BEST LAPTOPS UNDER $200
The laptop is one of the most popular gadgets that everyone requires in their lives for sure. For every digital task, there is a laptop which makes it easier to do. It is true when people say that smartphones are changing lives and are portable and handy to carry around all day unlike a laptop, but the fact is that people still prefer laptops over smartphones because there are a lot of tasks which can quickly be done on a laptop than on a smartphone.
Everybody must have seen the latest Apple MacBook Pro advertisement where they promote their brand to receive a good customer review; no doubt that the premium laptop looks stunning but do you think you need that?
Well, the answer to this question is NO! You do not need a $1000 laptop to carry out tasks like web browsing, emailing, word processing, office presentations etc. It is a sheer waste of money to buy such an expensive laptop for such petty jobs. If anybody needs a new laptop for these purposes, a good laptop will cost you starting at $200. Yes! A $200 laptop is all you need to carry out these primary jobs without any glitch.
It is challenging in a market of the sea to search for a good laptop within budget and with great specifications as well. Each week there are companies like Asus, HP, Lenovo, Acer, Dell etc. that launch new laptops into the market with the lowest of costs and latest features; now which is one to choose? What brand to go for? Who is the most reliable?
I will help you find answers to all of your above questions by listing the top four laptops under $200 for budget buyers listing all their pros and cons. Let’s begin…
The top four laptops under $200 are:
- Acer Aspire 1 CloudBook
- HP Stream 11
- DELL INSPIRON 11
- Asus Chromebook C202SA-YS02
1. Acer Aspire 1 CloudBook
Pros and Cons
Everybody has heard of Chromebooks, the laptops which run Chrome OS and have cloud storage; but has anybody heard of a Cloudbook before? The answer is No! Acer has designed the first Cloudbook, i.e. the Acer Aspire 1. A Cloudbook is like a regular laptop with windows ten installed, but just like the Chromebook, it has its storage on the cloud, on this particular Cloudbook, it stores in Microsoft’s One Drive cloud storage. The Acer Aspire 1 is a 14-inch laptop a powerful laptop which sports an Intel Celeron Processor, 2GB of RAM, 1TB of Cloud storage which is free from Microsoft for one year and 64GB inbuilt storage. The laptop is powerful, and it is very cheap as well. It is a cloud-based laptop for users who do not prefer Chrome OS devices.
The 14inch Aspire 1 is entirely made out of plastic, dark plastic. It is a reliable laptop with looks suitable for office purposes, on the lid and overall has a robust feel. The screen is surrounded by the matte-black bezel, and the inside of the laptop is also dark grey which makes it a uni-colour laptop, which honestly looks pretty dull but the inexpensive price tag says that you have to give up on something and that something is the looks. The laptop measures 13.4 x 9.2 x 0.34-0.7 inches and is more substantial than HP Stream 14 with 3.53 pounds. The overall design of the laptop is sturdy and office-like.
The display fitted on the laptop measures 14 inches and supports a resolution of 1366 x 768p which makes the picture quality a little less vibrant. The display covers a brightness of 244 nits which is dimmer than the competitor laptops under this range. The display on this one is not that bright and colourful. The colour accuracy is average with a rating of 3.78 on Delta-E Colour accuracy test. Talking about the colour specification, it covers about 53.4% of the sRGB colour gamut which is again lesser than the budget laptop average. The picture quality says it all, you don’t need to get into numbers to see the dim brightness and faded colours, watch a movie and you’ll know it all. There is one thing though, you don’t need a great display to carry out your office work, and this display is worth the price, it would be incorrect to expect a $1000 display by paying just $200, there is a difference which is evident on the Aspire 1.
