These days, buying the best laptop that suits your needs has become a big headache, and this is not just because of the wide selection of laptops available in the market, but also the varied specifications, features, and configurations that they come with. With the constantly growing list of GPUs, processors, software, and various other features that laptops offer, choosing that one model that you know will be ideal for your requirements can prove to be a huge challenge. And it gets much more difficult when you have a budget to stay within.
When people hear “budget laptop”, they often think about a big, chunky device equipped with a low-quality display, basic configurations, and delivering below average performance. Yes, there are a lot of budget laptops that belong to this category; but, fortunately, laptop brands, both popular and new ones, have recognized the demand for high quality and high spec budget laptops and have started producing just that to retain their existing customers and attract new ones. Therefore, you can now expect to find many best laptops under $400 that carry an elegant design, come with decent specs, and deliver reliable performance.
What to Expect in a Laptop Under $400?
A laptop is now a basic need for an individual, whether you are a student, working as an executive, a professional gamer, or a stay-at-home mom or dad looking to surf the web a few hours a day. When you have your laptop budget set at $400, you are basically looking at a machine that can help you perform day-to-day tasks, such as browsing the internet, listening to music, watching movies, playing some casual games, creating and editing documents, social networking, etc. These will be laptops that are not suitable for heavy multitasking or for performing high power demanding tasks, like playing graphics intensive games or high-quality video editing.
So, if this is what your expectations are from your laptop, here are our top picks:
Our 7 Top Picked Best Laptops Under $400
|Model||Check Latest Price||Processor||RAM||Graphics|
|Acer Aspire E 15||Intel Core i3-8130U||6GB||Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Lenovo Ideapad 330||Intel Core i3-8130U||8GB||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|HP 15.6” Touch Screen||Intel Core i3-7100U||8GB||Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Dell Inspiron 3000||Intel Core i3-7130U||8-16GB||Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Newest Lenovo Ideapad||AMD A12-9720P||8GB||AMD Radeon R7|
|HP 14-CF0014DX||Intel Core i3-7100U||8GB||Intel Integrated graphics|
|HP Chromebook 14||Intel Celeron N3350||4GB||Intel HD Graphics 500|
Note: At LaptopDiscovery, we intend to make the buying process of our visitor as simple as possible, and therefore we offer various awards to the laptop after researching and testing them. Below you’ll find a recommended laptop and a laptop which offers the best value for money. If you want to jump to our awarded laptop directly, then you can click the button below.
1. Acer Aspire E 15
Quick OverviewProcessor: Intel Core i3-8130U | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6″ Full HD | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | Weight: 5.27 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 13.5-Hours
Shopping for a laptop under $400 doesn’t mean you should make sacrifices in various aspects. In some cases, all you need to do is find a balance between the best available features and reduced price. The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576-392H is one of the few laptop models you can find that merges these two aspects together. In fact, this could easily be the budget-friendly desktop replacement laptop you have been looking for.
In terms of design, this Acer Aspire E 15 is quite similar to its predecessor, and not the prettiest system around. However, the device looks professional and sleek by all means, thanks to its brushed aluminum finish. The whole body, however, is made from plastic, and it is the brushed pattern that adds a bit of style to the otherwise bland design. While the plastic chassis makes it evident that the laptop is indeed a low-cost model, the device as a whole is really sturdy, which is reassuring. The laptop weighs 5.27 pounds and comes with dimensions 15.02 x 10.2 x 1.19 inches, which signifies that this is not one of the thinnest or ultralight models out there.
The Aspire E 15 E5-576-392H comes with a 15.6-inch full HD widescreen LED-lit display. The full HD 1080p non-touch display will be one of the reasons why this laptop is widely popular among users over any other similarly priced models. This resolution is sufficient to view the details in your images, videos, movies, or games. However, the display is unable to deliver good sharpness or brightness, and the overall display is quite dim as well. Furthermore, the viewing angles of the screen are not great either. While the display looks reasonably vivid when viewed straight, it loses charm when you try viewing from different angles.
Powering up this Acer Aspire E 15 laptop is the 8th Generation Intel Core i3-8130U Processor, which is capable of reaching up to 3.4 GHz in clock speeds. While the processor in its standard configuration is powerful enough to make everyday computing tasks seamless, the use of Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 furthers the performance and makes the device suitable for entertainment aspects, like video streaming, etc. And, along with the 6 GB of system memory and 1TB HDD, the device delivers great performance for the price you pay, hitting a solid score in its overall performance, even with multitasking.
