Whether you are looking for a system to offer you intense gaming, something to get you through college, or just something to help you surf the web, laptops can have just what you need. Contrary to popular belief, you can get the most out of a laptop without breaking the bank to get one.
A laptop doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get something that meets your needs. In fact, many laptops that cost less than $400 can provide you with everything you need from your hardware and more. With constantly advancing technology coming out every year, your dollar can go farther than ever in your laptop purchase. Knowing what to look for in a laptop can be hard, especially when shopping on a $400 budget.
There is a lot to consider when looking into finding great laptops for cheap. How can you decide which areas to cut back on to get more out of another between an operating system, battery life, HD display, high-end ram, and processors? With so many things to decide on, you may never feel convinced you made the right choice for your laptop. Thankfully, to make your shopping experience easier, here are 10 of the best laptops that you can buy for under $400.
TL;DR - 10 Best Laptops Under $400 :
- Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
- HP 14 inch Business and Student HD Laptop
- ASUS VivoBook L203MA Laptop
- HP Stream 11-inch HD Laptop
- Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15″ Laptop
- Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Convertible Laptop
- Microsoft Surface Go 2
- Acer Chromebook Spin 11
- Lenovo Chromebook S330 Laptop
- HP AMD Athlon 3050U Laptop
1. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
Our top choice laptop under $400 with an SSD drive
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop is the first in our lineup of high-performing laptops for a low-cost budget. This laptop comes with WiFi capabilities, giving you easy access to the internet. The average battery life sits around 7.5 hours, and it weighs less than 4 pounds, making this one of the best choices to carry around the office or campus without worrying about running out of battery during the day.
This laptop offers some of the biggest and best features on this list, so it only makes sense that we put it in the first position. The Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop has a solid-state drive (SSD) that allows for quick access of stored files and little wait time for the laptop to power on. The battery doesn't have a performance level on par with many of our other choices, but nearly eight hours of battery life should be enough to get you through the day. The 15.6-inch display also allows for easily working on multiple programs at the same time, as well as enjoying videos in the best resolutions.
Everyone deserves to have the tools necessary to achieve their goals. From students starting a new year at school to startup business owners looking to stake their claim in the world, this laptop can meet your needs. This is a laptop that offers reliable and swift service to its user, and also comes with a backlit keyboard. You can count on receiving the best HD graphics on a 15.6-inch display, fast response times, Windows 10 operating system, and long-lasting use from one of the best laptops for a price range that won't break the bank.
2. HP 14 inch Business and Student HD Laptop
Perfect for students and business owners
The best laptops under $400 don't need to come with all of the bells and whistles available to do the job you need them to do. Sometimes, hardware can get bogged down by too many software installations or become too expensive to replace or repair, which is part of the beauty of our budget laptops. Thankfully, if you're looking for laptops cheaper than a few thousand dollars that can still get the job done, you already know you are in the right place.
The HP 14-inch Business and Student HD Laptop offers a ton in a package that is only slightly smaller than a 15.6-inch screen. Its durable case and minimalistic keyboard and touchpad help ensure that it stays cleaner for longer. The laptop's low keys make it hard for crumbs and dust to get under, so you will not have to worry as much about working and snacking simultaneously.
This laptop is one of the best fits for school and work life, hence the laptop's name. Document drafting, PowerPoint presentations, and excel spreadsheet management are a breeze for this piece of equipment, with its AMD Radeon graphics running on Windows 10 S. The excellent battery life also means that you won't have to drag along a bulky charger just to be able to take notes in a class or meetings. Lightweight, fast, and efficient, this laptop is everything you need in a computer that needs to fit a budget.
3. ASUS VivoBook L203MA Laptop
A compact laptop to fit your budget
The ASUS VivoBook may be one of the cheapest laptops on our list, but that doesn't mean that you're sacrificing performance for cost. While also being one of the smallest laptops on our list, the ASUS VivoBook still offers many of the same features, such as Windows 10, WiFi, and Bluetooth capabilities. The ASUS VivoBook L203MA Laptop is living proof that you can get a good laptop for cheap.
The ASUS VivoBook is so affordable, it won't cost you $400, and you may even be able to find it for less than $200. But you can still count on the ASUS VivoBook to provide the performance you need to accomplish your goals. This laptop also comes with Intel UHD graphics and Windows 10 Home in S mode, which packs a surprising punch for something found on such a small budget. The ASUS VivoBook has a full HD webcam and exceptional battery life to equip you with what you need for online meetings or classes, while still being able to take notes or lead presentations.
The ASUS VivoBook is a laptop that you can be sure doesn't sacrifice on RAM, CPU, or graphics, all while staying within budget. When life has you on the go, make sure your laptop can go with you. Without even being a foot long, the ASUS VivoBook can provide what you need as a budget laptop under 400 dollars, wherever you need it.
4. HP Stream 11-inch HD Laptop
One of the best laptops for mobility
Another contender on the list of smallest laptops on this list, the HP Stream 11-inch HD Laptop comes in at 11.6 inches. While it isn't as big as a 15.6-inch model, don't judge a laptop by its cover, as this laptop still offers a lot of big bang for your buck. Size doesn't mean everything when it comes to laptops, as ever-advancing technologies prove that big things can come in small packages.
