12 Best Laptops under $400 in 2017
If you have shop around long enough, you have probably heard the line about there being a product and a price range for everyone. Well, it is true oddly enough and even applies to the tech world. A decade ago being about to find a laptop for under a grand was difficult but times have changed. That means we are going to lower the bar any help you find the best laptops under $400.
As with many types of tech, there are tiers in the laptop world. You have the high-end laptops or flagships, then the mid-range and finally the netbooks or low-end of the spectrum. At each level, compromises are made by manufacturers to get the cost down. As we will be shopping through the mid to low-end range, we are going to have to deal with a few key components that have cut back to a degree.
With that in mind, we have compiled a quick list of the top options under $400 bucks and are going to walk you through which areas you need to pay special attention to.
Top 12 Laptops Under $400 Comparison Table
|Design||Name||Display Size||Optical Drive||Rating (1-5)|
|1. 2017 Lenovo IdeaPad 110 15.6″ High performance Premium HD Touchscreen Laptop||15.6”||Yes||4.7|
|2. Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11E Convertible||11.6”||No||4.5|
|3. Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6-inch HD||15.6”||Yes||4.2|
|4. 2017 HP Flagship 15.6″ HD Touchscreen Signature Edition Laptop Computer||15.6”||Yes||4.2|
|5. Google Chromebook Pixel 64GB Wifi + 4G LTE Laptop||12.8”||No||4.1|
|6. 2017 HP Flagship 15.6 15-ay191ms HD Touchscreen Signature Edition Laptop||15.6”||Yes||4.1|
|7. Lenovo ThinkPad 11E Ultraportable Business Notebook||11.6”||No||4.1|
|8. 2016 ASUS 15.6″ Premium High Performance Laptop||15.6”||Yes||4.1|
|9. Samsung Chromebook 2 13.3 Inch Laptop||13.3”||No||4.1|
|10. 2017 HP Premium High Performance 15.6 Inch Business Laptop||15.6”||Yes||4.0|
|11. ASUS F556UA-AB32 15.6-inch Full-HD Laptop||15.6”||Yes||4.0|
|12. 2016 Dell Inspiron i3558-5500BLK 15.6″ Laptop||15.6”||Yes||4.0|
Laptop Buying Tips
While we are watching our budget, you can still find amazing deals if you keep these things in mind when shopping for your next laptop.
This may not seem like an area of concern, but it is if you like the Mac OS and Apple’s products. You are not going to find any Apple laptops in this price range which means you are stuck with one of two operating systems.
- Windows – The first and most obvious choice is Windows, and it is what you will find on most laptops on the market. Windows allows you to run 99% of the apps and games available and is your best bet if you plan on using either of those with any frequency.
- Chrome – Option number two would be Chrome. While still somewhat of a newcomer to the OS world, the Google-backed operating system is one to consider. Your options are going to be limited when it comes to gaming but a little more open with applications. If you are not sure which way to turn, just check out anything you want to run beforehand and make sure it is compatible with the operating system.
Your Hard Drive or HDD is the part of your PC that keeps your personal data safe along with all the files that are on your system. With laptops, there are two types of hard drives with SDD which stands for Solid State Drive and the aforementioned HDD aka the Hard Disk Drive.
Hard Disk Drives are more common and cheaper which means you can get more bang for your back. They do have some drawbacks however as they tend to take up more space under the hood and have slower loading times. Solid state drives are the exact opposite, but more expensive. If you want the best of both worlds, there are also hybrids which utilize the SDD for speedy boot-ups and other functions while the HDD handles the heavy lifting.
Manufacturers tend to cut corners in the Processor department due to the price range. In other words, you aren’t going to find an Intel i7 in any of the best laptops under $400. Instead, you need to familiarize yourself with AMD, Rockchip and the Intel Celeron lineup of processors. Most will be dual-core, but there are some exceptions, and you may even find a few models with Intel i3 or i5 processors as the new models roll out and older components become readily available.
Memory or RAM is worth considering as well but has become relatively cheap over the years. 4GB is the lowest amount you want to shoot for in most cases, but there are plenty of laptops with 2GB that can get the job done as well.
