We have all been through that painful task of trying to buy a laptop on a tight budget. If you have only got the equivalent of $450-600, you might as well be trying to select a grain of sand from a beach. There are so many options that often leave us confused. To rid yourself of those confusions, follow the following basic steps when trying to find a budget friendly laptop.
Step 1: Don’t do it.
While they sound very promising, laptops are generally not something you should be looking to save money on. If you have money, spend it on a good laptop, and good things are often not cheap. A MacBook pro will always be a MacBook pro. Laptops are something that we use daily and if your usage is heavy, buy something high-end. It is going to get affected internally and externally and you do not want to overburden the budget laptop that you buy. Only go for a cheaper laptop if you really can’t afford to buy an expensive one or if your usage is minimal.
Step 2: Buy a Chromebook.
After the cost, the most important factor that should govern your laptop choice is your usage. If you want to use it for web browsing and casual entertainment, there are no better options than the Chromebook. Like most things built by Google, the Chromebook is faster, better built and cheaper than their Windows counterparts. The Chrome OS used in the Chromebook is very basic, essentially a fancy version of Google Chrome. So most of the things you can do on this laptop are online. But if you are only going to use it for browsing, Facebook and the occasional movie, this laptop is extremely good. Priced at $430 per piece, it is friendly on the pocket too. The only drawback is that most Android apps work better on touchscreens and the Acer Chromebook lacks that.
Step 3: Lower Your Expectations
Once you have bought the laptop according your budget and usage, do not expect it to do anything more than what you bought it for. If you have bought a Windows based machine, it will do pretty much all things that a normal person requires, normally. It will be fast, but not too fast. It will have good, not great, battery time. If they screen is great, the keyboard will be poor. You get the point. Unfortunately, they are also full of pre-installed “bloatware”. But hey, they get the job done. All your needs are fulfilled, with just a passable score.
Step 4: The Traditional Specs of a Budget Laptop
– A 1366×768 screen. Some laptops under $600 also have Full HD 1080p screens but nothing beyond that. If possible, look for an IPS display, not a TN one.
– Forget about a touchscreen. You may find something under $600 but it will be massively compromised in other areas of performance. So better to go for a conventional screen with better hardware. Windows 10 is perfectly usable without a touchscreen.
– Most budget laptops have the Intel Core i5 processor. Let’s not get into details. It will get most things done. If you really want to fret, look for a 6th Generation chip so you are future-proof.
– Don’t buy anything that has less than 6GB of RAM. RAM is often the most important, yet most ignored factor by most common people. Your processing speed is nothing without a suitable amount of RAM to support it. If you can find 8GB, well and good. Do not fall below 6GB of RAM. Run away from people who offer you just 4GB. Most modern applications and software require a minimum of 4GB RAM.
– A 500GB hard disk drive (HDD) is the standard for budget laptops. If you want to expand, you can always buy a solid state drive (SSD) but that would involve more money as well. If you 500GB of space, you are good to go.
– Don’t fret over dedicated graphics cards. Good dedicated GPU are very rare to find in these laptops. If you find anything that says nVidia or Radeon, consider yourself lucky and buy it.
– You’ll want to ensure your device supports the fastest 802.11ac WiFi standard, if nothing else. It probably wouldn’t hurt to have a few USB 3.0 ports on there, either.
Acer’s Aspire E5-574G-52QU looks to come close to this description.. It’s not svelte, but for $520, it checks off the display, CPU, RAM, storage, and WiFi boxes admirably. It has a solid GPU for the occasional game as well.
Step 5: Buy Directly From Microsoft
If you are planning to buy a Windows based laptop, better to get it directly from Microsoft. Do so because the “Signature Edition” will come with a cleaner version of Windows 10 and will contain no bloatware. That means it will be easier on your memory and storage space.
Step 6: Your Model Has Been Discontinued
Don’t be surprised if your model is discontinued a year after you purchase it. Cheaper laptops are frequently dropped by manufacturers. They re-launch it under a different name and model just to keep the buyers looking. So if you are getting a really good deal, make sure that the model isn’t about to be dropped. Drake probably knows already.
Step 7: Research and try before you buy.
These tips should help you in your search but you should do some research yourself before you buy. If possible, go out and actually try out these laptops at the stores before actually buying one. Your laptop is YOUR laptop and something that you spend a lot of time with. It should be able to work with you and appeal to you in more terms of more than just workability. Minor preferences like the positions of the track-pad and the sound of the buttons pressing vary from person to person and greatly affect the way you use your laptop.