However, despite being able to deliver amazing overall performance, the inclusion of Intel HD Graphics 620 doesn’t make the device the best choice for playing new games with the latest specs. Nevertheless, its graphics performance is what you would expect from a budget machine. In terms of battery life, the device is certainly strong and lasts for around 9 hours on a single charge.
2. Lenovo Ideapad 330
Processor: Intel Core i3-8130U | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6” HD | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | Weight: 4.85 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 5 hours
If you are basically an infrequent laptop user or use your laptop just to perform some basic tasks like reading emails, browsing the internet, and watching videos, then the Ideapad 330 from Lenovo could just be the model for you. Though not outright appealing in terms of specs, it definitely has some potential to be your everyday laptop.
When it comes to the device’s design, the Ideapad 330 resembles some of the higher end models from Lenovo, quite classy in its looks, but apparently carries more plastic parts due to the pricing. Though the body is made entirely of plastic, and the unit tends to flex when applied a little pressure, the matte finish on the device gives it a premium look. The double tone interior is quite attractive and will be liked by many. Weight 4.8 pounds and with dimensions 14.9 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches, this may not be the lightest and thinnest laptop you will find in the category, but not the heaviest and bulkiest either.
This Ideapad 330 comes with a 15.6-inch HD energy-efficient LED backlight display, which means the screen resolution you get is only 1366 x 768. Since you don’t get a full HD display, which is quite disappointing because there are models in the price range that offer the same, you cannot expect amazing visual output from the display. What you do get is fair display performance, with the maximum brightness level sufficient for indoor use and not so much for the outdoors. The colors, however, look really washed out. Viewing angles of the device’s display are not great either, and are rather very narrow, and this can be really bothersome when you watch movies or play games.
The Lenovo Ideapad 330 is powered by the 8th Gen Intel Dual Core i3-8130U mobile processor that can reach clock speeds of up to 3.4 GHz using the company’s Turbo Boost technology. The processor is capable of delivering decent performance, especially when compared to its previous versions and different AMD processors, and will be ideal for performing your daily tasks with ease. For storage, you get 8 GB of system memory and 1 TB HDD, which together make multitasking relatively easier, in addition to reducing loading times and transfer speeds.
For graphics, the laptop comes equipped with Intel’s UHD Graphics 620, with which you will be able to perform only casual gaming, where you can play some relatively latest games at low settings. And as far as the device’s run time goes, you can squeeze out only up to 5 hours of juice from the laptop with a single full charge, which is very low when compared to what its competition can offer.
3. HP 15.6” Touch Screen Laptop
Processor: Intel Core i3-7100U | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6″ HD | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | Weight: 5 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 6.25 hours
Among the high competition for budget laptops, one of the brands that hold a firm place in the market is HP, and with their constant introduction of new products in different price ranges, there is a lot you can expect from the company. The 2018 HP Touch Screen Laptop comes with certain features that go beyond its budget category.
If you have a specific budget in mind when it comes to buying a laptop, the appearance of the device would probably be the least of your worries. Similar to many of the low-cost laptops out there, the 2018 HP 15.6” Touch Screen Laptop also carries a basic look, with dark gray plastic building up the chassis. The laptop looks simple yet quite professional. The device weighs 4.6 pounds and comes with dimensions 17.42 x 14.4 x 1.73 inches, which puts it in the middle of the pack in terms of portability.
The device comes with a 15.6-inch HD WLED-backlit Touchscreen Display with 10-finger multitouch support. The 10-finger multitouch support is a highlight of the device’s display because it enables higher levels of sensitivity and agility to the screen, which can be useful in various aspects, including playing multi-finger games. However, the HD display, with a resolution 1366 x 768, though standard in budget laptops, is definitely low and impacts the overall display quality to a great extent. On the whole, the display is quite dull and lackluster and unable to deliver high brightness.
The 2018 HP laptop is powered by the 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U that can reach clock speeds of up to 2.4 GHz. Apparently, the clock speeds that can be attained by this processor is really low when compared to its counterparts, which is especially because of the lack of Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, along with smaller cache size. As a result, you may not be able to experience the amazing performance from the device, but it will serve well for daily activities such as surfing, casual gaming, or using programs like Microsoft Office. On the other hand, with the 8 GB RAM and 1 TB HDD, you get to multitask quite efficiently.
For graphics, as always, you get the Intel HD Graphics 620, which allows casual gaming, but makes it difficult to enjoy games at their highest graphics settings. The laptop is able to run for just below 4 hours on a single full charge, which is pretty low when compared to other offerings on the market.
