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February 18, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 4:01pm

Top 10 budget laptops for 2014

CBR gives you a list of 10 top laptops all under £500.

By Ben Sullivan

Picking up a high-performing laptop on a budget has always been a bit of a squeeze, but thanks to ever-cheapening hardware and the introduction of Chromebooks, it’s not that hard anymore to find a device that suits you perfectly for under £500. All the big names now (well, apart from Apple) have something to offer in the budget range and there’s even laptop/tablet hybrids that put up a good fight in the budget department. Read our list for some of the best budget laptops on offer in 2014.


 

Acer Chromebook C720

acer

Chromebooks are small, sleek and fast to boot up. The latest offering from Acer brings a long battery life, the Chrome OS and 32GB of local hard drive storage (Google throws in 100GB of free Drive storage too).

The C720 has an 11.60inch screen, 1,366×768 resolution and a 10-point touch screen that works well with games like Angry Birds. Don’t mistake this for a toy though, with the weight (2.8 pounds) and long battery life of around 7 hours, you can get some serious word computing power out of this, and all for a bargain price of around £200.

Specs:

Dimensions: 20.2 x 28.8 x 1.9 cm
Series: Chromebook C720-29552G01AII
Colour: Iron
Screen size: 11.6 inches
Processor: 2 1.4GHz Intel Celerons
RAM: 2GB
Hard drive: 16GB
Operating system: Chrome
Average battery life: 8 hours

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PRICE: £200

HP Pavilion Touchsmart 15

hp

A bargain for the money you’ll pay, the Pavilion is a little on the heavy side (2.1kg) but offers a decent platform for the advertised ‘desktop replacement.’

Be warned though, you don’t get a DVD drive with it, so bear that in mind.

The design is sleek and professional, with a 15.6" 10-point touch screen and a good quality display that shows off Windows 8 as well as any laptop can. The dual-core AMD 1.9GHz CPU features Radeon HD graphics cores so it can manage a fair amount of mainstream games, as long as they’re not too demanding. Don’t expect to be able to do any heavyweight video editing on this either.

Specs:

Dimensions: 25.8 x 38.6 x 2.3 cm
Series: Pavilion Touchsmart 15-N024SA F4B62EA
Colour: Gray
Screen size: 15.6 inches
Processor: 4 1.6GHz AMDs
RAM: 4GB
Hard drive: 1 TB
Operating system: Windows 8

PRICE: £400

Toshiba Satellite C55

toshiba

Probably one of the most powerful laptops you can currently get for under £500, the Toshiba Satellite C55 has a dual core 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 CPU and can be boosted up to 3.1GHz! Teamed up with 4GB RAM, this laptop packs a punch on the budget side.

Great for multitasking, the Satellite has 1,280 x 720 resolution and it a great bet for budget gaming. At 2.3kg, it’s not too bad in the backpack and manages just over 7 hours on battery.

Specs:

Dimensions: 38 x 3.1 x 24.2 cm
Series: Satellite C55-A-1N1
Colour: Silver
Screen size: 15.6 inches
Processor: 2 2.5GHz Intel Core i5s
RAM: 8GB
Hard drive: 1 TB
Operating system: Windows 8

PRICE: £380

Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite

samsung

A low-priced ultrabook lookalike, the Book 9 Lite has had to make some compromises when it comes to materials but still offers a great budget, attractive finish. It’s just 19mm thick, but unfortunately betrays its name by weighing 1.55kg. It’s still compact though, and boasts a quad-core CPU with an AMD Radeon HD 8250 graphics chip – 4GB of RAM too!

Specs:

Dimensions: 22.4 x 32.4 x 1.7 cm
Series: ATIV BOOK 9 NP900X3F-G01
Colour: Ash black, marble white
Screen size: 13.3 inches
Processor: 2 1.4GHz
RAM: 4GB
Hard drive: 128 GB
Operating system: Windows 8

PRICE: £499

Lenovo Ideapad Flex 14

lenovo ideapad

A relatively cheap, fourth-generation i5 laptop, the Flex 14 has loads of battery life and a cool 300-degree hinge to rotate the touchscreen.

However, for some people, that ‘flex’ may be the laptop’s drawback, as it doesn’t quite offer the same 360-degree functionality as other tablet laptop hybrids.

