Best Laptop Under $200 | Reviews and Buying Guide



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Are you a college student that’s looking to purchase a new laptop for school? Are you a professional that needs something reliable but doesn’t have the budget to guarantee it? If so, then read on because we have everything you need to know about laptops under $200.

Laptop Under $200

Choosing the best laptop under $200 is not an easy task. There are many different features to consider, and there are also many things you should know about laptops in general before making your purchase. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best cheap laptops that will work for almost any day-to-day need. We’ll look at what benefits these laptops bring, as well as some highlights and drawbacks of each one. 

While these machines aren’t as powerful as their higher-end cousins, they’ll be more than capable of running most applications. Their small size and low cost make them perfect for someone who wants a mobile device to do basic tasks such as word processing or even very light gaming.

If your finances mean you can’t stretch to buy the latest Macbook Pro, this article will guide you to find the right budget laptop for you without breaking the bank!


Best Laptops Under $200 | Compared

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Why should you buy a laptop for under $200?

These are surprisingly capable machines for the price. They might not be able to play all of your favorite games or edit videos without some significant slowdown, but they will get things done and are ideal for students to take notes or write essays. 

These laptops are perfect for everyday productivity tasks. They can handle moderate workloads, but if you plan on doing any heavy-duty work like editing videos or presentations, make sure to get something else because these don’t have enough power in them.

The batteries of this type last about 10 hours with casual use, so they’re great when taking notes at school during lectures without constantly needing an outlet nearby.

First, we’ll give you the reasons why you should buy a new low-cost one instead of a refurbished laptop, and then follow up with a list of some great laptops under $200.

Reason #1) It’s cheaper

Of course, the main reason why you’d want to buy a laptop for less is that it costs less! Less money means more savings, and who doesn’t like that? Of course, if you’re spending half as much on a laptop, you’re probably getting half the quality.

Reason #2) Replacement costs are minimal

If your laptop is less expensive than higher-end machines, then when it breaks down or becomes obsolete, there’s not much to replace. Low-cost laptops aren’t built to last years and years like high-end ones, but they should still be able to hold together for a reasonable amount of time.

Reason #3) Upgrade parts if you need more power

You can always upgrade the memory and hard drive on a low-end laptop to improve performance. This is often cheaper than buying a new machine and can add some life to your old laptop.

Reason #4) They’re still more powerful than most people need

Even though these laptops won’t play all of your favorite games or process video footage as fast as a high-end machine, they’re still more powerful than most people need. You can do almost anything with a low-cost laptop, and you just might have to wait a few seconds longer for it to process.


10 Best Laptops Under $200 | Reviews

1. Lenovo Chromebook S330 Laptop (Best Overall)

Pros
  • 14″ FHD display
  • Lightweight
  • 2.1GHz CPU clock speed
  • 10 hours battery life
Cons
  • Slow
  • Only three months of tech support

2. Asus Chromebook 14″ HD Anti-Glare Nano-Edge Display Laptop Computer (Best Value)

Pros
  • Intel HD Graphics 500
  • 2.40 GHz Max turbo speed processor
  • 4GB DDR4 RAM
  • 64GB eMMC storage
  • 10 hours battery life
  • Full-size keyboard
Cons
  • Lacks durability

3. SAMSUNG Galaxy Chromebook 4

Pros
  • Fast charge time
  • 4GB DDR4 SDRAM
  • 64GB hard drive
Cons
  • Battery lacks durability

4. Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Convertible 2-in-1 Laptop

Pros
  • Eight cores 2GHz processor
  • Built-in antivirus
  • Blazing fast boot uptime
  • 11.6″ HD touchscreen
  • Stereo sound speakers
  • 32GB internal storage
  • Affordable laptop
Cons
  • Slow when several things are open at once

5. HP Stream Laptop Intel N4020

Pros
  • Intel dual-core processor
  • HD backlit anti-glare display
  • Full-size keyboard
  • Extremely lightweight
Cons
  • Smaller storage space at 32GB

6. HP Chromebook 14-inch HD Laptop

Pros
  • 82% screen to body ratio
  • Up to 2.6GHz frequency
  • 13 hours battery life
  • Hald charge in 45 mins
Cons
  • RAM not upgradeable

7. HP Stream 11.6-inch HD Laptop

Pros
  • Windows laptop
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 11.6 inch HD display
  • 24-7 web support
Cons
  • Less internal storage
  • RAM not upgradeable

8. ASUS Chromebook C223

Pros
  • HD webcam
  • Excellent battery life
  • 1-year free 100GB cloud storage with Google
Cons
  • Lacks durability

9. Venturer 11.6″ (Model: WT9L11P44GD51)

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Good storage space
  • FHD display
  • Two batteries included
Cons
  • 6-hour battery life

10. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11 Chromebook

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Durable aluminum exterior
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • Backlit keyboard not included

Video: What to Look for in a Laptop


Buyers Guide

The less expensive laptops are mainly Chromebooks with very few Windows laptops. This is not a problem, as plenty of Chromebooks are being sold today. If you need a Windows laptop, it is recommended that you want to spend more on better quality laptops with higher specs. The best laptops under $200 offer lower specifications but still can handle most day-to-day tasks at school or work.

