Best laptops under $ 200 | Best Cheap and Affordable

If you’re on a tight budget, you can find best laptops under $ 200. Laptop prices have dropped a lot in 2020, so these laptops are better than ever. We show you the options that are really worth it.

Samsung Chromebook 3

  • Advantages: bright screen; long battery life; good performance
  • Disadvantages: weak audio; the bottom heats up
  • Key specs: Intel Celeron N3060 CPU; 11.6-inch / 1366 x 768 screen; 4 GB of RAM; 2.5 pounds

A great value, the 11.6-inch Chromebook 3 offers the brightest screen we’ve seen in any laptop in this price range, hitting hard with 259 nits on our light meter, where other laptops under $ 200 struggle. reach 200 nits.

That brightness allows for wider viewing angles and a better web browsing and movie viewing experience.

Thanks to its 4GB of RAM, the Chromebook 3 is also a multitasking champ, easily handling a wide variety of tabs.

Best of all, Samsung’s laptop lasted over 9 hours on one charge, which is more than enough to get you through a school day. Since, as the name implies, this is a Chromebook, it’s great for kids and anyone who lives online.

However, if you need the flexibility of Windows, you will have to look elsewhere.

HP Stream 11

  • Advantages: Strong performance; good battery life; excellent audio
  • Disadvantages: Screen in dim light; Sharp front lip
  • Key specs: Intel Celeron N3060 CPU; 11.6-inch / 1366 x 768 screen; 4 GB of RAM; 2.5 pounds

It’s not the best laptop on the market, but the HP Stream 11 offers the best combination of performance and battery life we’ve seen in a Windows laptop under $ 200.

Because Stream 11 has 4GB of RAM, it is capable of handling multitasking or productivity better than the competition that comes with only 2GB on board. The HP laptop lasted 8 hours and 23 minutes in our battery test.

At just 2.5 pounds, the HP notebook is also a good option for kids. Its bright lavender or blue color combination will appeal to them (or the kid we all carry in ours). The 11.6-inch screen on this Stream is its biggest weakness, as it is dim (188 nits) and a bit dull.

The laptop’s keyboard is decent, albeit shallow, with 1.2mm of travel. However, a sharp front lip could irritate your wrists if you try to type.

Dell Inspiron 11 3000

  • Pros: epic battery life; colorful design
  • Disadvantages: dim light screen; Mediocre performance (on settings under $ 200)
  • Key specs: Intel Celeron N3060 CPU; 11.6-inch / 1366 x 768 screen; 2 GB of RAM; 2.4 pounds

The 11.6-inch Dell Windows laptop lasted 13 hours and 39 minutes in our battery test, which is well above the average for the ultraportable category (8:15) and the times of others in this price range. .

This Dell laptop also comes in vibrant red or blue color combinations (there’s also a boring white option), where the color is carried through the entire chassis, not just the lid. At 2.4 pounds, the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 is also light enough for anyone to carry it, even a small child.

The keyboard is shallow, but provides a reasonable typing experience, and the touchpad is accurate, if a bit stiff.

The main drawbacks of the Inspiron 11 3000 are its relatively dim screen and a mediocre multitasking experience with the 2GB of RAM you get in the base model. A 4GB configuration costs more than $ 200, coming in at $ 229.

Apple MacBook A1181

  • Advantages: Medium battery life; Good-performing MacBook for the price; Very nice keyboard; Large screen
  • Cons: Screen a bit dim; Average performance; Very heavy
  • Key specs: Intel Core 2 Duo processor; 1280 × 800 / 13.3-inch screen; 5.18 pounds; 2 GB RAM

If you are interested in owning an Apple laptop for a very low price, consider the MacBook 2GHz as one of the best laptops under $ 200. You will not have the fastest performance of Apple, but at this price it is impossible to complain.

This notebook features a pair of USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire 400 port. Plus, it retains the same bright 1280 x 800 pixel display and the same 120GB Serial ATA hard drive.

However, note that it weighs 5 pounds, so it will also serve to enlarge your muscles when carrying it.

Dell Inspiron 14 3000

  • Advantages: Long battery life; Solid audio output
  • Cons: Very dim screen; Shallow keyboard; Poor performance; Poor build quality
  • Key specs: Intel Celeron N3060 CPU; 1366 x 768 / 11.6 inch screen; 3.8 pounds; 2 GB RAM

While its 11-inch sister, the Inspiron 11 3000, is a great laptop under $ 200, Dell’s 14-inch budget notebook has too many flaws for us to recommend it.

The Inspiron 14 3000 has the dimmest, dullest screen we’ve seen in a long time. Its panel achieved a horrible brightness of 135 nits, 117 points below the 14-inch laptop category average.

The Dell Inspiron 14 3000 laptop also performs the worst of any under $ 200 laptop we’ve tested recently, showing lag even during simple tasks like opening the start menu or launching YouTube videos.

The machine’s keyboard is remarkably shallow, offering just 0.8 millimeters of vertical travel (1.5 to 2mm is typical), 20 percent less than Dell’s smallest notebook. We also saw evidence of poor build quality.

How to choose the best laptop under $ 200

As you can see, there are several options when looking for laptops for less than $ 200. However, not all notebooks in this price range are worth it. These tips will help you choose the best laptop of 2020 for you.

Chromebook or Windows Laptop? Chromebooks are simple and safe, and they generally have a long battery life. Windows 10 laptops run a lot more software and work better offline.

Build quality matters most – Most laptops in this price range have similar specs, but the little things like keyboard quality, display color and brightness, and layout are the key differentiators.

Perfect size: Laptops with smaller 11.6-inch screens are better for kids, while 13- and 14-inch laptops are better for adults.

2GB or 4GB of RAM? Most laptops in this price range have only 2GB of memory, which is not good for multitasking. If you can get 4GB that’s a huge bonus.

Offers on cheap laptops. During the holidays, some laptops that typically cost more can drop below $ 200. You can find special offers when shopping online. At the very least, you’ll be able to find laptops with free shipping, and in some cases you won’t pay taxes.

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