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Home / Features / Best budget laptop 2023: cheap Chromebooks and Windows 11 PC notebooks

Best budget laptop 2023: cheap Chromebooks and Windows 11 PC notebooks

All of the best cheap laptop options below $500/£500 for work, play and creativity

Best cheap laptop featuring ASUS Huawei MateBook and Dell Inspiron

Looking for the best budget laptop? You’re in the right place. We’ve tested all manner of cheap laptops to gather a selection of top picks, all of which cost less than $600/£600. From homework and Netflix to browsing, emails, work and more, it’s possible to net yourself a notebook that meets your needs, without bleeding your bank balance dry. Before we crack on though, it’s worth quickly setting some expectations.

If you’re after a notebook that’s capable of breezing through games with ease or want a notebook for video editing/ rendering, then the products below are unlikely to meet your needs (for that you’ll want to check out our guide to the best laptops). While great for regular use, budget laptops simply don’t have the power to deal with more intense tasks. They are, however, much cheaper than fully specced-out alternatives, so if you want to nail the basics without paying more, this lot should have you covered. Here’s our guide to the best cheap laptop to buy today.

If you’re looking for something a little more expensive, then you can also check out Stuff’s guides to the best mid-range laptops.

What’s the best budget laptop?

We think that the Asus VivoBook X1500EA (check price) is the best budget laptop for most people. It’s the most expensive option on our list but it’s well worth splurging out for if you’ve got the budget and want a machine that’ll treat you well for years to come. With an Intel i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a whopping 512GB of storage, you won’t be disappointed.

Other budget laptop recommendations

Before we crack on with the full list, here’s a quick look at two other top choices:

Best mid-range budget laptop

The Huawei MateBook D 15 (check price) doesn’t quite have the raw power of our more expensive choice above, but it’s not far off the mark. Thanks to an Intel i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a beautiful MacBook-like design that looks and feels premium, it looks as good as it performs.

Best budget Chromebook

The Asus Chromebook CX1100 (check price) is often on sale for a great price, meaning Asus’s Chromebook can’t be beaten on price. While Chrome OS isn’t as robust as Windows, it still nails the basics, making this the perfect laptop for a young child or other casual users.

The best budget laptops you can buy today:

1. Asus VivoBook X1500EA

Stuff Verdict

Offering great specs for its price, including a 15.6in Full HD screen, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and a powerful 10th gen Intel i7 processor. It’s a solid choice for multitasking and casual gaming.


  • HD display
  • Great specs for the price


  • Battery life could be better
  • Speakers aren’t great
Asus VivoBook specs
Screen15.6″ Full HD IPS
ProcessorIntel Core i7-1165G7
Storage512GB SSD
OSWindows 11
Dimensions48.2 x 29.3 x 6.4 cm; 1.7 kg

Currently available for a great price, the VivoBook X1500EA is the priciest option on this list. And yet, if your wallet can stretch to it, it’s absolutely worth snapping up, because its specs are comfortably above any of the other options, providing a decent level of future-proofing in the process.

Your cash will net you a notebook with a 15.6in Full HD screen, along with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. The real jewel though, is the 10th gen Intel i7 processor. While not the latest variant, it’s still more than powerful enough to meet your app and multitasking needs. Not only that, but Intel’s integrated Iris Plus graphics will let you dabble in some gaming too.

Less demanding titles like Rocket League should pose no problems, and you could even get away with other titles if you experiment with the different quality settings (although this is very much dependent on the games you try).

Overall, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck here — an ideal choice for multitaskers who want the option of dabbling in some casual gaming.

2. Dell Inspiron 15 3000

Stuff Verdict

This AMD-powered model strikes a budget-friendly balance with a 15.6in Full HD 120Hz screen. While not a gaming powerhouse, it handles casual games and everyday tasks well.


  • Windows 11
  • Solid build


  • Speakers aren’t great
  • No USB-C
Dell Inspiron 15 3000 specs
Screen15.6-inch FHD
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 3500U Mobile Processor with Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
OSWindows 11
Dimensions24.9 x 36.39 x 1.99 cm; 1.96 kg

Dell’s Inspiron 15 series comes in what appears to be 10,000 different flavours. We’ve settled for this AMD-powered one which is comfortably budget while still offering very solid specs for your money.

