avatarby Alex MullisJuly 27, 20161 comments

Samsung Chromebook 3

Budget laptops are a popular category at the moment, and with school starting back up soon, it may be a good idea to take a look at the options. On this list we go over 12 different budget laptops and compare them. Let’s find the best option for your needs.


Lenovo Ideapad 100S $170

Ideapad100S

Via Amazon

Kicking off this list is the Lenovo Ideapad 100S. Like every other laptop that is going to be here, the Ideapad 100s is a well priced piece of tech, coming in at $170. For that price you can expect an 11.6 inch 1366×768 display with 32GB of eMMC flash storage coupled with 2 GB of DDR3L RAM and an Intel Atom z3735f clocked at 1.33-1.83 GHZ. The good news is that the CPU is quad core, so there shouldn’t be too many bottlenecks when it comes to multi threaded applications.

The 100S also comes with Windows 10 preinstalled and as far as peripherals you get 2 USB 2.0 ports (no USB 3/3.1 sadly), an HDMI out (presumably 1.4) and a multi card reader.

Verdict: This is a very well priced laptop and if you need something without all of the bells and whistles or you just plan on remote desktoping your desktop, then this will be perfect for you. College students can also benefit by the lower price and compact size, perfect for taking to class.

Buy the Lenovo Ideapad 100S now

Toshiba Chromebook 2 $300

Toshiba_Chromebook_2

Via Amazon

While Chrome OS is not as capable as Windows 10 in terms of what it can do, there is a lot of potential and it will only get better, not to mention you can easily install a Linux distro like Ubuntu quite easily.

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 comes in at $300, a little under double the price of the Lenovo Ideapad 100S, but the upgraded hardware may make it well worth it. Speaking of hardware, you get a pretty good setup for the price, with an Intel Celeron-3215U or Intel i3-5015U depending on what you choose as well as a 13 inch 1080p display and 4 GB of RAM. The only real downside is the poultry 16 GB of storage.

As I mentioned, the Chromebook 2 comes with Chrome OS and has 1 USB 3 port and multi card reader. This laptop also has a backlit keyboard, which is a nice touch.

Verdict: While a Chromebook is not for everything, at least not out of the box, the price is good, and the specs are just as sweet, as long as you can live with 16 GB of storage. This laptop is more suited to a college student, someone who is on the go but has a main desktop to get back to. Chrome OS is fully capable to do just about any type of school work, even Photoshop, if you so choose. Set up a network drive, remote your desktop or install Ubuntu and you will have an awesome set up.

Buy the Toshiba Chromebook 2 now

Asus VivoBook E403SA $379

Asus_VivoBook

Via Amazon

This is an interesting offer from Asus, in a good way. While still a reasonable $379, the Asus VivoBook E403SA offers some really great features. Starting with the display, the VivoBook has a 14 inch 1080p display powered by a quad core Intel Pentium-N3700 and 4 GB of RAM.

As far as storage and connectivity you get 128 GB of flash storage and 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 USB 3.0 port and even a USB 3.1 Type-C port.

Verdict: If you want an almost no compromises budget laptop, keep this as an option. For the price, there really aren’t any trade offs. This laptop offers the most storage and connectivity of anything else on this list so far. This is the first on the list that I would consider to be stand alone, meaning that it is good enough to use as your primary computer without too many issues.

Buy the Asus VivoBook E403SA now

Lenovo 100S Chromebook $163

IdeaPad100sChromebook

Via Amazon

Back to Lenovo, this is essentially the Lenovo Ideapad 100S’ brother running Chrome OS. The specs are not quite as good though, with a dual core Intel Celeron N2840, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The screen is also the same with an 11.6 inch 1366×768 display along with the same connectivity options.

Verdict: Unless you need a Chromebook for whatever reason, I would get the Lenovo Ideapad 100S instead, it has a better CPU and double the storage. And if you just hate Windows, install a Linux distro on the Ideapad 100S and be done.

Buy the Lenovo 100S Chromebook now

Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175 $528

ToshibaC55-C-175

Via Amazon

The Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175 is the most expensive on the list, but the price may be worth it for you. For the price you get a 15.6 inch display with a resolution of 1366×768 and 500 GB HDD (not SSD) powered by a dual core (4 core hyper threading) Intel i5-5200U and 4 GB of DDR3 RAM.

As far as connectivity you can expect 1 USB 3.0 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, an multi card reader, RJ 45 Ethernet jack and a rarity in today’s computers, a DVD RW optical drive.

Verdict: The price is higher than the other offering so far on this list, and with this comes some pretty decent specs. Keep in mind that screen is not going to be as good as something like the Asus VivoBook E403SA and the storage option here will definitely be much slower than the flash storage offered in other options.

Buy the Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175 now

HP Chromebook 14 $299

HPChromebook14

Via Amazon

The HP Chromebook 14 is another Chromebook on this list. This laptop offers a 14 inch 1366×768 display with 16 GB of flash storage and 2 GB of DDR3L RAM powered by a Intel Celeron 2955U. The connectivity options include a pair of USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, HDMI 1.4 and a multi card reader.

Verdict: For the price, I can’t recommend the HP Chromebook 14 over the Toshiba Chromebook 2. The latter is just simply a better deal. But if you can find the HP Chromebook 14 on sale, I would say go for it as the specs are pretty decent for basic operation.

