If you’re still skeptical of budget laptops, I can’t say I blame you. We’ve been somewhat pre-conditioned by manufacturers that the only devices worth buying are the best laptops, most of which cost more money, leaving us to think that the cheaper ones are simply a waste of money.
I was there with you myself. As someone who has bought flagship devices all his adult life, I was guilty of despising laptops under $500 — and probably, to some degree, my friends who own them (sorry, friends).
When a friend of mine bought a $100.00 11-inch laptop from a random brand on Amazon about 10 years ago, I remember wondering how she managed to muster the patience to use a less than $200 laptop with Thick frame and low power consumption. even though all she did was watch makeup tutorials on YouTube.
I never would have, and that was when all I did on my laptop was research and study. And yet, now that my computing demands have increased, I’m starting to appreciate budget laptops.
But that’s less because budget laptops have always been severely underrated and more because the way we trust our computers in general has changed. In addition, the cost of ownership has also plummeted, especially with online retailers often holding device sale events like Amazon Prime Day.
a different landscape
If this was 10 years ago, you definitely wouldn’t have caught me with a cheap laptop. But, as I mentioned, things are different now.
Competition is fiercer than ever in mobile components and operating systems, especially with the lightweight Chrome OS showing Windows a thing or two about being capable and reliable without needing as much power.
Rivalries between manufacturers and tech giants are not only driving down prices, but also giving us better and more powerful options. That means it’s now easier than ever to spend less on a laptop capable of meeting your everyday needs. In fact, if the new Alder Lake benchmarks, many cheap notebooks will do even better.
We’ve also changed the way we interact with our devices. Instead of spending money upgrading our storage drives, for example, we just use cloud storage and portable SSDs.
Instead of downloading and installing the entire Microsoft Office suite, we can just rely on the web-based Google Docs editors. Instead of downloading all our music and movies, we just stream them.
Having this privilege of storing and accessing everything online allows us to use less laptop resources, which means less effort on our devices.
That, in turn, means we no longer have to spend money on the most powerful – think less of the Dell XPS 15 and more of the Dell Inspiron 15 as a starting point.
Speaking of which, you should see several Inspiration Prime Day deals from Dell, including the Intel Core i3 processor. Dell Inspiron 15 3000 that dropped to $323 (opens in new tab) and the i5-powered Dell Inspiron 14 5000 for $392 (opens in new tab). UK consumers, on the other hand, should check out the Dell Inspiron 16 deal, bringing the price down down to £519 (opens in new tab).
How Much Should You Spend on a Laptop?
Keep in mind that the word “cheap” is very relative here. A “cheap” gaming laptop will still be more expensive than a “cheap” laptop designed for productivity. At the same time, a Chromebook designed for business might be “cheap” next to full Windows business laptops, but it won’t be the cheapest Chromebook on the market.
So before you really figure out how much you should spend on a laptop and whether or not you should buy a cheap one, figure out your needs first and then go from there.
Still, even if you’re a photo editor, graphic designer or engineer, know that you don’t have to spend more than $2,000 / £2,000 on a flagship. MacBook Pro. Especially in this economic climate, where even a trip to the gas station feels like highway robbery.
These premium notebooks are incredibly powerful and will do it all in no time. But there are also affordable alternatives and budget options to consider, even if they aren’t as fast as the premium offerings.
Budget ones can be a test of patience, but if you can get a good one – like an Asus TUF Gaming F17, HP Victus, or a Dell G15, you’ll be happy to wait a few more minutes when editing photos in batch means saving over $1,000/ £1,000.
As part of Amazon Prime Day 2022, you can get a Ryzen 5, RTX 3050 setup from the Dell G15 for just £749 (opens in new tab) in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the HP Victus 15 dropped to $869 (opens in new tab) starting at $1,099 in the US.
If you’re like me whose daily workload is mostly done in the Chrome browser, then a $700/£700 “premium” Chromebook like the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 might be worth more for your hard-earned money than a $700 MacBook Pro. 1,399. Assuming, of course, you’re on a tight budget.
I have mine iMac 24 inch on my desk, which is powered by the highly touted M1 chip, and yet I choose to spend the second half of my day on a Chromebook like the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook because most things I do on my iMac, I can do it with the same ease. And for Prime Day, this Chromebook’s Snapdragon SC7180, 4GB RAM configuration is 20% off (opens in new tab).
What is a good cheap laptop brand?
A word to the wise: don’t just choose the cheapest laptop out there. Just like mid-range and high-end laptops, there are budget laptops that are guardians, and there are a handful of budget laptops that can also go straight to the trash.
I found that while I have the greatest admiration for Dell’s premium models, I probably wouldn’t choose their budget Chromebooks just because it seems the manufacturer doesn’t even try with them. The manufacturer’s line of Inspiron Windows laptops, however, is quite impressive.
I’d also check out Asus and Acer’s offerings, as I found their budget laptops to be robust, reliable, and sometimes even with features you’d expect from more expensive models – including a comfortable keyboard and luxurious trackpad.
Finally, Lenovo always has some wallet-friendly options that deliver quality and performance, especially in the Chromebooks section.
Cheap can also simply mean scoring too much
Nowadays, “cheap” can also mean waiting for a big sales event and getting the laptop of your dreams at 50% off. Sale events happen pretty much every quarter now, so you never have to wait long, and every major retailer always has laptop deals on offer.
Whether you’re thinking of a flagship or a premium laptop, sales events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday are the best way to get them for a low price. You’ll also save more if you buy the previous year’s model of your dream laptop.
It will only be slightly less powerful, but it will almost definitely be a lot cheaper.
Even more good news; if you’re ready to jump on the cheap laptop bandwagon, they’ll also get generous price cuts during these massive sales.
So, should you buy a cheap laptop?
Whether or not you should buy a cheap laptop depends entirely on your needs. There are certainly clear circumstances where buying a cheap laptop makes a lot more sense – and not just from a budget standpoint.
Most students, especially middle and high school students, won’t need a $500+ laptop to take care of their schoolwork and streaming needs. Nor are adults who use their laptop just to send emails, video call loved ones and watch the latest movie releases.
Heck, even some professionals – journalists, teachers, authors, small business owners – can get a lot out of a budget laptop.
If you’re none of the above, I’ll leave it to you to decide. But before you do that, ask yourself: do you really need a premium laptop, or do you just want the status that comes with it? If it’s the latter, a cheap laptop is likely to do as well.
Decided that a cheap laptop is what you need? these are the best laptop deals out there for Amazon Prime Day, curated by our expert band of writers and business sniffers.