The Best Budget Laptops?

By that, I mean the laptops that offer the best features according to their category, at multiple price points up to $700.

Why write this article?

How much time do you have to research the best computer?

Many of us don’t have much time to read, or the knowledge to understand, detailed laptop specifications nor reviews and just want to know:
What’s the best budget laptop for my needs?

I’m here to help you with this article. I believe that you deserve the computer that is the best for your needs. That way, your computer is working for you and not the other way around. This allows you to focus your full potential on realizing what you want, without being limited by your computer.

With 16 years of experience with computer hardware, researching, always up-to-date research with the newest parts, performance and prices, I know what matters in a computer.
See my About page for more information on me, Mathieu Bourgie, and this website, Hardware Revolution

Here are the features that I evaluate in order to make my recommendations:

1. Price
2. Performance: CPU, RAM, Storage, Video Card and Wireless Adapter
3. Screen: Size, Resolution, Matte or Glossy, Panel type (TN, IPS, etc.), Brightness, Contrast, Viewing Angles and Color Accuracy
4. Portability: Dimensions, Weight, Real-life battery life during average web browsing?
5. Usability: Keyboard: Layout, Key size, Travel/Pressure, Key Shape and any additional Function keys. Touch pad quality, trackpoint, backlit keyboard, numpad, Operating System, which ports are offered, Webcam resolution, sound quality, optical Drive, noise levels.
6. Reliability: How solid is the chassis? Are the temperatures under load reasonable? How solid are the screen hinges? Is the keyboard spill-resistant? Overall manufacturer long-term reliability? How easy is it to service the laptop?
7. Warranty: Warranty length? What does the warranty cover?

I then recommend laptops that I think are the best at a given price, according to those features that I evaluated on the hundreds of laptops that I’ve considered during the research that I do to write this article.

I offer to you the result of that research, by making recommendations for the best budget laptops at multiple price points up to $700.

My goal:
Help you easily choose the best laptop for your needs and budget.

Put all of this together and you get this article. Because if you’re about to buy a laptop, might as well get the one that offers the best features possible for your budget, right?

Looking for all our articles on laptops?

Visit the Best Laptops For Your Money category page, for all our articles on laptops.

Summary

Click on any of these links to jump to the section that interests you.

The best mid-range laptops:

  1. Chromebooks: Inexpensive, runs Chrome OS, simple to use, secure
  2. Ultrabooks: Lightweight, small, thin, great battery life. Ideal for traveling.
    Standard screen ultrabook: If you want a regular lightweight laptop. 
    – 2-in-1 convertible screen: 360 degree hinge touchscreen, use it as a tablet, tent, etc.
    – Detachable screen 2-in-1 ultrabook: Detach the screen from the base, use it as a tablet.
  3. Apple Macbook: The iconic Apple laptops, available in multiple models (12, Air 13, Pro 13/15).
  4. Gaming laptops: The best gaming performance at a given price.
  5. Traditional 14-15.6″ laptop: Larger screens than ultrabooks but a bit heavier too
  6. 17.3″ entertainment: Laptops with an even larger 17.3″ screen and good speakers.
  7. Business laptops: Better security, solid build, easy to service, fairly powerful, portable and lightweight
  8. Power Users: Ideal for photo/video/3D editing: Powerful CPU, lots of RAM, high-performance storage.
  9. Workstations: Powerful, reliable and with workstation-class video cards

Upgrade your laptop:

  1. Upgrade the RAM
  2. Upgrade the hard drive to a larger/faster model or to a SSD
  3. USB DVD and Blu-ray External Burners
  4. The Best WiFi Routers, WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth Adapters
  5. External Storage Drive

This article is based on the prices that I’ve seen at B&H, Newegg and/or Amazon on March 24th 2017.

Prices and availability are subject to change. While I can’t keep up with ever changing prices, I do suggest to you outstanding laptops that you won’t regret buying.

Chromebook: Simple, inexpensive, secure, Chrome OS

About Chromebooks:

They are simple to setup and secure:
1- Setup is very simple and only takes a few minutes.
2- Your computer starts in a few seconds.
3- Installing software, through the Google App store, is easy.
4- No concern with updates, or complicated software installation, the OS does it for you automatically.
5- Battery life is generally above average to exceptional, depending on the model.

The Chrome OS is one of the most secure OS on the market. It includes security features such as sandboxing and categorizing websites that may be harmful. Chromebooks are outstanding at catching malware and viruses, so you’re unlikely to run into any problems of this sort.

Inexpensive and you can download many free applications:
Chromebooks are inexpensive computer compared to laptops running Windows, especially compared to Macbooks!

Need Office programs like Word, Excel, etc.? Google Docs offer Google equivalent for free, with automatic saving online, Google Drive to save and share your documents and the Google App store.

Chrome OS is a lightweight OS, so laptops running it boot quickly, feel snappy and are easy to use. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, great looking, simple to use and highly portable computer to browse the web, listen to music, read/write documents and stream videos, you should highly consider a Chromebook.

They are such great inexpensive laptops that we have a dedicated article for Chromebooks:
Find out the Best Chromebooks

Ultrabooks: Thin, lightweight

The Best Standard screen ultrabooks

HP Stream 11:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $199.99 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)

About the HP Stream 11-y010nr:

If you are looking for the most inexpensive laptop that’s highly portable (11.8 x 8.1 x 0.7″) lightweight (2.57lbs) and has up to 10 hours of battery life, the HP Stream 11 might be a good choice.

Amazingly, at that low price, you get a free one year Office 365 Personal license, which includes Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Access.

I say that this laptop might be a good choice because well let’s face it, to reach that low of a price, there are compromises of course.

The CPU, an Intel Celeron N3060 1.6GHz Dual-Core, is no powerhouse. It’s fine for web browsing, email, social media, Office (Word, Excel, etc.) and other light tasks, but don’t expect to run games or heavy applications on it. Also expect the laptop to be slower overall.

You only get a 32GB eMMC storage drive, with Windows using a good part of it, so storage is very limited. which can fill up pretty quickly. Thanksfully, the laptop comes with 25GB of cloud storage for a year on Dropbox, as well as 1TB of Onedrive cloud storage included with Microsoft Office 365. Y ou can also add more storage using the MicroSD card slot.

