Best Laptops Under $400

Buying a laptop that’s budget-friendly is not easy. There are many options available, sure, but if you don’t choose well, you can end up with a slow laptop that’s doesn’t suit your computational needs. Or worse, the device will become obsolete too quickly!

A good $400 laptop needs to be functional, powerful, and capable of handling your daily tasks. While you won’t find high-end hardware and the latest features in this price range, there are some devices that have a lot to offer and include a few attributes that are quite useful for the office.

We’ve compiled a list of the six best laptops under $400 to help you find the one that’s perfect for you while staying within your budget. So, let’s get started!

Brand
Best Overall
ASUS VivoBook 15
Acer Aspire 5
Dell Inspiron 15 3583
Product
ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6”...
Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K Slim Laptop | 15.6"...
Dell Inspiron 3583 15” Laptop Intel Celeron –...
Processor
10th Gen Intel Core i3
AMD Ryzen 3 3359U
Intel Celeron CPU
RAM
8GB
4GB
4GB
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
ASUS VivoBook 15
Product
ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6”...
Processor
10th Gen Intel Core i3
RAM
8GB
Rating
Price
Brand
Acer Aspire 5
Product
Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K Slim Laptop | 15.6"...
Processor
AMD Ryzen 3 3359U
RAM
4GB
Rating
Price
Brand
Dell Inspiron 15 3583
Product
Dell Inspiron 3583 15” Laptop Intel Celeron –...
Processor
Intel Celeron CPU
RAM
4GB
Rating
Price

Best Laptop Overall — ASUS VivoBook 15

The ASUS VivoBook 15 is an incredible laptop, available for the low price of $400. Fortunately, ASUS hasn’t sacrificed portability nor performance for the sake of a low price tag with the VivoBook 15, packing a powerful and reliable CPU and great RAM in a lightweight and thin case.

The 15.6 inches HD NanoEdge display has ultra-slim bezels for an amazing 88% screen-to-body ratio and impressive visuals.

ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6”...
  • 15.6 inch Full HD (1920x1080) 4-way NanoEdge bezel display with a stunning 88% screen-to-body ratio
  • Compatible with Google Classroom; run Google Classroom on Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer 11
  • Latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU (4M Cache, up to 3.4 GHz)

Powered by the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3 CPU, the VivoBook 15 offers reliability when carrying out demanding tasks. This processor, together with 8 GB DDR4 RAM, allows for productive multitasking. Casual gaming and multimedia editing are also possible thanks to NVIDIA graphics. All in all, when it comes to performance, you can trust this laptop to do an excellent job with everyday tasks.

The storage capacity might be a drawback for those who are not used to uploading their files and data to the cloud. However, the 128 GB SSD unit ensures speedy boot-ups and file retrieval.

Some premium features that the VivoBook 15 includes are a backlit keyboard and an innovative ErgoLift hinge that adds a 2° tilt for an improved typing and heat-dissipating experience.

The battery can last for up to 7 hours with a single charge, and you can get 60 percent charged in less than 50 minutes. It also has a 3x longer battery span thanks to ASUS Battery Health Charging technology that protects your battery from overcharging.

Less is more when it comes to size and weight, and the VivoBook 15 boasts a thin case of 3.75 lbs that makes it the perfect travel companion.

ASUS VivoBook 15 is the best overall laptop under $400 because it doesn’t cut many corners for the low price that it offers. This highly portable notebook delivers great performance, has a beautiful display, decent battery life, and other nice features to provide a smooth and efficient experience.

Because of all these features – the ASUS VivoBook 15 is the #1 pick on our list of the best laptops for under $400!

Pros:

  • Fingerprint sensor
  • HD display
  • Fast processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Portable
  • Decent battery life

Cons:

  • 128 GB SSD
  • Subpar speakers. Sound distorts at high volumes.

Runner-up — Acer Aspire 5

The Acer Aspire 5 is a very popular laptop because it’s portable and offers great specs at an affordable price. Because it has become a best-seller on Amazon, the price might have gone a bit over the $400 price point, but if you keep reading you’ll see why it’s worth it.

This laptop features a fantastic 15.6 inches, full HD screen and a narrow-bezel design for a bigger workspace than other models in this price range. Thanks to Acer’s BlueLightShield glare-minimizing technology, you can forget about tired eyes and headaches when working for long hours.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K Slim Laptop | 15.6"...
  • Powerful Productivity: AMD Ryzen 3 3350U delivers desktop-class performance and amazing battery life...
  • Maximized Visuals: See even more on the stunning 15.6" Full HD display with 82.58% screen-to-body,...
  • Backlit Keyboard and Fingerprint Reader: Biometric fingerprint reader and Windows Hello sign-in...

When it comes to performance, the Acer Aspire 5 doesn’t compromise in the specs and delivers desktop-class performance. Boasting an AMD Ryzen 3 3359U processor that beats the Intel Core i3 CPU that most budget laptops come with, and a 4 GB DDR4 RAM, you can load multiple applications, and tackle any office or academic work easily and smoothly. You can even enjoy some casual gaming on the side!

