The 9 Best Laptops Under $400 [For School And WFH]

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Laptops are not some new-fangled technology, but the need for a good laptop is more important than ever. Whether you are working from home, trying your hand at virtual schooling or just need a reliable way to stay connected with the people in your life, a good laptop makes all the difference.

A new Macbook will last you forever, but even the lower-end new models can cost you over $1,000 when all is said and done.

Need a solid option but don’t have a fortune to spend? We have compiled a buying guide full of affordable laptops to get you started.

Here are the 9 best laptops under $400 you can find on Amazon.

Best Budget-Friendly Laptops

The 21st century has brought us 3D printers, self-driving plus electric cars and now a laptop that is both affordable and actually worth buying.

If you need a quick but reliable solution to get you through this pandemic, you can’t go wrong with one of these top picks.

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Price: $364.99 

With over 25,000 reviews (and most of them 5 stars), this energy-star certified laptop is one of the best budget laptops out there. It comes with the Windows 10 operating system, a backlit keyboard and a HD webcam for those long zoom meetings. 

This laptop also features a lithium-ion battery that will last over 7 hours. It may not be long enough to get through the entire school day uninterrupted and it isn’t going to be your go-to gaming laptop, but this Acer has a great build quality for your basic computer needs.

Need a backpack or headset? You can also choose from a few different bundles to get all your equipment in one stop.

Additional Features:

  • 14″ LED Display
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Vega 3 Graphics

Related: The 11 Best Laptop Backpacks For Men [Of All Ages And Sizes]

Asus 14″ Thin Light Business Student Laptop

Price: $329.99

The Asus Thin Light Business Student Laptop is a great option in this price range for busy households. With a 12-hour battery life, you won’t have to worry about finding an outlet in the middle of your project.

This laptop features the Windows 10 operating system with the option to move into the more secure Windows S mode.

‘S mode’ allows only for apps from the Microsoft store and requires the use of Microsoft Edge. You can switch it on and off, depending on what you are working on and the level of privacy you need.

Additional Features:

  • 14-inch HD Screen with narrow bezel design
  • 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Intel Celeron, Dual-Core processor
  • 4GB DDR4 Memory, 128GB eMMC

Asus Vivobook 15

Price: $349.99

Another great Asus option, the Vivobook 15 is recommended by experts all throughout the tech world, including Suman Chatterji, founder and editor at A Gear Geek, Shabbir Noor with MakerShop: 3D Printers and Luke at Tech Treat Box.

This option comes with the latest 10th Gen Intel Core processor and an ergonomic backlit keyboard with the option for a fingerprint ID.

The Vivobook 15 has WiFi capabilities and is compatible with Google Classroom, making it a great option for families schooling from home.

With an i3 processor, this isn’t a great option for gamers who are going to put their hard drive to the test. But again, if you are looking for a solid option with basic computer functions, this laptop is for you.

Luke adds, “Even though the 128GB memory size isn’t stunning, it’s still more than enough for managing photos and documents. And when you need more space, it’s very easy to connect an external hard-drive and back up your data in the blink of an eye.”

Choose between 4 or 8GB RAM with 128GB SSD.

Additional Features:

  • Windows 10 in S mode
  • 15.6-inch Full HD Display
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU (4M Cache, up to 3.4 GHz)
  • HDMI connections

Related: The 12 Best AirPod Alternatives [Reviewed]

Dell Inspiron

Price: $385

Dell is a top name in the laptop industry, so you can trust that this computer is going to give you some serious bang for your buck.

With an Intel 10th Gen dual core i3-1005G1 processor that runs with Windows 10, this small but mighty computer is ready to meet your needs, whatever they may be.

This 15-inch laptop features a variety of ports including USB Type C, microphone jack, HDMI port, and an SD Card reader.

While it doesn’t have a backlit keyboard, you can still enjoy a 15.6-inch HD, anti-glare display for all of your zoom meetings.

You can also connect your phone to your computer with Dell Mobile Connect to make calls, send texts and share your screen.

Additional Features:

  • Bluetooth capability
  • 768×1366 pixels
  • HD (720p) Webcam with Single Digital Microphone
  • Dell Mobile Connect
  • 4GB RAM

Lenovo Ideapad

The Lenovo Ideapad is a high-performance laptop that goes beyond some of the most basic functions on our list and is ready to keep up with all your tasks.

It is powered by the latest AMD Ryzen 3 3250U processor with quality graphics so you can enjoy work, budgeting and watching movies effortlessly.

It also includes a numeric keypad, an often overlooked but super handy feature.

But our favorite part? This Ideapad includes a shutter for your webcam so you don’t have to worry about what happens when you’re not looking.