KEYBOARD AND TOUCHPAD
There is a pretty good chance that you might think about the quality of typing on a budget machine. The basic notion is that it would be below average just like its price, but Acer has proven all those people wrong with a best in the class keyboard which is as comfortable as ever. The 1.58mm of key-travel with 60 grams of actuation force is the best combination for a good keyboard. It usually happens when we use a new keyboard, our fingers take time to adjust to the new keys, but this is all homes, there is absolutely no difference in the key spacing and comfort. It is so comfortable that I could score a whopping 81 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test which is better than my score on the new Apple MacBook Pro. You will be happy to know that the keyboard has full sized up-down-left-right arrow keys which are reduced to half the size on the latest generation laptops.
On the other hand, the touchpad measures 4.25 x 2.25-inches in size and is just like the keyboard- marvellous. The touch is smooth and responsive with almost zero complaints, the multi-touch gestures work fine, and so does the left and right click buttons. Touch recognition is fast on this one with a slight 1-second delay on opening the lid, following the error, “Touchpad Disabled”. Otherwise, both the keyboard and the touchpad are fantastic, quick, responsive and smooth.
Under the hood, the laptop is equipped with an Intel Celeron N3050 processor which is clocked at 1.6-GHz, to accompany this powerful CPU, there is 2GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage plus 1TB of Microsoft’s One-Drive cloud storage. The smoothness of performance is not at all affected by opening 8-10 Chrome tabs, or video playback or music playing, all at the same time. On the Geekbench 3 performance test, the cloudbook scored a decent number of 1,646 which is better than the Lenovo Ideapad 100 and many other laptops within the same range. The storage of 64GB on this laptop has a transfer speed of 49 MBps which is faster than most of its competitors; it is less but fast.
Moving on to the graphics of the cloudbook, on testing with 3DMark’s Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark program, the laptop scored around 18,605 points which is amazing. This device can hence play entry level games at medium settings without lag. The overall performance of the Cloudbook is entirely up to the mark, and I recommend this laptop to you as in critic’s prediction, it will be a prevalent concept shortly, and the demand is going to be very high.
The laptop sports all sorts of standard connectivity ports such as an SD card reader, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port. The Cloudbook is all you want except for the latest USB type-C port, which is manageable if you want a basic laptop.
The battery life on this laptop is just outstanding with 15 hours of juice on a single charge. This Cloudbook is better than any laptop or any Chromebook when it comes to battery life. This capability makes this laptop perfect for student mass, as they have to carry their laptop everywhere with them and portability along with battery life makes this a perfect machine. I would rate the battery life a 10/10.
The laptop comes in three variants; the entry-level model is priced at $189 on Amazon.com /US with configured Intel Celeron N3050 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage. To add value to the Cloudbook, Acer is adding a free 1-year subscription to Microsoft Office and Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage.
The Acer Aspire One is a perfect laptop for most of the users out there, especially for students and office goers. Acer has made it difficult to answer the question of whether a Chromebook is better or the CloudBook? 15 hours of battery life and Intel Celeron performance, this laptop is all for it and that too at just $189. The only downfall of this laptop is its screen; it could have been a little brighter and colourful. Overall, this laptop is a must for every student out there. It had design, power, 14-inch display, it is sleek and lightweight, and above all, it has a 15 hours battery life. All these features make me want to rate this laptop with 9/10.
2. HP Stream 11
Pros and Cons
The HP Stream 11 laptop is an excellent choice for school kids and college students if they need a lightweight, slim laptop with robust performance and all-day battery life. No laptop is perfect; this one cuts the edge through a not so bright display and heat issues. This laptop is not priced too high keeping the low budget customers and kids in mind. Let us throw light on the pros and cons of each component of the HP Stream 11.
The Design of the Stream11 is nowhere close to taking the laptop to a corporate meeting with top people in the business. It comes in bright Aqua Blue and Purple colours for fun in laptops. The body is made of plastic which is surprisingly robust, and there is almost minimal flex around the centre of the keyboard. The palm rest is very comfortable too, making it easier to type for long hours. Talking about the connectivity options on the funky laptop, it sports all the standard ports like a USB 2.0 port, a microphone jack, a charging port, a USB 3.0 port, an LED battery indicator, a micro SD slot and an HDMI port too. The laptop is measured 11.8 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches in size and weighs only 2.5 pounds which is lighter and slimmer than the previous generation of the HP Stream 11 laptop. The overall design of the laptop is funky but strong; having a look at that plastic chassis gives an impression about flexing issues, but the laptop is sturdy.
