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Best Budget Laptop (2022): Top Affordable Laptops For Students, Editing & More

Choosing the best budget laptop for your needs can be a pretty exhausting endeavor due to the overwhelming number of laptops in the market. It doesn’t help that most laptops have confusing names and various configurations. If you are set on getting a budget laptop but you don’t know where to start, we’ll try to help you by picking the best ones for various categories. In the article below, we round up the best budget laptops for students, gaming, editing and more.

Best Budget Laptop Comparison Chart

ModelPriceCategory
Acer Nitro 5Check Price Best budget gaming laptop
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2Check Price Best budget laptop for students
HP Envy X360Check Price Best budget laptop for video editing
Lenovo IdeaPad 3Check Price Best budget laptop for writers
Asus Chromebook Flip CM3Check Price Best budget Chromebook

Acer Nitro 5

Best budget gaming laptop

best budget laptop acer nitro 5
The Acer Nitro 5 is a laptop with good gaming performance under $1,000.

If you want a good gaming laptop, you better be ready to spend a good chunk of money if you want good performance. However, if you are on a tight budget and you are willing to sacrifice performance, then the Acer Nitro 5 is our top recommendation for budget gaming on a laptop.

The Acer Nitro 5 can be configured in many ways, but we suggest that you go for the model with an Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU and an NVIDIA RTX 3050 configuration if you want to stay under $1,000. This configuration can perform good enough for a lot of modern games at acceptable framerates.

The Acer Nitro 5 features a high refresh rate 15.6-inch FHD display, WiFi6 connectivity and a backlit keyboard. It also has decent cooling capabilities for gaming purposes. You can also configure it to have 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB SSD.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

Best budget laptop for students

best budget laptop microsoft surface laptop go 2
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 features a sleek and modern design, as well as good performance for the price.

For budget laptops for students, portability, good enough performance and a simple design that won’t embarrass the user are some of the main factors that should be considered. The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 have all of these. Also, it’s affordable, so parents can definitely afford it for their kid.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 features Intel’s 11th gen CPUs, so the performance is there. Along with excellent CPUs, the Surface Go 2 also features Intel’s Iris Xe graphics, so it can be used for light and casual gaming since Iris Xe is much improved over the Intel’s UHD graphics. Storage size can be configured up to 256GB and it ships with Windows 11 Home.

The screen is a 12.4-inch IPS PixelSense display with touch functionality. It has a battery life that can last well over 10 hours and it charges at a fast rate too. For students, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 checks all the boxes.

HP Envy X360

Best budget laptop for video editing

best budget laptop hp envy x360
For rendering videos and editing photos on the go and on a budget, the HP Envy X360 is a solid choice that doesn’t break the bank.

A budget laptop under $1,000 for photo and video editing is stretching it as these tasks need fast and powerful hardware. However, if you really need it to be under $1,000, then the HP Envy X360 is one of the few choices available for you.

The HP Envy X360 can be configured to have AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800U CPU with Radeon graphics to handle all your video and photo editing needs. It can be configured to have up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB SSD storage, and it still stays under $1,000, which is excellent value.

It features a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display with a wide color gamut, perfect for editing photos. In terms of performance, the HP Envy X360 can hang with premium laptops well over $1,000.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Best budget laptop for writers

best budget laptop lenovo ideapad 3
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a lightweight and thin laptop with a comfortable keyboard.

A laptop for writing does not require the fastest and most powerful components, and with that said, our top recommendation is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 as it offers excellent value for the money. Packing an Intel 11th Gen i3 CPU, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 provides good performance for writers, bloggers and journalists. It can also be configured to have 20GB of RAM for multi-tasking and up to 1TB SSD storage.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a lightweight and thin laptop that you can bring with you anywhere. It weighs only 4.07lbs and it’s less than an inch thick—0.8 inches to be exact. The keyboard is comfortable to type on and the track pad is responsive as well. For budget conscious writers, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 packs a lot of value.

ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3

Best budget Chromebook

best budget laptop asus chromebook flip cm3
The ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3 is a value-oriented 2-in-1 convertible laptop.

If your budget is extremely tight but you need a portable computer with decent performance, the ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3 is perfect for you. It’s a 2-in-1 Chromebook equipped with a MediaTek 8183 SoC, so it won’t be the best when it comes to performance, but if you need something for browsing, checking emails, and other light tasks, the Flip CM3 is more than enough.

As it is a 2-in-1 convertible, it can change form factors from a laptop to a tablet, as well as a presentation easel mode. It’s highly flexible and it’s lightweight too, weighing only 2.5 lbs. The screen has an aspect ratio of 3:2, so using it in tablet mode is easy on the arms.

The ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3 is a decent machine with decent battery life. If you need a decent budget machine and you don’t mind sacrificing performance, the ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3 is a good choice.

Verdict

There are plenty of budget-friendly laptops for all types of use-cases.

Acer Nitro 5

Best budget gaming laptop

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

Best budget laptop for students

In summary, if you need a budget gaming laptop, the Acer Nitro 5 is a good choice that won’t break the bank. Of course, it won’t compete with premium gaming laptops when it comes to AAA gaming performance, but it still offers a good experience if you are willing to tone down the settings for acceptable framerates. It can run most indie games without problems. For students, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 offers a sleek and understated design with good performance and a lightweight build for portability.

Rounding out our list of the best budget laptops are the HP Envy X360 for photo and video editing, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 for writers and the ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3 for those with extremely tight budgets.

FAQs

📌 How much RAM is good for a laptop?

A laptop with 4GB RAM is sufficient, but if you want better multi-tasking capability and responsiveness, you’ll want a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM.

📌 Is the Acer Nitro 5 good?

Yes, the Acer Nitro 5 is a good gaming laptop if you are a gamer on a budget. Ideally, you’ll want to build a desktop PC if you want a budget gaming PC since it will be less expensive, but if you need a gaming laptop for portability, the Acer Nitro 5 is a good choice.

📌 Is the Surface Laptop Go 2 touchscreen?

Yes, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 features a touchscreen 12.4-inch IPS PixelSense display.

📌 Is the HP Envy X360 worth buying?

The HP Envy X360 is a great value laptop that’s worth buying. It’s marketed towards creators and professionals, and its specs and performance reflect that.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.