Storage-wise, this laptop includes a 128 GB NVMe solid state drive for all your files, and data. While this might not sound like much for some people, rest assured that it can be easily upgraded.

This is the perfect laptop for holding videoconferences because of its HD webcam and dual-speakers with PurifiedVoice technology that cancels out background noise, and TrueHarmony technology that ensures that you can hear and be heard loud and clear.

If everything we’ve mentioned so far hasn’t convinced you yet, you should know about some extra highly functional attributes of the Acer Aspire 5. With a backlit keyboard, you can keep working comfortably even in low light conditions, and with a fingerprint reader that adds an extra layer of security you don’t have to worry about other people trying to use your laptop behind your back.

The aluminum case that weighs less than 4 pounds and the battery that lasts for up to 10 hours seal the deal for this travel-friendly laptop.

All in all, if you’re looking for an affordable notebook that’s efficient, productive, and portable, the Acer Aspire 5 is by far the best choice for its price. Acer hasn’t compromised in the specs department when it comes to this laptop, and even if you’re not satisfied with the storage capacity and RAM, remember that you can upgrade it.

Pros:

  • HD display
  • Fast processor
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Portable
  • Decent battery life

Cons:

  • 128 GB storage
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Price can vary and sometimes go over the $400 mark

Best Chromebook — Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13″

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

Convertible laptops are a popular choice for students or people who work on the go because of their incredible portability, and the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13” is the best of its kind.

This Chromebook has a 13-inch HD display and narrow bezels for beautiful bright visuals with fewer distractions. The 360° hinge allows for multi-mode usage, whether it’s tablet, tent, stand, laptop mode, or any other angle of your choice.

Sale
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13" Laptop, FHD (1920 x...
  • Work from home, school, or anywhere with the outstanding combination of performance, connectivity,...
  • This 2-in-1 laptop combines a keyboard and touchscreen to make it easy to interact with everything...
  • The 13-inch FHD display in this slim, light 360° convertible Chromebook offers beautiful visuals,...

The touchscreen makes it easy to interact with the elements on the display, and it supports the Lenovo digital pen, which can be a useful tool to take quick notes in class or a meeting even though it’s sold separately.

Powered by a 10th Generation Intel Core processor and up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 15 outputs decent performance for moderately demanding tasks. And even though 4 GB RAM doesn’t sound like much nowadays, it can easily handle up to 15 tabs on Chrome and a few other background processes, which makes it adequate for most daily tasks.

This Lenovo Chromebook runs Chrome OS, which relies heavily on Google services, so it only has a 64 GB SSD because Google services include cloud storage.

With this laptop, you also get a backlit keyboard, powerful, front-facing stereo speakers, and a great collection of ports so that you can connect any device you need. All in a case that weighs less than 3 lbs!

The best Chromebook under $400 offers a decent package of performance and high portability, which makes it perfect for students or users who don’t need to run demanding processes.

Pros:

  • Highly portable
  • Touchscreen
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Decent speed
  • Decent battery life

Cons:

  • Runs Chrome OS
  • 64 GB storage
  • Not good for demanding users

Best Dell — Dell Inspiron 15 3583

If you’re more of a Windows user, Dell has some great options, starting with the Inspiron 15 3583. This affordable laptop has a sleek design and an efficient performance output for the moderate price of $354.

Featuring a 15.6-inch HD LED-backlit screen with AntiGlare technology, the Inspiron 15 3583 delivers clear and bright images without straining your eyes.

Sale
Dell Inspiron 3583 15” Laptop Intel Celeron –...
  • 128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
  • 4GB, 4Gx1, DDR4, 2666MHz
  • 15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) Anti -Glare LED-Backlit Non-touch Display

Performance-wise, this laptop packs a capable Intel Celeron CPU and 4 GB DDR4 RAM for increased responsiveness and seamless multitasking. And the 128 GB solid state drive ensures a fast boot-up that the laptop boots up and quick access to your stored files.

Now comes the important part: battery life and portability. The battery allows you to work for up to 5 hours with a single charge, and even though it leans towards the heavier side with a weight of 4.48 lbs, it’s only 0.78-inches thin, which makes it a good option to fit in your bag.

The Dell Inspiron 15 3583 doesn’t offer the most powerful specs for its price range and doesn’t include any fancy features, but it’s still capable of handling your basic tasks effortlessly. If you’re not satisfied with the processor, the RAM, and the storage capacity, you can invest a bit more and upgrade them for more power and capacity.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Good display
  • Decent performance

Cons:

  • No extra features
  • 4 GB RAM

Best for gaming — Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14″

Lenovo IdeaPad 3

If you’re an avid gamer, but you’re on a budget, we’ve got your back! The newest Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has some great specs for gaming at the affordable price point of $400. You should keep in mind that this model is heavily sought after, so the price might vary.

The 14″ HD LED-backlit display screen with narrow bezels features AntiGlare technology for bright images that won’t tire your eyes during those long gaming hours.

