Speaker 1: I’m about to host a masterclass in how to buy a budget laptop.
Speaker 1: Sometimes you just need a cheap laptop. And I don’t mean cheap in the Baard of sense. What I mean is an inexpensive laptop that performs well offers good overall value. Despite the low cost. Now colloquially people say cheap, so that’s what we’re gonna go with. Just roll with it. Okay. Now, as part of this lesson, I’m actually gonna spend less time talking [00:00:30] about individual brands and models because these changed all the time. And especially because of all the supply chain issues and everyone needing extra laptop for work for home and school from home, it’s hard to keep these in stock. So we’re just gonna focus on broad concepts rather than get this exact model of this exact price. So instead, we’re gonna talk about what you need to know when shopping for a budget, laptop, what to look out for what to avoid. So you can go into a store or shop online and know what you’re looking for and know what you should buy.
Speaker 1: [00:01:00] Now. The first question is what defines a budget laptop. Now I used to use $500 as a cutoff point for a budget laptop. Over time, the laptops available for $500 have started to look a little under power. To me, I’d say now a budget laptop is unofficially anything under about $700 for $500 or less, your options are gonna be very limited. And frankly, there’s a good chance. You’re not gonna be entirely happy with the overall experience. Now there’s an exception under $500 for [00:01:30] a Chromebook, and you’re all good. If you give yourself on the window side, a little more breathing room and get closer to $700, well then the possibilities open up and it’s much easier to get something that’s gonna last a long time and that you’re gonna be happy with.
Speaker 1: But that brings me to my next big question. Should I just get a Chromebook? The answer is actually yes, probably frankly, most people are gonna be fine with the Chromebook, which is a laptop that runs Google’s Chrome O S which itself is basically the Chrome web browser and a few extras. [00:02:00] Although now newer Chromebooks also have the ability to run Android apps from the Google play store and Linux software. So there’s a lot more you can do with them. You just have to do a little extra work to get there, because think about it. What’s most of what you do on a laptop, email, web surfing, streaming video, social media, shopping, all that stuff is usually done by the web browser. And if you’re looking to spend under $500, for sure, you’re gonna end up with a much nicer machine that feels more responsive compared to a budget windows, laptop at the same price. And that is a strong argument to get [00:02:30] a Chromebook. If you’re only gonna spend 500 bucks or less, but there are also reasons why you wouldn’t want a Chromebook. Yeah. Maybe have some special software for work or for school that has to be installed locally on your machine. Maybe it’s windows only software. I could say the same thing about programs like Photoshop or video games, but if you’re buying a $500 laptop, I don’t think you’re gonna have a lot of luck with Photoshop and video games anyway.
Speaker 1: So our very important question is what specs should you be looking for? If you go right around $500, just a bit [00:03:00] below, it’s gonna be pretty bare bones. I would say generally stick it out until you find a decent CPU. That’s gonna be the single most important thing. Now, Intel is up to the 12th generation of court chips now. So ideally you want one from within the past couple of generations. Otherwise you’re getting old stock. Now you’re probably gonna have to go past the $500 mark, but I would default to an Intel core. I five again, for the past generation or two under $500, it’s gonna be hard to get past that cheaper core I three version. And I would generally skip anything with an Intel Pentium [00:03:30] cran, an atom or an M three chip on the AMD side. Look for an AMD rise, 4,000 series, instead of something like an AMD Athlon.
Speaker 1: And again, this is just my advice to you on what I think is gonna make a satisfying budget laptop. Now, if you’re running windows 11, meaning you’re getting a windows laptop instead of a Chromebook, you really want 16 gigs. A it’s gonna be hard to find that though, until you hit about $700, maybe a little bit more, again, I say, save up a little bit and get that core. I five 16 gigs Ram combo, because that’s gonna run better and [00:04:00] last longer. Now, if you can’t get at least eight gigs Ram, I think that’s the absolute ceiling for winning windows, especially on a cheap laptop. But if you do have to go low on the Ram, look for a laptop that lets you add more down the road by opening up the back and actually installing more Ram. There actually are a lot of low end laptops and gaming laptops that still let you do this.
Speaker 1: If the laptop memory is on board in the description, that probably means you can’t add more to it later. Now, historically I am not a stickler for a lot of storage. Most people store [00:04:30] everything, email photos, et cetera in the cloud. Anyway, you’re streaming movies. You’re not downloading them. So get a solid state drive. They call that SSD not a spinning platter. One H D D uh, 2 56. Gigs capacity is great. Five 12 is fantastic. It’s gonna be very hard to find in our price range, settle for 1 28 gigs of storage only if you really have to. And if you mainly use cloud storage and you know that for a fact, but I’d say if it comes down to it, go for more Ram over larger storage. If it comes down to that, although like Ram budget [00:05:00] laptops can sometimes be opened up and you can swap out for a larger hard drive, if you need to later get not every case, but sometimes.
Speaker 1: Okay. So we’ve talked about what to look for specs wise at a budget laptop, but what should you avoid? I would say number one, watch out for those holiday doorbuster deals. That sound too good to be true. They’re usually old stock. They’re super underpowered, a $200 black Friday. Laptop’s gonna wear out. It’s welcome by cyber Monday displays are typically where PC makers cut a lot of costs on cheap laptops. [00:05:30] So look for a display resolution of 1920 by 10 80, also known as full HD or FHD, that’s the same thing as a traditional HDTV. I know we all have 4k TVs now, but for a little screen, that’s right in front of you, regular HD is fine. I’ve already talked about what CPU to look for, but I’d also mentioned you should skip anything that has a low power arm processor, like something from media tech or something like that.
Speaker 1: Inlets, it’s a Chromebook there. You can kind of get away with it. I could also be talked into a laptop with a Qualcom snap dragon ship, but those are usually for laptops with [00:06:00] always on mobile data connections and they’re usually much more expensive. Okay. So here’s one of my tips. If you’re shopping on Amazon or Walmart’s website or something like that, look and see who’s actually selling the laptop you wanna buy. Is it Amazon? Is it Walmart? Is it some other third party seller? That’s just using them as a shopping platform. Now, listen, you can do what you want, but I’m gonna suggest you stick with electronics sold by Amazon on Amazon’s website and by Walmart on Walmart’s website.
Speaker 1: And finally let’s figure out what the [00:06:30] best time to buy cheap laptop is. Now personally, I like some holiday promotions like black Friday. You do have to look over the office very carefully as some stores like to take old junk and shovel it out there out of the warehouse. And hopefully you’ll buy it on a black Friday or cyber Monday sale, but there’s still some excellent deals you can find, especially if you get closer to the five to $700 range, not that like 200, $300 doorbuster style special that early summer back to school season is also a hot time for buying laptops. Everybody’s getting ready for the fall semester. They’re going to college, they’re going to high school. There [00:07:00] are a few of those kind of phony door busters. And again, make sure that you check how old the laptop on sale is that what parts are in it.
Speaker 1: But if you do that, uh, that is usually a good time to buy a laptop as well. To answer a question I get all the time. If you’re worried that whatever you buy is gonna be replaced by something new, as soon as you open the box, number one, that’s probably true, but I usually advise people not to worry about it unless of the brand new version coming in like a couple of weeks or a month. And for PCs, new models are generally announced a little bit in advance. So you do have some buffer [00:07:30] there. I would say, just go with what works for you and your budget at the time. Listen, every tech device is gonna be replaced or retired eventually some sooner, some later. So spend less time worrying about that and more time just using your new budget laptop. If you wanna find out more about budget laptops, where to buy ’em, what kind to buy, check out the links below.