The cost of laptops can get extremely high. Achieving your ideal computing setup can be a costly thing to do, especially in a world where a new MacBook, GalaxyBook or any other kind of shiny new Book seems to roll off the production line every year. Nobody uses most of those expensive laptops’ top-of-the-range features anyway.
If you’re on the go, and on a budget, the best laptop for you is a reliable high-quality machine that comes in under $400. A range of laptops are available in this more accessible price bracket, and we’ve reviewed as many as we can to figure out this list of the very best. So, let’s get started on presenting our five categories of the best laptop under $400
Product Comparison Table: Best Laptop Under $400
|Best in class
|11″ Touch Screen Lenovo Quad Laptop
|Best for Students
|HP 15″ Full HD Laptop
|Acer 11.6″ Chromebook Laptop
|ASUS Chromebook CX1
|Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 Inch FHD Laptop
There’s many groups of people looking for the best laptop under $400, but students are always guaranteed to be among them! Students (or their parents) strapped for cash, whether they’re thinking about university, college or school will be more than happy with the 11″ Touch Screen Lenovo Quad Laptop.
The Lenovo Quad proves that great things often come in small packages. Firstly, the Radeon anti-glare display may be compact, but it’s fully equipped with touch screen technology that’s ideal for taking notes in lectures and classes and revising them afterwards. Moreover, pre-installed Windows 11 Pro 64-bit (and not the dreaded Windows S) combines with preloaded Office 2021 Pro Plus makes student word processing a breeze.
- HD touch screen
- Compact and portable
- Pre-loaded Windows software and Office 2021
- Drop-proof, shockproof and 3-year warranty
- Very small display
We found the 11″ Touch Screen Lenovo Quad Laptop to be the best laptop under $400 for students not just because it’s easy to carry around; the pre-installed software suggests it’s intended for day-to-day uni computing, and night-by-night Netflix streaming. Don’t worry if you (or the kids) are clumsy either, because the Lenovo Quad’s drop-proof, shockproof and covered by a 3-Year Warranty.
The HP 15” Full HD Laptop came out as our best laptop under $400 in terms of display because of its 6.5 mm micro-edge bezel display that delivers crystal-clear visuals with a vibrant 2 million pixels. Images on the screen are crisp, colourful and bright to the extent that even desktop backgrounds look pretty.
The HP’s not just a pretty face either. The 11th Gen. Intel Core processor, long battery life and HP Fast Charge technology is more than convenient, boosting your productivity in conjunction with the multi-touch supported touchpad that makes navigation easy. It feels fast, sharp and capable for the price, and boosts up fast thanks to a snappy solid state hard drive.
- Bright and beautiful display
- Speedy startup
- 8-hour battery life
- Large and a little cumbersome
We chose the HP 15” Full HD Laptop as one of our best laptops under $400 because the graphics and display technology wowed us while staying true to HP’s reputation for quality and dependability. The HP’s fab display and processing power lets you enjoy a more immersive experience while watching TV or movies on your laptop, even if it is a little large to carry around.
The Acer 11.6″ Chromebook Laptop is ideal if you’re really conscious of your bank balance but still need a good hard-working laptop. Let’s take a look at what we’re getting for this modest chunk of money. Efficiency? The Acer is powered by an Intel Celeron processor with 2GB RAM. So, for day-to-day computing the Acer more than gets the job done. The graphics could be better, but films and TV on streaming still look good enough so as to not be too distracting.
Best of all for this price, the Acer 11.6″ Chromebook Laptop is lightweight, good-looking and surprisingly fast for a budget laptop. It’s deceptively speedy, and this little unit weighs only 2.6lb – considering how well it handles web browsing and word processing, you could take this little one wherever you go.
- Great for everyday computing
- Attractive design
- Pocket-friendly price point
- Graphics could be better
Portable, easy to carry, and far more functional than the price would suggest, the Acer 11.6″ Chromebook Laptop is a neat little package for any casual user. With quality this decent at such a low price, it’s hard not to put this handy laptop on our list of best laptops under $400. Who would think so little money could go so far?
A Chromebook is a great budget-friendly alternative to traditional laptops, particularly if you spend most of your time on the internet. They run ChromeOS, a cloud-storage operating system that has Google built in, and multiple layers of security. A ChromeBook and a laptop, technically, are two different things – but the ASUS Chromebook 11 has earned its place as one of our best laptops under $400.
Lightweight, sleek and ultraportable, the ASUS Chromebook CX1 is powered by Intel’s Celeron processor and boasts up to 13 hours of battery life; almost anything is possible that you can do on a normal laptop (and more) down the rabbit hole of apps available on the Google Play Store. What’s more, ASUS’s shock test showed this laptop withstands more than three harsh shocks in each direction at a force of 120 G/3 ms. They do the same tests on military equipment, and you’re probably not stronger than a tank.
- The best Chromebook we found
- Sleek design
- Lightweight and portable
- Not (technically) a laptop
The reason why we chose to include a Chromebook in our best laptops under $400 (when they’re not officially laptops) is that Chromebooks never price that high. Even the best Chromebooks rarely exceed this price, meaning that unlike a budget laptop, you’re not buying a budget version of a potentially high-end product. The highest-ticket Chromebook is still a cheap Chromebook!
It’s annoying to have to admit it, but the legendary MacBook Pro is unbeatable. A MacBook is the best laptop under… much more than $400 dollars. Luckily for you, we’ve found the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 Inch FHD Laptop gets close to the legend in many areas.
The IdeaPad 3 delivers a powerful experience with its AMD Athlon Gold Mobile Processor that excels itself in everyday computing, and the 14” FHD display with MacBook-style narrow bezels on two sides gives a beautiful crystal-clear display room to sing. We found that the Lenovo IdeaPad sounds every bit as good as its upmarket cousin too, with built-in Dolby Audio for streaming music, video chatting, or watching anything on Netflix. A smart Q-Control function enables intelligent cooling or boosts battery in ‘Quick’/’Quiet’ modes. The Lenovo may not have an Apple-style fingerprint scanner, but it keeps a keen eye on privacy with a physical privacy shutter to hide your webcam whenever you want to.
- Impressive performance
- Crisp visuals and built-in Dolby audio
- Intelligent Q-Control function
- Well… it’s not a real MacBook
A MacBook under $400 would definitely make this list of the best laptops under $400. Unfortunately, that might be wishful thinking, so we think the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 Inch FHD Laptop is the next best thing. It may not have a Retina display, Touch ID or bragging rights, but you probably wouldn’t use those anyway. The Lenovo IdeaPad even looks a bit like a MacBook… from not too far away.