Just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t demand one of the best laptops for your budget. Take for example these Asus, HP, and Lenovo laptops that cost less than $300. Yes, they do involve a few compromises, particularly on build quality, but when it comes to performance, these laptops are more than up to the challenge – making them a must have for just about any home office. Save as much as $190 when you get the Lenovo IdeaPad S145, HP 14-DQ1038wm, and Asus VivoBook 15 X512 laptops at Walmart today.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S145 is primarily aimed at the budget-conscious market. With a base model that’s only worth $219 on Walmart ($50 less than its normal retail price of $269), this is one of the cheapest portables that we’ve ever encountered. What you get is an all-plastic affair (unsurprising for the price point) but it does appear robust and well-constructed. The plastic chassis also makes it super lightweight. You won’t have any difficulty lugging this laptop around.
The IdeaPad S145’s large 15.6-inch display provides plenty of screen real estate for doing productivity tasks, watching movies, or maybe even a spot of light gaming. But since it only packs 1,366 x 768 of pixel resolution, it is not very sharp and can prove lackluster to most people. It does lay flat at 180-degrees like all IdeaPad laptops, which permits other people a full view of your work presentation. Furthermore, this laptop’s keyboard is pretty good. The U-shaped keys are nicely clicky and have a slight bounce to them, and the sizeable touchpad is accurate and responsive. In terms of connectivity, this laptop has three USB Type-A ports. It doesn’t have a Type-C port but there is an HDMI port for connecting to an external monitor. There is also an SD card reader, but it’s a rather slow one.
This laptop is powered by an Intel Celeron 4205U dual-core processor that works alongside 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD. This isn’t the most powerful laptop chipset out there, so don’t expect it to be capable of taking on all computing tasks. The IdeaPad S145 is really designed for light use such as web browsing, emailing, or document writing, and not much else. Battery life is also underwhelming, only lasting a paltry four hours in our video loop test – two hours shy of Lenovo’s claim of six hours.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S145 comes in more powerful configurations, but this one is pretty decent when it comes to overall performance. It’s not the most powerful machine out there, but for just $219, it’s great value for your money.
No one would mistake the HP 14-DQ1038wm as 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 any premium materials in sight. However, it does seem sturdy, with minimal flexing on the keyboard deck and lid when pressure is applied pressure on 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, etc.). Those looking to do CPU-intensive tasks like HD video editing and 3D designing/rendering 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 fro 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 $279 instead of the usual $469 – that’s a $190 in savings.
There are plenty of sub-categories in Asus’ VivoBook line. You’ve got the top-end Pro series, the midrange S series, and the convertible Flip series. The VivoBook 15 X512 decidedly belongs in the lower end, although we can say with utmost confidence that it’s a good blend of performance and affordability. The company claims that it offers flagship-class performance for a relatively low price. Does it deliver on that promise? Let’s find out.
The VivoBook 15 X512’s plastic chassis is reasonably sturdy, and resists bending when pressure is applied to it. It sports a clean, sleek design that looks surprisingly elegant considering the low price point. Boasting Asus’ trademark ErgoLift hinge design, the keyboard is raised by an angle of 2 degrees to aid typing and improve thermal ventilation. The keyboard itself offers a satisfying typing experience. The key action is soft and squidgy with almost no “click” to the action. The touchpad beneath it is large and responsive and supports Windows Precision Drivers for accurate tracking. In terms of connectivity, you get pretty much everything you need in an UltraBook: Two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, a USB-C Thunderbolt port, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a Micro-SD card slot.
This laptop flaunts a 15-inch Full HD LCD display with very slim bezels surrounding it. Asus normally nails it in this department, but sadly the VivoBook 15 X512’s screen left us a bit unsatisfied. It sorely lacks brightness which is pretty evident when used outdoors, although it is bright enough for indoor use. Plus, terrible viewing angles mean colors look washed out even with a slight movement away from the central focal point.
At least it’s good performance-wise. Powered by a Ryzen 3 3200U processor, this laptop is very capable of usual daily computing chores, such as web surfing, document writing, spreadsheet calculations, and media playback. However, battery life is just average. Under moderate usage, this laptop can barely keep up at just five hours tops.
The Asus VivoBook 15 X512 certainly is the best-looking laptop on this list. Its performance is quite good as long as you don’t use it for processor-intensive programs. Get it at Walmart for just $289 instead of $349 – a cool $60 worth of savings.
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