Finally, the 11.6″ screen has a low-resolution of 1366 x 768 and doesn’t offer wide viewing angles. It might also be too small, depending on your preferences.

Now, if you don’t mind spending a bit more or want a laptop with a larger 14.1″ screen with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, an IPS panel for better colors, contrast and viewing angles, as well as more powerful CPU and twice the storage space, see my recommendation below.

Pros:

  1. Least expensive recommendation
  2. Fanless: Silent
  3. MicroSD card slot : Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  4. Windows 10 Home.
  5. 4GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to run a few programs at once.
  6. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  7. Good battery life of up to 10 hours.
  8. 1 x USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0 ports.
  9. HDMI output to connect your display on a external screen.
  10. HD Webcam
  11. 802.11ac WiFi
  12. Highly portable: 11.8 x 8.1 x 0.7″ and 2.57lbs
  13. Comes with 1 free year of Microsoft Office 365
  14. Comes with 25GB of cloud storage for a year on Dropbox
  15. Also comes with 1TB of Onedrive cloud storage included with Microsoft Office 365.

Cons:

  1. Intel Celeron N3060 Dual-Core 1.6GHz CPU: Underpowered for all but the least demanding tasks.
  2. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  3. No numpad.
  4. Low 1366 x 768 HD resolution screen with a TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles.
  5. Limited storage capacity : 32GB.
  6. Keyboard layout could be better : the up and down arrow keys are half-size which can be bothering for some people.
  7. Keyboard isn’t backlit
  8. Plastic build: Build quality is fine, but it’s not metal.

CHUWI Lapbook:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the CHUWI Lapbook:

If you are looking for an highly portable 13.3″ class laptop with a 14″ screen screen that’s just a touch more expensive than the HP Stream 11 and offers so much more for the price, this model is a great option for you.

While still no powerhouse, the Intel Celeron N3450 Quad-Core CPU offer better overall performance than the dual-core Intel Celeron N3060 found in the HP Stream 11, giving you a slightly more reponsive system that’s capable of habdling slightly more demanding workloads. Still, it isn’t powerful by any means, but it it better for handling lightweight tasks such as browsing the internet, emails and document writing.

One of the best features of this model is the Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution display with an IPS panel which gives you better color reproduction, contrast and large view angles.

It’s also incredibly thin, at only .47″ thick. With its thin bezel and small dimension, it’s basically a 13.3″ laptop with a 14″ screen!

Even though you get twice the storage capacity of the HP Stream, that’s only 64GB, which isn’t a lot. There is an empty microSD card slot in the laptop with which you can add up to an extra 128GB of storage. If you’re up for the task, you can also open the laptop to add a SATA III M.2 SSD drive in the empty M.2 slot.

Simply put, this is the best value laptop. All these features at this price point were unheard of before this laptop came along.

That said, if you want a more powerful CPU, a touchscreen, more RAM, more storage, a more solid build quality and lots of ports, scroll down to our next recommend model.

Important notes:
1. Some people complain about the trackpad sensibility: Make sure to take the time to adjust the pointer speed in the Windows Control Panel/Mouse options.
2. Make sure to select English when you set it up the first time that you turn it on, unless you want Mandarin as the OS language.
3. Users report overheating/shutdowns when gaming. As long as you don’t use it for gaming, it will be fine.

Pros:

  1. Intel Celeron N3450 Quad-Core 1.1-2.2GHz CPU: Better than Celeron Dual-Core
  2. 4GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to have multiple web browser tabs and a few lightweight applications open at once.
  3. Narrow bezel, 14″ laptop that fits in 13.3″ laptop sleeves.
  4. Design similar to Macbook Air: Looks good
  5. Windows 10
  6. IPS panel: Great contrast, better color reproduction and large viewing angles.
  7. Full HD 1920 x 1080 display resolution
  8. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  9. MicroSD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  10. 1 x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB 2.0 port.
  11. Micro HDMI output to connect your display on a external screen.
  12. Webcam
  13. 802.11ac WiFi
  14. Fairly good keyboard
  15. Good battery life: Expect up to 8 hours of web browsing
  16. Fanless: Silent
  17. Thin and light: 8.93 x 13 x 0.35-0.79″ and 3.3lbs

Cons:

  1. Intel Celeron N3450 CPU: No match for Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs, underpowered for demanding tasks.
  2. CPU will overheat/laptop will shutdown if you play games with it.
  3. No RAM slots: RAM cannot be upgraded
  4. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  5. No numpad.
  6. Keyboard isn’t backlit
  7. For some reason, the USB slots are upside down. Just be aware of it.
  8. No dedicated left and right mouse button
  9. Limited storage capacity, although you can extend it in multiple ways.
  10. Plastic build: Build quality is fine, but it’s not metal.
  11. Manufacturer is from China: Warranty terms require you to pay shipping it back to China and it has a long turnaround time. Better deal with Amazon.

Dell Latitude E7240:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the Dell Latitude E7240:

If you are looking for a more powerful Ultrabook, with a solid build quality, at an affordable price, this is a great option

Featuring Intel Core i7-4600U CPU, which is an older, but still quite powerful design, far more than the Celeron CPUs found in the two models above.

You get 8GB of RAM and there is even a 256GB SSD in it which improves the computer overall responsiveness and helps it boot quickly.

It’s 0.8″ thin and only weights 2.99lbs which makes this model highly portable.

Its main downside? The battery life is short, at around 4.5 hours of web browsing. See the next model below if you want more than twice the battery life!

This laptop is refurbished, meaning it has been restored to work like a new product, and comes with a 90 days warranty.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a Intel Core i7-4600U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.1-3.3GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB SSD that is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improve responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. 8GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  4. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  5. IPS panel: Great contrast, accurate color reproduction and large viewing angles.
  6. Touchscreen display
  7. Full HD 1920 x 1080 display resolution
  8. Removable battery so it can be easily replaced.
  9. Backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  10. SD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  11. 3 x USB 3.0 ports.
  12. RJ45 LAN port.
  13. Docking port.
  14. HDMI, VGA and Displayport output to connect your display on a external screen.
  15. Solid aluminium build quality.
  16. HD Webcam
  17. Smart card reader and fingerprint for extra authentication security.
  18. Decent keyboard layout
  19. Decent sound quality.
  20. Easy maintenance: It is easy to get to all the important components such as RAM and storage drive.
  21. Highly portable:12.2 x 8.3 x 0.79″ and 2.99lbs
  22. Dedicated left and right click mouse buttons.

