12 Best Laptops Under $250 in 2017
When searching for the best laptop under $250, you are in what we refer to as the budget-friendly range. These are machines that you can purchase without busting open your piggy bank, which is even more impressive when you consider some laptop parts cost more than the PCs we chose.
If you are thinking “netbook” have no fear as we rounded up 12 real laptops that are suitable for school, web browsing and light duty usage. That being said, at this level there are a few features you will have to do without so you will not find many touchscreen displays or high-powered components.
Top 12 Laptops Under $250 Comparison Chart
|Design||Name||Display Size||Operating System||Rating (1-5)|
|1. ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6″ Ruggedized and Water Resistant Design||11.6”||Chrome||4.3|
|2. Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible||11.6”||Chrome||4.1|
|3. HP 14-inch Laptop||14”||Windows 10||3.9|
|4. Samsung Chromebook 3||11.6”||Chrome||3.8|
|5. Lenovo N22 11.6-inch High Performance Laptop Notebook||11.6”||Windows 10||3.8|
|6. HP 15.6″ HD WLED Backlit Display Laptop||15.6”||Windows 10||3.8|
|7. Lenovo 110-15IBR 80T7000HUS||15.6”||Windows 10||3.7|
|8. HP Stream Laptop PC 14-ax010nr||14”||Windows 10||3.7|
|9. Lenovo 110s Premium Built High Performance 11.6 inch HD Laptop||11.6”||Windows 10||3.6|
|10. ASUS E200HA Portable Lightweight 11.6-inch Intel Quad-Core Laptop||11.6”||Windows 10||3.6|
|11. Lenovo IdeaPad110 15.6-Inch HD Laptop||15.6”||Windows 10||3.5|
|12. Dell Inspiron 11.6″ Touchscreen 2 in 1 Laptop PC||11.6”||Windows 10||3.4|
Are You Willing to Try Chrome?
We don’t see any operating system coming along to knock Windows from its top spot as it is the most used OS in the world. The Chrome OS from Google is the latest attempt to make an impact on Microsoft although it is not a system you’ll find running on many high-end PCs. It’s geared for laptops that don’t need all the bells & whistles, which includes the best laptop under $250.
- Chrome OS – This is a lightweight operating system that’s best for browsing the web, school usage or playing Android-based games. You won’t be able to run many of the Windows or Mac applications that you are used to, so keep that in mind before going Chrome.
- Windows OS – This operating system needs no explanation. Even with mediocre hardware under the hood, a Windows 10 laptop will run the most popular programs around. The quality is not as good as you’ll find on Chromebooks at this range, however, so there is a trade-off if you need a laptop built to last.
Display Size & Resolution
As mentioned, you are going to have to give up a few things when jumping into the budget class, but the display size does not have to be one of them. There are plenty of 11” laptops on our list, but you can also find several larger 15.6” and 14” models as well. Think about what you are buying your laptop for along with how long you will use it on a daily basis.
If it’s going to be a daily driver, you will want the best resolution you can get at this level. Unfortunately, that will probably be 1,280 x 720 otherwise known as HD. That’s about on par with standard TV channels regarding quality and a step down from 1080p or FHD. On that note, the smaller the display, the better the ppi, so an 11” display with an HD resolution may actually look sharper than a 17” laptop with an FHD display. It depends on how far those pixels get stretched and the type of panel used.
Performance & Storage
Most of the laptops on this list will have Intel chips, but they won’t be the newer generations or even i-series at all in some cases. Celeron rules the roost at this level along with processors from AMD and others. You will want to pay attention to the processor speed and RAM as that’s what will drive your PC. The bigger, the better but you’ll be hard pressed to get past 4GB of RAM or a quad-core processor at under $250.
Things are much rosier when it comes to storage however as you can find models with up to 500GB hard drives. Those are pure Windows-based laptops however as Chromebooks use “flash” storage more often than not. In a nutshell, you can expand the storage on any PC but may need to do so out of the box with a Chromebook as some only have 32 or 64GB of space – not counting the OS or applications that are pre-installed.
Top 5 Best Laptop Under $250 Reviews
You would not necessarily recognize this laptop if it were strolling down the street, but what it lacks in style, it makes up for in portability. The ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 clocks in at a cool 11.6” which puts it a step above the tablet range. It is a full laptop although one that can hold up undress stress better than the rest.
