Best Laptops under $400 – Complete Buyer’s Guide

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As technology creeps on amidst stiff competition, manufacturers are not relenting, churning out laptops into the market, cheaper, stronger, and more versatile than ever before. Low prices that are kind to the budget are coming up, and many users are jumping on the bandwagon.

For under $400, you can go home with a clean, beautiful, powerful new machine or a very good refurbished one. What are the top 5 best laptops under $400?

The options are many. From Dell to Lenovo, from HP to Samsung, buyers are inundated with so many varieties, shapes, and sizes. In the labyrinth of options available, how do you choose the best laptop for a low budget of less than $400?

Are there any good laptops for such a low price? Bigger budget? We’ve written a review for the best budget laptops under $600

Be modest in your expectations

First, you need to be modest in your expectations. You surely can’t expect a laptop that goes for under 400 dollars ballpark to be ‘state of the art’, do you?

You might not get an Intel Core i7 processor in it, but you would get an Intel Celeron or an Intel Atom, or compatible processor with excellent value for money. Or if you prefer the refurbished ones, then be bold; go for an Intel core i5.

Still, while you may not be able to do high-end video editing or play the latest computer games, you can achieve most of the purposes for these pieces of equipment.

You can do emails, document processing, study online, play lots and lots of games, and keep in touch with loved ones via varieties of social media. Let’s be realistic, spending $1,000 on a laptop when you are a moderate user doesn’t make much sense.

All you probably want to do is attend to school assignments, or carry out some research on the internet, get some documents done or just communicate with friends and business partners.

Most small budget laptops come with a memory that’s considered limited by modern standards. Some have just 16GB, while some can do up to 64GB. With a little extra money, you can get a more powerful laptop for under $400. But let’s stick to the plan.

We want the best laptop that sells under $400.

best laptops under $200

Chromebooks or Windows laptops?

Most of the under-budget laptops available on the market are Chromebooks, small machines designed for the internet with apps that help in document processing. These devices include decent storage capabilities, both in the cloud and locally.

Are Chromes better than Windows laptops? It depends on what you want to do with it. Chromebooks use the Chrome Operating System; they do not use Windows. Chromebooks don’t support MS Office. But you can pick up useful apps from the chrome web store. Windows, of course, has the Windows store. None is better than the other; they are just varieties for specific functions.

The user interface of Chromebooks is similar to what you see while using Chrome in Windows laptops. Chromebooks are usually faster and more battery efficient than Windows laptops because the Chrome OS is very lightweight.

 Chromebooks are basically cloud-based, making them excellent for students, researchers, and workers who spend a lot of time on the web. If most of your activities comprise data and document processing, you may be better off with a Windows laptop.

Having clarified that point, let’s take a look now at the top 5 best laptops you can get from Amazon for less than $400.

Best Laptops Under $400 in 2021 Selection

ImageProductRatingCheck Price
Best Bugdet
Samsung Chromebook 3
Samsung Chromebook 3
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Great Deal
HP Chromebook 11
HP Chromebook 11
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Best Portable
ASUS VivoBook Laptop
ASUS VivoBook Laptop
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Office Laptop
Dell Latitude E6430
Dell Latitude E6430
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Students’ Choice
Lenovo 100E Chromebook
Lenovo 100E Chromebook
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1. Samsung Chromebook 3 – Best Laptop Under $400

Our Top Pick
Samsung Chromebook 3 - Best Laptop Under $400

Samsung Chromebook 3

Rated a superior laptop by most users, the Samsung Chromebook 3 is a leader in the low-budget list. At just 11.6 by 8 inches, it is much smaller than the HP Chromebook 11 and fits conveniently into a backpack.

With 2 USB ports, 802.11g wireless functionality, screen resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels, it doesn’t differ significantly in specs from the HP equivalent.

The 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron Processor, the 4 GB DDR3 RAM, and the 16 GB Flash memory increases the similarities. And weighing just 2.54 pounds, this laptop is a little master in its own right.

The Samsung Chromebook 3 has 11 hours of battery life, enough for the demands of travel. Smaller and less heavy than the Acer equivalent, it is sensitive on the touch, though not as sharp as the Lenovo Thinkpad.

It is rugged for regular usage, and it is quite sturdy despite its slimness. The screen hinge is solid, and it’s hard to imagine it breaking due to normal wear and tear unless you drop it. This Chromebook does not come pre-loaded with the Google Play Store App, so you may have to download it and other useful software you commonly use. The WiFi is excellent, and the Bluetooth connects easily to everything.