Cons:

  1. Battery life is on the shorter side: Around 4.5 hours for web surfing with WiFi.
  2. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  3. Windows 8 Pro. It can be upgraded to Windows 10 though.
  4. No numpad.
  5. Refurbished, meaning it has been restored to work like a new product, and comes with a 90 days warranty.
  6. Limited storage capacity

Acer Aspire S 13

– Click here to check the price on Amazon
– $679.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
– $599.00 at Newegg

About the Acer Aspire S 13:

Compared to the Dell Latitude E7240 above, the Acer Aspire S13 gives a far longer battery life, at up to 13 hours and better performance, thanks to a more recent Intel Core i5-6200U CPU.

It’s also more portable, being slightly lighter and considerably, being 0.57″ thick compared to .8″ for the Dell Latitude E7240. With that CPU, 8 GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, this laptop offers a smooth overall performance.

It also has a great diaplay, with a 1920 x 1080 resolution and an IPS display panel for better contrasts, vibrant colors and larger view angles.

It’s also available with the latest 7th gen Intel Core CPUs, with the Core i5-7200U at B&H or the Core i7-7500U at Amazon, although at higher prices.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a powerful Intel Core i7-6500U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.3-2.8GHz CPU.
  2. IPS panel: Great contrast, vibrant colors and large viewing angles.
  3. 8GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to run a good amount of programs at once and do several tasks.
  4. Excellent battery life: Up to 13 hours.
  5. 13.3″ screen with Full HD 1080p 1920 x 1080 resolution
  6. SD card reader: Useful to copy photos from a camera, expand the storage capacity, etc.
  7. 2 x USB 3.0 and 1x USB 3.1 type-C ports
  8. 720p HD (1280 x 720) webcam
  9. HDMI output
  10. Screen aluminium build.
  11. Backlit keyboard with two levels of brightness.
  12. 802.11ac MU-MIMO 2×2 WiFi
  13. Bluetooth 4.0
  14. Highly portable: 12.9 x 0.57 x 11.3″ and 2.87lbs

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Some people complain about the trackpad sensibility: Make sure to take the time to adjust the pointer speed in the Windows Control Panel/Mouse options.
  3. Build quality is average: Hinges could be more solid.

The Best 2-in-1 convertible screen ultrabooks

Dell 11.6″ Inspiron 11 3000

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $369.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
– $384.76 at Newegg

About the Dell 11.6″ Inspiron 11 3000:

A good choice if you are looking for an inexpensive convertible laptop that can do everyday tasks such as emails, web, documents and movies while being highly portable and having a good battery life.

It is equipped with a Intel Pentium N3710 Quad-Core CPU which is a low power CPU but is fine when it comes to everyday tasks.

Now, if you want a more powerful convertible laptop that is more responsiveness and can handle heavier applications as well as multitasking, see our next recommendation below.

This laptop is available in three different colors : Blue, red and grey.

Avoid the model with 2GB of RAM and the Intel Celeron N3060 CPU: Performance is abysmal, slow as molasses.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Pentium N3710 Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.6-2.5GHz CPU.
  2. 500GB Hard Drive for a decent amount of storage.
  3. 4GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to have multiple web browser tabs and a few lightweight applications open at once.
  4. Windows 10 Home
  5. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  6. Good Battery : up to 7hrs.
  7. MicroSD card reader.
  8. 720p HD Webcam.
  9. 1x USB 3.0 port and 2x USB 2.0 port.
  10. HDMI output to plug your device on a external screen.
  11. Dedicated volume buttons
  12. Thin and light: 11.48″ x 7.95″ x 0.82″ inches and 3lbs
  13. Available in red, blue and grey.
  14. 802.11b/g/n WiFi
  15. Bluetooth 4.0

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Low 1366 x 768 display resolution
  3. No numpad
  4. 5400 rpm hard drive is slow: it makes the whole computer feel less responsive, Windows and apps take longer to load. They are also less shock-resistant, heavier and less reliable than SSD drives.

Acer Spin 5

Core i3-7100U/4GB RAM/128GB SSD: – Click here to check the price on Amazon
Core i3-6100U/4GB RAM/128GB SSD: $499.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
Core i5-7200U/8GB RAM/256GB SSD: $619.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Acer Spin 5:

If you are looking for a convertible laptop that offers significantly better overall performance than the above recommendation, this is the model you are looking for.

It is equipped with more powerful Intel Core i3 or i5 CPUs, is available with up to 8GB of RAM and has a SSD which greatly improves overall responsiveness, decreases Windows and applications loading time and is more reliable as well as more shock-resistant.

I recommend two models:
– The base model, with a dual-core Intel Core i3-6100U 2.2GHz or i3-7100U 2.3GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage.
– The higher-end model, with a dual-core Core i5-7200U 2.5-3.1GHz CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage.

Basically, if all you do is browse the Web, stream music/video, use Word, Excel and other lightweight tasks and don’t need much storage space, the base model is a fine choice for you.

Now, if you want a laptop that can handle more demanding tasks, do some multitasking, a bit of photo editing and use more demanding programs, or just a more future-proof machine with twice the storage capacity, opt for the higher-end model.

