Tech

Top 5 Best Cheap Laptops Under $250

cheap laptops, cheap laptop, best cheap laptops, best chromebooks, cheap MacBooks, cheap laptop computers, cheap computers

(Getty)

Shopping for a new laptop doesn’t have to drain your wallet. Here are our top picks for great laptops that cost $250 or less.


1. Acer C720 Chromebook

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(Acer)

If you’re not familiar with the differences between a laptop and a Chromebook, here’s what you need to know. Chromebooks run on Google’s ChromeOS.

A Chromebook does have some limitations that a regular laptop does not, including the fact that many apps won’t work on your Chromebook without a Wi-Fi connection. Despite some limitations, Chromebooks remain a great laptop option for Google fans, and for people who already do a lot of work on documents in the cloud. This Acer Chromebook is a smart buy.

Buy it here.


Pros:

  • Zippy solid state drive
  • Screen has anti-glare properties
  • Battery life of around 8 hours
  • Lightweight
  • Attractive design

  • Cons:

  • Will not appeal to people who don’t use Gmail or other Google services
  • Does not include Microsoft Word or other Office Suite products
  • Hard drive is just 16GB (but you do get plenty of additional storage in Google Drive)
  • Screen resolution somewhat low
  • Sometimes difficult to use as a photo viewer

  • 2. Apple MacBook MB061LL/A 13.3″

    cheap laptops, cheap laptop, best cheap laptops, best chromebooks, cheap MacBooks, cheap laptop computers, cheap computers

    (Apple)

    Macs are notoriously expensive, but with good reason: they are often more reliable than their Windows cousins. This particular MacBook model is a bit old at this point, but still very much worth recommending. You can even get it cheaper as a used or refurbished model.

    Speaking from personal experience, this MacBook is a workhorse that is the best laptop I’ve ever owned. While it is a little dated in terms of specs, that is easily remedied by upgrading the RAM and swapping out the hard drive for a solid state drive. These upgrades will only cost you about $100, and will make this older model perfectly serviceable in 2014 and beyond. Even without upgrades to RAM and hard drive, this MacBook will suit the needs of many students, seniors, or casual laptop users.

    Buy it here.


    Pros:

  • Unlike newer MacBooks, it’s easy to upgrade the parts on this model
  • Excellent reliability
  • Access to tons of great Mac-only apps
  • Decent screen resolution
  • Great battery life, and battery longevity

  • Cons:

  • Can only be upgraded to OSX Lion
  • Specs are outdated
  • Cord and case housing both known to break down over time (Apple will replace)
  • Somewhat heavy compared to newer models
  • Contains CD/DVD drive, which may not get a lot of use depending on your needs

  • 3. WolVol Worlds Smallest Internet Laptop

    cheap laptops, cheap laptop, best cheap laptops, best chromebooks, cheap MacBooks, cheap laptop computers, cheap computers

    (WolVol)

    This tiny laptop is ideal for kids, as well as for people who only use their laptops to do a few simple things. The small size of the laptop makes it easier for people with small hands to use. However, that small size also means short battery life and reduced screen resolution. If you’re looking for a cheap laptop for your kids, this is a solid choice.

    Buy it here.


    Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Comes preloaded with apps that kids will enjoy
  • Runs on Android, so the OS will feel familiar to Android phone owners
  • Built-in camera
  • So cheap, you won’t worry if your kids damage it

  • Cons:

  • Battery life is limited, with three hours per charge at best
  • Pink color may not appeal to some shoppers
  • A measly 4GB hard drive
  • Unlikely to satisfy teens and young adults, who need more computing power
  • Speakers are a bit on the quiet side

  • 4. Samsung Chromebook Notebook Exynos 5250

    cheap laptops, cheap laptop, best cheap laptops, best chromebooks, cheap MacBooks, cheap laptop computers, cheap computers

    (Samsung)

    Another Chromebook worth considering is this attractive model from Samsung. Boasting a screen that’s nearly a foot wide, this big laptop feels expansive, despite some of the limitations that come with relying on ChromeOS. While it has just a 16 GB solid state drive and 2GB RAM, you can get more storage through Google Drive.

    Buy it here.


    Pros:

  • Attractive design
  • Fast setup
  • Very thin, weighs under 2.5 pounds
  • Quick boot time
  • User-friendly

  • Cons:

  • Battery life only around six hours
  • Lightweight design may seem flimsy to those used to heftier laptops
  • Keyboard lacks some shortcut keys found on desktop keyboards
  • Some user reviews suggest cord is flimsy and will not stand up to much abuse
  • May not be compatible with all software you want to use

  • 5. HP Pavilion 10.1-Inch Touchscreen Laptop

    cheap laptops, cheap laptop, best cheap laptops, best chromebooks, cheap MacBooks, cheap laptop computers, cheap computers

    (HP)

    While this laptop does cost just a bit more than $250, the budget-conscious can get it for less when they buy it refurbished. The extra cost is worth it to have the very cool touchscreen functionality. This HP laptop is great for anyone who wants a more tactile laptop experience.

    Buy it here.


    Pros:

  • Comes with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013
  • 320GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM
  • Touchscreen makes this easy to use, particularly for kids
  • Runs on Windows 8.1
  • Comes with free 25GB lifetime cloud storage from Box

  • Cons:

  • 10.1-inch screen may seem too small for some users
  • Windows app store has limited selection
  • Limited battery life (around five hours)
  • Setup can be cumbersome, easy to accidentally select wrong settings
  • Touchscreen controls take some getting used to

  • Find this author on Google+

    Top 5 Best Laptops

    Here are our picks for the five best laptops.

    Click here to read more

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