The best laptops under $300

You don't have to spend a fortune on a PC. These are the best laptops under $300

Acer Chromebook 15
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

While modern laptops can come packing hardware that would make desktops of yesteryear blush, not everyone needs all that power — and not everyone has the budget for it. Just because your future laptop is cheap though, doesn’t mean it has to be slow or incapable. Some of the best laptops under $300 are impressive little machines.

It’s important to note that as great as the below choices are, some sacrifices need to be made to keep the price so low. You can’t expect to have top-tier hardware in these systems, and fancy features are kept to a minimum. However, we wouldn’t go ahead and recommend any of these if they didn’t offer decent performance and battery life, so you can buy any of the following systems with the confidence that they will serve you well — just not as quickly as their more expensive counterparts.

If your budget is a little higher than the laptops seen in this guide, check out our list of the best laptops under $500.

The best

Acer Aspire 1 ($220)

Though not exciting to look at, the Acer Aspire 1 makes up for that with an improved array of internal hardware. It sports an Intel Celeron N3450 quad-core CPU with 4GB of memory, 32GB of local storage, and a 14-inch display with 1080p resolution.

None of that comes at the price of portability. Although it is a little heavier than the other entries at 3.5 pounds, that’s not enough to be significantly noticeable. Battery life comes in at a respectable seven hours, which isn’t stellar, but it’s enough for most of a work day, and would be plenty for the average medium-distance flight.

Its one major weakness may be local storage space, but with a USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports and an SD card reader, you can expand that with a decent external hard drive (these are our favorites). The Amazon listing for this one even comes with an optional flash drive for a few dollars more. There are options for cloud storage if you prefer.

The 1080p display is this laptop’s main attraction. It makes this laptop great for watching movies and online video, even if the display is a little on the dull side. It’s worth shopping around for this one as in some cases you can find a deal which knocks the price down to well under $200.

Buy one now at:

Amazon

The rest

Acer Chromebook 15 ($300)

Acer Chromebook 15
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

A 1080p screen is as much a rarity in Chromebooks at this price point as it is in their Windows counterparts, but the Acer Chromebook 15 packs that full-HD resolution into a 15.6-inch IPS panel. That makes it the largest-display laptop on this list, which might impact portability, but certainly helps with productivity and media viewing.

Internally the Chromebook 15 packs an Intel Celeron dual-core 3205U processor, paired up with 4GB of memory and 32GB of solid-state storage. There is a 16GB version for those who want to save a few dollars, but there isn’t much difference in price between the two, and doubling on board storage is a worthy upgrade.

This is a larger laptop than some others on this list, weighing in at just under five pounds. However, battery life is much more impressive, lasting upwards of nine-hours in the right circumstances. Considering the size and resolution of this display, that’s a good run, and makes this great for simple work and media viewing.

Read our Acer Chromebook 15 review here.

Buy one now at:

Amazon

Lenovo Ideapad 120S ($200)

Lenovo has a number of offerings under $300, and the Ideapad 120S is one of the best. Coming in 11-inch ($200) and 14-inch ($250) form-factors, it packs an Intel Celeron N3350 processor running at 1.1GHz (turbo 2.4GHz), 2-4GB of memory and up to 64GB of on board flash storage. Graphics wise it runs the on board Intel HD 500 chip which powers the 1,366 x 768 TN display.

Despite the affordable price tag, the Ideapad 120S has a premium look to it, with a great finish available in a few different color choices. While there are some reports of the frame not being the most sturdy, you do get a good selection of ports, including a USB-C which can be used as an alternative charging port if needed.

Most important is its portability. Although the smaller-screen variant is more compact, neither are heavy, weighing in at 2.53 pounds and 3.17 pounds respectively. The battery life lasts up for up to 8.5 hours, so this laptop is good for almost a full working day without charging.

Buy one now at:

Best Buy Lenovo

Asus Chromebook C202 ($220)

Ranked as the best budget Chromebook in our guide, the Asus Chromebook C202 is designed for students and middle-school children, giving them a rugged and reasonably powerful laptop to work with. It might not pack some of the features and hardware of the other entries on this list, but it can withstand the rigours of day to day use better than most.