Newest Lenovo Ideapad 3 14" HD Display Premium...
  • 14.0" HD (1366 x 768) LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display
  • Intel Pentium Gold 6405U 2.40GHz Dual-Core Processor, Intel UHD Graphics, Performance is similar to...
  • 8GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM Memory for full-power multitasking; 128GB Solid State Drive; No Optical drive

Even though this isn’t a pro-gaming laptop, the powerful performance delivered by the AMD Ryzen 7 3700U Mobile Processor can still get the job done. The CPU, together with 8 GB RAM, makes it the most powerful laptop in this article. What’s more, it has integrated AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics for a smooth gaming experience.

Storage capacity and battery life are decent, featuring 128 GB SSD storage and up to 5 hours of battery with a single charge. Bear in mind that battery life might be reduced by running processor-intensive programs such as games.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has some interesting attributes for those who’d like to use it for work as well as for entertainment. The speakers have Dolby Audio technology for crystal-clear sound whether you’re watching a movie or holding an online conference. What’s more, the webcam has a shutter that can be closed when you’re not video-chatting, so you don’t have to worry about potential hackers. Because of all these features – the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is one of the best laptops for under $400!

Pros:

  • Powerful performance
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Decent battery life

Cons:

  • 128 GB storage

Best HP — HP 14t

HP 14t

If you want to spend a bit less, the HP 14t is a more affordable option that still offers decent hardware for the $370 it costs.

The 14-inch HD display with ultra-thin bezels and BrightView technology allows you to experience sharp and clear images. However, the resolution is only 720p, which puts it below other models in this article.

2021 HP 14 inch HD Laptop for Business and...
  • 【Display】14 inch HD (1366 x 768) Micro-edg display with virtually no bezel encircling the...
  • 【Processor】Intel Celeron N4020 (up to 2.8Ghz), basic dual-core processor boosts multitasking...
  • 【RAM】4GB high-bandwidth DDR4 Memory (2400 MHz), 64GB high-speed eMMC Storage for your office and...

What matters the most is that productivity won’t be an issue thanks to the Intel Celeron N4020 dual-core processor and 4 GB RAM that boosts the multitasking capabilities of the CPU. From having multiple tabs open on your browser to streaming videos and music, this laptop has your back, providing a smooth experience.

Unfortunately, this model sacrifices storage capacity for the sake of affordability, with only 64 GB. However, it has a full-size SD card reader and this bundle includes a 128 GB SD card for extra storage, among other accessories.

With an average battery life of 9 hours, a thin case, and a weight of 3.24 pounds, the HP 14t is still a moderately portable laptop.

Pros:

  • Decent performance
  • Includes a 128 GB SD card
  • Long battery life
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Subpar display
  • Not much storage

Frequently Asked Questions

What features should I look for in a $400 laptop?

Two women using a laptop together

The optimal features for a laptop are 8 GB RAM, at least 128 GB of storage, a lightweight and thin case, and a 1920 x 1080 pixel display.

But the truth is that budget laptops tend to cut corners to lower the price. Depending on what you’re going to use for, you might have to choose what you need the most: RAM, storage capacity, portability, or screen resolution.

Most affordable laptops come with 4 GB RAM, which is enough for most daily tasks. However, if you know you’re going to be performing demanding apps, you might want to consider getting a bit more RAM.

If portability is your concern, rest assured that most of the models we’ve mentioned are travel-friendly and have decent battery life. So you can’t carry them to school or the office effortlessly and without worrying about running out of juice in the middle of a lecture or meeting.

Can I use a $400 laptop for professional tasks?

Unfortunately, budget laptops don’t have enough power to handle demanding tasks. They’re built to carry out basic productivity and academic tasks such as video calls, text and spreadsheet processing, and web browsing. Some laptops come equipped with a good combination of processor + RAM that allows them to run some moderately demanding processes on top of the basic ones, like video streaming and light gaming.

Can I use a $400 laptop for gaming?

A mechanical engineering student typing in her laptop

There are very few models around the $400 price mark that can handle gaming. In this article, we’ve mentioned the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14″ as the best budget laptop for gaming. If you know that the games you want to play are demanding, you might want to look for laptops over $500 for a better experience.

Can I use a $400 laptop for photo and video editing?

Again, photo and video editing are tasks that require a powerful CPU and more than 8 GB RAM, which you won’t be able to find in this price range. Even if you upgrade the RAM, most models have low-resolution displays and don’t include a dedicated graphics card, both of which are essential for photo and video editing.

Conclusion

It isn’t easy to choose the best laptop under $400, but we’ve given you a thorough review of some of the best models currently in the market. Now you can compare them and see which one is better for you.

As you have seen, these laptops are not designed for intensive tasks, and they can vary a lot in the features they offer. You need to have a clear idea of what’s important for you (after the price, of course) because you might have to compromise on a few specs.

However, if you’re only going to be using your laptop for school, the office, or basic entertainment such as movie streaming, then any of the models we’ve reviewed can be a good option!

Liam Weissman

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing as a guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets on FancyAppliance.com.

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