It’s definintely a unique attempt at something new, though, and it still stands up as a decent i5 laptop on its own.

It’s still fairly good value for money though, as you get Lenovo’s high quality screen and keyboard hardware. The shape and key spacing are really premium, and the screen (1,366×768) about matches the level you’d expect.

Specs:

Dimensions: 48.2 x 31.8 x 6 cm
Series: Ideapad FLEX 14
Colour: Black
Screen size: 14 inches
Processor: 2 1.7GHz i5s
RAM: 4GB
Hard drive: 500GB
Operating system: Windows 8

Acer Aspire E1

aceraspire

You’ll be hard pushed to find a better all rounder for the money, the Aspire has a great 15.6-inch LED display with a resolution of 1,366 x 768. It looks fresh, modern and we’re sure everyone will think you paid way more for this one.

Acer cut some price corners by removing touch screen capability, but Windows 8 is still highly useable without it.

Specs:

Dimensions: 50 x 30.6 x 6.8 cm
Series: Aspire E1-572-54206G75MN
Colour: Black
Screen size: 15.6 inches
Processor: 2 1.6 GHz i5s
RAM: 6GB
Hard drive: 750GB
Operating system: Windows 8

 

PRICE: £350

Lenovo G500

g500

A brave entry level laptop from Lenovo, the G500 is a steady workhorse that fits the parameters of a perfect budget buy.

Featuring a good-looking 15.6-inch display with a trademark Lenovo AccuType keyboard, look nor further for office work under £500.

The AMD Radeon HD8750 2GB graphics unit can deliver some half-decent gaming power, and offers good all-round functionality with office applications. It has almost 6 hours of battery life and comes shipped with Windows 7.

Specs:

Dimensions: 51.8 x 30.8 x 7.6 cm
Series: Lenovo G500
Colour: Black
Screen size: 15.6 inches
Processor: 2.4GHz Pentium
RAM: 4GB
Hard drive: 500GB
Operating system: Windows 7

 

PRICE: £400

HP Chromebook 11

hpchromebook

A highly commended Chromebook, the HP Chromebook 11 has an attractive build for the price, with a fast boot up time and a relatively above-par screen. The Chrome OS is limited, but for users on the go, you can’t get better bang for your buck.

At around £230, the Chromebook 11 does exactly what it says on the box, and it feels special. HP has obviously put a lot of work into making the idea of a Chromebook work, and as long as you don’t want to do anything special like video editing or playing the latest game, a Chromebook is a good shout.

Specs:

Series: Chromebook 11-1126UK F3V22AA
Colour: Piano white
Screen size: 11.6 inches
Processor: 2 1.7GHz
RAM: 2GB
Hard drive: 16GB
Operating system: Chrome OS

 

PRICE: £230

Asus Transformer Book T100

transformer

For around £350, Asus has brought something useful and unique to the table. A tablet/laptop hybrid, you can take the screen off and use the device as a tablet if you want. The processor is fast, and the screen looks like it should be on a higher priced model.

It also only weighs 550g, so it’s only a smidgen lighter than an iPad Air, and the rounded edges of the devices give it a comfortable grip.

The only downside is, as it’s a 10-inch model, the keyboard can get a little cramped if you’ve got bigger hands – but we find once you get used to it, normal typing speed resumes.

Specs:

Dimensions: 29.6 x 20.8 x 7.6 cm
Series: Transformer BOOK T100TA-DK002H
Colour: Piano Black
Screen size: 10.1 inches
Processor: 4 1.33GHz
RAM: 2GB
Hard drive: 32GB
Operating system: Windows 8

 

PRICE: £350

Asus V550

v550

A 15.6-inch notebook that manages to both look slim and fashionable but still has all the under-the-bonnet goodness of a better laptop, the V550 boasts an i3 processor with 6GB of RAM. It ships at just under the £500 mark so it’s a must buy for users on a budget or even perhaps a desktop replacement.

The 1,366 x 768 screen is a little on the low end, but you can’t argue with the price. It is, however, touch screen which enables full utilisation of Windows 8.

Specs:

Dimensions: 44.8 x 31.2 x 8.6 cm
Series: V550CA-CJ104H
Screen size: 15.6 inches
Processor: Intel Core i3 1.4GHz
RAM: 6GB
Hard drive: 1TB
Operating system: Windows 8

 

PRICE: £500

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