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The best cheap Windows laptops: Under $400 notebooks

What is the best cheap Windows laptop? The Acer Aspire 5 is our number one pick! We did an in-depth analysis on the top Windows laptops under $400, focusing on display, battery life, processor and storage.

Not everyone wants to pay thousands of dollars for a new laptop.

Some are happy with cheap and cheerful systems that just get the job done without bells and whistles or fancy branding. Here are a handful of Windows 10 laptops, all priced under $350 and perfect for most day-to-day tasks.

Dell Inspiron 15 3000

Best value

Dell Inspiron 15 3000

A cheap yet stylish laptop that offers decent power and performance for under $300. A good, solid, reliable all-rounder.

Tech specs:

  • Intel Celeron Processor N4020 (4MB Cache, up to 2.8 GHz)
  • 15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) Anti-glare LED-Backlit Non-touch Narrow Border Display
  • Windows 11 Home (S mode)
  • 4GB, 1x4GB, DDR4, 2400MHz
  • Intel UHD Graphics 600 with shared graphics memory
  • 128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive

Acer Aspire 5

Best cheap Windows laptops

Acer Aspire 5

This is one of those budget laptops that not only looks premium, but also advanced features such as WiFi 6 and a decent amount of fast storage.

A perfect laptop for work or school.

Tech specs:

  • Windows 10 Home in S Mode
  • Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor Dual-core 3GHz
  • Intel Iris Xe Graphics shared memory
  • 14-inch HD (1366 x 768) 16:9
  • 4 GB, DDR4 SDRAM
  • 128GB SSD

ASUS Laptop L406

Thin and light

ASUS Laptop L406

Thin and light aren't limited to high-end, high-priced premium devices. Here we have a solid laptop that's perfect for day-to-day tasks, and it has a modern design and premium feel.

Tech specs:

  • Intel Celeron N4000
  • 14.0-inch 1366x768 HD matte display featuring ASUS NanoEdge Bezel
  • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 64GB eMMC
  • Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
  • Up to 12 hours of battery life
  • 0.7-inch thin and 2.87 lbs light

Dell Inspiron 11 3195 2-in-1

Best cheap 2-in-1 Windows laptop

Dell Inspiron 11 3195 2-in-1

A great device for those who can't choose between a laptop and a tablet -- with just a flip of a hinge you can swap between one configuration and another with ease. Choose between tablet mode, presentation mode, tent mode, and laptop mode.

The 64GB eMMC storage means this is a more robust platform, ideal for throwing into a messenger bag or school bag since there's no hard drive to knock about.

Tech specs:

  • Windows 10 Home
  • AMD A9-9420E processor
  • Radeon R5 graphics
  • 11 6-inch HD (1366 x 768) LED-backlit touch display
  • 4GB DDR4 RAM
  • 64GB eMMC storage

Can all these laptops run Windows 11?

It's always recommended that you check the tech specs and user manual of your laptop to see what version of Windows it's running. But the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 has Windows 11 already installed, and the Acer Aspire 5 is eligible for a free Windows 11 upgrade.

What is the best cheap Windows Laptop?

Acer Aspire 5 is the best cheap Windows laptop. Whether you need a budget Windows laptop for work or school the Acer Aspire 5 packs a punch at a very affordable price. It is compatible with Windows 10 and Windows 11, and certainly gets the job done.

What are budget laptops best suited for?

You're looking at a system that can handle the general activities people do at work or school (as long as they don't include things like pro-grade photo and video editing and playing games and that sort of activities). These systems are general-purpose systems but don't expect them to handle heavy workloads.

What kind of battery life can I expect from a budget laptop?

Battery life all depends on how you're using your laptop. If you're doing very light workloads like web browsing or word processing, you'll get the maximum run time out of your new laptop. For example: the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 has a maximum battery life of 7.5 hours. So if you're just catching up on news headlines or your kids are doing homework, you'll get fairly close to that number. But if you're streaming music, movies, or shows, you'll get a bit less, and your laptop will die fairly quickly if you're trying to edit photos and videos.