Laptop guides

The best budget laptops for under £300

Before we take a look at things you might want to consider before buying a new budget laptop, we reveal five of the most popular computers which fit within the £300 budget.

HP 14s AMD 3020E 4GB 64GB eMMC 14″ Win10 Home S Laptop

See more of your screen on the 6.5 mm micro-edge bezel display. A thin and light design makes it easy to take this PC anywhere.

Tackle your busiest days with the performance of an AMD processor. Save more of what you love with abundant storage for all your photos, videos and documents. Plus, if you want to stay connected, this HP laptop has long-lasting battery life and HP Fast Charge technology to let you work, watch, and stay connected all day. Integrated precision touchpad with multi-touch support speeds up navigation and productivity. Click here for price.

ASUS Chromebook C403NA Intel Celeron N3350 4GB RAM 32GB eMMC 14″ HD Chrome OS

The ASUS Chromebook C403 combines big-screen productivity with classroom-ready toughness. Its large 14-inch display and ergonomic keyboard let you get things done in total comfort, and its rugged construction makes it a laptop you can rely on whether you’re using it for school or sharing screens with teachers or family. It’s packed with ruggedised features such as the all-round rubber bumper, spill-resistant keyboard and ultra-tough hinge. It’s the smartest choice for learning! Click here for price.

ASUS BR1100FKA Educational Laptop, Intel Celeron N4500 1.1GHz, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, 11.6″ HD Touchscreen, Intel UHD, Windows 10 Pro

The ASUS BR1100F is the best learning companion for students of all ages, with a tough, innovative design that’s made to last. As well as a versatile touchscreen display and stylus, there’s also a 360° hinge and a world-facing camera. It’s packed with clever protective features, including an all-round rubber bumper, spill-resistant keyboard and ultra-tough hinge. It also has AI-powered noise-cancelling technology for high-quality remote learning and conferencing, and a modular design makes it easy to service, BR1100F is ready for anything. Click here for price.

Lenovo IdeaPad 1 14IGL05 Intel Pentium Silver N5030 1.1GHz, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, 14″ HD, Intel UHD, Windows 10 Home in S mode

Get all your daily computing needs covered and have a little fun along the way with the IdeaPad 1 (14, Intel). Boasting reliable Intel® Pentium® processors and a long-lasting battery, you’ll be checking emails and updating social media all day wherever you want. And with a 14″ FHD display with thin borders and Dolby Audio™ speakers, you can sit back and stream your favourite videos and music. Fantastic value. Check for price here.

Lenovo 100e Chromebook 2nd Gen Intel Celeron N4020 4GB RAM 32GB eMMC 11.6″ HD Chrome OS Laptop

Teachers who say the classroom sometimes feels like a playground, take heart – this device is engineered for durability. Built tough with rubber bumpers, reinforced ports and hinges, and mechanically anchored keys, the 100e Chromebook (2nd Gen) can handle all manner of shock and awe!

With an HD display, the built-in anti-glare technology on the 100e Chromebook (2nd Gen) reduces eye strain – great for both teachers and students. The front-facing camera makes collaboration simple. Get the price here.

Things you need to know before buying a budget laptop

Just a few years ago, you had to spend the best part of a thousand pounds to get your hands on a truly decent laptop, but thankfully those days have gone. The market has increased, prices have come down, and the variety of devices has expanded. You can now get great laptops for home, work or school use for less than £500 and it’s also possible to find full-featured Chromebooks and hybrid systems that give you both laptop and tablet functionality in one device for less than that.

We’ve set the budget at £300 and selected a few great examples of computers you can get. But what should you be looking for? Realistically, you should be prepared to compromise in one aspect or other, however. While it’s certainly possible to find a powerful laptop with a 15-inch screen, it could be that you might have to make do with a keyboard or touchpad which is not ideal. Likewise, you could buy an quality ultraportable which uses a modest CPU and a small storage drive to achieve its low price.