Pros:

  1. Intel Core i3/6100U/7100U or Core i5-7200U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading CPUs.
  2. 128 or 256GB SSD for fast boot and a more responsive system.
  3. 2-in-1 convertible screen to switch to laptop, display, tent or tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  4. 4GB or 8GB of DDR4 RAM.
  5. Great Battery life: up to 10hrs.
  6. Thin and light : 12.94″ x 9.00″ x 0.78″ and 3.53lbs
  7. IPS display panel for better contrasts, acurate colors and larger view angles.
  8. MicroSD card reader to add an extra MicroSD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  9. HD Webcam.
  10. 1x USB 3.0 port and 2x USB 2.0 port.
  11. HDMI output
  12. 802.11ac WiFi MU-MIMO
  13. Bluetooth 4.1
  14. Dedicated volume buttons

Cons:

  1. Built quality is fine, but could be better: it is mostly made out of plastic, not metal. Hinges are solid though.
  2. Build leaves fingerprints on the cover easily.
  3. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  4. No RJ-45 LAN Ethernet port
  5. Two of the three USB ports are 2.0
  6. No USB Type-C port

2-in-1 Detachable screen ultrabook

Dell Latitude 13 7000:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $389.99 at Newegg

About the Dell Latitude 13 7000:

It’s neither the lightest nor the fastest 2-in-1 detachable screen laptop, but if you are looking for a 2-in-1 detachable laptop that can handle tasks such as browsing the internet, emails and other small tasks and that doesn’t cost much, this is a great option.

Despite its low price, you get a nice screen with Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution and an IPS panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.

Performance wise, it comes with a low-power Intel Core M 5Y71 CPU, which is by no means a powerhouse but is powerful enough to handle everyday tasks. Just don’t expect it to handle heavy applications such as Adobe Photoshop and other applications where high sustained performance is required.

You also only get 4GB of RAM, so it’s not ideal to handle many tasks at once.

Storage wise, you get a SSD, so this laptop boots quickly and is responsive, but storage capacity is limited, you get a 128GB SSD, but with Windows installed, expect 80-90GB of available space. There is a SD card reader that you can use to expand storage.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core M 5Y71 Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 1.2-2.9GHz CPU.
  2. 128GB SSD for fast boot and a more responsive system.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
  4. Up to 10 hours of battery life
  5. 2-in-1 detachable screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  6. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution
  7. Good build quality.
  8. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  9. SD card reader.
  10. Backlit keyboard
  11. HD Webcam.
  12. Micro HDMI port
  13. 2 x  USB 3.0 ports
  14. 802.11ac WiFi
  15. Bluetooth 4.0

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. 4GB of DDR3 RAM: Enough for an app or two, but not ideal for multitasking or more demanding applications.
  3. Micro HDMI port will require an adapter or a specific cable.
  4. A bit heavy and thick for a detachable 2-in-1 ultrabook: 12.6″ x 9″ x 0.8″ and 3.67lbs
  5. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required.
  6. No RJ-45 LAN Ethernet port

Acer Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-39N9:

– Click here to check the price on Amazon
– $598.02 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Acer Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-39N9:

This is a really nice upgrade from the above recommendation as just about everything in it is better.

It has a far more powerful Intel Core i3-6100U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.3GHz CPU, allowing you to run heavy workloads and have a faster overall computer.6th generation processor which is more powerful. RAM and storage are the same as above, 4GB and 128GB respectively, but the Acer Switch Alpha 12 is available in higher-end configurations, with an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB or 512GB SSD.

The Core i5/8GB RAM/256GB SSD and the Core i7/8GB RAM/512GB SSD configurations also include a stylus.

It is also significantly lighter than the Dell above, almost a pound lighter, weighting in at 2.76lbs for the tablet and keyboard.

It also has an higher resolution, 2160 x 1440 display.

If you’re looking for a low-cost alternative to the Microsoft Surface, this is an excellent choice.

For its great price and even better features, this is the best budget detachable 2-in-1 laptop on the market.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i3-6100U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.3GHz CPU. Also available with a Core i5-6200U or Core i7-6500U.
  2. 128GB SSD for fast boot and a more responsive system. Also available with 256GB or 512GB.
  3. 2-in-1 detachable screen to switch to tablet mode for whatever suits your needs.
  4. Fanless
  5. Available with 8GB of RAM.
  6. Great Battery : up to 8hrs.
  7. Lightweight, highly portable : 11.5 x 0.6 x 7.9″ and 2.76lbs.
  8. Better than Full HD resolution: 2160 x 1440
  9. IPS display panel for better contrasts, acurate colors and larger view angles.
  10. MicroSD card reader to add an extra MicroSD card to add more storage for your music, videos and images.
  11. 5MP (2592 x 1944) rear facing and 2MP (1920 x 1080) front facing cameras.
  12. 1x USB 3.1 Type-C port (supports Displayport over USB Type-C) and 1x USB 3.0 port.
  13. 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO WiFi
  14. Bluetooth 4.0
  15. Included backlit keyboard
  16. Two built-in front facing speakers.
  17. Dedicated volume buttons

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. 4GB of DDR3 RAM: Enough for an app or two, but not ideal for multitasking or more demanding applications.
  3. No RJ-45 LAN Ethernet port

Apple Macbook

Apple MacBook Air 11 (MD711LL/A)

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the MacBook Air 11:

This is my recommendation if you want an Apple Macbook at the lowest cost possible.

This laptop is highly portable, solid, reliable, has an excellent battery life, great backlit keyboard and an excellent trackpad.

This Macbook is a refurbished item, meaning it has been restored to work and look like a new product, with minimal to no signs of wear, by a specialized third-party seller approved by Amazon.

Pros:

  1. Least expensive Macbook laptop.
  2. Incredibly thin and lightweight: Only 2.38lbs and 0.11-0.68″ thick. Perfect if you’re traveling and often on the move.
  3. It’s an Apple computer: Mac OS X, Time Machine backup (automatically backs up system data to an external hard drive), many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
  4. Excellent keyboard, great for typing
  5. Backlit keyboard
  6. High-end performance storage makes your computer feel more responsive.
  7. Very quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
  8. Long battery life: 9 hours of web browsing
  9. Solid chassis: All-aluminum unibody
  10. Solid screen hinge
  11. Excellent trackpad, with great multi-touch support
  12. MagSafe power connector which automatically detaches from your laptop if you pull on it, preventing your Macbook from accidentally falling if you trip on the power cord.
  13. Bluetooth 4.0
  14. Latest generation 802.11ac WiFi

Cons:

  1. Limited amount of ports: 2x USB 3.0, one ThunderBolt 2 (Mini DisplayPort via Thunderbolt port) and a combo audio jack.
  2. Low screen resolution: Only 1366 x 768 resolution. Poor compared to the Macbook 12″ or Macbook Pro with their high-resolution Retina displays.
  3. Average CPU performance: Great for web browsing, music, Office work and lightweight programs. Not ideal for heavy photo/video editing, heavy multitasking or demanding programs where high sustained CPU performance is required. You’ll want a more powerful CPU and possibly more RAM for better performance, so consider a Macbook Pro instead.
  4. Limited GPU (graphic card) performance. Forget playing modern video games or 3D rendering: you want a dedicated video card for that. Once again, a Macbook Pro would be a better option.
  5. No LAN port
  6. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  7. No Numpad
  8. Limited amount of storage
  9. The Macbook Air RAM cannot be upgraded: It’s soldered. The SSD storage can be upgraded if you have the right tool, don’t mind following a guide to disassemble your Macbook Air and a guide to copy your data.

