Best laptop deals: Get a portable workhorse from $119 today – Digital Trends

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If you use a computer every day (and if you’re reading this, you probably do), it’s most likely a laptop. That means we don’t have to sing to you the virtues of having a reliable and portable computer in the age of mobile technology and remote work, even if you only use yours for relatively basic tasks like email, typing up documents, streaming videos, and surfing the web. A new laptop isn’t a small purchase for most of us, though, but if you need one now and you’re on a budget, keep reading — we’ve got the best laptop deals of the week right here.
Looking for more laptops that you can also use for playing video games? We’ve rounded up some of the best gaming laptop deals as well.
Why Buy:
Working on the move doesn’t have to cost a lot as demonstrated by the Samsung Chromebook 4. While it won’t be the fastest of systems to use, it offers all the basics you need to get stuff done in a portable fashion without having to worry about spending a fortune. At its heart is an Intel Celeron N4020 processor which proves a nice change compared to other Chromebooks at this price range that tend to use slower mobile CPUs. Accompanying that is 4GB of memory and 32GB of eMMC storage. 4GB of memory is fairly standard for a Chromebook so it does the job just fine with ChromeOS well suited to running on low-end specs. 32GB of eMMC might sound on the low side but — again — for a Chromebook, it does the job. The focus is always on saving files to the cloud rather than storing them locally, so you simply don’t need much storage space.
The Samsung Chromebook 4 is thin and light, but appreciates that this sort of portability can lead to long-term durability problems. Thankfully, it has a solid build quality as is usually the case with Samsung laptops, so if you’re planning on taking it to class with you, you can be safe in the knowledge that it’s going to survive the journey without a problem.
You get an attractive 11.6-inch HD display that may be small but has some useful features. This includes anti-glare properties so it can withstand some awkward lighting situations. Long battery life and fast recharging mean that this Chrome OS laptop should last you throughout the day without a problem so you can revel in using it without worrying too much about running out of juice. It’s a well-rounded, super cheap Chromebook.

Why Buy:
Offering everything you would expect from one of the best Chromebooks in this price range, the Acer Chromebook 315 keeps things simple while being an effective work machine. At its heart is an Intel Celeron N4000 processor along with 4GB of memory. As is customary for Chromebooks, storage is limited to 64GB of eMMC, but that’s because you’re meant to use Chrome’s cloud storage instead of physical hard drive space. There’s still a bit of room here for saving files locally, though.
Alongside that hardware, you get a 15-inch HD display, which is better when it comes to screen size than 11-inch Chromebooks that typically populate this price bracket. There’s also an HD webcam for taking video calls while out of the office or classroom. While none of these specs sound particularly exceptional, this Chromebook is designed to be practical above all.
It boots up quickly and has a battery that lasts all day so it’s always ready for action. A slim chassis is useful for carrying it around, but that’s not at the expense of features. You still get USB-A and USB-C ports along with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Other features include dual stereo speakers and a nice overall design. Throw in the built-in security that comes from using ChromeOS instead of Windows, and this Chromebook is an ideal starter system for kids or for yourself if you prefer to keep things simple.

Why Buy:
The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is ideal if you simply can’t decide if you need a laptop or tablet. That’s because it’s a 2-in-1, so you can easily switch between using it as a laptop or as a tablet depending on what you need from it. It has a 14-inch 1080p display that is multitouch-enabled so you can get hands-on with it. It looks good, too, with color-accurate panel technology and suitably slim bezels.
Under the hood, you get an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU along with 8GB of RAM. Combined, that’s enough processing power to ensure you can multitask reasonably well, switching between applications in Windows 11 as needed. You also get a 256GB SSD, which isn’t massive but is sufficient to store your most valuable files and software. It’s possible to use this 2-in-1 in four different modes so you can get just the right interface for your needs. The laptop also has dual speakers with Dolby Audio so it sounds great, too.
Well-designed, the VivoBook Flip offers fast-charging so you can get back on the move more quickly. It’s also designed with the style in mind and features a nice slim frame with a metallic finish. Looking super smart while offering a bunch of features for its price, this 2-in-1 is a great all-rounder for anyone keen to be more productive on the move. The convenience of being able to use it as both a tablet or laptop is one you’ll wonder how you lived without.