The display on the laptop is only 11.6 inches and holds a resolution of 1366 x 768p which is just about fine for a screen of this size. The picture quality on this display looks washed out and faded, not so much but yes a considerable amount. While watching the trailer of Spider-Man: Homecoming; I noticed faded blue and red colours on his suit which is exactly what you can expect from a laptop of this range. On the colour accuracy test of Delta-E benchmark, the laptop scored a rating of 3.7 which is exactly at par with the budget laptop average of this price range. For your Information– the lower the Delta E scores, the better the colour accuracy. Why leave brightness behind, the brightness test resulted in 188 nits –centre of the screen, of illumination which is less but is matching with the colour accuracy of the laptop, so it will not bother you much. The viewing angles on the laptop are focused only on the centre if you are watching something on the screen; you have to be just in front-centre to view the perfect picture quality. A little bit of tilt on the right or left will make you see dark spots on the screen which is a sign of a less sharp display.
KEYBOARD AND TOUCHPAD
The keyboard and touchpad are something which I am most confident about on this laptop. The typing experience is excellent with responsive and snappy keys to let you finish your work in time. My typing speed has undoubtedly improved by typing on almost all kinds of laptops, but this particular keyboard was just about perfect for an average laptop user. I have beaten my own 10fastfingers.com typing test score on this laptop by getting 103 words per minute. Since we are on the scores, I observed a little hitch on my typing experience, and that was because of the front lip of the laptop, the edge was not curved, and because of that I had scratched forearms, and it almost felt like a cut, therefore, long typing sessions are a little tough on this one. The keys on the keyboard are perfectly well spaced and have a key-travel of 1.2 millimetres with 69 grams of actuation force which makes it suitable for typing smooth.
The touchpad, on the other hand, is also smooth and is placed in the centre-bottom of the keyboard. With the measurement of 3.6 x 2.1-inch, the touchpad is entirely accurate and registers commands within no time. The touchpad is button-less, and the left and right clicks are in complete sync as well. Multi-touch commands work great, and I am satisfied with the performance of both the touchpad and keyboard.
The quick multi-tasker laptop from HP is a sturdy performer. This machine comprises of an Intel Celeron N3060 processor with 32GB of eMMc storage and 4GB of RAM. It has the capability to handle any primary computing task without any lag. No device is perfect, and I am claiming this because I noticed some considerable amount of delay while multi-tasking between 8 Chrome tabs, a VLC player in the background and Microsoft PowerPoint. The Geekbench 4 performance benchmark test was pretty scoring for the HP Stream 11; it could score 2,025 points which is better than the overall performances of the Lenovo Idea-pad and Dell Inspiron under the same budget. Not only powerful, but the laptop is also fast too; the 32 GB of eMMc storage can transfer 5GB mixed media data in just a matter of 88 seconds which is absolutely stunning at 50.38 MBps speed.
Moving on to the graphics of this machine; the integrated Intel HD Graphics 400 GPU does its magic on the laptop for only entry-level games that too on medium or low graphics. Heavy duty games such as the ‘overwatch’ will only lead to lags and lack of functionality on the device which makes it evident about, what to run on this GPU. On running the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark test, the laptop scored 16,232 points which are higher than most of its other competitors in the market. The overall performance on this laptop is above-average when seen with a clear perspective of under $200 price range.
The HP Stream 11 has a battery capacity to run almost half a day, i.e. 8 hours and 30 minutes to be exact with continuous web browsing and medium brightness. The battery life on other competitors is nearly as good as this one which is perfect for portability considerations.