Gaming laptops

If you are looking for a budget gaming laptop, we have a whole article on the subject, click here to see the 4 Best Budget Gaming Laptops.

Traditional 14-15.6″ laptop

Acer Aspire E5-575-33BM:

Click here to get the price on Amazon

About the Acer Aspire E5-575-33BM:

The Acer Aspire E 15 offers amazing value for the money:
Equipped with a relatively powerful 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U CPU, a screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. It offers a up to 12 hours battery life, high-performance 802.11ac MU-MIMO WiFi, a backlit keyboard and four USB 3.0 ports (including an USB Type-C port)!

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i3-7100U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.4GHz CPU.
  2. Hard Drive and RAM are easy to access by removing a panel on the bottom.
  3. RAM can be upgraded to up to 32GB.
  4. Screen with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution
  5. Screen with wide viewing angles and wide color gamut: 94% of NTSC color space.
  6. Great battery life: up to 12 hours per charge, varies depending on your usage.
  7. Body finish that prevents fingerprints
  8. Large storage capacity: 1TB
  9. Backlit keyboard : it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  10. Four USB Ports: Two 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, and one USB 3.1 (Type C) port.
  11. HDMI and VGA Outputs to plug in your display to an external screen.
  12. SD card reader for SD Cards : Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  13. 802.11ac MU-MIMO WiFi
  14. Optical drive
  15. HD webcam
  16. Numpad
  17. Bluetooth 4.1

Cons:

  1. 4GB of RAM is enough for web browsing, Office and basic workloads, but you’ll need more for multitasking and heavier programs.
  2. 5,400rpm hard drive which means the system is less responsive and takes some time to boot.
  3. Average build quality. It’s all plastic and it could be better.
  4. Keyboard layout could be better: the up and down arrow keys are half-size and the power button is part of the keyboard.

Acer Aspire E5-575-521W:

1467838324000_1263206

– $499.99 at Newegg

About the Acer Aspire E5-575-521W:

If you’re looking for better performance all around, this model is a significant step up from the Acer E5-575-33BM above.

It’s equipped with a more powerful Intel Core i5-7200U 7th gen processor, has 8GB of DDR4 RAM and is also equipped with a full HD screen.

This laptop also comes with a 256GB SSD which is great as SSDs help your computer feel more responsive than with a regular hard drive and even faster when it comes to booting the laptop.

There is no optical drive, but there’s an empty optical drive bay, so you can get a hard drive caddy to add an hard drive or another SSD for additional storage space.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-7200U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  2. 8GB of DDR4 RAM that can be uprgraded up to 32GB
  3. Screen with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  4. Windows 10
  5. 256GB M.2 SSD which is much faster than a regular hard drive and also offers a great booting speed.
  6. Great battery life of up to 8 hours.
  7. HDMI and VGA Output to connect your display on external screens.
  8. 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x USB 2.0 port,  and 1 x USB 3.1 (Type C) port
  9. RJ45 Ethernet port to connect your device to the Internet.
  10. Backlit keyboard
  11. Easy maintenance: Compartment door make it easy to change the SSD and the RAM.
  12. SD card reader: Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  13. 802.11 ac WiFi
  14. Numpad
  15. Bluetooth 4.1
  16. Empty optical drive bay: You can get a hard drive caddy to add an hard drive or another SSD for additional storage space.
  17. Lightweight for a 15.6″ laptop: Only 4.92lbs

Cons:

  1. Screen with a TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles. Expected at this price point.
  2. Average build quality, it’s all plastic, it’s not bad, but it could be better.
  3. Keyboard layout could be better: the up and down arrow keys are half-size and the power button is part of the keyboard.
  4. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  5. A lot of bloatware to uninstall.

ASUS F556UA-AB54:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the ASUS F556UA-AB54:

Compared to the Acer Aspire E5-575-521W above, the ASUS F556UA-AB54 offers similar performance.

The differences vs the Acer Aspire E5-575-521W are:
– A matte screen (doesn’t reflect light) that’s bright enough so you can use it outside when it’s bright and sunny.
– It is thinner and has a more modern design with a gold metallic-like (it’s plastic) finish.
– You get a DVD drive.
– The build quality of the base is more solid.

On the downside:
The keyboard isn’t backlit.
The screen frame isn’t very solid.
Battery life is shorter (6 vs 8 hours)
You don’t have a free optical drive bay, if you want to add a hard drive caddy to add an additional storage drive (it is occupied with the DVD drive).

Unless one of the downside is a deal breaker for you, I’d get the ASUS F556UA-AB54 over the Acer Aspire E5-575-521W.

Pro:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-7200 Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz CPU.
  2. Screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  3. 256GB SSD which is much faster than a regular hard drive and also offers a great booting speed.
  4. 8GB of DDR4 RAM  that can be upgraded to up to 32GB of RAM
  5. Windows 10
  6. Decent battery life of up to 8 hours.
  7. 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 2.0 port and 1x USB 3.1 (Type C) port.
  8. HDMI and VGA Outputs to connect your display on external screens.
  9. SD card reader: Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  10. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight
  11. Keyboard is comfortable to use and has very little flex
  12. 802.11 ac WiFi
  13. Good speakers
  14. Numpad
  15. Optical drive
  16. Bluetooth 4.1
  17. Gold Metallic finish: The base is solid and in my opinion, looks great
  18. In my personal opinion: This laptop has a beautiful, stylish, and modern design.

