Best Laptops Under $400 2017 – Guide & Expert Reviews

No one said that you have to spend thousands of dollars on a laptop that will keep up with your demands. Even the best laptops under 400 dollars can go toe to toe with thier more expensive brethren. And, you’ll feel better knowing you aren’t buried in debt to front the bill.

Whether you’re a student, running a small business, or just need a laptop for couch surfing the internet, this new Best Laptops Under 400 Dollars Guide was created to steer you in the right direction.

Best Laptops Under $400 Comparison Guide

PictureNameRAMHard DrivePriceRating (1-5)
PictureNameRAMHard DrivePriceRating (1-5)
1. Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ 11.6 Inch Laptop2 GB16 SSD$4.4
2. ASUS Chromebook Flip 10.1 Inch Convertible 2 in 1 Touchscreen4 GB16 GB SSD$$4.3
3. ASUS C201 11.6 Inch Chromebook4 GB16 GB SSD$$4.3
4. Toshiba CB35-B3340 13.3 Inch Chromebook4 GB16 GB SSD$$4.1
5. HP Stream Laptop PC4 GB32 GB SSD$$3.9
6. ASUS F556UA-AB32 15.6 inch Full HD Laptop4 GB1 TB HDD$$$3.9
7. ASUS E200HA Portable Lightweight 11.6-inch Intel Laptop4 GB32 GB SSD$$3.8
8. HP Pavilion 15 15.6 Inch Laptop4 GB500 HDD$$3.6
9. Dell i3552-3240BLK 15.6" HD Laptop4 GB500 HDD$$3.5

Things to Consider

What drives the price of a laptop into astronomical levels? The main culprits are:

  • Brand
  • Storage capacity
  • Processor speed
  • Other internal components like graphics cards and RAM

To find the best laptops under 400 dollars, you’ll have to decide what you’re mainly using your laptop for and technical features you need most. We recommend paying close attention to these specifications:

CPU and Processing Speed. Nearly all laptops use an Intel processor. Intel’s current lineup is their i3, i5, or i7 processor, with i7 considered the best. When in doubt, get a laptop with an Intel i7 CPU. However, the best laptops under 400 dollars usually use a cheaper CPU, like the Intel Celeron or Rockchip.

When looking at the CPU, you’ll probably notice a number and GHz. This is the processing speed, which determines how quickly your computer can perform tasks, like opening MS Word or launching Spotify. Processing speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz), and the higher the GHz number the better. Most laptops have a processing speed between 1.8 – 2.6 GHz, but some go to 3.0 and above.

No matter what you use your laptop for, you can’t go wrong with an Intel i5 or i7 and the highest possible GHz.

RAM. Think of RAM as your laptop’s short term memory. It determines how quickly your laptop can multitask and jump quickly between different programs and tasks. To get the best laptop costing less than $400, look for at least 4 GB of RAM, but more is better. Even if you just plan on playing Facebook games and reading email, the maximum amount of RAM will keep things running smoothly.

Hard Drive. The hard drive is where programs, music, pictures, and videos are stored.

When looking at the tech specs of a laptop, you’ll see either Solid State Drives (SSD) or Hard Disk Drives (HDD). SSDs are becoming more popular in laptops and are known for their speed and resiliency. However, SSDs don’t have as much storage space as HDDs.

  • SSDs most commonly have 128 GB – 512 GB of storage
  • HDDs have 1 TB (or 1,000 GB) – 2 TB of storage

If you plan to use a computer for video editing, photography editing, gaming, or have tons of music, you’ll need as much storage space as possible, which is when you may consider getting a laptop with an HDD. If you’re set on getting an SSD, an external hard drive is a great solution to get extra storage space.

Battery Life. Battery life is measured in mAh, and the higher the number, the longer the battery will hold a charge. Over time, all batteries die, but pay close attention to mAh and get the highest possible.

Reviews of the Top Rated Laptops Under 400 Dollars

1. Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ

Remember when we told you all the best specs to look for when choosing the best laptops under $400? When it comes to the Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ, forget those big number specs. The people have spoken, and the Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ is one of the best laptops for your buck.

The Acer Chromebook isn’t flashy and it has the lowest amount of storage space and RAM out of any modern laptop. So why is it so well received? Mostly because of the price tag. For less than 200 bucks, you can get an easy to use laptop with an HD screen, a long lasting battery, and a 2.16 GHz speed CPU. Perfect laptop for kids, laptop for college students, casual internet usage, or as a backup laptop for traveling, the Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ is the bare bones laptop for those who don’t need any bells and whistles.