The HP Stream 11 with Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 32GB eMMC storage and integrated Intel HD Graphics 400 graphics is priced at $189 on Amazon.com/US. The design and performance of the laptop are based on the price tag (my opinion).
It’s not easy to stay calm by the little $200 HP Stream 11 and its robust yet colourful design. What makes the HP Stream 11 a good decent deal is that it has 4GB of RAM and powerful processor, which implies it’s capable than comparably evaluated competitors that have just 1 or 2GB of RAM. Parents should think about purchasing this laptop for their young children. All things considered, it’s so slim and light that you wouldn’t fret carrying it with you all over the place, and with more than 8 hours of battery life, you can securely leave your charger at home. There are also some downfalls with this almost perfect laptop, and that is it’s not so bright screen with low colour accuracy and contrast. I would rate this laptop 8/10 based on looks and performance.
3. DELL INSPIRON 11
Pros and Cons
The Dell Inspiron 11 is a 2-in-1 laptop which is colourful, is made of plastic, has a dominant performance and is perfect for your children or you as a secondary laptop. It offers an 11-inch screen with the best in class typing experience. Dell has outgrown laptops under every price range, from the inexpensive Inspiron 11 to the XPS 13, Dell as a company has never failed to surprise us and in-fact has cultivated our trust and belief in them. Let us discuss what the Inspiron 11 is all about.
The design of the Dell Inspiron 11 is very childlike, and it can easily fit into your kid’s pile of toys. The plastic chassis is colourful with different colour options like white, blue, red, grey etc. Why only children? Even as adults I recommend you to buy this laptop but with just white or grey colour options. The two-in-one laptop is well rested on a sturdy hinge which lets it tilt complete 360 degrees for the tablet mode and the tent mode for movies or presentations. The display is also touchscreen which is an additional feature for a laptop under this price range. The laptop measures 0.8 inches in thickness and weighs 2.9 pounds which are bulkier than the non-touch display option, i.e. Dell Inspiron 11 3000. Not just this, the laptop is equipped with all sorts of standard connectivity ports like on the left side; an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port, a micro SD card reader. Similarly on the right side; a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a great brand lock slot, volume rockers, a headphone jack and a power button. The overall design of the Inspiron 11 is a success.
The display size of the Dell Inspiron 11 is 11 inches and is overwhelming to use. The resolution being 1366 x 768p, the picture quality is just about fine, and the colour is accurate as well. I watched a movie on this laptop, and I completely forgot that it is not a premium laptop, there is very less difference in the display but is noticeable if you compare it side by side with other laptops. On colourimeter, the display covered about 70 per cent of the sRGB Colour Gamut which is below the 97 per cent average of budget laptops. The display is not also very bright; it covers only 150 nits of brightness which is less than the laptop average under this category, i.e. 288-nits. The viewing angles are absolutely perfect with no dark spots; the only condition is that you have to sit right in the middle of the screen and look directly at it, even a 30 degree tilt on the right, or left will damage your perfect experience and fill it with dark black spots which are not good. Thus, viewing angles are not flexible.
Not to forget that the display of this budget laptop is touchscreen and it has a brilliant sense of touch. All my touch inputs are registered with ease, and there is entirely no complaint of any lag or pause, it is a great touchscreen display with smooth multi-touch gestures like the three finger swipes. Hence, the display is successful, but it could have been a little bright and colour accurate.
KEYBOARD AND TOUCHPAD
On reaching the score of 77 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I can say that the keyboard on this laptop is pretty decent. The keys are shallow with only 1.2 millimetres of key-travel along with an actuation force of 70 grams. The keys are congested together, and it makes it slower to type with the maximised error rate, which is not a good sign, and I scored more words per minute on other keyboards like on the Aspire One. The keys are no doubt responsive and snappy, but it is mainly meant for small hands to type.
On the other hand, the touchpad on the laptop is placed right in the centre down below the keyboard. It measures 3.9 x 2.1-inches in size and is button-less. The touch is very smooth, and there is no stiffness involved. The left and right clicks on the touchpad are snappy and responsive as well. The overall, keyboard and touchpad are in complete sync, and there is nothing special about them to discuss.
