It’s back to school season, which means you might be looking for a new laptop.
While tablets are great, laptops offer more power and productivity for getting work done.
“Right now, a lot of manufacturers are actually discounting models and having sales because they have excess inventory after so many people bought laptops during the pandemic and they aren’t buying them right now,” said Streams, who has been reviewing laptops since 2014.
If you’re looking for a Windows laptop under $500, aim for at least 8GB RAM, a solid-state drive, and a 12th or 13th generation Intel i3 or i5 processor or a 7000 series AMD Ryzen 3 or 5 processor.
“The best Windows laptop under $500 is the Acer Aspire 3 Spin 14. It’s typically about $430, but right now it actually happens to be on sale for $350, which is kind of a steal for how good this laptop is,” said Streams.
Chromebooks are great because they’re typically inexpensive and run web and Android apps, which covers a majority of what many people want to do online.
“The best Chromebook under $500 right now is the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16. It’s about $430,” said Streams. “One of the benefits to a Chromebook is that they don’t come with the bloatware that’s typical of cheap Windows laptops, so you don’t have to worry about that.”
The Lenovo has a giant 16-inch screen, but it is on the bulkier side.
If you want something sleeker, check out Windows Ultrabook.
“Our favorite budget Ultrabook, which is something that’s by definition a thin and light laptop that already has great battery life, is the ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED,” said Streams.
It runs $700 to $900 dollars. Just be sure to go with the most memory your budget allows since it helps make the computer run faster, longer.
“This type of laptop is ideal for high school and college students specifically, because it provides the best laptop you can get for the least money. It’s an excellent value,” said Streams.
If it’s a Mac you’re after, Streams suggests the 2020 MacBook Air M1.
“It’s absolutely the cheapest Mac book you can get. It’s a few years old, but it’s thin, light and has great battery life,” concluded Streams.
You should be able to find it discounted to about $750 at third-party retailers.