With the Samsung Chromebook 3, you can comfortably watch your videos, do a lot of photo editing, type a million words a day, stream exciting movies, create your Google Docs and Lecture Slides, and do your Account Sheets.

Who should buy this laptop? It’s recommended for people seeking a good and fast web-browser whose line of activity is not highly demanding in memory and power as well as anyone who does not want to hang around a heavy laptop.

It is also quite suitable for anybody on a low-budget, and of course the resilient researcher who wants a basic, but fast computer.

  • Excellent battery life
  • Small dimensions and lightweight
  • Highly portable
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Can’t do heavier tasks like gaming, video editing, etc
  • No high-resolution graphics

2. HP Chromebook 11 – Second Best Budget Laptop

Sleek and Lightweight
HP Chromebook 11 - Second Best Budget Laptop

HP Chromebook 11

With a screen size of just 11.6 inches, the HP Chromebook 11 is probably the best under-budget laptop out there. Though getting on in age and overshadowed by its more expensive contenders, this laptop is ideal for the user, requiring solidity, quick response, and a vibrant, lively display.

The HP Chromebook 11 comes with an Intel processor and an Intel HD Graphics Coprocessor. Its max screen resolution is 1366 by 768 pixels. In memory and storage, it has 4 GB RAM and Flash Memory of 16 GB.

It runs at a speed of 2.48 GHz, which is reasonable enough for the average demanding user.

Its two USB 3.0 ports are suitable for most plug-ins. With a battery life of 12.83 hours, it’s obvious that a lot of thought went into the production of this slim beauty.

At just 2.4 pounds in weight, it’s super-light for travel. Its 17.5 by 10 inches dimensions makes it a bit wide, but it can fit into an average bag. Also, it takes less than 3 hours to a full battery charge.

If you find its 16 GB eMMC not enough, you can opt for a micro SD that will stay permanently like a local disk. Being a Chromebook, you can’t expect so much in terms of performance, but if you want a portable laptop that can do simple tasks like browsing the net, checking email, and doing document editing, then go for the HP Chromebook 11.

  • Responsive keyboard
  • Good screen
  • Long battery life
  • Attractive build & strong casing
  • Fast for browsing & streaming
  • No Ethernet port
  • Not suitable for powerful games or memory-demanding tasks

3. ASUS VivoBook L203MA – Best Budget Portable Laptop

Long Battery Life
ASUS VivoBook Laptop - Best Budget Portable Laptop

ASUS VivoBook Laptop

Powered by efficient Intel processors, the ASUS VivoBook L203MA laptop is probably the best low-budget laptop you can find around.

With an appealing sleek design that complements its beautiful casing, this laptop is a must-buy for the low-budget enthusiast.

The ASUS VivoBook L203MA is a Windows laptop, making it preferable for experienced Windows users to seeka the same interface they are used to.

Also, some would consider Windows 10 to be far more versatile than the Chrome OS of similar laptops.

Check out its 64 GB eMMC Flash Storage that offers ample space for the casual user. The 4 GB LPDDR4 memory is standard for similar equipment in its category.

Offering smooth, effortless mobility with its 2.2 pounds of weight (battery included), this laptop is smaller than an A4 paper. It is the perfect laptop to take with you anywhere, anytime.

Boasting an efficient Intel Celeron N4000 Processor with up to 2.6 GHz speed and an 11.6 inch HD (1366 x 768) display, this laptop has one year of Microsoft Office 365 included in the package.

Slim and portable with a 0.7-inch thickness, it will fit in squarely into your small backpack. It’s powerful HD Webcam is ready to capture the vital occasion. At the same time, its USB Type C, USB Type-A, and HDMI connectivity are available to link you up with various peripheral devices.

For its low price, this laptop is basically a steal. If you beef up its internal storage with a 128GB mini SD card or a 256GB micro SD (sells for just $25), this laptop can handle virtually all everyday tasks. Whether you plan to use it to store pictures, videos, documents, or any of the usual files, this laptop will do just fine.

Of course, if your target is to do heavy computer work like video editing or photoshop or you want to play heavy games, you need to look for a higher budget laptop. Nonetheless, the ASUS VivoBook L203MA can hold its grounds when using other programs.

Without mincing words, this is probably the only notebook costing $400 you will find with the memory and lightweight this laptop offers.