The performance of the Dell Inspiron 11 is quite modest with decent specifications. The Intel Pentium N3710 processor in combination with 4GB of RAM and 500GB of SSD storage performs just as good as the other competitors, actually better. I noticed absolutely no lag in performance while switching between 13 Chrome tabs, a music player in the background, and a paused video on VLC which is impressive. On the Geekbench 3 benchmark performance test, the laptop scored 1,806 points which are at par with the average score of other competitors as well. The 500GB SSD is fast as it takes only 3 minutes and 40 seconds to transfer 5GB mixed-media files with a transfer rate of 22.8 MBps. Moving on to the graphics on the laptop, it runs on the Intel HD Graphics which scored 23,697 points on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark test which is impressive on a device of this price range. The only down set is that this laptop will not support even basic gaming with 2o frames per second. It has good graphics, but games are a big NO! The overall performance of the laptop is excellent, and on another Open Office productivity test, the machine scored an in-time of 12 minutes and 52 seconds which is brilliant for a budget laptop with these specifications.
The battery life on the Dell Inspiron 11 is a significant reason to avoid this unit. With only 5 hours and 15 minutes on a single juice, this laptop fails to reach even the category average of 7 hours. The battery life is less on this one, but for office goers or someone who is not planning to carry it around all day, it is recommended.
The Dell Inspiron 11 with 11.6″ HD display, AMD A6-9220e processor clocked at 2.4GHz, 32GB of EMMC, 128GB/256GB MicroSD card support, an HDMI port, MaxxAudio, Office 365 1year Windows 10 Update and Up-to 8GB of RAM is priced at $199 on Amazon.com/US. This laptop was initially priced at $399, but as new Dell products took over, the price of this one came down which is a good thing for customers who want to buy a laptop with more performance and less cost.
The Dell Inspiron 11 is a preferred laptop for people who want to buy a two-in-one laptop at an inexpensive price. The laptop is colourful and bright with many different colour options, the plastic chassis is robust, and there is nearly minimal flex at the centre of the keyboard and too when pressed hard. Not just design vice, the display is almost perfect, and it also has a touchscreen which makes it, even more, feature-full at this price range. Talking about the performance, the specifications take care of that with much less effort, and basic computing is all in, with minimum load on the system.
Only if the brightness level of the display and the battery life were more, this laptop would be a straightforward decision for most users out there. I would rate this laptop a 7/10 based on looks and performance.
4. Asus Chromebook C202SA-YS02
Pros and Cons
The Asus Chromebook C202 is a powerful laptop which features a plastic chassis. The laptop is fairly decent with looks and with performance. It is indeed an ideal choice for school going children as the exterior looks bulky and robust, so the damaging and scratching could be avoided. Regarding the battery life, the C202 can run all day without stopping, and this is what makes it complete.
The design of the C202 is unique, unlike all the other laptops; it is made up of dotted plastic with rubberised coating around the corners that protects the laptop from accidental drops. There is an Asus Logo at the centre of the silver plastic along with a chrome logo on the top left. The display of the laptop is 11.6 inches, and the keyboard is typical Chiclet style. The laptop measures 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.88 inches and weighs 2.6 pounds which makes it light and portable to carry around in a backpack. The overall design of the laptop is unique and out so many laptops that I have seen and reviewed, this is the different look that I’ve always wanted, and it is eye-catching when you take it out in a public place.
The 11.6-inch screen of the C202 is crisp and colourful but lacks sharpness. The resolution of 1366 x 768p is above average for a Chromebook but does great for an 11-inch display. I watched a movie on this laptop, and I could tell the difference between a red and a maroon very clearly, it proved that the display isn’t after all so bad. On the brightness test, the display scored 250nits which is better than most Chromebooks in the market but still lacks behind some competitors. The average ultraportable average is 300nits, so this one is just 50 nits behind, have your opinions! On the colourimeter, the display performed pretty basic covering only 60 per cent of the sRGB Colour Gamut. On another test which was the Delta-E colour accuracy test, the display scored 2.7 which is not as bad as the more the number is close to 0, the better the result. Overall, the display is as good as ever.