Its 15.6in Full HD screen is large enough to view anything from text to spreadsheets without straining your eyes, and it’s even a 120Hz affair for slick, smooth scrolling. Don’t be fooled though — you won’t be playing games at 120fps on this machine. While its integrated AMD Radeon Graphics won’t be busting out the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 any time soon, you could still get away with casual games and other less demanding titles at lower settings.

Gaming aside, its AMD Ryzen 3 5425U CPU, coupled with 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage make for a formidable work and media machine, letting you effortlessly flitter between open programs without a care. It’s got Windows 11 running out of the box too, so you won’t need to worry about upgrading to it yourself.

3. Asus Chromebook CX1100

Stuff Verdict

A budget-friendly option, ideal as a spare or a first PC for a younger child, despite its Chrome OS and modest hardware.


  • Decent port selection
  • Affordable price


  • Small display, big bezels
  • Not the fastest
Asus Chromebook specs
Screen11.6-inch LED Backlit HD
ProcessorIntel Celeron
Storage‎64 GB
OSChrome OS
Dimensions37.79 x 23.7 x 6.3 cm; 1.2 kg

At the time of writing, the Asus Chromebook CX1100 can be snapped up for a truly great price. And no, that’s not a typo. One of the cheapest notebooks from a well-known brand you’re likely to find, its price makes it an absolutely superb option for a spare machine, or a first PC for a younger child.

The caveat is that it runs Chrome OS — Google’s own operating system that’s much less feature-packed than Windows. Still, you can download all sorts of apps, and it nails basic tasks like email, browsing, media consumption and more.

Given its pared-back nature, you’re getting weaker hardware in comparison to other more expensive items on this list, but Intel’s Celeron N3350 processor and 4GB of RAM should suit casual users — especially when you take into account the smaller 11.6in, 1366 x 768 screen.

It won’t blow your mind of course, but at this price, it doesn’t have to.

4. Huawei MateBook D 15

Stuff Verdict

Impressing with high specs, this sleek notebook also offers a built-in fingerprint sensor, rapid charging, and a stylish design.


  • 65W USB-C charger
  • Attractive design


  • Awkward webcam placement
  • No keyboard backlight
Huawei MateBook D 15 specs
Screen15.6in IPS FullView screen
ProcessorIntel Core i3-10110U
Storage256 GB
OSWindows 10
Dimensions47.29 x 28.8 x 7 cm; 1.53 kg

Currently available for a budget price, Huawei’s MateBook D 15 is certainly one of the best budget laptop options around. The specs start strong with an 11th Gen Intel Core i3 processor, paired with 8GB of RAM and a generous 512GB of nippy SSD storage.

Other notable tricks include a built-in fingerprint sensor, and an included 65W USB-C charger that’s fast enough to provide up to two hours of use on a 15-minute charge.

Specs aside, it’s one of the best-looking notebooks on this list too, with definite Apple-esque design vibes. Weighing just 1.56kg and with a 15.6in Full HD screen, you’ll definitely feel like you’ve got your money’s worth when you open it up.

Throw in Wi-Fi 6 for the latest in speedy Wi-Fi smarts (though you’ll need a recently released router to take advantage of it), and Huawei’s offering is up there with the very best.

5. Asus Vivobook E510MA

Stuff Verdict

A super affordable Windows 10 laptop, that will give Chromebooks a run for their money.


  • Comes with Windows 10
  • 15.6in display


  • Display isn’t Full HD
  • You’ll get what you pay for
Asus Vivobook E510MA specs
Screen15.6-inch FHD
ProcessorIntel Pentium Silver N5030
OSWindows 10
Dimensions45.79 x 29.2 x 6.4 cm; 1.4 kg

The second-cheapest notebook on our list is another Asus entry, and can currently be bought for a wallet-friendly price. Despite its cheap price, it’s not a Chromebook — it’s running Windows 10 as standard.

This makes it an ideal laptop for slightly older children who are looking to use fully-fledged apps and software for school/hobbies, or other casual users. Its 15.6in screen doesn’t have a Full HD resolution (running 1366 x 768 pixels), but it should still be sharp enough for comfortable use.

Your savings mean you’re only getting an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, along with just 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but again, as far as first laptops are concerned, you could do far worse. Plus, the Enter key is highlighted in bright green, which, as we all know, makes everything faster.

6. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

Stuff Verdict

Standing out with its premium design, this compact 12.4in device, it’s an attractive choice for portability and everyday tasks, with higher-spec options available.


  • Confident, elegant design
  • Top-spec model performs well


  • Battery Saver mode is a must for light all-day use
  • Non-backlit, slightly cut down keyboard
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 specs
Screen12.4” PixelSense touchscreen
Processor11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7
Storage128 GB
OSWindows 11
Dimensions‎27.82 x 20.62 x 1.57 cm; 1.13 kg

Microsoft’s beautiful Surface Laptop Go 2 is a tad over $500/£500, but we couldn’t help but include it at this price, given the design and build quality on offer.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 is a lovable budget touchscreen laptop that is extremely portable, admirably powerful and good-looking. Just as you’d hope, it brings the essentials of the Surface Laptop experience to the budget buyer crowd.

Available in a range of alluring hues, its 12.4in screen makes it an ideal choice for those looking for something that can slip into the trimmest of bags, while an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD are far from shabby given the RRP.

There are a few compromises. Its display isn’t as colourful or contrasty as the expensive models. The keyboard doesn’t have a backlight and you get a plastic touchpad instead of a glass one.

If you’re willing to pay a little more then you can open up higher-specced models, but for a daily driver for work and movies, this will serve you well.

7. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3

Stuff Verdict

This nifty Chromebook transforms into a tablet, with a sleek design, and USB-C charging.


  • Compact design
  • USB-C charging


  • Screen is a fingerprint magnet
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 specs
Screen11” HD
ProcessorIntel Celeron
Storage64 GB
OSChrome OS
Dimensions29 x 20.78 x 1.78 cm; 1.2 kg

This transforming Chromebook can switch from laptop to tablet in an instant, thanks to its specially designed hinge. With a 11in Full HD screen, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage, it should make for a very capable basic workhorse, with some media watching and Android gaming on the side.

With an attractive design and USB-C charging, it could make for a quality pared-back machine for those looking for something more slimline than a Windows or Mac alternative.

8. HP 17-cn0000sa

Stuff Verdict

With a large 17in Full HD display, this budget laptop is ideal for watching movies and TV.


  • Large screen for watching content
  • Fast charging and decent battery life


  • Could be more powerful
HP 17-cn0000sa specs
Screen17in Full HD
ProcessorIntel Core i3-1125G4 Processor
Storage256GB SSD
OSWindows 11
Dimensions‎25.78 x 40.07 x 2.06 cm; 2.05 kg

Its Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM might not get your spec-loving heart racing, but this sleek laptop’s 256GB SSD storage is pretty ample, at least.

And while it doesn’t have the firepower for intensive tasks, it’s still made the list thanks to a large, 17in Full HD screen, fast charging, eight hours of battery life, and a design that’s anything but budget.

Throw in materials made from ocean-bound plastic, and there’s a lot to love at this price.

How to choose the best budget laptop

A budget laptop is a machine that doesn’t cost very much and sits right at the bottom of the spec range. These machines are affordable, and often sacrifice build quality and processing power in order to undercut the machines found in Stuff’s best mid-range laptop guide and best premium laptop guide.

As we mentioned in the introduction, these budget laptops won’t be playing AAA games any time soon, but if you’re after a simple word processor and internet browser, these machines are ideal. Our selection spans Windows and ChromeOS machines (sorry, there’s no such thing as a budget MacBook), with a range of screen sizes and performance potential.

While not all budget laptops force you to compromise, it’s worth deciding what’s most important to you: a notebook with the longest battery life might not have the most powerful components, and while a 13in screen is great for portability, you might struggle to fit two documents side-by-side.

It’s also worth checking out Stuff’s guide to the best tablets, as these, when paired with a keyboard accessory, are also a good option for browsing the internet and homework.

Profile image of Esat Dedezade Esat Dedezade Contributor


Esat has been a gadget fan ever since his tiny four-year-old brain was captivated by a sound-activated dancing sunflower. From there it was a natural progression to a Sega Mega Drive, a brief obsession with hedgehogs, and a love for all things tech. After 7 years as a writer and deputy editor for Stuff, Esat ventured out into the corporate world, spending three years as Editor of Microsoft's European News Centre. Now a freelance writer, his appetite for shiny gadgets has no bounds. Oh, and like all good human beings, he's very fond of cats.

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