Best Laptops Under $300 With Reviews – Hot Deals, Best Picks

It is a common misconception that if you want to buy a high-quality laptop, you need to spend a lot. It is true that some nice laptops out there are not cheap. However, you can find very good laptops for basic tasks like emailing, web surfing and document editing.

Most new laptops in under $300 are Chromebooks based on Celeron processors. Chromebooks are not intended for power users. If you are a power user and want to buy a laptop under $300 budget, you should consider buying used and refurbished computers. This guide includes both brand new and refurbished laptops.

How we chose the best laptops

In this review, we only looked at laptops which have the rating of 4+ on Amazon and among independent third party expert reviewers. Only the laptops with decent reviews have made it here. We tried to most critical and fair as we could.

Why social matters

We added one more dimension to commonly looked specs with laptops. We picked laptops and rated their popularity on the internet and social media. We wanted to know if the popularity of notebook reflects its quality.

Yes, most guides like this do not mention the popularity as criteria when choosing the laptop. But it is helpful to know what other people are talking about the given laptop on social media. If a lot of users are looking for troubleshooting advice, then there is a good indication that this laptop won’t last long.

We analyzed mainly the Reddit and computer forums to see if people are talking about the laptop positively, negatively or neutrally. Reddit was the main source of analysis since it is the only social network which prohibits the self-promotion. The data from Facebook and Twitter seems to be noisy with a lot of ads from manufacturers. The second best source for analyzing the laptop popularity was forums. We looked at discussions with the troubleshooting help.

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New Windows Based Laptops

1. Acer A315-51-380T 15.6″ Laptop

Acer-A315

This is no surprise to anyone that Acer makes one of the best and top rated budget laptops. Acer A315-51-380T stands out with extra fast 2.4 GHz Intel Core i3 3240T processor for this price range, pretty enough hard disk storage (1000GB) and decent graphics capabilities.

Acer A315-51-380T offers a good battery life, lasting up to 14 hours in power saving usage. If you use the laptop normally, without the power saving mode, it lasts up to 6:30 hours. The battery life may be reduced even more if you use the laptop with less screen brightness and processor performance. It lasts about 4-5 hours if you fully use the graphics capabilities with some basic video or photo editing.

On the performance side, Intel Core i5-7200U CPU is a quality product that can clock up to 3.1 GHz (the normal rate is 2.4 GHz). The integrated HD Graphics 620 and 4 GB of RAM allows you to do carry out more demanding tasks.

One disadvantage is that it is heavier than its counterparts. The laptop weighs 5.29 kg ( = 84.66 oz / 2.4 kg), while the laptop with same configurations from Lenovo (2018 Lenovo IdeaPad 320) weighs 1 lb.

The screen of the laptop measures 15.6 inches with a resolution of 1920×1080. This laptop has display brightness and response times slightly above average comparing to similar laptops in the category.

Acer A315-51-380T Full Specs
Processor Intel
RAM DDR 3
Display LED Lit, 15.6 inch 16:9 1366×768 pixels
Hard-Drive Size 1000 GB
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 620, Core: 300 – 1000 MHz, DDR3
Item Dimensions 12 x 15.6 x 0.7 in
Item Weight 5.45 lbs
Operating System Windows 10 Home
Processor Count 2

At the time of writing this guide, the customers mentioned Acer A315-51-380T as the best laptop for college in public reviews.

Acer-A315 public-reviews

As for the popularity, the laptop has become popular, when it has dropped the price on Amazon and became just a little bit over $300. Social Networks such as Twitter and Instagram promote the laptop as hot deals.

The laptop was mentioned in Reddit comments more than 15 times either with a positive or neutral sentiment. We haven’t discovered any negative sentiment about the product on forums.

Pros Cons
     good value for the price     short battery time on Wi-Fi and max brightness
     nice size and weight     only one USB-3.0 port
     good performance for simple apps and some graphics editing     lower brightness compared to competitors
     low noise  
     many possibilities for upgrade and customization in the future  

The Verdict
Although the laptop is slightly above your $300 budget level, you are getting good performance for the money.