4. Dell Inspiron 3000 Premium Touchscreen Laptop
Processor: Intel Core i3-7130U | RAM: 8-16GB | Storage: 256GB|512GB|1TB SSD | Display: 15.6″ HD Touchscreen | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620| Weight: 5.07 lbs
Any laptop users would know about Dell as one of the leading laptop brands in the world. Regardless of whether you are brand loyal, this is one company that is known to offer reliable products and great customer service. With their new Inspiron 3000 Premium Touchscreen Laptop, Dell has managed to meet the needs of budget laptop buyers.
The 2019 Dell Touchscreen Laptop features a basic look, as expected from a budget system, and is made of plastic for the most part. However, the device manages to take forth some of Dell’s most attractive qualities, durability, and reliability. Regardless, the laptop looks rather basic and simple but is a design that many buyers would actually love. Weighing just 2.5 pounds, the device can be maneuvered easily, though it looks a bit bulky to the eye.
The new Dell Inspiron 3000 Premium Touchscreen Laptop comes with a 15.6-inch HD Touchscreen Widescreen LED-LCD Display. The 1366 x 768 screen resolution is just about what you get from a budget-friendly laptop, and it has to be said that the display is quite decent for the device’s price tag. The display is quite sharp, and though the screen seems reflective, the viewing angles are wider and good enough to enjoy visuals. The touch support is an excellent addition for a laptop in this price range, and the screen is fairly sensitive to touch as well.
The 2019 Dell Inspiron 3000 Premium Laptop is powered by the 7th gen Intel Core i3-7130U processor. As discussed earlier, due to this processor’s ability to reach clock speeds of only 2.5 GHz, with 3M cache rather than 4M, its performance happens to be quite a bit below par when compared to other versions. As with any budget laptop, you will be able to perform all your regular tasks easily, and despite its slower performance, the processor doesn’t really cause the device to hang up or freeze.
When it comes to storage, you get to choose from different sizes, for both your system memory and SSD. For the former, your options include 8 GB, 12 GB, and 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM, and for the latter, you can choose between 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB SSD, and 1 TB or 2 TB HDD. Getting to choose the storage space based on your requirements is a definite plus. For graphics, you have the Intel HD Graphics 620, which enables just casual gaming. With the 4-cell lithium-ion battery, the device is able to run for about 8 hours and 45 minutes on a single charge, which is really a good number.
5. Newest Lenovo Ideapad
Processor: AMD A12-9720P | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6″ HD display | Graphics: AMD Radeon R7 | Weight: 4.85 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 5 hours
If you are looking for a decent laptop that works well for both home, college, and office use without costing you a fortune, then the 2018 Newest Lenovo Ideapad could be the model you need to take a look at. For under $400, the laptop has some good specs on offer and will be an instant hit among many budget laptop buyers.
The 2018 Lenovo Ideapad is one of the few laptops in the segment that carries a fetching design. Available in a platinum gray finish, the laptop looks simple and really pleasing to the eye in terms of design and is quite professional and elegant as well. Though the outer appearance of the device makes you think of it as a metal build, it isn’t the case, and similar to other laptops on our list, this one is also primarily built from plastic. The device, nevertheless, looks and feels quite sturdy. Weighing 4.3 pounds and with dimensions 14.9 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches, the device is light and portable than many of its competition.
The laptop has a 15.6-inch HD energy-efficient LED backlight display with resolution 1366 x 768. Once again, similar to most other devices in the category, display happens to be the biggest tradeoff with this model as well, which means what you get to view is quite a dull screen, with lack of proper brightness and color accuracy. Even the viewing angles tend to be narrower since this is no IPS panel.
This Lenovo Ideapad has AMD A12-9720P Quad-Core Processor powering it. The processor reaches a normal clock speed of up to 2.7 GHz and can reach up to 3.6 GHz in Turbo mode. The performance of this processor is more or less similar to that of Intel’s i3 processors, but better than many other AMD processors. As expected, the processor is not suitable to handle heavy workloads but will be able to deliver enough performance for your typical daily tasks.
With the 8 GB DDR4 system memory and 1 TB HDD, you can expect to perform light multitasking. The AMD Radeon R7 graphics enable you to play some fairly recent games smoothly at low settings. Unlike many other laptops on our list, this one comes with an only 2-cell lithium-ion battery, delivering only about 3 hours of run time, which is significantly low even for a budget-friendly device meant for daily use.
Processor: Intel Core i3-7100U | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display: 14″ bright View glossy screen | Graphics: Intel Integrated graphics | Weight: 2.65 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 5 hours
After many other successful budget laptop offerings from HP, the new 14-inch laptop from the brand is yet another decent product that comes with almost all the specs you would expect from a sub-$400 laptop. While many of the company’s high spec and high priced business laptops have been gaining popularity lately, this budget model is a refreshing addition to its list and manages to deliver the company’s intentions to users.