Buy the HP Chromebook 14 now

Asus X553SA $263

AsusX553SA

Via Amazon

The Asus X553SA offers everything the Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175 offers, sans an Intel i5 CPU. Instead, the Asus is equipped with a dual core Intel Celeron N3050. Along with this, you get a 15.6 inch display with a resolution of 1366×768. You can also expect 4 GB of DDR3 RAM and a 500 GB HDD. In the connectivity department, you get 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 USB 2.0 port, an optical drive, RJ 45 Ethernet jack, HDMI 1.4, VGA and a multi card reader.

Verdict: This is a real contender with Toshiba’s offering, being about half the price with a lower specification CPU. If you can live with slightly lower performance, this may be the option for you. Either way, this laptop offers decent specs and for the price, it is a very good deal. Someone who just needs a basic computer for web browsing and taking notes should really consider this option.

Buy the Asus X553SA now

HP Stream 11 $215

HPStream11

Via Amazon

The main appeal to this laptop is that it comes with 1 terabyte of OneDrive storage and Office 365 personal included in the box. As the name suggests, this laptop has a 11 inch display with a resolution of 1366×768. This powered by a dual core Intel Celeron N3050 and 2 GB of DDR3 RAM. As far as storage goes, you get 32 GB of flash storage, the low capacity is somewhat alleviated by the free 1 TB of cloud storage. The connectivity options are about the same as most of the others on this list, with 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 USB 3.0 port, HDMI 1.4 and a multi card reader.

Verdict: For the price, it is hard to beat, but overall it does cut corners to get the price so low, and just 2 GB of RAM could be a real bottleneck when multitasking. This computer is best made for light use like web browsing and word processing.

Buy the HP Stream 11 now

Dell Chromebook 11 $242

DellChromebook3120

Via Amazon

This laptop has the standard set of features we’ve come to expect in a sub $300 Chromebook. This offering includes a 11.6 inch 1366×768 display along with 4 GB of DDR3 RAM powered by a dual core Intel Celeron N2840. To keep all of your files, 16 GB of flash memory is included, so it may be a good idea to get a cloud storage service if you plan on using this as a daily driver. Connectivity wise you get 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 USB 2.0 port, multi card reader and an HDMI 1.4 port.

Verdict: This sits a very similar situation as some other laptops in this list as far as specs and features. But for the price, it does not offer anything special compared to some of the less expensive options on this list. If you get a Dell discount through your school or just want Dell, then this is a viable option that should be able to perform basic tasks just fine.

Buy the Dell Chromebook 11 now

Acer Chromebook 13 $323

Acer13Chromebook

Via Amazon

A very interesting option from Acer, this laptop runs Chrome OS as is powered by the Nvidia Tegra K1 System on a Chip (SoC). The K1 offers quad core performance and pretty decent graphics compared to Intel’s offerings. The only issue with the K1 is that is ARM using the ARMv7-A architecture. In layman’s terms, this is a last generation 32 bit SoC that has been surpassed by offerings like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 that is 64 bit and offers better performance in some cases.

The real world complication of using an ARM based SoC versus a x86 or x86_64 architecture is that you will not be able to install something like Ubuntu and expect everything to work, as most applications are made for the two latter architectures.

The specifications of the Acer Chromebook 13 include a 13.3 inch display with a resolution of 1920×1080 powered by the Nvidia Tegra K1 SoC with 4 GB of DDR3 RAM. The storage is a respectable 32 GB of flash storage while connectivity options include 2 USB 3.0 ports and HDMI 1.4.

Verdict: The specs and price offer a pretty good value, if you do not plan on installing a Linux distro like Ubuntu. If not, the good news is the Tegra K1 offers great performance, and since this is a mobile chip, there shouldn’t be too much heat output.

Buy the Acer Chromebook 13 now

Dell Inspiron 11 3000 $355

DellInspiron11

Via Amazon

Moving back to a Windows 10 option, this laptop offers an 11.6 inch display with a resolution of 1366×768 powered by a quad core Intel Pentium N3540 with 4 GB of RAM and 500 GB HDD.

This laptop is more of a hybrid, as you can fold the keyboard back and use the device as a tablet, yes, this laptop has a touch screen! This opens up a whole lot of possibilites of what can be done with this laptop, and for the price, it is a pretty good deal. As far as connectivity, you will get 1 USB 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.0 ports (one has PowerShare), multi card reader and a HDMI 1.4 port.

Verdict: This is one of the better deals on this list, offering good performance and touch screen in a 2 in 1 laptop. This is perfect for someone on the go and wants something super portable.

Buy the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 now

HP 255 G4 $554

HP255 G4

Via Amazon

This the first laptop on this list with an AMD SoC – the A6-6310 is going to be weaker than most of the other CPUs offered on this list – but it probably will not matter in real world use. This SoC is powering a 15.6 inch display with a resolution of 1366×768 coupled with 4 GB of DDR3L RAM and a 500 GB HDD. Connectivity options include 1 USB 3.0 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, VGA, HDMI 1.4, RJ45 Ethernet jack and an optical drive.

Verdict: There aren’t really any flaws with this machine, but the AMD SoC is a real bummer here, especially for the price, as an i3 or i5 would have offered much better performance. There is nothing that really sets this apart from the other options on this list, but if you can get this on sale or for a good deal, then it may be worth considering.

HP 255 G4 - Amazon

Wrap Up

Budget laptops are popular options for people that do not require a lot of power from their machine or for people who are just on a budget. If you have a bigger budget be sure to check out our guide on what MacBook you should buy and stay tuned to TabTimes for more content like this! Let us know in the comments which laptop you like the best!

  • Befuddling

    Doesn’t Lenovo bundle some seriously worrisome scamware with their products? They were also providing users with the SuperFish insecurity/advertising software… which you couldn’t uninstall!

    How does this affect the ratings of the Lenovo systems listed here?