Right now, most of us are stuck at home — so we need to stay as productive as possible. Whether you’re working, studying, or just need something to keep you entertained, here are some excellent laptop deals that will keep you preoccupied while on quarantine. Whether you’re looking for an affordable everyday machine or a powerful processing powerhouse, you’re sure to find one in this roundup that will perfectly suit your needs. Save up to $200 when you buy one of these Lenovo, HP, and Apple laptops at Best Buy or Walmart today.
— $180, was $230
The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 81VS0001US is the cheapest laptop on this list. Right now, this 14-incher is available on Best Buy for just $180, $50 less than its normal retail price of $230. This laptop is ideal only for the most basic home and office tasks since it comes with a generally weak processor – the AMD A6-9220e. It’s fine for light computing duties like web browsing, MS Office apps, music and movie playback, and similar uses. If you need a machine for video editing, Photoshop, or other CPU-intensive programs, though, look elsewhere. The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 includes the AMD Radeon R4 for integrated graphics, which is a pretty weak graphics processor that can handle only the lightest computer games. At least it comes with a free 1-year Microsoft Office 365 Personal subscription.
This laptop’s 64 Gigabytes of eMMC storage is limited, quite small by today’s notebook standards. We recommend uninstalling bloatware for more space. If you don’t plan to save large amounts of data on this laptop, then 64GB size can be enough. Fortunately, it has a Micro-SD card slot so you can expand the storage space.
As expected, the Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 comes with a very basic display. The 14-inch display is based on TN technology, which has much narrower viewing angles than IPS screens. It claims to sport HD resolution, but the screen is seriously lacking in sharpness and is quite dim and contrast-deprived. It serves its basic purpose, and that’s it.
A couple of things that Lenovo gets right with the IdeaPad 1 14 is its keyboard and touchpad. The keyboard provides an excellent typing experience. Keys have excellent travel, are clicky, and have a nice slight bounce to them when pressed. The fairly large touchpad is accurate and responsive to boot.
It’s worth mentioning that this laptop doesn’t have a built-in web camera, which is an almost mandatory feature of modern laptops, including even the cheapest ones. You might want to keep that in mind in case you decide to purchase this. Lastly, Lenovo claims that the IdeaPad 1 14 has a battery life of “up to 8 hours”, and during our test, it was able to last an admirable 6 hours long.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14 81VS0001US isn’t a powerful machine and is more suitable as a secondary computer. Get it for the incredibly low price of $180 on Best Buy today.
— $299, was $469
No one would mistake the HP 14-DQ1038wm for a high-end laptop. Just by looking at it, it’s clear where HP had to cut some corners in order to make it as affordable as possible. Its chassis is made entirely of plastic with nary a premium material in sight. However, it does seem sturdy, with minimal flexing on the keyboard deck and lid when pressure is applied to it. When it comes to performance, it’s going to meet your basic laptop requirements (typing documents, creating a presentation, streaming videos and movies, emailing, and similar uses). Those looking to do CPU-intensive tasks like HD video editing and 3D designing/rendering, though, need to look elsewhere.
This laptop boasts a full HD display that’s packed with 1,366 x 768 pixels. It’s not the brightest screen out there and definitely has some bad viewing angles, but the ability to watch YouTube and Netflix videos in glorious high-definition is a huge plus. And you also don’t have to worry about light reflecting on the screen even when outdoors thanks to its HD SVA anti-glare coating. We’ve never encountered an HP laptop with a bad keyboard, and that holds true for this one as well. Keystroke was precise, nicely clicky, and the overall tying experience was a delight, although it does lack a number keypad on the right side.
This laptop’s 10th-generation Intel Core i3-1005G1 dual-core processor, as mentioned earlier, is capable of handling normal computing tasks but will get bogged down by processor-heavy programs, nor will it be able to support graphically demanding games as its integrated Intel UHD graphics chip can only handle old and low-demanding PC games. At least it offers plenty of connectivity, having one USB Type C port, two USB Type-A ports, one AC smart pin, one HDMI, one headphone/microphone combo, and an integrated webcam. Its 128GB internal storage isn’t much, but it does come with an SD card reader so you can expand the memory to up to 400GB. Battery life can last for approximately 8 hours (quite good for the price), but it really depends upon usage.