Available in an ash silver finish, the HP 14-CF0014DX laptop looks pretty decent for a budget laptop model. The device is sleek and quite stylish, and the design is rather simple but attractive. However, when it comes to design, perhaps the highlight of the laptop is its weight; at just 2.6 pounds, this is one of the very few lightweight machines you can find in the segment, and this makes it an ideal device to have for frequent travelers, business or otherwise. The thickness of the device, however, is a bit on the higher end (2 inches) and makes the laptop looks quite bulky; but, thanks to the weight, the laptop feels light and is extremely portable.
This is a 14-inch laptop, where the display you get is a bright view glossy screen, with 1366 x 768 HD resolution and WLED backlight. The HD resolution is the basic you can get on budget laptop screens these days and therefore it isn’t much you can do about the same. Though the screen will be able to deliver decent visuals, it certainly wouldn’t compare to what you can experience with a full HD screen. Furthermore, since this is a glossy screen, you can expect at least some level of glaring on the screen, which makes working with it outdoors or under bright lighting very difficult.
The HP 14-CF0014DX receives its computing power from the 7th gen Intel Core i3-7100U mobile processor. While this smart dual-core processor is known to enable HD quality computing with its four-way processing performance, all you can do with the device would be carry out regular computing tasks, along with some amount of multitasking. The same device is also available with the Intel i3-8130U processor, which will be able to deliver better performance than the previous processor, but at an additional charge. 8 GB is what you get in terms of system memory, and our device came with 128 GB SSD. You can also choose to have 1 TB HDD, which comes with the 8th gen processor model.
If you would like to play games on your laptop, the Intel HD Graphics 620 will allow you to do so, but only fewer graphics intensive games, at low settings as well. The 3-cell lithium-ion battery on the device is capable of running for about seven hours and thirty minutes on a single full charge, which is a passable number.
7. HP Chromebook 14 Touchscreen Business Laptop
Processor: Intel Celeron N3350 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB eMMC SSD | Display: 14″ HD Touchscreen| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 500 | Weight: 3.4 lbs | Battery Life: Up to 10.75 hours
If your need for a laptop doesn’t involve doing anything powerful, but just the creation of documents, browsing the internet, watching Netflix and YouTube during your spare time, and performing other regular computing tasks, then you can easily get away with a Chromebook. Talking about Chromebooks, you cannot ignore the new HP Chromebook 14 Touchscreen Business Laptop that comes equipped with some good features.
Coming to the design front, the HP Chromebook 14’s design is neither very attractive nor too exciting. There is nothing about its design that stands out. That being said, it isn’t the worst looking laptop either, and certainly not an embarrassing model in terms of looks. Again, plastic is the material used to construct most part of the machine, and though there is some level of flexing, nothing to be worried about that could impact its durability. At 3.4 pounds, this isn’t the lightest sub-$400 laptops available out there, but with a thickness of just 0.7 inches, you get a machine that looks and feel slim.
For display, what you have with this Chromebook is a 14-inch HD Touchscreen Widescreen LED display, where the screen resolution, as known, is 1366 x 768. While the lack of a full HD display is the first downfall as far as the device’s display goes, the fact that it is dull and lacks brightness only brings it down further. Yes, there are better Chromebooks with better displays available in the market, but those will obviously cost you extra. Color reproduction isn’t the best aspect of this HP Chromebook, but the touchscreen works pretty well.
The HP Chromebook 14 is powered by Intel Celeron N3350 Dual Core Processor instead of an AMD processor. This processor is capable of reaching clock speeds of up to 2.4 GHz as maximum, with a base frequency of 1.10 GHz, and the cache here is only 2MB. As a result, you cannot expect a power-packed performance from the device; after all, Chromebooks are designed and made available mainly for regular use to carry out daily computing tasks, perfect for students and others with light computing loads. For storage, you get a 4 GB DDR4 SDRAM, 32 GB eMMC SSD, and 256 GB of extra storage with an SD card.
Similar to the processor, even with the GPU you get something basic, like the Intel HD Graphics 500 Integrated, which cannot do much when it comes to gaming. With its 2-cell lithium-ion battery, the HP Chromebook 14 is capable of running for up to 7 hours on a full charge.
As you have seen, even with a limited budget in hand, your options are not limited. From traditional notebooks to Chromebooks and even some touchscreen options, there is literally a lot of laptop models available for you to make your choice from when it comes to finding the best laptop under $400. At last, what helps you make your decision is your needs, the tasks you are looking to complete with the device on a regular basis, the configurations you think you will need, the specs that can match your requirements, and the features that can make your job easier.