Internally it sports an Intel Celeron N3060 processor, up to 4GB of memory and 16GB of flash storage. Its screen is on the small size, measuring in at just 11.6-inches with a resolution of 1,366 x 768, but it does sport an anti-glare coating and this small form-factor aids its portability.

On that note, this Chromebook weighs in at just 2.2 pounds, so is the lightest on this list and with an average battery life of around 10-hours, it’s more than capable of lasting throughout a school day.

With a tough frame, rubber guards, easy grip handles and a spill-resistant keyboard, this laptop is designed to handle day to day use in a rough environment with ease. It’s not the fastest Chromebook out there, but it’s impressively capable for such a tough, little package.

Buy one now on:

Amazon

Acer Chromebook R 11 ($290)

how to get android apps on a chromebook

Although it has stiff competition from several other Acer laptops in this line up, the Chromebook R 11 is still a solid contender under $300. It might skirt the edge of that price ceiling, but that means you get an Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core CPU running at up to 2.08GHZ, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of on board storage. It also has great battery life, managing more than six and a half hours when running our Peacekeeper benchmark.

Although we did find its touchpad a bit difficult to use at times, the R 11 has a great hinge that lets you flip it all the way round to use as a tablet. That, combined with a decent touchscreen, means that this is a versatile 2-in-1 with a lot going for it, where many of the other entries here are “just” laptops.

Read our full Acer Chromebook R 11 review here.

Buy one now on:

Amazon

Computing

Is your PC safe? Foreshadow is the security flaw Intel should have predicted

Three new processor vulnerabilities have appeared under the 'Foreshadow' banner. They're similar in nature to Meltdown and Spectre, only they steal data from different memory spaces. Here's everything you need to know.
Deals

Save hundreds with the best MacBook deals for August 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.
Deals

For work or for play, these are the 5 best laptop deals for college students

Whether you're getting ready for a new school year, shopping for a special student, or just need a new computer, we've got you covered: These are the five best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to an on-the-go gaming…
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Computing

What's the best laptop? We've reviewed a lot of them -- and this is our answer

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. The laptops we've chosen for our best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while…
Web

Google claims censored search in China is ‘not close’ as employees protest

Google CEO, Sundar Pinchai, has promised employees that the company is "not close" to releasing a censored search product in China, despite claims that it was working on such a project.
Computing

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 850 chip appears in benchmarks with improved performance

A benchmark for Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 850 processor show a less-than-stellar increase in multi-core performance over the previous 835 chip. Introduced in June, the Snapdragon 850 promises up to 30 percent better performance.
Web

Adobe Spark Page makes web design easy — here’s how to use it

Using artificial intelligence and simple tools, Adobe Spark Page is designed for easy web page design. Here's how to use Adobe Spark Page to create a travel journal, event page or any other one-page website.
Deals

Best Buy drops the price of MacBooks for its anniversary sale

It's not every day you see a MacBook sale like this, so you'll definitely want to consider these savings -- especially if you're a student. Students can save an additional $150 just by signing up for Best Buy student deals.
Deals

Walmart Back to College sale: Save big on computers, TVs, tablets, and more

Walmart's Back to College sale is your chance to score big discounts on name-brand electronics, so whether you're getting ahead of the new school year or just doing some shopping, we've picked out the best deals that can save you hundreds…
Computing

These 30 apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find for the latest MacOS and how they can help out your…
Computing

Apple’s rumored entry-level MacBook may appear in September starting at $1,200

Apple may reveal new products in September including an entry-level 13-inch MacBook based on Intel’s seventh-generation processors. Apple originally intended these units to rely on Intel’s now-delayed 10nm “Cannon Lake” processors.
Mobile

AirDrop makes sending files to Apple devices easy -- here's how

Want to send files or photos to your friends when you're standing directly beside them? Instead of texting or emailing, why not learn how to use AirDrop? Here's everything you need to know about using AirDrop on both iOS and MacOS.
Deals

Stay safe on the web and save up to $70 with McAfee Total Protection

If you don't have some sort of protection on your phone, tablet, or computer, you're basically leaving the door open for anyone looking to do some cyber burgling. Protect yourself for a year with McAfee Total Protection for just $30.