The onboard full HD webcam, Bluetooth, and WiFi capability this laptop offers means that you can take any meeting, anywhere. It also offers multiple USB ports, an HDMI port, and an audio jack. Its battery life is also the best on the list so far for this budget range, averaging up to 12 hours of life on a single charge.
For a price tag commonly found under $400, this laptop can provide you with the tech you need to get that report done, take notes in class, or just check your favorite social media pages. When the battery can last as long as you can, you won't have to worry about finding the charger in the middle of the day to keep going. This is one of the best laptops in your price range that won't break the bank and will keep you satisfied with its performance for years to come.
5. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15″ Laptop
High performance on a low budget
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15" Laptop breaks its way back into the larger category of laptops on our list. This bigger laptop comes with bigger improvements in hardware. With more space to put hardware in its 14"x 10" frame and a 15.6 inch HD display, this laptop benefits from a full HD webcam, Bluetooth support, and WiFi connectivity, all in a package weighing less than five pounds, making it one of our best laptops under $400.
The IdeaPad also comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed, which is commonly seen as an improvement over the Windows 10 S edition operating system. With a solid-state drive, you can boot up the Lenovo IdeaPad and be taking notes in under a minute.
The Lenovo IdeaPad is a laptop that was built to take a hit. Its sturdy structure provides an extra line of defense against bumps and dropped bags. Its comfortable keyboard design sets you up to crank out that last-minute project without physical stress. For a laptop with solid graphics, processing speeds, and performance, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a contender not to take lightly.
6. Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Convertible Laptop
A multi-purpose laptop for under $400
The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Convertible Laptop is the first 2-in-1 laptop on our list, making it a wonder that we haven't gotten to it sooner. This laptop comes with a sleek and captivating design, with more functions than you may expect. This laptop's winning function is its ability to fold over on itself and function as a tablet.
The keys have a satisfying click to them, adding an extra bit of satisfaction while typing on them. This laptop also comes with a full HD touchscreen, which is available both in laptop and tablet mode. However, one of the leading drawbacks to this is that the display size is a bit smaller than you might expect from a device this size, which is a result of the convertible hinges taking up extra space.
This little machine packs quite a punch for its size. Being able to switch from a laptop to a tablet instantly can make for both fun and practical uses. This laptop can also go from off to running in under 30 seconds, which means you don't have to sit around waiting to get to work. If you're looking for a compact device with considerable performance capabilities to fit your budget, you may have just found one of the best laptops under $400 right here.
7. Microsoft Surface Go 2
A lightweight laptop with some of the best performance around
Everyone loves a good sequel, but the Microsoft Surface Go 2 may be one of the best. This laptop/tablet learns from the mistakes of the past but keeps maintains made its predecessor so good. The Windows 10 Home operating system will make users feel at home with a similar user interface to operating systems of the past. But it comes with much more than just software perks.
The Surface Go 2 is the lightest laptop on our list, coming in at only 1.2 pounds. Despite its weight, the designers were able to find room for a built-in kickstand for the tablet to stand on at any time, and also keep a sleek design. One of the main benefits of this laptop compared to its previous iteration is the improved battery life and faster performance speeds.
This is a product that you can easily bring along with you wherever you go. While a 10-hour battery life is not the highest on our list, it certainly isn't anything to sneeze at, as you can count on using this throughout a work or school day before charging it over dinner. Superb performance paired with a sleek design and quick response times make this an easy pick for one of our best laptops under $400.
8. Acer Chromebook Spin 11
A versatile touchscreen laptop on a budget
Just because this is the second 2-in-1 budget laptop on our list doesn't mean that this one is worse. The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop that can quickly adapt to your needs on even the tightest of budgets.
Unlike most laptops on this list, this one runs on the Chrome operating system. You may be surprised by its interface, but you can still enjoy the same programs and websites as on Windows 10. While there are differences in this Chromebook, this is hardly a bad thing. The 2-in-1 convertible screen allows for your laptop to adapt to your needs, even at a moment's notice.
While this laptop may be a bit lacking in graphics on its 2-in-1 display, you likely won't notice the difference in your daily use for papers and projects and other day-to-day tasks. Its 10-hour battery life also means you can rely on it for as long as you need during the day. This laptop is a great piece of hardware that you can rely upon without breaking the bank.
9. Lenovo Chromebook S330 Laptop
A strong-performing laptop for a low budget
Most Chromebooks can boast that they are affordable, but not all can claim to be as good as the Lenovo Chromebook S330. It boasts a full HD 14-inch display with crystal-clear resolution. The Chrome operating system once again appears in this laptop and is paired with a sleek design.
This is a laptop that can keep you from spending 500 dollars or even 1,200 dollars for a laptop that has similar performance capabilities. The beauty of Chromebooks is that they trim the excess hardware and software from a laptop and provide you with exactly what you need to achieve the same goals you have always had.