Why Buy:
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is easily one of the best cheap laptops out there, as it’s low on price without compromising quality. It has an Intel Core i5 processor paired with 8GB of RAM. While that might not be anything impressive for power users, it’s exactly what you need for everyday tasks such as writing up documents or creating presentations. Alongside that, you also get 256GB of solid-state storage so there’s enough room for you to store your most valuable files without having to over-rely on cloud storage.
One of the standout features of the Surface Laptop Go is its display. It has a 12.4-inch Full HD touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio. That means more vertical screen real estate and less eyestrain during those long computing sessions. It also has suitably narrow borders so it takes up less space and is easy to look at. That’s the best thing about the Surface Laptop Go — while simple, it’s intelligently designed.
The laptop also offers a nice keyboard for its size, plus a spacious touchpad that makes it easier to get things done. The display’s flush-fit hinge adds durability and a streamlined look, and the built-in speakers feature Dolby Audio for better stereo sound. It also features an integrated webcam and microphone for video calls and online classes. Thoughtfully designed right down to its environmentally friendly and sustainable materials, the Surface Laptop Go offers a lot of laptop for the price.

Why Buy:
The new Inspiron 16 is easily one of the best laptops Dell makes, and this version offers a 16-inch 1200p touchscreen to make it even more appealing. It has an AMD Ryzen 5 5625U processor along with 8GB of memory and 512GB of solid-state storage. That’s all you need for being able to work without having to rely too heavily on cloud storage or without suffering from poor multitasking performance. Best of all, though, is its sleek and versatile design and nice big 16-inch display. It features suitably slim bezels that make the whole package more slender and lightweight, so you can see the screen without being distracted by a thick frame.
Impressively, this laptop crams all that hardware into a slim and travel-friendly form factor. That means you get all the benefits of a 16-inch screen while enjoying a laptop that’s still light enough to carry around. The display doesn’t miss out on quality because of this, either, with a color-accurate picture that always looks great, along with wide viewing angles so you’ll never miss a thing.
The useful features keep on coming with this PC offering a high-definition webcam so you get sharp image along with noise reduction to improve video and voice quality. That even goes for viewing in dim lighting conditions. This laptop is also surprisingly durable despite its slimness, and Dell builds things well so it’s sure to last you a good while. It’s a truly delightful laptop to own and use for working hard wherever you are. Want some more horsepower? for $730 and save $270 for a limited time.

Why Buy:
It may be just shy of making our list of the best gaming laptops, but the Acer Nitro 5 still offers plenty of reasons to love it if you’re keen to game but don’t want to spend a fortune. It offers all the core components you need for gaming, providing you don’t mind tweaking some settings to lower quality levels on more demanding games.
At its heart is a Ryzen 5 5600H CPU paired with 8GB of RAM. Ideal for multitasking if a little basic for gaming at high settings, it’ll still keep you on track to play on the move. In addition, you get 512GB of SSD storage which is enough for installing a few of your favorite games at a time. The highlight here is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card which, combined with its 15-inch Full HD 144Hz display, is capable of ensuring that games look good.
One of the main advantages of the Acer Nitro 5 is that it uses some of the technology you’d see on higher-end laptops without the high price tag. It has a dual-fan cooling system which is a notable improvement over many sub-$1,000 laptops that only sport a single exhaust fan, so your hardware stays cool enough during long play sessions. The backlit keyboard is nice to type on and even includes a numeric keypad, as well. Overall, this thing is very well-designed for such an affordable gaming laptop, even if it lacks some of the bells and whistles of more premium gaming laptops.

Why Buy:
The best laptop brands are always a good place to start looking for deals, and there are a number of reasons to appreciate the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1. For starters, you get the benefits of a gorgeous 2-in-1 touch display while also enjoying some good hardware. The 14-inch touchscreen features a vibrant and colorful 1200p 16:10 panel along with a fold-flat 360-degree hinge. In conjunction with that, you get an Ryzen 7 processor and 16GB of RAM. That’s everything you need to be able to work and multitask reasonably well without suffering slowdown.
In addition, this laptop has a 512GB SSD which is plenty of space for storing your most important apps and files. You get Windows 11, too, so you’re good to go with the latest operating system. The integrated AMD Radeon graphics won’t set the world on fire in terms of gaming horsepower, but it’s good to go for less demanding games as well as for some modest graphical and video work. There’s a built-in web camera with noise reduction for taking video calls. Also, you have an integrated digital microphone at your disposal so others can hear you clearly.
Sleek and stylish thanks to its slim frame, this laptop is an ideal system for work. Battery life is long enough for a day’s work before needing a recharge, which is useful for anyone who is on the move frequently. Other useful features include a nicely laid out keyboard that lets you enjoy more fluid typing for a variety of tasks. It’s an ideal device for taking to work or class that offers a lovely touch display without being too heavy and awkward.