The Chromebook C202SA’s claim to fame is its durability. Well, that and the budget-friendly price tag which made it a lock for the best laptop under $250. This machine has rubber guards for protection & grip to go along with a spill “resistant” keyboard. That’s great if you’re clumsy around your PC as a liquid on the keys will end your day quickly. The anti-glare display is a nice touch and makes it suitable for outdoor use. Unfortunately, the cutbacks are severe under the hood as it only has an Intel Celeron N3060, 4GB of RAM and 16GB of flash-based storage.
You will need to make sure you can live in a Chrome world however as you are going to be limited when it comes to apps and games on this PC. It does come with access to Microsoft Office Online, just don’t expect to run Photoshop or any intense games.
Acer may not have the same brand name clout as Apple or HP, but trust us when we say they make quality laptops in the Windows-based world. Their Chromebooks are nothing to scoff at either, including the Chromebook R 11.
This Acer Chromebook is a convertible, but not the type that allows you to detach the display. Instead, you can put it into “tent” mode if you want to catch a flick or view a tutorial while working on a project. The swiveling hinge is sturdy, and while it won’t go all the way backward, it does allow you to use this one in some unusual positions. When it comes to power, things aren’t as rosy with an Intel Celeron N3150, 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. The display is small at 11.6” but bright and of the touchscreen variety.
As mentioned, at this price point there are going be some tradeoffs, so you will have to deal with the Chrome OS and weak specifications. On the flip side, the battery life is amazing at around 10 hours, it’s lightweight and a nice step up from tablets with detachable keyboards as well. If you prefer a traditional style, you can also get this one in a clamshell frame with dumbed down specs.
Our first Windows laptop in this range comes from HP, and is one of the few to offer up a display larger than 11.6”. The HP E2-7110 will arrive at your doorstep with a 14” panel which has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. It’s an IPS WLED-backlit panel which produces bright, vibrant colors, but it’s also a glossy panel, so you’ll get glare outdoors at certain angles.
It’s of average size and gets its power from 4GB of RAM and an AMD quad-core chip while the storage is 32GB. Thankfully, you can expand through the USB slots although there is not much you can do about the battery life. Due to the size and resolution of the display, you are only going to get around 5 hours or so before you’ll need to recharge. That alone may rule this one out for some, but not if you need a Windows laptop that can run most programs and plenty of games.
Other features of interest for this laptop include a DTS sound system, an HD webcam, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. It also runs Windows 10 straight out of the box, and while it may not handle multitasking as efficiently as more robust models, it is our top choice for all-around usage.
Just when you thought we were done with the Chromebooks, we are back with another one. This time around Samsung steps into the spotlight with the Samsung Chromebook 3, which is another light-duty laptop built for consumers with tight budgets.
Samsung has cranked out some slick tech over the past several years, especially when it comes to Smartphones and Television sets. We are pleased to say that the style extends to laptops as this beauty has a clean black look with a textured finish and a spill-resistant keyboard. While it’s available in two configurations, we opted for the 4GB model which comes with a 16GB solid state drive and the Intel Celeron N3060 processor. It’s in the middle of the pack when it comes to power, but not battery life.
The Samsung Chromebook 3 is rated with a battery life of around 11 hours although that will depend on your usage as always. The 11.6” display will work great outdoors as it as anti-reflective and features an image enhancer to boot.
Our first pick from Lenovo is a machine that tends to end up on a lot of “best” lists year after year. It’s the Lenovo N22 which carries the moniker of a high-performance notebook. While that is definitely up for debate, we think you’ll be pleased by what this one brings to the table.
This laptop has an 11.6” display with a backlit anti-glare display. It has a resolution of 1,366 x 768, which is a slight step up from regular HD. The horsepower comes from 4GB of DDR3 RAM and an Intel Celeron N3050 processor, which can hit speeds of up to 2.16GHz and has 2MB of cache. The storage capacity is substantial for this class at 64GB and can be expanded through the usual means. In this case, that would be a USB 3.0 port or one of the two USB 2.0 ports. All the usual connectivity options are present along with a swiveling HD webcam, and HDMI out.
There is a lot to like about this little laptop including the fact it runs Windows 10. The battery life is rated at around 14 hours while the sealed touchpad and spill-proof keyboard are the icing on the cake.