Best Laptops under $400 Consumer Reports – [2022 Reviewed]

Laptops under $400 should feature a powerful processor, a fast hard drive, and a bright screen.

The laptops available at this price can be found with mainstream Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 processors, fast SSD storage, 4GB+ RAM, clear 1080p displays, and some come with backlit keyboards.

Most people who buy budget laptops don’t need them to handle demanding tasks or run the latest AAA games.

You can still find budget laptops under $400 with powerful integrated graphics that are capable of handling light photo-editing, video-editing, and even gaming tasks to some extent.

These best laptops under $400 are definitely not sluggish performers, and you’ll only have to make a few compromises compared to other cheaper laptops.

Even though there are plenty of 2-in-1 laptops and Chromebooks available, you’ll have a hard time finding one with a great display, sufficient storage space, or both.

ProductsPrice
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13″ Laptop
ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 Thin & Light 2-in-1 Laptop
New Microsoft Surface Go 2
Newest Lenovo Ideapad 3 14″ HD Display

1. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

The AMD Ryzen 3 3200U chipset is featured in this inexpensive laptop with a base clock speed of 2.6GHz. With the Radeon Vega 3 GPU, the existing SoC is perfectly supported, enhancing performance and even visual quality.

In addition to the impressive mobile graphics processing unit, you can access four gigabytes of RAM. The laptop features a 128GB solid-state storage unit, making it the best value laptop for quick OS loading and faster rendering of data. Windows 10 S mode is available for this Acer model in order to enhance power saving.

With an overall resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a 15.6-inch Full HD screen, the screen is what really stands out. In addition to being highly vibrant, IPS panels offer better viewing angles.

Besides the backlit keyboard and responsive touchpad, this sub-$400 laptop also features a responsive touchpad. Moreover, it features TrueHarmony audio technology and powerful speakers.

With its aluminum chassis, narrow screen bezels, and sleek design, this notebook has an exceedingly high-end physical appearance.

I like how easy it is to carry this device around since it weighs just under 4 pounds. The USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 ports make it easy to connect external storage units and other peripherals. Acer’s laptops are also equipped with an HD webcam and excellent Wireless connectivity.

The powerful battery allows you to use the device for up to 8 hours. Like a budget laptop, the Acer Aspire 5 is distinguished primarily by its vibrant display.

There are many budget laptops available on the market, but the Aspire 5 is certainly one of the most popular models from Acer.

2. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13″ Laptop

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13 Laptop

If you want to get an operating system for less than $400, you can only choose Chrome OS. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 is a great choice if you’re hoping to replace Windows 10 with Chrome OS.

There are two Intel Core i3-10110U processors on this laptop, each with a 2.1GHz base clock speed. Furthermore, you’ll get Intel UHD integrated graphics for enhanced visuals and performance. Additionally, Lenovo offers 4MB of cache memory to speed up processing speed.

It comes with 4 gigabytes of RAM and 64 gigabytes of super-fast storage space. Having an SSD unit built-in minimizes boot times and speeds up rendering data.

Additionally, Chrome OS comes as a built-in operating system that provides a number of handy features, including access to Google accounts and cloud compatibility.

Lenovo’s 13-inch 1080p panel stands out for its innovative display design. Smaller screens increase pixel density and give the touch screen a more vibrant appearance. The company also sells an optional external pen for this device.

With 1.4mm key travel, the backlit keyboard complements the excellent chassis. Lenovo doesn’t sacrifice touchpad quality despite a responsive screen. It also comes with an HD webcam and auxiliary speakers for seamless Skype calls.

A distinguishing feature of this device is its physical layout. With the 360-degree, convertible design, you can use the same as a laptop or tent, a tablet, or a stand.

Aside from being enviously slim, this device weighs just 2.97 pounds. It also comes with a good collection of ports including USB Type-C and Type-A. Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity is also excellent on the Lenovo.

Battery life is up to ten hours with the existing battery. Consequently, hardcore productivity tasks can be performed with this Chromebook despite frequent power outages.

If you would like to try an operating system other than Windows, the Chromebook Flex 5 from Lenovo is probably the most portable and efficient device on the list.

3. ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 Thin & Light 2-in-1 Laptop

ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 Thin & Light 2-in-1 Laptop

Adding to our list of convertible laptops under $400, this one has an outstanding display and reliable processors. In terms of design and functionality, the Asus VivoBook Flip is a midrange notebook rather than a typical budget machine.

A 2.6GHz Intel Celeron N4000 CPU powers this device, making it quite nifty in terms of performance. Intel’s UHD 600 graphics chip also performs as expected.

It also includes 4 Gigabytes of LPDDR4 RAM and a 64 Gigabyte eMMC storage module. Asus provides a power-saving operating system. Additionally, the company offers the Microsoft Office 365 Suite.

Touchscreens are optimized and extremely responsive on the 14-inch model. The screen-to-chassis ratio is further enhanced by the Wide Full HD panel, which offers a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. As well as wide-viewing technology, Asus offers 178 degrees of viewing angle.