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Chromebook or Windows Laptop?

The most significant difference is that Chromebooks are mainly built to run apps in the cloud. This means that you will save most of your files on Google’s cloud server instead of your hard drive or SD card. You also can’t install regular Windows software, which might be a problem if you use specific programs for work or school.

However, if you’re mainly using the Internet, Google Docs for word processing, and Netflix for entertainment, Chromebooks are great choices. They are often faster than traditional laptops because they don’t have to boot up Windows, and you will get all your work done in less time without sacrificing too much speed.

Windows laptops are better if you need to install Windows software, work with large files, or connect an external monitor because most Chromebooks usually won’t come with an HDMI output

With a Windows 10 S laptop, you can’t download any Google or third party app from their Microsoft Store, which is a real shame. They cite security as their main reason for blocking Chromebook apps. If you opt for a Chromebook, you can install Android apps from the Play Store, but the configuration and usability aren’t great with a non-touchscreen device.

Google has come a long way in recent years, and their Google Suite is a genuine rival to Microsoft Office 365, and many users prefer it. Chromebooks are designed for people who want to do basic things like internet browsing, social media, video calls, and editing documents. 

Before deciding which one to buy, think about your own needs. If you have to use MS Office and other Windows software, you’ll need a Windows laptop because you can’t install them on the Chrome OS currently.

Laptop Under $200

Processor

The processor is the main computing chip in your machine. It handles all of the applications you run, and it’s one of the most significant factors when buying any laptop, but even more important one under $200.

Intel Celeron and MediaTek processors dominate the under $200 laptop market. Celerons are generally found in Chromebooks, while MediaTek can be found on more capable Windows laptops. 

It’s essential to identify the model number of the CPU as it’ll tell you the release date. For instance, the Intel Celeron N4000 is now four years old and superseded by the N4500 released in 2021. The most senior Intel Celeron chip we recommend is the 2019 release, N4020.

Regarding MediaTek, we recommend their MT8183 processor, released in 2021, or their MT8173 from 2019. To keep costs down, manufacturers use an older chipset that won’t be as good in the long run.

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Random Access Memory (RAM)

Random Access Memory, or RAM, is another essential factor to consider when shopping for a laptop. It’s the short-term memory used during active processes by your computer.

8GB of RAM is an average amount found on modern Windows laptops, but some might come with 4GB, especially Chromebooks that are more suitable for basic tasks than full-blown Windows. 

The sub $200 market does mean that some laptops will have just 4GB of RAM, which is fine for basic tasks, but it’s essential to avoid the 2GB renewed models as you’ll be disappointed. 

Storage

Laptops with SSD (Solid State Disk) storage offer faster speed than those with mechanical hard drives, and we recommend them. They also last longer than HDD because they don’t have moving parts.

The one thing to consider is the storage capacity of your SSD. The average under $200 laptop has a 32GB SSD, but some offer 64GB with a few exceptions at higher prices. Please avoid going any less than 32GB because the operating system will take up a fair chunk of the disk space, leaving very little room to install anything. Some laptops do offer memory card slots which is a good option if it has lower internal storage.

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Screen Size and Resolution

The screen size is crucial because the laptop will likely be used for word processing, browsing the web, watching movies, and playing some games. 

Any under $200 laptop should have a minimum 1080p resolution. 720p displays are not good enough anymore as they will strain your eyes when reading small text or offering lower image clarity in general. 

Lenovo Chromebook S330 Laptop, 14-Inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Display, MediaTek MT8173C Processor, 4GB LPDDR3, 64GB eMMC, Chrome OS, 81JW0000US, Business Black

We also recommend a full HD 1080p display as it offers the best balance of image clarity and battery life. It’s not too demanding on your laptop’s hardware, so you’ll have no problems displaying high-definition images smoothly.

Some models come with touchscreen displays that help browse the web, play some games, and often double up as a tablet.

Battery Life

Ideally, you’d want a laptop that lasts long on battery so you can use it without being plugged in all the time. 

The minimum number of hours to be expected is just 6 hours, limited by their tiny batteries. Some go up to 8 hours, but they’re mainly Chromebooks optimized for extended battery life. 

As with any computer, your mileage may vary, and we recommend you read some laptop reviews online before making a purchase. Many manufacturers throw in a caveat regarding battery life, stating it varies depending on the processing you’re doing. 

Portability

You’ll want to consider portability when shopping for a new laptop and pay attention to its weight and size. Some have 14-inch screens that are easy to carry around, while others have 11-inch displays, and they may be too small for some people.