Cons:

  1. The arrow keys on the keyboard overlaps the numpad: this can be an inconvenience for some.
  2. Screen with a TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles.
  3. Keyboard isn’t backlit.
  4. While the base is solid, the screen frame is quite flimsy.
  5. Gold metallic-like finish attracts fingerprints.

Acer Swift 3:

Intel Core i3-6100U, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD:

– Click here to check the price on Amazon

Intel Core i5-6200U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD:

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$620.99 at B&H (Worlwide Shipping)
– $701.13 at Newegg 

About the Acer Swift 3:
This laptop offers four major advantages compared to the models above:
– It’s much more portable with its 14″ screen and far lower weight of only 3.3lbs.
– Premium build quality, with an all-aluminum body with rounded corners, much better than models above.
– Its screen is equipped with an IPS display panel: Better contrasts, more accurate colors and larger view angles
– Fingerprint reader: Secure login

At a budget price range, this is the best traditional laptop you can get, with great performance, highly portable, good build quality, great screen and good battery life!

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-6200U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.3GHz CPU.
  2. Screen with a 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution.
  3. 256GB M.2 SSD which is much faster than a regular hard drive and also offers a great booting speed.
  4. Windows 10
  5. Dual-channel RAM for optimal performance
  6. IPS display panel for better contrasts and larger view angles.
  7. Screen has a matte finish: Doesn’t reflect light
  8. Thin and lightweight : 9.3 x 13.4 x 0.7″ and 3.3lbs.
  9. Sturdy aluminium outer case, plastic inner case, little to no flex, good build quality.
  10. Looks like a Macbook Air.
  11. Finger print reader for better authentication security.
  12. HDMI output to connect your display to an external screen
  13. USB 3.1 (Type C) port.
  14. Backlit keyboard so it is easier to type in the dark.
  15. SD card reader: Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  16. 8GB of DDR4 RAM
  17. Good battery life: Expect 7 hours of light web browsing, 10 hours of Youtube, 13 hours of local video.
  18. 802.11 ac WiFi 2×2 MU-Mimo
  19. HD Webcam: Decent quality, fine for Skype
  20. Numpad
  21. Bluetooth 4.1
  22. Relatively quiet, even under load.
  23. Good cooling, no CPU throttling under load, stays relatively cool unless you push it hard, in which gets it gets warmer, but not uncomfortably hot.
  24. Moderately loud speakers
  25. Touchpad is fairly good.
  26. 180 degree screen hinge allows you to lean the screen back flat.

Cons:

  1. Keyboard layout could be better: the up and down arrow keys are half-size and the power button is part of the keyboard.
  2. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  3. No numpad
  4. Upgrading or maintenance is more complicated: Many screws to remove, as well many small plastic clips.
  5. RAM is soldered: It cannot be upgraded.
  6. One of the two USB Type-A port is USB 2.0 (One USB 3.1 Type-C, one USB 3.0 Type-A and one USB 2.0 Type-A)
  7. Screen doesn’t get that bright, so even though it has a matte finish, it is not ideal for outside usage, unless you’re in the shade.
  8. Small fans emit an high-pitched noise, which can be heard in a quiet environment.
  9. Speakers sound quality isn’t that great: Lacks bass, lacks rich mids, a bit too much emphasis on high frequencies.

17.3″ entertainment and desktop replacement laptop

HP Notebook Laptop:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

HP Notebook Laptop:

This is the best choice if you are looking for the most inexpensive entertainment desktop replacement laptop at the best price. This laptop has a AMD quad-core A10-8700P CPU which is good, good AMD Radeon integrated graphic card, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD.

This laptop is refurbished meaning it has been cleaned, built and tested to work and look like a new product. It is also repackaged and has a 90 days warranty.

Pros:

  1.  Equipped with an  A10-8700P Quad-core APU 1.8-3.2GHz.
  2. 1TB hard drive which is plenty of storage.
  3. 1600 x 900 HD+ resolution.
  4. Windows 10
  5. 2 x USB 2.0 and 1 x USB 3.0 ports.
  6. HDMI output to connect your display to an external display.
  7. Ethernet RJ45 port for a direct internet connection.
  8. Multi-format digital media card reader : Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  9. 8GB of RAM.
  10. HD Webcam
  11. Optical drive
  12. Numpad

Cons:

  1. TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles.
  2. Poor integrated video card performance: Fine for web, office and the like. Forget about gaming.
  3. No dedicated left and right click buttons.

Acer Aspire E5-774G-52W1

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $549.99 at Newegg

About the Aspire E5-774G-52W12:

At this price, the Aspire E5-774G-52W1 offers great performance with the Intel Core i5-7200U CPU. A beautiful full HD display and top that with a 256GB SSD for a responsive laptop with a fast booting speed.

It also comes with a NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics card which is a decent card to run games at low or medium settings with a good FPS rate.

Pros:

  1. Good processor, capable of handling demanding tasks: Intel Core i5-7200U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.5-3.1GHz
  2. 256GB SSD drive: Much faster than a regular hard drive and an even faster booting speed.
  3. Dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics card, which allows you to play most games on low visual settings with decent FPS and some games on medium settings well.
  4. Windows 10
  5. Full HD 1920 x 1080 display
  6. 8GB of DDR4 RAM that can be upgraded to 32GB (2 x 16GB).
  7. 2x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 and 1x USB 3.1 (Type C) port.
  8. SD card reader: Can be useful for extra storage or to upload media from devices such as cameras.
  9. Good audio quality
  10. HD Webcam
  11. 802.11ac WiFi
  12. VGA and HDMI Output to connect your display on external screens.
  13. Bluetooth 4.1
  14. Numpad

Cons:

  1. TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles. Expected at this price point.
  2. 1.09″ thick and 6.83lbs: Not the lightest portable
  3. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  4. The battery life is not that good, with an estimate of 5.5 hours battery life per charge so you can expect much less when using the computer for demanding tasks such as games and ressource heavy applications.