The Lenovo Chromebook S330 Laptop with its Chrome operating system is a safe purchase for anyone looking to take notes in class, put together a work presentation, or just surf the web. Best of all, this is also something that will not leave you with buyer's remorse down the road.
10. HP AMD Athlon 3050U Laptop
Some of the best response times for under 400 dollars
Last but certainly not least on our list of best laptops under $400 is the HP AMD Athlon 3050U Laptop, which comes with the familiar Windows 10 operating system and is a popular step-up from Chromebooks without breaking anyone's budget.
Its lightweight yet sturdy design makes it an excellent choice to send your kids to school with, or as something for them to attend classes with from home. The 14-inch HD display makes for a laptop that is not too big for kids, but not too small for adults.
A laptop should be something that you can depend on to help you accomplish your goals without costing an arm and a leg. The HP AMD Athlon 3050U Laptop is exactly what you need in a laptop under $400 without sacrificing performance for the price.
So, How Do You Choose the Right Laptop for You?
You’ve already decided that you want the best laptop that $400 can get you. That’s a great first step, but now what do you do? Knowing all the hardware jargon of computers is not easy, and you may not have the time available to learn it all to before you need to place your order. Thankfully, we know that not everybody has a computer science degree, so we’ve simplified all of the important factors for you here.
A processor is commonly referred to as a CPU, which stands for Central Processing Unit. The purpose of a processor in a laptop is to receive incoming data (input) and respond with the appropriate outgoing data (output). In order to increase the power of a processor, manufacturers will develop models with multiple cores. Most laptops commonly have either an Intel or AMD core, which applies to all of our laptops on this list.
It helps to think of the processor as the brain of your computer, at least to some degree. It is responsible for instructing all of the other components in a laptop on how to function with one another. In short, the faster your processor is, the faster the other parts can work, and the faster your laptop will be.
The greater the memory, the better. Sure, there are cloud storage systems, but if the internet is down, you won’t have access to your documents, so make sure you have storage available. The more space, the better, but if you don’t plan on installing huge games or programs, 128GB should be the most you’ll need for now.
Speed in a memory drive is important, as it determines how fast your computer turns on, and how long it takes to find and open files you have saved on there. A Solid State Drive (SSD) is the fastest kind of drive available right now, so if speed is what you need, then look for those.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
The data that goes into long-term memory goes onto your HDD or your SSD. But the data that doesn’t need to stay around that long, like webpage data, is short-term memory. The component that handles short-term memory is the RAM. RAM is measured in gigabytes and typically comes in DDR4 format. The most typical form of ram in our list is 4GB of DDR4 RAM. DDR3 RAM can still perform decently, but not quite as well as DDR4.
A good way to think of RAM is the desk space available at an office desk. The more space is available, the more room you have to put your powerpoints, webpages, word documents, and other programs at the same time. When a laptop has less RAM or older versions of it, it takes more time to dig out specific pieces of information depending on how much other data is on your desk at the same time.
Your first instinct to stay within budget when picking a laptop may be to choose one with a smaller display, but this may cost you in other ways. An 11.6-inch display can certainly do the job, but imagine writing an essay on your cell phone versus your television. Which would you prefer? Now imagine you need to work on two programs at once on the same display. Do you still want to get the small one? Smaller displays can also reduce the clarity of videos and images, which can cause problems when you need to get the most out of your display. A backlit keyboard may also be on your list of needs if you often work in the dark.
When looking for a laptop under $400, it’s important to keep in mind that you aren’t going to be able to compete with a laptop worth 3000 dollars or more. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to get your money’s worth out of your graphics. Any display on this list will still perform well for presentation purposes, as well as for online streaming.
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If you don’t want to plug your new laptop into the phone line every time you want to browse the web, make sure that you choose a laptop that has WiFi built into it. If your device doesn’t support WiFi, you can also purchase a USB device that grants WiFi access, but that becomes one extra cost and one extra thing to carry around.
Bluetooth is not always as essential as WiFi, but Bluetooth capabilities mean that you can connect your wireless headphones to your laptop, as well as your wireless mouse and other such peripherals. It can also allow you to easily send documents to and from your laptop without having to worry about secure cords or WiFi connections.
Choosing a laptop is important, but don’t forget that you may need other products to help you use your laptop as intended. When you are getting a cheap laptop, you also get the benefit of having a price range that can include extra products and still stay within budget. Make sure you consider adding some of these products to your cart:
If you were able to find a laptop that is well under your budget of $400, it might not hurt to add a few more things to make using your laptop a bit more convenient. If your laptop has a small storage capacity, external hard drives are one of the best solutions that can greatly increase your storage capabilities.
The laptop you choose needs to be able to meet your needs but also stay within your budget. Now that you know what the 10 best laptops under $400 are, you can compare their display sizes, battery lives, and memory capacities to choose just what you need for your laptop.
Each laptop offers something a little different than the rest, so there’s nothing wrong with taking the time to consider what is best for you.
Once you decide which laptop best meets your needs, comment below to let us know which of the best laptops under $400 that you picked!If you liked our article on laptops under $400, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.