While laptops in this price range are generally small and lightweight, indeed, in comparison to high-performing gaming laptops, there is still some variation between models. So, think about where you’ll be using it and what weight will be acceptable to you.

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Durability

As with any product, you want to have this for a long time, so your laptop must be durable enough to withstand being transported between different places. Laptop hinges may also be an issue if they don’t open or close properly because they’re built cheaply.

Since this is a sub $200 laptop, you may not want to use it for more than basic tasks like writing documents and browsing the web. It’s also designed for casual gaming. 

So if you plan on using some power-hungry applications or playing some intensive games, then this laptop isn’t for you because they’re not capable of handling them.

If you want to use your laptop for business or school, make sure it’s compatible with the software you need before making any purchase. 

The most important thing to consider when buying a laptop is how it feels and functions-checking out the keyboard, trackpad responsiveness (and size), number of ports on-board, as well as weight distribution.

Don’t forget to compare shops for laptops! You’ll find some great deals online and in-store. If you’re looking for a specific model, make sure the retailer is an authorized dealer before buying – otherwise, there’s no way of knowing if it’s authentic or not (and they could sell fake products).

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Frequently Asked Questions


A laptop or a tablet that transforms?

That’s a bit of a grey area. Performance-wise, the best laptop under $200 is most likely to be a tablet with a keyboard, but we’re not saying that the best laptops in this price range can’t be used as tablets or even e-readers.

We’re just saying that they won’t be a 2-in-1 hybrid or have a 360-degree hinge. They offer a full-size keyboard and the look and feel of a higher-priced laptop that’s suitable for small processing tasks. They are aimed at the student market who need a cheap option at school or college.


Why are refurbished laptops so cheap?

There are many reasons. First, manufacturers sell their returns to companies that specialize in refurbishing them for resale. They go through a quality control procedure to make sure they work and therefore can be sold at a reduced cost and, while you may have used them briefly, there should be no problem with functionality. 

Second, refurbished laptops may have been returned by other customers for a variety of reasons. One customer may have changed their mind, and another may have had a problem that the retailer couldn’t resolve quickly enough to keep happy customers. 

Thirdly, a customer may have upgraded and part-exchanged their laptop. The manufacturer may have paid the retailer to take the computer back instead of throwing it in a landfill, which is why you may be offered an even cheaper refurbished model.

A refurbished laptop can perform (sometimes outperform) a lot like a new one, but you’ll need to check that it’s covered by warranty and that the retailer provides after-sales service and technical support. You’ll also need to look at the CPU and GPU model numbers to ensure they’re not so old they’ll stop working after a short time. A trick with these retailers is to put old chips and parts in which lack durability and support.

You’ll also need to check the laptop for scratches, dents, and dings, and while they will be mostly cosmetic, a scratch on the screen isn’t and will impact your use. 

As with all brand new electronic items, they depreciate exceptionally quickly, so a refurbished model can be up to 50% cheaper.


What kind of games can you play on a 200 laptop?

A laptop under $200 will not be able to play the latest games, and they’ll struggle with even some of last year’s titles, so don’t view them as a cheap gaming laptop. However, you can download games from the app store as you would with any tablet device and play some basic games on a computer for under $200.

What you get from a 200 dollar budget laptop is low processing power and an integrated graphics chipset instead of a dedicated GPU. In other words, do not expect to play any of the latest titles. The computer won’t have enough storage space or performance power to do it justice.

This price point is aimed at parents buying their kids a computer for school or college, so games designed for a tablet or smartphone are ideal.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can get your game on with a cheap laptop. These budget machines are not made for demanding tasks such as video editing, so don’t even try it! They typically have entry-level CPUs and lack RAM or storage space- 4GB at most 64GB eMMC type storage; little compared to other devices at a higher price point.

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What’s the best laptop currently under 200?

From our research, the best overall laptop under $200 is the Lenovo Chromebook S330 Laptop because it is loaded with features. An ultra-thin design, so it’s easily portable and boasts a 14-inch high-definition display screen. Powering this lightweight device is 
MediaTek MTK8173C Processor, which is powerful enough to run Chrome OS efficiently.

Armed with 4GB LPDDR3 Ram, HDMI port, 720p webcam, and two 2W speaker systems for effortless collaboration with top-tier collaborative apps via Google’s Chrome OS brings everything together seamlessly to support your daily computing tasks either on or offline. You also get 100GB of additional cloud storage on your Google Drive.


Conclusion

So, that’s all you need to know! You can use a lower-end laptop for basic everyday needs such as typing documents, surfing the internet, word processing, and video streaming. For these purposes, a laptop under 200 dollars is more than suitable.

Suppose it is any of our top picks. In that case, there are no other required considerations as we have thoroughly researched their pros/cons, read hundreds of reviews from various customers, and compared them against the criteria we set out in this article! We hope this budget-friendly guide helps with your purchase decision.


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