Business laptops

Lenovo Ideapad 310:

– $329.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

About the Lenovo Ideapad 310:

This laptop is the perfect entry-level business laptop. It is equipped with a fairly powerful Intel Core i3-6100U Dual-Core CPU combined with 6GB of RAM for a decent performance at business friendly price.

You also get a large 1TB hard drive which is a good amount to store plenty of documents, images, videos and programs.

This is also one of the most inexpensive business laptop you can get on a budget.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i3-6100U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.3GHz CPU.
  2. Low cost business laptop.
  3. Large 1TB HDD
  4. 6GB of DDR4 RAM allows you to run a few programs at once.
  5. Windows 10
  6. Matte screen finish so it doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  7. SD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  8. 2 USB 2.0  and 1 USB 3.0 ports.
  9. 1 HDMI and 1 VGA output to plug your display on external screens.
  10. Dedicated touchpad right and left click buttons.
  11. Bluetooth 4.0
  12. Optical drive
  13. Numpad
  14. HD 720p webcam.
  15. 802.11ac WiFi
  16. RJ-45 LAN port

Cons:

  1. Screen equipped with a 1366 x 768 resolution and low-quality TN panel: Poor contrast, not accurate color reproduction and poor viewing angles.
  2. 5400 rpm hard drive aren’t the fastest drives you can get.
  3. Poor battery : up to 4 hours per charge

Dell Latitude E7240:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the Dell Latitude E7240:

If you are looking for a more powerful Ultrabook at an affordable price, this is the model for you.

Featuring Intel Core i5-4600U CPU, which is an older, but still quite powerful design, far more than the Celeron CPUs found in the two models above.

You get 8GB of RAM and there is even a 256GB SSD in it which improves the computer overall responsiveness and helps it boot quickly.

This laptop is 0.8″ thin and only weights 2.99lbs which makes this model highly portable.

This laptop is refurbished, meaning it has been restored to work like a new product, and comes with a 90 days warranty.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a Intel Core i5-4600U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.1-3.3GHz CPU.
  2. 256GB SSD that is a lot faster than a regular HDD, it greatly improve responsiveness especially when booting the laptop.
  3. 8GB of DDR3 RAM allows you to run multiple programs at once.
  4. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect sunlight.
  5. IPS panel: Great contrast, vibrant colors and large viewing angles.
  6. Battery life of around 4.5 hours for web surfing with WiFi.
  7. Touchscreen display
  8. Full HD 1920 x 1080 display resolution
  9. Removable battery so it can be easily replaced.
  10. Great backlit keyboard: it’s easier to see your keys when typing where there is less light.
  11. SD card reader: Useful to expand the storage capacity.
  12. 3 x USB 3.0 ports.
  13. RJ45 LAN port.
  14. Docking port.
  15. HDMI, VGA and Displayport output to connect your display on a external screen.
  16. Solid aluminium build quality.
  17. HD Webcam
  18. Smart card reader and fingerprint for extra authentication security.
  19. Decent keyboard layout
  20. Decent sound quality.
  21. Easy maintenance: It is easy to get to all the important components such as RAM and storage drive.
  22. Highly portable: 12.2 x 8.3 x 0.79″ and 2.99lbs
  23. Dedicated left and right click mouse buttons.
  24. Battery can be swapped

Cons:

  1. No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
  2. Windows 8 Pro. It can be upgraded to Windows 10 though.
  3. Glossy screen reflects light
  4. No numpad.
  5. Refurbished, meaning it has been restored to work like a new product, and comes with a 90 days warranty.
  6. Limited storage capacity

Dell Latitude E7250:
– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the Dell Latitude E7250:

Basically the upadated version of the E7240, the E7250 offers a more powerful CPU, a longer battery life (7.5hrs vs 4.5) and Windows 10 Pro, instead of Windows 8 Pro.

You get a more powerful Intel Core i5-5300U CPU combined with 8GB of RAM, which makes this laptop plenty capable in terms of workload and multi-tasking. It’s also available with an higher-performance Core i7-5600U CPU.

For storage, this model comes with a 256GB SSD that improves responsiveness and booting speed.

You also get plenty of security features such as a SmartCard reader, a fingerprint scanner and a lock slot.

It’s available brand new or refurbished if you wish to spend less.

Looking for something even more powerful? See our recommendation for power users below. It features pretty much everything that you can want security wise too.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-5300U Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.3-2.9GHz CPU.
  2. Decent battery life: Expect 7.5 hours of web browsing with WiFi
  3. Windows 10 Pro
  4. 8GB of DDR3 RAM that can be upgraded up to 32GB.
  5. Easy maintenance : you only have to remove the bottom cover and the memory and storage are acessible.
  6. IPS panel: Great contrast, vibrant colors and large viewing angles.
  7. Touchscreen display
  8. Great backlit keyboard.
  9. 3 x USB 3.0 ports
  10. Docking station port.
  11. SD card reader
  12. HDMI and Mini displayport output.
  13. Smartcard reader
  14. Fingerprint reader for better authentication security.
  15. Dedicated touchpad buttons for left and right click.
  16. Great build quality
  17. Good speakers
  18. HD webcam
  19. Bluetooth 4.0
  20. Thin and light 0.76″ thick and 3.3lbs
  21. Battery can be swapped

Cons:

  1. Limited storage capacity, but you can always upgrade the storage if you need more.
  2. Glossy screen reflects light
  3. No VGA port
  4. No optical drive
  5. No numpad

 

Best Laptop for Power Users

HP ZBook:

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

About the HP ZBook:

If you are looking for something that offers power, responsiveness and a beautiful display at an affordable prize, this model is an amazing option considering its price.

You get an older but highly powerful Intel Core i7-4800MQ CPU combined with 8GB of RAM so your laptop runs smoothly and can multi task without any problems.

You also get a 256GB SSD for storage which means you get a better responsiveness and booting speed than with a regulard hard drive.

You also get a great matte display that doesn’t reflect light with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution.