$338 | Buy at Amazon

New and Refurbished Chromebooks

1. Acer Chromebook 11

Acer-Chromebook-11

Acer Chromebook 11 is probably one of the cheapest and surprisingly good laptop you can find. The only disadvantage is storage. The laptop offers only 16GB of external flash storage.

This makes sense for Chromebooks because they are made primarily for the cloud storage. This laptop is designed for basic browsing and it offers greater portability than the ones you will see on this list. Costing just under $200 (and sometimes over $200 depending on seasonal factors), it is one of the cheapest laptops you can buy.

If you are wondering how Chromebook is different from Windows, read this guide.  Chromebooks consume much less power and computer resources compared to Windows. The operating system has the same document editing apps and spreadsheets as in Windows. However, beware that Windows and Mac software similar to Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Excel does not work in this machine.

According to laptop buyers, this laptop stands out in quality among other vendors of Chromebooks.

Acer-Chromebook-11-User-Reviews

Acer Chromebook 11 works on Intel Celeron N3350 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of flash storage. Intel Celeron N3350 processor gives enough power to run daily operations and to browse the internet. Because Chrome OS runs fewer applications and background processes, it requires fewer resources from a computer. As of reviewed.com, the system works well even if several apps and Windows are open. The laptop can even handle the Netflix while you work on 15 tabs open.

Coming to the display performance, the laptop features 11.6-inches with a 1366 x 768 resolution. The display is ok for watching movies but you should not expect the superb quality.

The total winner is the laptop’s battery life. It lasts up to 8 hours if you are using it heavily for work with a turned Wi-Fi on.

Full Specs of Acer Chromebook 11
Processor  Intel Celeron N3350
RAM 4GB RAM
Display 11.6-inch IPS LCD (1366 x 768) display
Hard-Drive Size 16 GB of Flash Storage
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 500
Item Dimensions 11.57 x 8.03 x 0.73 in
Item Weight 2.43 lbs
Operating System Chromebook OS
Processor Count 2

As in discussions and forums, the prevalent issue with Acer Chromebook 11 was the difficulty of installing apps and upgrades. A few people complained about the non-functional webcam. A few others were looking for help in installing the MS Word on Chromebook R11. The most troubleshooting help threads contain the issues with app compatibility.

Pros Cons
     good battery life     low storage
     portable and lightweight     poor display
     relatively fast     weak touchpad

The Verdict

Acer Chromebook 11(2018 Edition) is a relatively new laptop with a good performance designed for work. Buy this laptop if you travel a lot and if storage is not an issue for you.

$198 | Buy at Amazon

2. ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02

ASUS-Chromebook-C202SA-YS02

What makes the Asus Chromebook the most affordable and highly reviewed one is its water resistance. You can work without having to worry about spilled coffees or teas. The Asus Chromebook C202SA comes with the water-resistant body, 180-degree view, and a nice keyword.

The laptop is also one of the popular choices among Redditors. There are about 21 Reddit threads with the notebook name mentioned. Most mentions are positive or neutral. There have been about three users that are frustrated by the model. They’re about more than a thousand total reviews on Amazon and the overall average rating of the product is 4.0.

What makes this laptop amazing among other counterparts is its 180-degree view. This is a good thing for kids and watching movies.

The laptop is built using 1.6-GHz Intel Celeron N3060 processor and 4GB of RAM. The performance of the system is not super cool compared to non-Chromebook counterparts, but it is to do enough tasks. According to laptopmag, the machine can’t handle too much multitasking and it can lag if you open too many tabs.

The battery life is also outstanding for students and teachers. It can last up to 8 hours and 23 minutes of continuous usage (which involves browsing the web with turned on wifi).

Coming to display, 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 screen may not be sharp enough for demanding tasks, but it passes all the graphics tests it should pass. Do not expect a lot of variations of colors, though, this laptop may display the colors differently.

