Best Laptops under $300 Consumer Reports – [2022 Reviewed]

A few years ago, it was nearly impossible to find an affordable laptop under $300. There are many inexpensive devices available these days that can play videos and browse the web smoothly.

In terms of gaming laptops under $300, there isn’t a category since most games will require a high-end CPU and dedicated GPU, both of which are typically much more expensive.

For a couple of hundred bucks, you can still get a reliable laptop with all the basic features you’ll need every day. Cheaper laptops may not have all the features of top-of-the-line computers, but they’re still highly reliable.

Check out our recommendations below for the best laptops under $300, or you can see our recommendations for the best laptops under $400, and the best laptops under $500.

ProductsPrice
Acer Chromebook 314, Intel Celeron N4000
HP Stream 11.6-inch HD Laptop
Dell Inspiron 3583 15” Laptop
Lenovo Chromebook Duet ZA6F0031US
Lenovo C340 2-in-1 (81T9000VUS)

1. Acer Chromebook 314, Intel Celeron N4000

Acer Chromebook 314, Intel Celeron N4000

The Acer Chromebook 314 looks to be a good option for a Chromebook under 300. It offers decent performance from an Intel Celeron N4000 processor and 4GB of DDR4 RAM should be plenty for a Chromebook.

In addition, the Chromebook 314’s 13-inch display is portable enough to serve as a laptop, yet still offers a good amount of screen real estate for day-to-day commuting and working.

This device has 32GB of eMMC storage, and this size will work well if you don’t have too many files to store, but don’t worry, there are plenty of USB ports for expansion.

2. HP Stream 11.6-inch HD Laptop

HP Stream 11.6-inch HD Laptop

This deal by HP Stream Pro 11 not only comes with a year’s worth of Microsoft 365 Personal (formerly Office 365), some essential software that’s valued at $70, but it also includes a year’s worth of HP’s Stream Pro 11 for just $219.99. At less than 2.5 pounds, it’s very portable for someone who commutes or travels frequently.

It can play video for up to 12 hours and provide wireless streaming for up to 8.5 hours per charge – not bad! The device has two USB 3.1 ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack.

3. Dell Inspiron 3583 15” Laptop Intel Celeron

Dell Inspiron 3583 15” Laptop Intel Celeron

With a price of under $300, the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is an affordable 15-inch laptop. The extra screen space makes it a very good buy. However, that isn’t its greatest feature. In spite of keeping things modest on the CPU and graphics front, it does feature a 128GB SSD.

This is just what you need if you have a lot of photos, videos, and documents. If you want to get through your workload, this should be the best laptop under $300 you can find.

4. Lenovo Chromebook Duet ZA6F0031US

Lenovo Chromebook Duet ZA6F0031US

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet has a detachable keyboard and stand, making it an excellent choice for those who are trying to decide between a laptop and a tablet. You’ll get 128GB of storage plus 100GB of additional cloud storage as part of a 1-year free trial of Google One, so you’ll never run out of space for your files and apps.

The display is also pretty good for this price point (1920 x 1200, or slightly better than HD), but its screen is a bit on the small side at 10.1 inches.

5. Lenovo C340 2-in-1 (81T9000VUS)

Lenovo C340 2-in-1 (81T9000VUS) Chromebook

You can use the laptop as a tablet by flipping the screen around and using the hinge as a 360-degree hinge. A thin and lightweight design makes it easy to carry, and you don’t need to bring a charger since its battery lasts well over 12 hours of light usage. It has one USB-A port and two USB-C ports, the latter of which supports data transfer, charging, and video output.

This laptop features a full-size keyboard with a Numpad on the right side, which is great for those working with a lot of numbers, and it feels great to type on for hours on end. Although the touchpad is not the largest, it tracks well and responds to gestures.

It has an excellent 1080p display with plenty of room for multitasking, but it looks washed out and doesn’t get very bright. There is no flickering, so less strain is exerted on the eyes.

If you’re in a program that requires third-party x86 applications on your Chromebook, you’re better off getting a Windows device. If you need a slower processor, you may want to consider a Chromebook that has an Intel Core i3 processor. Due to its impressive build, long battery life, and great performance, it usually costs a little more than $300.

Things to Consider Before Buying

Nowadays, portable computers come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and configurations. Whether you want a tablet that fits in the palm of your hand or a massive gaming laptop, there are numerous options available.

If you wanted to stay under $300, however, you’d have fewer options. Most laptops at this price range are on the smaller side, running between 11 and 14 inches.

RAM

In order to offer a better laptop within this price range, we strive hard to find the biggest RAM that we can find even though it is impossible to find 8GB or 16GB RAM at this price point.

You may be able to upgrade the RAM size of your laptop if it is supported, and adding or upgrading RAM, storage, or SSD is a relatively inexpensive option to consider for your laptop. For laptops at this price range, the biggest RAM size we found was 4GB in brand new models, coupled with a Celeron processor. So, don’t expect laptops at this price range to be super fast, but they can handle basic tasks.

Storage Capacity

We found that storage capacity in this price range decreases with the bigger it is, which is true, almost every product we found in this range has less than 64GB of storage. However, some of the products do have more storage than that.

Budget laptops tend to have small internal storage, so we recommend using cloud storage services to maximize the storage on these devices.

Processing Power

On laptops priced under $300, you’re likely to find Intel Core or Intel Celeron processors, typically i3 or i5.

Although these laptops don’t have a very powerful processing speed, they can handle basic tasks like social media scrolling, writing, basic office, and bookkeeping. You can expect some lag and stutters if you use a more complex application on these machines.

Screen Size

Nowadays, even budget-friendly laptops offer touchscreen displays and detachable keyboards, but they sacrifice the processing power or RAM so that we can use the full potential of specs.

There is a chance you can find a model with a 15″ screen for under $300, but they tend to be outdated so you can’t really say it is worth the investment.

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