Laptops can be a great bit of kit. They are incredibly versatile, can be used on the go and are often a lot more affordable than desktop models. However, budget still counts and you want to grab a great deal. We have selected some of the best laptops under $400 that are on the market today, and we will help you make an informed choice about your laptop purchase.
Everyone can benefit from a good quality laptop. Whether you need a computer for your child’s studies, something that can handle your work reports or a means to play games and watch movies, there is sure to be a great machine that does all you need and more.
Setting your laptop budget
There is a lot of diversity in price when it comes to buying a laptop. You don’t want to spend over the odds, but you don’t want to underspend and get a poor deal either. If you only need a computer for web browsing and the occasional bit of word processing, the latest high-end model is probably unnecessary.
However, if you work requires a lot of dedicated software or if you play a lot of video games, you may want to pay a little more for a machine that meets those needs. A laptop that spends a lot of time on the move will need to be replaced more regularly, so bear this in mind as well when setting the price you want to pay. As a guide, $400 is usually a good price point to start at.
The good news is that there are so many laptops out there for under $400. Below are our top picks for budget-friendly computers that should meet all your needs.
HP High Performance Premium Business 15.6″ Laptop
- Display: 15.6 inch screen; 1366 x 768 pixel HD resolution
- Power: 2 GHz Intel Core i3 processor; 4GB RAM; 128GB SSD drive; Windows 10 OS
- Size: 20.6 x 12.0 x 2.9 inches; 5.9 pounds
Windows 10 laptops can now be picked up for bargain prices: you can have the latest tech even if funds are tight. The cool operating system works well on this sleek and robust laptop computer, which features better power and improved graphics since the days of its predecessors. HP have stepped up their visual game with this new portable computer – it offers Intel HD Graphics 5500 and LED-backlit Ultra HD for a very comfortable viewing experience. The anti-glare screen works well, so the laptop can be used under a range of different light conditions. New features mix with the old on this model: it includes a multi-DVD burner drive for watching and creating content, as well as USB 2.0, 3.0 and HDMI ports.
Dell Inspiron 15.6″ Touchscreen Laptop PC
- Display: 15.6 inch screen; 1366 x 768 pixel resolution
- Power: 1.9 GHz Intel Core i3 processor; 6GB RAM; 500GB internal drive; Windows 10 OS
- Size: 15.0 x 1.0 x 10.2 inches; 7.6 pounds
The big draw with this Dell model is the touchscreen functionality – great for tablet users who want to step up, and for young users who find keyboards difficult. You can also default to the keys and mouse pad if preferred. Both are sharp and responsive, and can be interchanged to suit your own user style. However, the Inspiron is more than just a gimmicky product – it is also a potent machine and well worth a purchase if you need an all-round performer. With a very robust design, i3 processor and powerful 6GB memory unit, it can handle heavy use well and is ideal for gaming and movie streaming. It can be a little slow when browsing, but the long battery life and durable engineering make it worth the trade-off.
Lenovo 17.3″ HD+ LED-backlight Premium High Performance Laptop
- Display: 17.3 inch screen; 1600 x 900 pixel HD resolution
- Power: Intel i3-6100u 3.7GHz Dual processor; 4GB RAM; 500GB drive; Windows 10
- Size: 16.5 x 11.1 x 1.1 inches; 6.5 pounds
Lenovo’s 2016 upgrade on its IdeaPad series is a fantastic choice for professionals on a budget, or for those who want a great entertainment unit. A large screen, Dolby audio, Ultra HD viewing and Intel integrated graphics combine to make movies and games look and sound sharp. The computer includes Windows 10 as standard and most apps are compatible with the Chrome web system. Three USB ports are included along with HDMI slot, microphone input and 1000Mbps LAN. This is an ideal work computer with a great deal of storage space and a quick, responsive CPU that can cope with heavy use.
Apple MacBook Air MC965LL/A 13.3″ Laptop
- Display: 13.3 inch screen; 1440 x 900 pixel resolution; integrated graphics
- Power: 1.7 GHz i5-2320 processor; 4GB RAM; 128GB drive; OS X 10.11
- Size: 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches; 5.8 pounds
Apple products are often out of reach of the budget range, but if you are willing to go back a few years or consider used or refurbished models, you could get a bargain. This MacBook Air might be a 2011 model, but it still matches up to the specs and capabilities of many of today’s machines. Mac is a good choice for artistic professionals thanks to its in-built design and editing programs; this dual-core laptop is no exception, offering many top Apple products in its internal catalog. Displays and sound quality are excellent, although it is not the best machine for heavy gaming as it can lag during loading. Overall, it is a lower-end Mac product and does not match newer Apple laptops – but for the low price it now sells at, you might want to consider a few compromises.
Samsung Chromebook 2 13.3″ Laptop
- Display: 13.3 inch screen; 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution
- Power: 2 GHz Exynos 5 Octa 5800 processor; 4GB RAM; 16GB flash drive; Chrome OS
- Size: 12.72 x 8.8 x 0.65 inches; 3.1 pounds
If you spend more time online than offline, a Chromebook might be the best – and cheapest – alternative to a traditional laptop. This Samsung computer offers more than a tablet, but is not the laptop you expect. Instead, it features slick new web apps for all processes and it integrates with traditional software suites like Office: edit documents and sheets online from just the raw file! It also saves space with a flash memory drive and Cloud storage solutions. You still get the same HD display and multi-device connectivity your traditional laptop offers, but this is a far more lightweight and practical machine for when you are on the go.