  • Strong WiFi
  • 11.5-inch slim width
  • Bright screen
  • Good resolution & colors
  • Portable and durable
  • Compatibility issues with some 32 bit Windows apps
  • 6 hours of battery life

4. Dell Latitude E6430 Notebook – Best Budget Office Laptop

An Office Must-have
Dell Latitude E6430 Notebook PC - Best Budget Office Laptop

Dell Latitude E6430 Notebook PC

If you are considering buying a low-budget laptop, take a close look at the cute Latitude E6430. A powerful 14-inch laptop from Dell, wielding a good 320 HDD, and a whopping 8 GB DDR3 RAM on a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, this laptop is a top pick for the Windows-based user who finds Chrome systems unwieldy and is unable to run his/her familiar apps.

The Dell Latitude E6430 has a screen resolution of 1366 by 768. Encased inside a Core i5 Processor of 2.5 GHz and 8 GB memory, this laptop is super ideal for the average to the intense user who desired the familiar apps of the Windows system and the extra space of the 320 GB hard drive.

With an Intel HD Graphics 4000 Coprocessor, the Dell Latitude E6430 is somewhat heavy at 4.4 pounds. Its 17.5 x 14.2 x 8.3 inches product dimensions rank it among sizable laptops that serve as the workhorse for the office or home, rather than a travel companion.

The Dell Latitude E6430 Laptop comes with a WEBCAM, an HDMI slot, a DVD player, and a 64 bit Windows 10 Pro.

As a certified refurbished laptop available at Amazon for just $185, this is an excellent buy for users seeking a powerful, rugged laptop that gets the job done without scruples. As a mid-level laptop, it is ideal for watching movies, doing social networks, communicating with friends and family online, as well as editing, storing, and processing numerous document types.

Dell Latitude E6430 laptop can take Windows 10, as well as the numerous accompanying software, apps, and games that make using a laptop so much fun.

  • Windows OS
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Intel Core i5 Processor
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Good screen resolution
  • Heavy and rather large

5. Lenovo 100E Chromebook – Best Budget Laptop for Students

Students’ Choice
Lenovo 100E Chromebook

Lenovo 100E Chromebook

The Lenovo Chromebook 100E with an attractive casing fits the original Chromebook ideal of the cute, lightweight, multipurpose travel companion. It has such a nice feel to the keyboard and a very responsive trackpad.

This is, without doubt, one of the best low priced laptops on display.

A beauty to behold and a thrill to use, its 2.1 GHz MediaTek processor is optimized for the Google play store apps, competing favorably with the Intel Celerons found in most low-budget Chromebooks while ensuring that there is no break in your fun.

Weighing just 2.7 pounds, this is an incredibly convenient laptop for the traveler.

You can put it effortlessly in your backpack and use it without charging the battery for up to 10 hours.

Its ruggedness makes it very much ideal for kids. Its rubber bumpers and shock-resistant features add even more ruggedness. Consider its liquid-resistant keyboard, and you will agree that you have finally arrived home in your search for the ultimate laptop for your basic needs.

Related: Best Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboards

It’s a simple, affordable laptop for college students, teachers, researchers, business people with light needs, and those seeking a cute, loyal home entertainment media.

The Lenovo Chromebook 100E comes with a front 720P HD camera, an 11.6 inch HD screen having antiglare, and an 802.11AC WiFi. Its 4 GB RAM and 16 GB of storage can be beefed up with additional storage devices. For these, it has a USB type C port, an SD card slot, and USB 3.0.

Fully configured for cloud storage and quick information access, all you need to do is simply login with your Google ID and start work in mere seconds. This laptop is easy to use; the response is quick, and your information comes out swiftly.

  • Long battery life
  • Cloud storage
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Shock-resistant features
  • Liquid-resistant keyboard
  • Only 16 GB internal storage

To conclude

Well, here you have it now, the best laptops under $400 in the market, especially from Amazon.

What is the best laptop under $400? Our top pick for you guys is the Samsung Chromebook 3.

So, should you get a low-budget laptop? Well, the answer lies in your pocket. Everyone wants more for less cash. It happens in all areas of business. Laptops are no exception.

Laptops are expensive, so if you can get a reasonably good bargain for low cash, why not go for it? However, listen to buyers’ review before you buy. Do not sacrifice quality and functionality for a low price.

If indeed you realize you need more quality and a bit more recent machine, then consider saving more money and buying later.

Andrew Smith