The overall laptop’s design and comfort of keyboards are worth praising. They are super slick, comfortable and your fingers feel like swimming while you are typing the keyboard. The number one thing I like is never having to worry about spilled coffee!

Asus Chromebook C202SA Specifications
Processor 1.6-GHz Intel Celeron N3060
RAM 2GB RAM upgradable to 4GB
Display 11.6-inch IPS LCD (1366 x 768) display
Hard-Drive Size 16GB
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 400
Item Dimensions 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.88 inches
Item Weight 2.2 lbs
Operating System Google Chrome
Processor Count 2

Asus Chromebook C202SA is drop resistant too! The company claims that you can drop the machine from the height of 3.9 feet thanks to the sturdy protective case.

Asus-chromebook-C202SA-User-Reviews

Pros Cons
     spill resistance     poor display
     battery life     slow performance
     durable case
     good keyboard

Verdict:

This laptop makes a good companion for travelers, students, and parents.

$185 | Buy at Amazon

3. Acer Flagship CB3-532 HD Premium Chromebook 15

Acer-Flagship-CB3-532-HD-Premium Chromebook-15

If you are looking for budget laptops with slightly bigger screens compared to previous ones, Acer Flagship CB3-532 may be one of the right choices for you. Measuring 15.6 inches, the laptop provides a good battery life and moderate performance sufficient for work.

Very much like it’s under budget competitors, Acer Chromebook 15 runs on 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron N3060 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM and integrated Intel HP graphics. You can open up to 8 browser tabs without the risk of running slow according to pcfuse.com.

The provided storage is standard 16 GB of flash storage for this type of Chromebook machines. You don’t need to worry about storage because every app and file can be saved on the cloud.

The Acer Chromebook 15 features 15.6-inch display 1366 x 768 pixels resolution, which is pretty standard for $300 notebooks. Most power users do not recommend this type of settings for watching quality movies. However, it is good enough for basic image editing and document type of work.

The real win here is a battery life. The device can run for 12 hours continuously, without being interrupted. This includes browsing through web and running apps as a regular user with a regular brightness.

As for the popularity, this brand laptop has a lot of mentions in social media, mostly with positive sentiment. Top sites that mention Acer Flagship CB3-532 are facebook and youtube. The laptop has about 500 reviews at Amazon and the average rating is 4.0. What is good about this laptop is that there is a lot of troubleshooting help available through forums.

Acer Flagship CB3-532 HD Premium Chromebook 15
Processor 2 GHz Celeron D Processor 360
RAM 2GB RAM
Display 15.6-inch IPS LCD (1366 x 768) display
Hard-Drive Size 16GB
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 400
Item Dimensions 15.1 x 10.1 x 0.9 in
Item Weight 4.3 lbs
Operating System Google Chrome
Processor Count 2

Although the laptop is not fancy compared to Apple’s standards, the keyboard much better than the ones you see in budget laptops. Typing is easy and noiseless. The touchpad is very responsive to movements. It is very quick and easy. Sometimes, it is faster than you can expect.

Acer-Flagship-user-reviews

Pros Cons
     lower brightness compared     short battery runtime on Wi-Fi
     super long battery life (12 hours)     poor display
     comfortable keyboard     slow performance
      poor sound

The Verdict

The laptop is the same with all laptops in the same category. Sleek design and a battery life make things different.

$149.49 | Buy at Amazon

4. Samsung Electronics XE500C13-S03US Chromebook 3

Samsung-Electronics-XE500C13-S03US-Chromebook

Samsung Chromebook 3 is another budget laptop designed primarily for browsing web keeping portability and battery life in mind. Compared to other notebooks on this list, Samsung Chromebook 3 is relatively fast. It has the same popular 1.6-GHz Intel Celeron N3060 processor and 4 GB of RAM. The machine performs well if you watch a movie parallelly with 10 browser tabs being open.