This is a refurbished product, meaning it has been restored to work and look like a new product. That said, you still get a one year warranty.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a Intel Core i7-4800MQ Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.7GHz CPU
  2. Windows 10 Pro
  3. PCI-Express 240GB SSD that offers even higher performance than SATA III SSDs, improves responsiveness, app launch and booting speed.
  4. 8GB of DDR3 RAM
  5. Bottom panel is easy to remove: Maintenance and upgrades are easy to do.
  6. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution
  7. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  8. Screen brightness can be adjusted in 20 levels.
  9. 1x Displayport 1.2 and VGA outputs
  10. 2x USB 3.0 ports and 1x USB 2.0 ports
  11. Intel 802.11 ac WiFi
  12. Thunderbolt 2 port
  13. Bluetooth 4.0
  14. Excellent build quality
  15. TrackPoint
  16. Two rows of dedicated left, middle and right click buttons.
  17. Good keyboard layout
  18. Numpad
  19. Highly secure: Fingerprint reader, Smartcard reader, TPM
  20. SD card reader
  21. Optical drive
  22. Webcam
  23. Windows 10 Pro

Cons:

  1. Poor battery life : up to 4.5 hours while web surfing with WiFi, with a new battery. Refurbished units batteries won’t last that long.
  2. TN panel, contrast, color vibrancy and viewing angles are lower than with an IPS panel.

Workstations

DELL Precision M4700:

– $544.99 at Neweggdellprecision

About the DELL Precision M4700:

If you are looking to get great performance in a mobile workstation at a budget, the DELL precision M4700 has  an older but still powerful Intel Core i7-3840QM Quad-Core CPU, 16GB of RAM and a quite powerful NVIDIA K2000M workstation class graphic card.

All of this means that you get a workstation that offers a smooth performance and can handle quite heavy workloads at a relatively low cost.

You also get a better display with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 display with an IPS panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.

This is a refurbished product, meaning it has been restored to work and look like a new product. That said, you still get a one year warranty.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with a Intel Core i7 3840QM Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.8-3.8GHz Quad Core CPU
  2. Dedicated NVIDIA K2000M 2GB workstation class graphic card.
  3. Windows 10 Pro
  4. 750GB of hard drive storage.
  5. 16GB of DDR3 RAM
  6. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution
  7. IPS display panel for better contrasts, accurate colors and larger view angles.
  8. Matte screen
  9. VGA, HDMI, Displayport and Firewire 1314 Output
  10. 2x USB 3.0 ports and 3x USB 2.0 ports
  11. 802.11 ac WiFi
  12. Bluetooth 4.0
  13. Very solid build.
  14. Trackpoint
  15. Two sets of dedicated left and right click buttons.
  16. Great keyboard layout
  17. High quality comfortable keyboard
  18. Keyboard backlight
  19. Numpad
  20. Easy maintenance: Two RAM slots and a mSATA slot are easily accessible via the bottom panel that can be opened by removing the battery and two screws.
  21. You can easily add an hard drive with the available 2.5″ that slides out from the side of the laptop
  22. Docking connector to add a docking station for extra ports.
  23. Fingerprint reader
  24. Smartcard reader
  25. SD card reader
  26. Optical drive
  27. Webcam
  28. Excellent cooling system, won’t throttle under full load.

Cons:

  1. Poor battery life : up to 3 hours while web surfing with WiFi, with a new battery. Refurbished units batteries won’t last that long.
  2. Graphic card performance drops when running on battery power.
  3. Heavy and thick: 7.58lbs

Click here to go back up to the summary

Upgrade your Laptop:

Upgrade your RAM:

RAM can easily be upgraded on most laptops. Do note that some laptops cannot be upgraded at all, due to their unique design. A quick google search should provide that info. Feel free to ask me in the comment section if you aren’t sure and can’t find the info.

Visit The Best Computer Memory (RAM) article for my recommendations. Note that you’ll want SODIMM RAM, either DDR3 or DDR4 depending on your laptop.

Upgrade your hard drive:

You can upgrade your hard drive to a faster and/or a larger hard drive. See our article on The Best Hard Drives (HDD) For Your Money and scroll down to the best 2.5″ hard drives for my recommendations.

Some laptops accept hard drives with a 7mm height, others with a 9.5mm height.

Upgrade to a SSD or upgrade your current SSD to get higher capacity and/or higher performance!

A SSD (Solid State Drive) is far faster than a hard drive (See our SSD FAQ) and it also consumes less power than a hard drive, so replacing a hard drive by a SSD will slightly boost your laptop’s battery life.

If you want to upgrade your hard drive to a SSD, I recommend that you read our The Best SSDs (Solid State Drives) For Your Money article.

I also recommend getting an external hard drive enclosure, so you can put your hard drive in it and use it for additional storage

When you replace the hard drive that your laptop came with, I recommend putting it in the Sabrent USB 3.0 2.5″ SATA Hard Drive Enclosure from Amazon or from B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

This particular enclosure comes with a retractable cable that is connected to the enclosure, so you don’t lose/forget it and it makes the whole package more compact too. It comes with an extension cord if you need it.

Looking for a different external case or need a specific cable? Leave a comment if you need assistance with finding what’s best for your needs.

USB DVD and Blu-Ray Drives

If your laptop doesn’t come with an optical drive and you want one, here are my recommendations for external USB optical drives.

USB DVD Burner

The LG GP60NB50 8x, from Amazon or from B&H (Worldwide Shipping), is the one with the best customer reviews.

USB Blu-Ray Burner

I recommend three USB Blu-Ray burner. Make sure to plug them in an USB 3.0 port to get the maximum speed possible.

In order of price and burning speed:
Pioneer BDR-XD05S 6x, from Amazon or $74.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– ASUS BW-12D1S-U 12x from Amazon or $99.50 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

OWC Mercury Pro External USB 3.0 16x Blu Ray reader/writer, $129.95 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

WiFi routers, WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth adapter:

Need a WiFi router, an USB WiFi adapter or an USB Bluetooth adapter for your laptop? Check out our recommendations for The Best WiFi Routers, Best WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth Adapter.

External storage drive

Do you want to buy a external storage drive for extra storage or backup? Check out our recommendations for the Best External Hard Drives, SSDs and Flash Drives.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article.

With this being such a long article with many recommendations and alternatives, you may find some typos.

Alternatively, you may believe that there’s a better option than my recommendation.

Or you may have some questions.

In any case, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you, to help find the best laptop for your needs and to answer your questions.