  • Intel Celeron with 2.16 GHz processor speed
  • 16 GB of SSD storage and 2 GB RAM
  • 11.6” HD screen
  • 3220mAh battery for 9 hours of use
  • 1 USB 3.0 port / 1 USB 2.0 port

The Acer Chromebook CB3-131 doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive, nor can you plug it into an Ethernet connection. If you need these two things, both can be had using USB peripherals.

Will you be running the latest MMORPG or creating Grammy winning music on the Acer Chromebook? Probably not, but you will rest easier knowing that you bought a great laptop and saved yourself a ton of money.

2. ASUS Chromebook Flip

Need an affordable laptop but love the flexibility of a touchscreen convertible tablet? The ASUS Chromebook Flip can seamlessly do both and has become one of the best laptops under 400 dollars. For such an budget friendly laptop, the ASUS Chromebook Flip has a number of impressive features:

  • 1.8 GHz processing speed
  • 16 GB SSD storage and 4 GB RAM
  • 1280 x 800 resolution touchscreen
  • 9 hours of battery life
  • Chrome Operating System
  • Doubles as a laptop with keyboard or tablet

The touchscreen really sets the ASUS Chromebook Flip apart from cheap laptops, and is great for reading, watching TV shows and videos, and gaming.

Like other laptops in this price range, the ASUS Chromebook Flip doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive. Also, with only 16 GB of storage, you’ll have to keep an eye on the amount of storage that is available. If you’re running out of room, take advantage of Google Drive’s Cloud Storage. Google offers 100 GB of free storage for Chromebook owners.

3. ASUS C201 Laptop

Available in 3 stunning colors, the ASUSC201 is the perfect solution for those who need power and affordability in one small laptop package. Despite being one of the cheapest laptops on the market, the ASUS C201 has an impressive battery life, HD resolution, and 100 GB of free storage via Google Drive. Other features to boot are:

  • Rockport CPU with 1.8 GHz processing speed
  • 16 GB SSD storage and 4 GB RAM
  • 11.6 inch HD screen
  • 13 hours of battery life
  • 18mm thin
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports, micro SD card slot, 1 micro HDMI port

Like the other best laptops under 400 dollars, there is no CD/DVD drive. Also, some users found that the speaker placement on the bottom of the laptop was strange and significantly diminished sound quality. Finally, other reviewers experienced a range of issues, from malfunctioning screens to broken fans. ASUS customer service is reported to be quite slow and unhelpful.

4. Toshiba CB35-B3340

Toshiba is a highly respected name in laptops, and their CB35B3340 is their best laptop model costing less than $400. Beautifully sleek and with a full HD 13.3 inch screen, the Toshiba CB35 is a great blend of power and portability.

  • Intel Celeron CPU with 2.58 GHz processing speed
  • 16 GB SSD storage and 4 GB RAM
  • Skullcandy speakers
  • Full size keyboard
  • 9 hours of battery life
  • 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 USB 2.0 port

Like other Chromebooks, this Toshiba comes with 100 GB of Google Drive storage. Almost all reviewers love this laptop, but some experienced defects with the screen early in the warranty period. Some customers had trouble getting Toshiba to repair the screen.

5. HP Stream Laptop PC

The HP Stream laptop is considered to be very portable and light weight while still falling into the affordable range. However, lacking touchscreen capability and only having the standard 4 GB of RAM, it doesn’t quite stand up against some of its competitors. Where this laptop falls short it does make up for it with a larger 14 inch screen and a 32 GB SSD. It’s also cheaper than many, coming in at around 200 bucks. Like other best laptops under 400 dollars in this size, the HP Stream will not have CD/DVD drive, but can support attachments via USB.

  • 32 GB SSD storage and 4 GB RAM
  • Intel Celeron CPU with 1.6 GHz processing speed
  • 14” HD screen
  • 8 hours of battery life
  • Windows 10 OS

The HP Stream is a contender for the best laptop under $400, and its price makes it highly competitive. The HP Stream is great for those who want to use a Windows operating system instead of Google Chrome.

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Comments (1)
  1. July 19, 2017

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