The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
Buying a budget laptop doesn’t have to be a total compromise.
It’s true that in the computer world more money will get you more computer, but think about what you actually need.
If all you do is stream some Netflix, write documents, and surf the web, there’s no reason to spend a lot on a computer these days.
So if you’re looking for an inexpensive laptop for on-the-go use, or maybe want to see what the high-end of the budget laptop world looks like, this list has you covered.
What it is: HP Stream 11-r010nr 11.6-Inch NotebookWho it is for: People who care most about portability and battery lifeWhy I’m recommending this one: If you’re in the market for an ultra-portable machine, you have to understand that you’re buying a computer with the most compromises.The screen is small and has a pretty low resolution. It doesn’t have a lot of internal storage space or RAM, so you won’t be able to do any high-end photo or video editing. But despite all that, ultra-portable laptops are perfect for traveling, writing, and streaming music or video. This one is ideal for traveling, since HP touts the machine gets 10.5 hours of battery life.This computer comes with a one-year subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 service, which costs $59 on its own. Factoring that in, this computer is a very good value. If you’re looking for a low-power computer for traveling or very basic tasks, this is a good option.Price: $189.56
What it is: Acer Chromebook 14Who it is for: People who don’t mind having their life in the cloudWhy I’m recommending it: I’ve recommended this computer before, and for good reason.It’s well made, has reasonable specs for a Chromebook, and most importantly, it’s getting an update that lets it run Android apps. That last part is the most important. Chromebooks largely rely on the internet to be useful. That means this computer is built for people who keep their video, music, photos, and other data in the cloud. Preferably Google’s.Google bundles 100GB of cloud storage with their computer to help ease your transition, but this computer is a no-go for people with large media libraries. Having Android apps opens Chromebooks up to more offline utilities, but even then, this is a computer for someone who’s always connected.Price: $264.99
The big screen
What it is: Asus F555LA-AB31 15.6-Inch LaptopWho it is for: The average computer user
Why am I recommending it: If you looked up “laptop” in the dictionary, you’d probably see a picture of this machine next to the definition.It’s more capable than the ultra-portable machine above, but it’s not high-end by any means. It has high enough specs for you to comfortably run some more intense apps, but don’t expect to be doing any hardcore gaming. This computer also has some of the amenities, like a disc drive, that other computer manufacturers have ditched to save space and cost. If you have a bunch of data from a computer you bought five years ago and want an upgraded machine you’ll feel instantly familiar, with this is your computer.Price: $469.99
See the rest of the story at Business Insider