The excellent ergonomic keyboard and efficient touchpad complement the precision touch support well. Furthermore, the device comes with a VGA webcam, a standard microphone, and built-in speakers, which are provided by SonicMaster.

Despite its ultra-slim design and robust metallic hinge, this 2-in-1 device only weighs 3.3 pounds and can convert 360 degrees.

In addition, the existing form factor can be used in a tent, stand, tablet, and even laptop mode. Other ports offered by the company include Type-C and Micro HDMI for enhanced productivity.

Even when used moderately and heavily, Asus’ battery offers a backup of up to 14 hours. In comparison with other devices in the same category, the battery lasts almost three times longer with SuperBattery Technology. In terms of balance, the VivoBook Flip is one of the better models we’ve reviewed, with great aesthetics.

4. New Microsoft Surface Go 2

New Microsoft Surface Go 2

Look at the Microsoft Surface Go if you want a laptop that’s easy to use and can handle daily tasks without lag.

With a size of 10 inches and a weight of 1.2 pounds (0.54 kg), the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a compact mobile computing device. Because of this, you can take it anywhere, whether it’s to the nearest cafe or halfway around the world.

The laptop does not come with a stylus pen or an attachable keyboard, so you’ll have to purchase them separately. You can use a stylus pen to take notes, but it isn’t necessary. Invest in a good attachable keyboard for your laptop to have the best experience.

Surface Connect can be used to charge and dock this small laptop. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB-C port, and a Surface Connect port. MicroSD cards can also be inserted.

An SSD drive with 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM powers this Windows laptop. When it comes to everyday tasks like word processing, surfing the web, and watching the video, it performs well. You should look for a more powerful laptop if you plan to do anything demanding such as video editing or gaming.

You will appreciate how responsive and accurate the touch screen is. Its resolution is 1920 x 1280, and its color gamut is full of sRGB. Furthermore, its brightness is respectable at 408 nits.

5. Newest Lenovo Ideapad 3 14″ HD Display

Newest Lenovo Ideapad 3 14 HD Display

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a laptop you might consider purchasing if you want a budget device with a high-end display, excellent performance, and a powerful battery.

The Intel Pentium 6405U chipset is one of the best processors for budget notebooks, precisely because it is one of the best processors for budget notebooks.

Aside from that, the Intel UHD graphics card offers enhanced performance to the affordable device. Notebook is equipped with a clocking frequency of 2.4GHz, which can be amplified if and when needed.

With 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage, data can be rendered more quickly. It enhances the performance of the existing SoC by complementing DDR4 RAM.

Lenovo’s 14-inch HD display stands out with its impressive features. Visual quality is further enhanced by the narrow bezels and excellent viewing angles.

One-touch Q-controls in Windows let you toggle between performance and power-saving modes.

The Lenovo keyboard has decent key travel and a standard touchpad. The built-in speakers with Dolby Audio support and HD webcam round out this device as one of the best for listening to music. Furthermore, the machine boasts a 180-degree design and weighs only 3.3 pounds.

There are two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, one HDMI port, and a 3.5mm audio jack along with Bluetooth and Wireless connectivity provided by Lenovo. Despite the HD display at the helm, the current battery can provide a steady 6 hours of backup.

Things to Consider Before Buying

In order to make granular decisions, you need to purchase a laptop for less than 400 dollars. In any case, as a buyer, you need to be aware of certain factors before plunging into a $400 investment.

This buying guide is especially important and worthwhile because, unlike premium laptops, 400 dollars won’t give you a lot of options to choose from.

Processor

A $400 laptop for traveling as a secondary machine becomes all the more important if you are planning to use it as a secondary machine.

Ryzen 3 and Intel Core i3 variants of the 11th and 10th generations are both commonly encountered, but I would recommend the latter. As compared to budget AMD processors, Intel’s low-cost processors display better TDP performance.

Battery

Battery life is one of the things you should look for in sub-$400 laptops. In most cases, devices offer 7+ hours of autonomy at a time, but if you are planning to carry the device around for a long period of time, especially when traveling, you should consider devices that offer over 11 hours of autonomy.

Keyboard

Keyboards with backlights at this price are hard to come by. For content creators, a laptop with decent key travel, i.e., close to 1.4mm, should still be prioritized if the majority of their work regards basic to mid-level content creation. You should also check for light bleeding before choosing a single-zone backlight at this price.

Portability

Traveling should not be the last thing on your mind, especially when it comes to battery life. When that is the case, you should buy a laptop that is light, preferably one that weighs under three pounds.

Depending on the size of the laptop, you might need to reduce the size of the screen. However, if you already have a larger primary laptop, it’s fine.

Profession

Under $400, you can take care of some basic tasks like photo editing and content creation. You may want to consider a better screen with color accuracy if these are what you need rather than endless streams.

Internals

The amount of RAM and storage you should invest in when getting a 400-dollar notebook for streaming, content creation, and editing is more important than the operating system.

You should aim for at least 128GB of SSD space and 8GB RAM if you get a Chromebook. You might want to consider a 1TB HDD or 256GB SSD for standard laptops.

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