Best Cheap Laptops 2021
If you’re looking for the best cheap laptop of 2021, you have to ask yourself what’s most important, and what are you ready to sacrifice? Even the best cheap laptops aren’t ideal in every area — they have some plus things but cut corners to reach their price tags. You can almost surely find a budget laptop with a touchscreen, a premium-looking chassis, an HDMI port, a backlit keyboard, or stylus support, but you may need to think about which of those characteristics you want the most, and which you can live without.
Our selection for the best cheap laptop of 2021 is the HP Envy x360 13. We feel that the Envy has build quality, performance, and battery life that exceed those of many premium laptops. We’ve got a number of other models on this list from Lenovo, Acer, Samsung, and HP.
Other best cheap laptops of 2021 include the Lenovo Chromebook Duet and the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. Many of these laptops also look on our best laptop, best Chromebook, and best student laptop lists.
We believe that Chromebooks are, in most cases, the best-value option for customers who want to get a laptop under $500 and tend to offer better specs, features, and build quality than most Windows laptops at that price limit.
1. HP ENVY X360 13
THE BEST CHEAP LAPTOP OF 2021
HP’s Envy x360 13, available for $699, is the greatest budget laptop you can buy under $800. With an HQ and sturdy convertible build, it looks like a gadget that should cost twice its price. It has lots of other excellent features as well, comes with a really excellent keyboard and a bright, colorful screen. It’s also excellent on the inside. Using an AMD Ryzen processor, the system gives all-day battery life and very smooth performance — it can even also play some light gaming.
We have some small complaints about the Envy. The screen is 16:9, which is a crowded aspect ratio for multitasking.
2. LENOVO CHROMEBOOK DUET
If you want an absurdly cheap Chromebook that unquestionably gets the job done, you should surely be looking at the $219 Lenovo Chromebook Duet. The Duet is a 10-inch aluminum alloy Chrome OS tablet that comes with a kickstand and keyboard cover. It looks sturdy and expensive, and it can easily work as either a tablet or a PC. But you’re not settling too much on performance for this device’s small size; as long as you’re not operating dozens of tabs and apps, it works fine. And we got over 11 hours of battery life, making it one of the longest-lasting Chromebooks we’ve seen in the past year.
The Chromebook Duet comes with a small screen — just 10.1 inches. That’s a fine size for a young student and for an adult’s secondary gadget for note-taking, Netflixing, and the like, but it’s not a perfect size for a primary work laptop unless you’re fine with a bit of squinting.
3. ACER CHROMEBOOK SPIN 713
If you’d want a traditional Chromebook with a clamshell factor, the $699 Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a cheap option that’s all-around great. It has a beautiful 3:2 display that delivers a crisp picture and bright, vibrant colors with lots of vertical space. The screen alone would make the Chromebook Spin 713 a standout, but it has plenty of other strengths as well, it comes with a great keyboard, all-day battery life, and a full port selection, including an HDMI, in addition to USB-C, USB-A, and a microSD slot.
4. ASUS CHROMEBOOK DETACHABLE CM3
If you want the Duet’s size and detachable factor but are willing to pay on something a bit more upscale, you may check out the Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 to be a more suitable choice. Like the Duet, the CM3 is a 10.5-inch 16:10 Chrome OS tablet with a fabric cover, kickstand, and detachable screen. But the CM3’s kickstand folds multiple ways: you can crease it lengthwise to stand the tablet up like a laptop or fold it the short way and stand the tablet up horizontally. Plus, it comes with a built-in USI stylus and roomy keys with a remarkable amount of travel. Battery life was also very impressive: we equated close to 13 hours of continuous work.
CM3 has some cons it lags a bit behind the Duet in power. Its MediaTek processor can be a bit slow compared to pricier offerings. But the CM3 still offers a remarkable number of perks for its sub-$400 price and makes a fabulous student driver or secondary laptop.
5. SAMSUNG GALAXY CHROMEBOOK 2
If you’re in the market for an affordable Chromebook that looks awesome, the $549 Galaxy Chromebook 2 should be on your list. It comes in a bold “fiesta red” color (and some other colors as well. It’s a touchscreen convertible with stylus support.
The Galaxy Chromebook 2 comes with an excellent QLED panel, which is one of the best displays we’ve ever seen on a Chromebook. You also get a solid keyboard, good battery life (about 7 hours and 21 minutes of continuous work), and a port selection that includes two USB-C ports, a MicroSD slot, and a headphone jack. It’s simply one of the best Chromebooks you can get and one of the greatest cheap laptops as well.