Top 5 Best Laptops Under $400 Reviews
Remember when we talked about some manufacturers having to cut corners for the best laptops under $400? Lenovo apparently did not get the memo. While the processor is not of the Intel variety, it is a quad-core AMD A series clocked at 2.2GHz with 2MB of cache. The display is of average size at 15.6” but is not full HD so you will have to get by with HD+ or 1,366 x 768.
The graphics are integrated on this model, but you will get an ample amount of RAM and plenty of storage. There is 8GB of DDR3L SDRAM under the hood and a large 1TB HDD. Other options of interest include a CD/DVD burner, a USB 3.0 port, Bluetooth 4.1 and a webcam Not too shabby considering the price point, and it’s easy to see why the 110 is in our top spot.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 110 touchscreen laptop is only available in on color and can’t be upgraded, but does come with Windows 10 out of the box.
If size is not an issue for you, then Lenovo’s Thinkpad Yoga 11E could be your new best friend. It is actually small in form with an 11.6” display but is quite thick and heavy measuring 13” x 10.3” x 4.2” with a weight of 4 lbs. It is not svelte by any means, but it is one of the only convertible laptops to make our list. There is also a very valid reason for that additional heft.
The Yoga 11 E Convertible is rugged and up to military standards. It can withstand humidity, high vibrations, temperature, and drops. Solar Radiation and fungus are also things it can defeat although something we don’t feel like many people will struggle against. Either way, it won’t and little perks like thinner fan blades, SHAREit, and their ThinkVantage mounting system are the icing on the cake.
As far as the corner cutting is concerned, things aren’t too bad as you will get a 128GB SSD, a low-grade Intel chip and 4GB of RAM. All the normal connectivity options are included as well along with a Dolby Advanced Audio system and stereo speakers.
While all the laptops on our list are considering cheap when it comes to price, the Acer Aspire E 15 is a laptop that could almost be bumped up to the next tier. The processor holds it back considering it’s a Pentium N3700 clocked at 1.6GHz, but the 5400RPM SATA hard drive makes you sit up and take notice at a whopping 1TB. We just hope you like Blue.
The Aspire E is a little plain in the design department and has thick bezels surrounding the 15.6-inch display with a resolution of 1,366 x 768. The graphics come courtesy of an integrated Intel HD graphics chip while the audio is supplied from a pair of stereo speakers and the company’s TrueHarmony tech. The standard 4GB of RAM is present on this PC as well along with a 1TB HDD and a variety of USB ports.
The battery life is just average on this one at 5-hours so you may want to keep your charger on hand if you plan for extended usage. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO tech and an SD card reader. It will run Windows 10 Home Edition when it arrives at your doorstep, and you can rest assured it will receive updates for years to come.
Looking for a 15.6” laptop with a touchscreen display and an i-series chip? The Flagship Signature Edition from HP fits that bill with 10-finger multi-touch support and has plenty of other features that made it perfect for our list. Two of those would be the SuperMulti DVD burner and the large 1TB hard drive. Needless to say, you won’t have to worry about running out of room or not being able to play your favorite flick or cd.
When it comes to power, the HP Flagship laptop has more than others in its class. You get the aforementioned i3-7100U processor which is topped off nicely by 3MB of SmartCache. The other type of RAM is abundant as well with 8GB of DDR4. Multitasking will be easy for this PC as will sharing online and gaming with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and LAN 10/100.
The first Chromebook on our top laptops under $400 comes straight from the company responsible for the OS that runs it. The Google Chromebook Pixel is a bit on the small side with a 12.85” display, but it is a touchscreen and that panel is sharp carrying a resolution of 2,560 x 1,700. That’s impressive given the price point, but things do take a dip when it comes to storage.
Chromebooks can be fast and thin, but they are not known for their storage capabilities. The Pixel 4G does better than most however with a 64GB solid state drive. When you do need to expand, you can turn to the cloud or use one of the USB 2.0 ports on the side. The processor is solid with an i5-3427U and gets a nice bump from 4GB of RAM. It is a great laptop for browsing, school or general use, but will not cut the mustard if you want to do any hardcore gaming or run heavy programs.