Those looking for a reliable but cheap 14-inch laptop should seriously consider the HP 14-DQ1038wm. Right now, it’s available at Walmart for the incredibly low price of $299 instead of the usual $469 – that’s $170 in savings.
— $389, was $469
If you’re looking for a good entry-level laptop with solid productivity power, a sizable screen, and a comfortable keyboard, the Lenovo IdeaPad S340 is a great option. This laptop boasts plenty of stamina thanks to its AMD Ryzen 5 3500U quad-core processor, which means it can handle CPU-intensive activities like video editing. However, the device is seriously hampered by a cut-rate TN display, notorious for its poor viewing angles. Right now, you can get the Lenovo IdeaPad S340 on Walmart for $389 instead of $469 – a cool $80 off.
The IdeaPad S340 has a relatively stylish profile. It’s a far cry from the seriously sexy ThinkPad series, but for a budget-friendly laptop, it looks pretty good. Measuring 14.1 x 9.6 x 0.7 inches and weighing in at 3.9 pounds, this laptop is nicely slim but a tad heavy. The bezels surrounding the 15.6-inch bezels are quite thin except for the bottom one, and it comes with a healthy array of ports and connectors. There’s a full-size HDMI port, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, and a combo audio jack, along with the charging port. It lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port though, but that’s to be expected in a laptop this inexpensive.
Much like the IdeaPad 1 14, the S340 comes with a terrible TN (twisted nematic) display. While TN panels tend to have low input lag, which makes them excellent for gaming, they’re also known for their poor viewing angles. You have to be directly in front of this laptop to enjoy whatever it is you’re watching. It’s also quite dim at just an anemic 205 nits.
At least the S340’s backlit keyboard offers a comfy and refreshingly snappy typing experience. Keys have enough travel to keep them from feeling shallow, and it has a nice tactile bump and a springy rebound. Furthermore, the medium-sized trackpad is equally superb, precise, and responsive even to the lightest touch. It takes a fair bit of effort to click it though, but that’s pretty normal with laptops in this price range.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S340 delivers better than average performance at a budget-friendly price. If you’re willing to overlook its less than impressive display, this is a fantastic portable to consider purchasing. Get it on Walmart today for just $389.
— $900, was $1,100
The MacBook Air is now thinner and lighter than ever, yet still possesses the same power and solid build quality typical of Apple devices. The latest version of the MacBook Air normally retails for $1,100, but right now you can purchase it on Best Buy for $900 — a huge $200 off.
The latest version of the MacBook Air looks almost exactly like the previous one, with a few significant hardware and software upgrades. The older version is outfitted with a single Thunderbolt 2 port and two USB 3 ports; the latest one has two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports instead. Although both models have a 13-inch LED-backlit screen, the newer MacBook Air’s display is made better thanks to Apple’s True Tone technology. The screen now has the power to adapt to your environment’s ambient light to make images appear more natural, with accurate colors that aren’t oversaturated.
Working alongside an Intel i5 processor, this MacBook Air has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory. It proved speedy and performed well when tasked with normal daily workflow, like streaming videos, working in Photoshop, word processing, and web browsing. We did, however, notice a bit of a slowdown when we had multiple browsers, apps, and programs open simultaneously, but not enough to raise concern.
The MacBook Air can last up to eight hours with light web browsing. While not exactly a bad number, that falls well short of Huawei’s MateBook X Pro, which managed 9.5 hours in our test.
If you’re determined to buy a MacBook but don’t want to shell out too much money, then the MacBook Air is for you. It’s a well-rounded portable laptop that boasts a solid performance and premium build quality. Get the latest version of the MacBook Air for $900.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
- Best cheap laptop deals for March 2021
- Best cheap Best Buy laptop deals for March 2021
- Best cheap MacBook deals for March 2021
- Best cheap student laptop deals for March 2021
- The best laptops under $1,000 you can buy right now