Best Budget Laptops for $400 or Less

Photo by: cnet.com
Dell Inspiron 15

Related: Cheap android tablet reviews
The Dell Inspiron 15 (starting at $350) is part of Dell's basic laptop lineup, but reviewers assert that it doesn't feel

... more 
Photo by: cnet.com
Dell Inspiron 15

Related: Cheap android tablet reviews
The Dell Inspiron 15 (starting at $350) is part of Dell's basic laptop lineup, but reviewers assert that it doesn't feel like a low-end machine. The cheapest version comes with 4GB of memory, a 320GB hard drive, and a dual-core Intel Celeron processor. Experts recommend upgrading to an Intel Core i3 processor for the best performance on a budget. The faster model costs an extra $50 but also comes with a larger 500GB hard drive. Both versions include a DVD drive, an HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, two speedier USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth support, and a media card reader. The 15.6-inch screen has 1366x768 resolution, high enough to watch 720p HD video.
Related: Top inexpensive desktop computers

less 
1 / 3
Tue, Oct 15, 2013 9:08 AM EDT

By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

Related: Cheap android tablet reviews

Related: Best smartphones for a penny or less

A consumer looking for a new laptop on a budget is blessed with many choices these days. But with so many configurations out there and expert reviewers focused mostly on pricier machines, it's hard to zero in on a single computer as a good value. The three budget laptops below have garnered enough positive feedback to be featured on Cheapism.com as top picks for $400 or less. They may not have the chops for things like 3D gaming, but they're well-equipped for word processing, web surfing, and other everyday tasks.

Related: Top inexpensive desktop computers

In addition to the features mentioned, a laptop's weight and battery life are important to consider if you plan to carry it in a backpack or briefcase regularly. The Dell Inspiron 15 weighs 4.96 pounds and Lenovo's G500 totals 5.73 pounds. The Samsung Chromebook takes the cake in this regard, at only 2.5 pounds. This has a lot to do with its screen size: 11.6 inches compared with 15.6 inches on

Related: Best cheap computer monitors

the traditional laptops. (If you favor screen size over portability, the 17-inch model in Dell's Inspiron line has picked up multiple editors' choice awards and starts at $400.) Battery life depends on a variety of factors, but users can expect the six-cell battery in the Lenovo G500 to last longer than the four-cell battery in a Dell Inspiron 15 with similar hardware. The Chromebook gets the best battery life of the three: at least six hours and change.

More from Cheapism:
Reviews and recommendations for budget gaming computers
For more ways to save, follow Cheapism on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
To stay on top of the latest posts, read the Cheapism Blog.