
- You can watch a movie on this but don’t expect to binge watch on Netflix this because, from my experience, the computer starts to run dead slow.
- 2.16 Ghz, I really don’t see it in this machine as sometimes the speed isn’t there at all. Keep in mind I’m not using any other programs than internet browsing and video watching.
- The longer you use this computer you’re going to see a decrease in loading time when your internet browsing.
- The keyboard isn’t really comfortable and the plastic layout makes it feel extremely cheap. I understand for the price you’re paying you should suspect lower in quality, but since most of the time, we’ll be using the keyboard I only wish they put more effort in it.
- Want technical support; you’ll need to pay for it. You heard me correctly; you’ll have to pay extra to get help if your computer isn’t working.
- A lot of bloatware
- Wifi card isn’t the best around as you’ll see a “great” change in speed if you use an Ethernet cable.
- Sometimes the keyboard sensor under the letters will not work.
- Constant firmware updates
4. HP 14-bw010nr ( 14-inch )
Great laptop for a fair price. HP 14 has an AMD E2 graphic card, 4GB of RAM and 500 GB of storage space. It is a small and light laptop which is perfect for the budget traveller on the go, however the hardware won’t win any awards for speed. Nevertheless, it’s a good laptop compared to the price.
Battery lasts quite a while. HP does not open applications or process requests particularly fast but that is expected considering the specs. Adequately specs for schoolwork but definitely not for playing games.
- Compact size and lightweight
- Attractive price
- 7th gen AMD CPU
- Faster USB 3.1 ports
- Average hardware
- No gesture support
- No optical drive
- No numeric keyboard
5. Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11E-G3 ( $300 )
With 11.6″ HD LED-backlit Touchscreen IPS display and1366 x 768 resolution, Lenovo Yoga showcases movies and games in stunning clarity. This third generation has an updated processor, a little longer battery life, and supposedly a little stronger frame. These are in no way a powerhouse, but for a laptop of this size and price they’re very nice. It works well as a laptop and it works well as a tablet when you convert it.
The screen is low resolution, but if it were higher resolution everything on the screen would be even smaller. You don’t want high resolution on a small laptop like this. It’s IPS so it has good viewing angles. The touch works well in laptop or tablet mode. The processor isn’t very powerful. It’s not the type of laptop that you open a ton of windows and programs at one time. The speakers are pretty good. You get two USB, an SD card slot, an HDMI out, a wired internet port, and a rectangular power cord port. Both USB are third generation.
- Very reasonably priced especially when compared with Macbook Air or MacBook Pro which cost 3 to 5 times as much.
- Solid, durable Lenovo construction.
- Touch screen (something Apple Macbook doesn’t offer)
- Windows 10 Pro – Runs Anniversary edition very well.
- Expandable – Memory can be easily expanded to 8 GB and you can add up to a 256 GB SD card.
- Very good screen resolution
- Heavier than some similarly sized laptops – but you’ll pay more for those
- Not flashy – Black Matte finish
Summary: This is an excellent budget travel or student laptop. It does a good job accessing the internet, running office applications, doing email and playing videos.
Don’t forget to comment and subscribe 🙂