Buying Laptops: Best and Cheap Alternatives 

 May 21, 2022

You might have seen costs slowly going up due to pressure on supply chains. Not only did we notice disruption to manufacturing, but the transition to working and learning from home meant that hardware was flying off shelves as quickly as possible.

There are still some good laptop exchanges out there if you look around. For example, you can score a charming, capable Windows 10 or ChromeOS laptop for under $350.

Of course, this segment isn’t as significant as a year ago, so choices are a little more limited. But pick the proper hardware, and you’ll get value for money.

Things to consider while Buying Cheap Laptops

Some of these systems run Windows 10S, a version of Windows 10 that can only run apps from the Windows app store. It has both pros (increased security and reliability) and cons (less choice), so bear this in mind if you plan to go down this route.

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Next is prioritizing what you desire from the hardware. The $350 cost point will not buy you everything, so you will have to choose your focus. Will it be a huge display, more storage, or more RAM?

Don’t be under the illusion that $350 will buy you an extensive system that can do everything. It’s not. If you are glancing for a system that can handle things like photo and video editing or a gaming system, you are looking wrong.

But if you are examining for a basic system capable of browsing the web (hold the Google Chrome tabs down to a minimum) or accomplishing word processing and spreadsheets, then these are the systems for you.

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HP 14

  • 14-inch HD  display
  • AMD 3020e processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB eMMC storage
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
hp-14

It is an entry-level system, complete with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 14-inch HD display, and an AMD 3020e processor with built-in graphics. But you do obtain a solid 10-hour battery, a speedy charge feature that can take the battery from 0 to 50% in 45 minutes, a decent keyboard, and an excellent preference of ports. And for all those Zoom sessions you’re accomplishing, there’s a very capable 720p webcam. So it is an ideal workhorse for work and school.

ProsCons
Great battery with fast-charge, Plenty of ports, Great storageNot user upgradeable, Screen not 1080p

Dell Chromebook 3100 Education

  • 11.6-inch HD 1366 x 768 display
  • Intel Celeron N4020 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 16GB eMMC storage
  • OS: Chrome OS
dell-chromebook-3100-education

It is a Chromebook developed to last. It’s been rigorously tried to the MIL-STD standards, and it can “survive 5,000 free fall micro-drops and 30-inch descents onto steel, while rubberized edges underestimate impacts from drops and bumps”. It also specifies a spill- and tamper-resistant keyboard that defies up to 12 ounces of liquid.

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ProsCons
Spill and tamper resistant, Military-grade durability, Perfect for studentsMinimal storage, Limited ports

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 (14-inch, AMD)

  • AMD A6-9220E processor
  • Integrated AMD Radeon R4 graphics
  • 11.6-inch display
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB eMMC
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
lenovo-ideapad-1-14-inch-amd

It is a lightweight laptop with a decent processor and suitable battery life wrapped up in a robust package. You also obtain Dolby Audio, so the sound is spectacular for such a budget notebook. Overall, it’s a very portable laptop with a good array of ports, and it has enough power and battery life for day-to-day jobs in the home, school, or office.

ProsCons
Dolby Audio, A good amount of storage, Good batteryNot user upgradeable, Screen not 1080p

Samsung Chromebook 4+ 15.6-inch

  • Intel Celeron N4000 processor
  • 1920 x 1080 anti-glare 15.6-inch FHD display
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64GB eMMC storage
  • OS: Chrome OS
samsung-chromebook-4-15-6-inch

Short of purchasing a Chromebook from Google, Samsung’s offerings are the subsequent most reasonable. And the Chromebook 4+ obtains a lot of hardware to the table at a competitive price. You gain a big 15.6-inch FHD display, 64GB of storage, and 10 hours of battery life in a thin-and-light package. If you are a digital packrat, you can bump the storage up to 128GB for an extra $80.

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ProsCons
1080p screen, Good storage, Great batteryNot user upgradeable, Limited ports

Lenovo Chromebook C340-11

  • Chrome OS
  • Intel Celeron N4000 processor
  • 11.6-inch touch display
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB eMMC
  • OS: Chrome OS
lenovo-chromebook-c340-11

It is a Chromebook with having Lenovo touch. It includes a 360-degree hinge that lets it switch from a laptop to a tablet, a 10-hour battery life, and the convenience of Chrome OS. While reaching in at under $300, this device still feels like a premium device.

ProsCons
2-in-1 form factor, Great battery, Good storageNot user upgradeable, No stylus included

First, you need to determine whether you want a Windows machine or a Chromebook conducting ChromeOS. Both operating systems hold their strengths: Windows offers that continuity from the desktop experience, while ChromeOS provides a level of simplicity. So this is a selection that you need to make found on your predicted usage.

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Conclusion

The most inexpensive HP desktop, the Envy TE01, starts at $450, while everything on this list is under $350. While you may get fortunate and be able to take benefit of a perfect sale or discount coupon from specific retailers, a desktop that sells for under $400 is very, very rare.

If you want an everyday Chromebook, you can easily find them for $500 or less. However, it is excellent if you’re shopping for a laptop for your school-aged kids to utilize for distance learning and classwork.

Chromebooks are delivered at such low prices because they’re more stripped-back than a definitive Windows alternative. As a result, they have less-powerful processors, less RAM, and much less storage space. However, they’re often enabled for cloud-based storage, so you can offload documents, photos, and music to your favorite cloud storage provider to free up space on your local drive.

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The Dell Chromebook 3100 Education is the perfect budget-friendly laptop for schools, especially younger students. It has a chassis tested against military standards for durability so that it can withstand trekking back and forth from home to the classroom every day. It’s also spill and tamper-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about spills during homework time or younger kids prying open the laptop.

While it only contains 16GB of onboard storage, that’s more than enough for reports, slide shows, and attending virtual classes. And if your older students need more space, they can offload documents and images to cloud-based storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox.

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