Additional Features:

  • Radeon Vega 3 graphics
  • USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 Ports 
  • 1366 x 768 Pixels

2021 HP Stream 14” Laptop

The newest HP Stream 14” Laptop comes with a webcam,  Windows 10 and a full year of Microsoft 365, making it one of the most user friendly options on our list.

The battery life will last up to 12 hours, so you won’t have to worry about running out of steam in the middle of the school or work day.

And the best part? This laptop comes in blue, black white, gold, rose gold and pink so you can find one that matches your style.

You can also choose between an 11.6 and a 14-inch screen.

Additional Features:

  • 1366×768 pixels
  • Intel UHD integrated graphics
  • Intel Celeron N4000 processor

To Chrome or Not to Chrome

If you are looking to upgrade from a tablet, but don’t need the full functionality of a laptop, a Chromebook might be for you.

Chromebooks run on Google Chrome’s operating system (hence the name) and come in a variety of options, all with portability in mind.

For example, you may see some HP and Acer Chromebooks on our list, but these machines are not going to be compatible with Windows or Apple OS.

The plus side to having an internet-based device is that you will move at faster speeds than on a laptop that has a meatier machine to power. This can be great for multitasking and streaming while you work.

The downside to Google Chrome OS?

Because it is predominately web-based, you will need to be connected either to the internet via WiFi or by an ethernet cable to keep your machine running.

HP Chromebook

Price: $211-336.90

This high-performance Chromebook from HP is a great option for those of us who consider ourselves environmentally conscious thanks to its mercury-free backlights and arsenic-free display.

Its dual-core processor can keep up with your fast-paced workload or streaming needs.

And the battery is ready to deliver, too. With up to a 13.5 hour battery life, this Chromebook also has a fast-charge feature that boasts in its ability to charge from 0-50% in under an hour.

You can choose between an HD, FHD and touchscreen display with every option coming in under our $400 limit.

Still not sure? You can enjoy a one year-limited warranty.

Additional Features:

  • Energy Star(R) certified and EPEAT(R) Silver registered
  • Intel(R) Celeron N4000, Dual-Core, 1.1 GHz base frequency, up to 2.6 GHz burst frequency
  • 4 GB LPDDR4-2400 SDRAM and 32 GB eMMC
  • Anti-glare, backlit WLED display

Related: Our 25 Favorite Laptop Backpacks For Women [Shopper’s Guide]

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 

Price: Starting at $280

This convertible laptop from Acer comes with several options so you can get exactly what you’re looking for.

Choose from Intel Celeron N3350, N4020 or Intel Celeron N4000. Then, pick your capacity (4GB/32GB or 4Gb/64GB. Finally, choose your bundle. You can purchase just the Chromebook or choose to pair it with a mouse, mousepad, sleeve or headset.

No matter what you choose, you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank and you will get a solid Chromebook option that transforms from laptop mode to tent mode, tablet mode or display mode.

Additional Features:

Access to over 2 million Android apps from Google Play

  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • HD Webcam
  • 11.6-inch display
  • 10 hour battery life

2021 Samsung Chromebook

Price: $369

Samsung is a one-brand-fits-all kind of company. They make great smartphones, TVs and now Chromebooks.

Much like the Apple ecosystem, if you are a Samsung fan, you will find that this Chromebook makes connectivity a dream for you as you share files, photos and screen share with a few clicks on your touchpad.

While the battery doesn’t last as long as some options, you can enjoy 8 hours of mixed-use before needing a charge.

Additionally, a recently upgraded hard drive provides space for your biggest files without worrying about losing data.

Additional Features:

  • 1920 x 1080 Pixels
  • Intel Celeron N4000 Processor
  • Integrated Graphics
  • 32GB eMMC hard drive

When You Know, You Know

The most difficult part of finding the right laptop for you is deciding which features are most important to you.

Do you need a device with a long battery life? Are you okay with basic functionality or do you need something that can keep up with you while you multitask?

And finally, do you plan on storing files on your actual computer? Or are you okay keeping it in a cloud to use online?

Once you nail down your needs, you are well on your way to finding the right machine for you.

And with these options under $400, you don’t have to worry about making the wrong choice and being stuck with an investment that doesn’t actually work for you.

You might also be interested in: 10 Of The Best E-Readers [For Your Eyes And Your Wallet]

9 Best Laptops Under $400

  1. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
  2. Asus 14″ Thin Light Businesses Student Laptop
  3. Asus Vivobook 15
  4. Dell Inspiron
  5. Lenovo Ideapad
  6. 2021 HP Stream 14” Laptop
  7. HP Chromebook
  8. Acer Chromebook Spin 311
  9. 2021 Samsung Chromebook

Nicole Post

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