The bottom line is that there will be trade-offs to make. The key to getting the best computer for your money is to match up a laptop’s strengths and weaknesses with what you need it for. Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to consider.

Components and Connectivity

The good news is that you’ll have to accept fewer compromises with the budget laptops of today than you did in the past. Intel’s Celeron and Pentium processors (which power most of the under £300 range) have evolved to the point where they can support most productivity requirements without feeling sluggish. However, if you need more than just the basics, you’d be wiser to go for Core i3, Core i5, Ryzen 3, and the Ryzen 5 families of processors.

If you’re looking for a laptop to play games on, then you’ll be restricted to what you can play, with the higher demands of the AAA titles out of reach of the devices in the under £300 range. (If you have a bigger budget, then take a look at our top-rated gaming laptops as well as our favourite cheap gaming laptops!)

As you may have noticed, most laptops in the under £300 range come with 4GB of RAM, but if you can up your budget just a little, you’ll be able to get 8GB of RAM. In terms of batteries, an ideal budget laptop has one with six cells or more. The battery life for a cheap laptop should come in at a minimum of seven or eight hours and, these days, many will last quite a bit longer. If you’re a student, moving around campus, or using your laptop for work ‘on the go’ then battery life can be really important.

Storage

Some cheaper laptops are still using spinning hard drives, but increasingly inexpensive Windows machines opt for small-capacity solid-state drives (SSDs) of 128GB or 256GB capacity. If you can manage with the capacity of a small SSD, then we recommend you go for it!

Some lower-cost models such as Chromebooks, and some Windows laptops under £400 tend to have a small amount of local storage, typically 32GB or 64GB, but they compensate for this with additional, free cloud storage. Don’t forget though, to access your data, you’ll need to be online.

It is also worth noting that some budget laptops (including many Chromebooks) have what is called ‘eMMC memory’ as their main storage. This isn’t the same as the flash memory used in an SSD, and it will feel a bit laboured in comparison.

Connectivity

Most budget laptops will have at least one USB 3.0 port and possibly one or two USB 2.0 ports. Also, keep your eye out for an SD card slot. The cheapest models are likely to have an HDMI output and a USB-C port, so you should have the flexibility to transfer data, add a second screen and lots more.

Chromebooks

Like laptops, Chromebooks have come a long way in recent years. They use Google’s Chrome OS system, and whilst these Chrome OS-based laptops are still web-centric, they are now more versatile and have more features. Many Chromebooks cost less than our £300 budget and they will provide much of the functionality of a regular Windows or mac laptop. Plus, depending on the model, they also tend to have an impressive battery life too.

The key thing to remember with Chromebooks is that you need to have easy access to stable Wi-Fi, as they have restricted offline functionality and little local storage.

A note on processors. Pentium or Celeron processors are adequate for light usage within a budget Chromebook, whereas Intel Core processors are generally found in more expensive Chromebooks.

The Best Cheap Tablets and Hybrid 2-in-1s

Throughout the 2010s, tablets rose in popularity because they are sufficiently different from traditional laptops, but they don’t always make ideal substitutes. Even though some models come with detachable keyboards, they tend to be much less comfortable when typing on your lap than a conventional laptop.

A good substitute for a laptop is a convertible 2-in-1. This is a laptop that can be converted into a tablet for portability. A 2-in-1 has all the laptop ports but also has the touch-screen capability of a tablet. Its keyboard can be detached or folded out of the way, using its versatile design features. These convertibles are ideal for travelling. Unfortunately, you won’t find many that fit within our budget of under £300 – but there are a few Windows and Chrome OS-based models which cost below £500.

Which Budget Laptop Should I Buy?

Due to Covid 19 and millions of people working from home, laptops – especially budget models – have been in huge demand. Many of the most popular models seems to be out of stock as soon as they come in. If you’re on a strict budget, hang in there, as you can definitely find PCs which will deliver enough performance for those day-to-day tasks.

At Ebuyer we have lots of laptops under £300, plus computers for all budgets. Take a look here.

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