Why Buy:
The Apple MacBook Air M1 is a delight to use, particularly if you also own other Apple devices. Connecting well with your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and other Apple gadgets, the MacBook Air might seem expensive on the surface but it’s impressively powerful. That’s thanks to Apple’s own M1 chip, which offers phenomenal performance alongside exceptional battery life. The processor has eight cores and is up to 3.5 times faster than the previous-gen Intel CPUs. Despite having so much power, it still has a battery life of up to 18 hours so you can bring it along on a long day and it’ll keep going.
In addition, 8GB of memory means it’s capable of multitasking at speed, and everything is designed to work well with MacOS. It also has a gorgeous looking 13.3-inch Retina display. Text is sharp and clear, while colors are bright and vibrant. A thermally efficient yet completely fanless design means that you don’t even have to worry about a constant fan noise, as the MacBook’s M1 CPU stays cool and silent at all times.
Additional features include a 256GB SSD, which is plenty of room to store your most important files. It also has a FaceTime HD camera for video conferencing and taking FaceTime calls. Touch ID support lets you use your finger to log in rather than constantly having to type passwords. The backlit Magic Keyboard also looks great, and is particularly useful when working in the evening. Simply put, the MacBook Air M1 is a true delight to use and a great choice for Apple fans. With many productivity apps ready to use right out of the box, it’s ideal for students an professionals alike.

The first step of choosing a laptop, after setting your budget, is determining what you need it for. Most people just need a standard laptop that will perform well and that won’t feel outdated within one or two years, and for that, you’ve got plenty of very affordable options available to you. Those with more specific needs — artists, graphic designers, video editors, and gamers, to name some examples — may want extra features like touchscreens, fold-flat displays, and dedicated graphics cards. Keep size in mind as well. Laptops commonly range from 13 to 17 inches (which refers to screen size measured diagonally), and also pay attention to overall dimensions and weight if you’re going to be moving and carrying yours around fairly often.
As far as hardware goes, the three basic components to consider are CPU, RAM, and storage. The CPU, or central processing unit, is the “brain” of any PC. It’s what actually does the computing: Reading data, running programs (and other processes), and so on. The two biggest CPU makers are Intel and AMD, and unless you’re on the tightest of budgets, we typically recommend sticking with 11th or 12th-generation Intel Core i5 processors, AMD Ryzen 5 processors, and above (Core i7, Ryzen 7, etc.). If the specific generation of Intel CPU isn’t stated explicitly, it will be indicated in the first two digits of the processor’s model number. For example, a Core i5-11400 is an 11th-gen model, while the Core i5-12400 is 12th-gen.
RAM, or random access memory, is a bit more straightforward. In simple terms, if the CPU is your PC’s brain, then RAM could be described as its short-term memory. It supports your CPU’s performance by storing data and tasks for quick recall when needed. The more the better. We suggest a minimum of 8GB for good performance by modern standards, and like Core i5 and Ryzen 5 CPUs, you can find this even on affordable laptops — you really aren’t saving much money by skimping on RAM, but you will definitely feel your computer stumbling when under load.
Storage needs are personal to the user, but today, solid-state drives (SSDs) have largely replaced older platter-based hard disk drives (HDDs) owing to their superior read/write speeds and reliability due to the lack of moving parts. However, SSDs are typically smaller (or at least cheaper per gigabyte) than traditional HDDs, which is something to bear in mind if you do need a lot of storage space for things like games or large project files. We recommend sticking with SSDs as a rule, but some laptops come with a smaller solid-state system drive paired with a larger HDD for overflow, so you’ve got options.
Finally, depending on your needs, a discrete video card may be worth the extra money. A GPU, or graphics processing unit, is essentially a second processor dedicated solely to demanding graphical tasks like rendering videos and playing 3D video games. Mobile laptop GPUs are a bit different than their desktop counterparts and Nvidia GeForce cards are by far the most common. The current-gen models are the 16-series and 30-series cards. AMD has also rolled out its own line of laptop graphics cards, the 5000M series, as mobile counterparts to its desktop GPUs. These are a fine option as well, especially if you prefer AMD hardware.
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