KEYBOARD AND TOUCHPAD
The keyboard on this laptop should be registered as a benchmark for other companies to adopt. The Chiclet-style keys which are well spaced make it comfortable for users to type for long hours. The key-travel is nearly perfect with 1.2 millimetres along with an actuation force of 60 grams, which provides us with the best typing experience ever on any Chromebook. To prove this, I tested my typing speed on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, and I scored 116 words per minute which is fantastic. My error rates were minimal, and my fingers were dashing through the keyboard. The keys are very responsive and snappy and provide with the best typing experience.
On the other hand, the touchpad is also the same as the keyboard, amazing. The touch sensitivity on the touchpad was very high by default, and because of this, it was difficult to control the pointer; but ever since I manually changed the sensitivity of the pointer, the touchpad proved to be accurate and responsive as well. The touch registers very quickly, and multi-touch gestures work just fine. I am very much contented with the performance of both the touchpad and the keyboard.
The performance of the Asus Chromebook C202 is better than most of the other Chromebooks available in the market today. Under the hood, the laptop sports an Intel Celeron N3060 processor which is clocked at 1.6-GHz along with 4GB of RAM. This specification combination has made the laptop a beast for its price range. The beast does not like heavy multi-tasking, so opening up 12 chrome windows with a YouTube video in the background and an open PowerPoint presentation could be a bit of a problem. On the WebGL Aquarium graphics test which is surprisingly very interesting with a large number of fishes in a tank measuring frame rates, the laptop scored 50 fishes at 59 frames per second which I believe is a very good score. The performance on this one is pretty basic, and it does every computing task with ease, keeping heavy multi-tasking and gaming aside.
The battery on this laptop is relatively excellent, and it can run for a whole day. The laptop runs for 8 hours and 30 minutes on a single juice which makes it perfect for college going students and even school going students, as they will have the privilege to forget their chargers at home.
The base model ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS04 with an 11.6-inch screen, Water Resistant Design with 180 Degree Hinge and an Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage is priced at $199 on Amazon.com/US.
The Asus Chromebook C202 is a laptop with robust design and sturdy hinges. The sturdy shell of this laptop which is made of plastic is covered with rubberised corners to make it fall-proof. Laptop with such a price range can be given to children for elementary sessions, and they are very likely to drop it. The keyboard and touchpad are ten on ten, and the all-day 8.5 hours of battery life can be an excellent reason to purchase this device. The portability is also a big factor; this laptop is not that heavy and can be carried around in a backpack with ease. I would rate this laptop 9/10.
There are laptops which are designed like clockwork with cutting-edge equipment and performance, yet the inquiry is, regardless of whether you require such power or not? Not every person can manage the cost of that power. There are buyers who require a laptop only for it or even to do their perusing and office work or power-point introductions and that are only the tip of the iceberg. Because you purchase a not so expensive laptop which isn’t top of the line, that doesn’t imply that you need to bargain on speed and abilities. The previously mentioned laptops are the best in their category, and at this point I’m confident, the more significant part of you is more likely to select than not chose what machine they’ll be going for. The thing is evident that to accomplish that value extend, the companies need to do a few penances, either on manufacture quality or looks or anything, it isn’t essential for a laptop to look premium dependably.
My decision for an inexpensive laptop would doubtlessly be the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook, as a result of its dazzling looks and smooth structure. The Intel Celeron N4000 CPU with 4GB of RAM does the activity for execution exceptionally well. This workstation is all that a spending purchaser requires. I would rate this laptop 9/10. There are excellent potential outcomes in future for budget laptops with an ever increasing number of highlights and abilities.