Samsung stands out with its super nice display performance. It shows more colors than the competitors, hits the highest scores in graphics tests. The colors are very natural and bright taking into account the viewing angle of 45 degrees. This laptop is ideal for watching movies.

The battery life is also something Samsung can be proud of. The device works 10 hours in nonstop web browsing in the normal screen brightness settings, having wifi turned on.

The keyboards and touchpad are very comfortable. The only disadvantage is that backspace button is placed near power off key. You may accidentally switch off your computer intending to hit backspace.

Storage-wise, the laptop provides 32 GB of flash storage which is much bigger than its competitor notebooks.

The noise coming out Samsung Chromebook 3 is enough for watching a decent movie, but the speakers might distort noise if you are listening to high note music. This is the only disadvantage you can find in a laptop.

The social popularity of laptop is average. People mentioned the Samsung Chromebook 3 with sound problems on Reddit. There are a total of 10 threads where the computer is mentioned in Reddit, all with a positive note. The average Amazon reviews mark 4.0 threshold, having a total of fewer than 1000 reviewers.

Samsung Electronics XE500C13-S03US Chromebook 3 specs
Processor 1.6-GHz Intel Celeron N3060
RAM 4GB RAM
Display 11.6-inch IPS LCD (1366 x 768) display
Hard-Drive Size 32GB
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 400
Item Dimensions 11.37 x 0.7 x 8.04 inches
Item Weight 2.54 lbs
Operating System Google Chrome
Processor Count 2

For a laptop that costs under $200, Samsung’s performance is super cool. You are getting a decent chrome OS notebook with a webcam included.

Samsung-Electronics-XE500C13-S03US-Chromebook-User-Reviews

Pros Cons
     long battery life (10 hours)     weak speakers
     fast performance  
     great display  

The Verdict

The laptop is too good to be true on a budget, under $300 category. It is definitely worth buying it if you are ok with Chrome OS.

$156| Buy at Amazon

Refurbished Windows Laptops

When you know that your daily tasks require demanding CPU and Graphics performance, but you don’t have a budget for a new laptop, here is when used or refurbished notebooks come in mind.

Bestbuy is a great source for finding powerful refurbished laptops.

1.  HP EliteBook 840 G1 – Certified Refurbished 

HP-EliteBook-840

This is a decent Windows-based laptop with good performance, plenty of storage and good graphics capabilities. Apart from its superb performance, the design is pretty thin and good. There could be only one problem with refurbished devices: there might be scratches here and there. But because of its super fast performance, this laptop is worth every penny invested and it is under $300 budget.

The performance of  HP EliteBook 840 G1 excels the notebooks in a similar category. The notebook operates with  1.6GHz Intel Core i5 4300U processor and  4GB Memory. The graphics card comes from Intel HD Graphics 3000. While this laptop cannot provide the best gaming experience, it is great for watching movies and working seamlessly with more than 15 tabs being open.

The machine also features a 720p webcam bordered by dual-array microphones,  built-in stereo speakers, two USB 3.0 ports,  Bluetooth 4.0 and connectivity. On the storage part, the  500GB hard drive offers plenty of storage for your photos, files, and movies. 

This product comes with one year warranty.

HP EliteBook 840 G1 – Certified Refurbished

Processor Intel Core i5- 4200u processor 1.6GHz
RAM 8GB DDR3 Memory
Display 14-inch IPS LCD (1366 x 768) display
Hard-Drive Size 500GB
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000
Item Dimensions 9.1 x 9.1 x 9.1 inches
Item Weight 6.7 lbs
Operating System Google Chrome
Processor Count 2

The best part? This item comes with a touchscreen and backlit keyboard which is extremely comfortable. The batteries also seem to work as expected in this version of HP EliteBook 840 G1.

HP-EliteBook-840-G1-User-Reviews

Pros Cons
     superb performance     average battery life
     quality display     may have missing product key
     responsive touch screen  
   

$309.50 | Buy at Amazon

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