Best Cheap Laptops in 2019 - Tech Blog

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Best Cheap Laptops in 2019

We'd all have the latest and greatest Ultrabooks if we could afford them. But lots of us can't — or just don't want to — hand over thousands of dollars for a computer. Fortunately, there are a lot of choices for the budget-conscious laptop buyer that still provide a great Windows 10 experience. These are the best cheap PC laptops available today.

Best overall — Microsoft Surface Go

The Surface brand is desirable, and thanks to the Surface Go, it's no longer out of reach for folks on tighter budgets. The base model is easily a match for any other low-cost laptop, with the added bonus of a touchscreen with inking support. Inking is important because the size of the Surface Go makes it a truly spectacular digital notebook when used with something such as Microsoft OneNote.
The Intel Pentium processor, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM are perfect for lighter computing needs, and while the optional Type Cover will get the best experience from it, it's not a compulsory purchase. You can alternatively just use any wired or wireless keyboard you may already have to type on the Surface Go and save the money.
The Surface Go is a proper Surface but with a much more attractive price. And that's what makes it so special, it's a Surface for everyone.
Who should buy it: Anyone looking for an affordable, yet capable laptop with a touchscreen, pen support, and terrific battery life.


  • All-day battery life.
  • Kickstand built-in.
  • Touchscreen with inking.


  • Keyboard not included.
  • Windows 10 Tablet Mode is average.
  • Quite small.

Best for school — ASUS VivoBook E203MA

The VivoBook E203 11.6-inch notebook from ASUS brings some of the styles of the company's more expensive models at a really affordable price. It's not all good looks, though, as underneath you'll find a dual-core Intel Celeron processor, up to 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage.

Despite the size, there's still a full-size keyboard, a microSD slot, HDMI out, USB-C, and full-size USB ports. The display is on par with competitors at 1366 x 768. And with all-day battery life, you'll be able to head out for the day and leave the charger at home. It's durable, too, which makes it great for taking to school.
ASUS has a long reputation for making quality laptops and that's true even here on the entry-level products. The keyboard is particularly good, and it feels very much like what you'd find on a more expensive ASUS laptop. It makes typing all day a very pleasant experience, which is especially important if you're pounding the keys all day on school work.
Who should buy it: This compact laptop is tough and a great choice to buy for the kids to take to school.


  • All-day battery life.
  • Superb keyboard.
  • Great port selection.


  • Low internal storage.
  • Lower resolution screen.
  • Quite small.

Best large screen — Chuwi Herobook

Chuwi is a Chinese brand you might not be familiar with but that is putting out some really great, really affordable Windows 10 hardware. The Herobook has a 14.1-inch anti-glare display, which makes it one of the larger cheap laptops available. The addition of anti-glare is a nice bonus feature and makes looking at it all day that little bit more comfortable.
You'll also find an Intel Atom quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage with an m.2 SSD slot to expand it. Many cheap laptops have microSD card slots that you can use to expand storage, but that's not good enough for Chuwi. For easily less than $100, you can put in a proper SSD that you can actually use to store applications and large files on, without the headache of slow data transfer.
It has a full-size keyboard and a decent trackpad, too, not to mention plenty of ports and a large battery that should last most days away from a charger. The build quality is excellent, and it's truly amazing that you can get a good 14-inch laptop for this price.
Who should buy it: Anyone looking for a cheap laptop with a large screen.


  • All-day battery life.
  • Large display.
  • SSD expansion slot.


  • No USB-C.
  • Lower resolution screen.
  • No full-sized SD or HDMI.

Best convertible — HP ProBook x360

A convertible laptop doesn't belong here, right? Wrong. HP's super-affordable x360 ProBook does, with its 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 resolution touch display. It's hard to deny the appeal of a touchscreen that folds around. A laptop like this has lots of versatility, for example, being folded over like a tent to give you that perfect angle for watching a movie without the keyboard in your eye line.
You'll get an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage. Not only that, but there's plenty of full-size USB ports, an SD card slot, and an HDMI output, which makes this cheap convertible notebook great for getting things done.
Convertibles have a number of advantages over both 2-in-1s and traditional laptops, and this excellent model from HP gives all of that at a really affordable price.
Who should buy it: Anyone looking for a touch-screen laptop on a budget.


  • Touch display.
  • Lots of ports.
  • Good battery life.


  • Lower resolution screen.
  • Quite small.
  • No USB-C.

Best with an optical drive — Dell Inspiron 15

There's still a market for laptops with optical drives, and some people simply can't make do without one. Laptops with them might be harder to find now, but even if you're on a tight budget, Dell has just the ticket, and it's got plenty of other goodies to go with it.
Besides the DVD drive, this Inspiron 15 has a 15.6-inch display, an Intel Core i3 processor, 1TB HDD and 8GB of RAM. Toss in a bunch of USB ports, HDMI and an SD card slot and you have a cheap laptop with plenty of flexibility. It's unusual to find a full Intel Core i processor on a cheap laptop such as this, so the Inspiron 15 has a little more power than some of its competitors in this price range.
An easy way to give this laptop a little extra oomph for a small extra spend, too, is to consider replacing the 1TB HDD with an SSD. For an additional $100 you can get a 1TB SSD that will make your daily life with this laptop a lot faster.
Whether you're using it for work or for leisure, with this laptop you'll be safe in the knowledge your physical media can go with you.
Who should buy it: Anyone looking for a cheap laptop with an optical drive and decent power.


  • Optical drive.
  • Lots of ports.
  • Core i3 processor.


  • Lower resolution screen.
  • Slow HDD.
  • Quite large and heavy.

Best tablet —Chuwi Hi10 Air

The Hi10 Air isn't just a tablet, it's a full Windows laptop in the body of a tablet. And it's pretty great at being both of those things. One of the standout features is the thing you spend all day looking at.
Unlike some cheap laptops or tablets, the display isn't where Chuwi saved on the asking price. The 1920 x 1200 resolution IPS display is fantastic. It also supports inking with Chuwi's optional digital pen. The pen is well worth getting, too, as it's only $20 and opens up a whole new world when used with apps like Microsoft OneNote.
Where the Surface Go is a product for someone who wants a laptop in the form of a tablet, the Hi10 Air is for people who want a tablet that could also be a laptop if they need it to be. It's a great digital notebook, media consumption device and when it has to be, can turn into a traditional laptop.


  • Detachable keyboard option.

  • Great display.


  • Average battery life.
  • Poor cameras.
  • Keyboard extra purchase.
  • USB-C.


The horrors of the cheap Netbook are long behind us, and now we're in a position to buy not only cheap laptops but good cheap laptops. The Surface Go is a little pricier than some of the competition, but it's worth every penny. In fact, the Surface Go remains one of our very favorite Windows 10 machines at any price point; it's that good.
But there are also choices that make more sense for other specific requirements, whether you're hunting for a larger screen, a convertible or something solid for the kids to take to school that doesn't cost a lot. We strongly recommend each and every one of the PCs featured here.
Best of all, none of these laptops look or feel like cheap laptops. Compromises have to be made to keep the price down, but not at the expense of being a quality product.

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