Best Cheap Laptops Under $300 in 2020 {Killer Guide}

Choosing the best laptops under 300 dollars can be hard, and confusing. While there may seem like there are a lot of options, few are actually worth your time (and money). Being on a budget can be tricky.

And while there are some sacrifices to be made to fit within our economical budget today, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice quality or reliability in pursuit of a device to fit your needs.

We’ve waded through a myriad of options available on the market today to make your life easier, and to bring you the best bang for your buck laptops.

No matter if you’re a student or professional on a budget, we have a review on a suitable match for you.

Our choices for the best cheap laptops below, offer the best possible performance available at the $300 price point, without sacrificing quality or reliability.

Best Laptops Under 300 Dollars Quick Summary

RAM: 4GB DDR4

Storage: 64GB eMMC

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600

RAM: 4GB DDR4

Storage: 64GB eMMC

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 605

RAM:  8GB DDR3L

Storage: 128GB eMMC

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600

RAM: 4GB DDR3L

Storage: 32GB eMMC

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600

RAM: 4GB DDR3L

Storage: 32GB eMMC

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 500

What to Expect From a Budget $300 Laptop in 2020?

At the $300 price point, laptops are fully capable of productivity work like spreadsheeting, word documents, light photo-editing, internet browsing, video conferencing, and media playback.

Laptop open showing its impressive display

Most will have limited built-in storage space, so an external drive may be needed to hold more documents and files.

Unfortunately, anything but the simplest and lightest of games is out of the question as the CPU and GPU horsepower just isn’t there at the 300 bucks price point. If you’re looking for a gaming laptop, we’d recommend saving up for something better.

1. Overall Best Laptop – Acer Aspire 1 A115-31-C2Y3 

Pros
  • Full HD 1920×1080 display
  • Long battery life
  • 1-year Microsoft 365 license
Cons
  • A bit large and heavy

 

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Acer Aspire 1 A115-31-C2Y3 Specifications 
CPUIntel Celeron N4020 (1.1 GHz/2.8 GHz Burst)
RAM4GB DDR4
Storage64GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Display15.6” 1920×1080
OSWindows 10 S Home
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Size19.8 x 109 x 241.4mm (H x W x D)
Weight4.28 lbs

Hardware

Our pick for the overall best laptop under $300 is the Acer Aspire 1 A115-31-C2Y3. Featuring a snappy and quick Intel Celeron N4020 dual-core with speeds up to 2.8 GHz, making it the best performing and fastest laptop on this list.

It also boasts vivid Intel UHD 600 graphics, 64GB of eMMC flash storage, and 4GB of fast DDR4 memory, it is more than up to the tasks of what you’d expect from a laptop of this price range.

Design and Display

Coming with a spacious 15.6” inch Full HD 1920×1080 screen and featuring a thin design with an overall thickness of 19.8mm when closed, and a weight of under 2kg, it’s surprisingly light despite its big screen. Battery life is up to 10 hours on a single charge, for extended use.

Connectivity

You won’t have to worry about internet browsing speeds or downloads, as the Aspire 1 comes equipped with quick 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi 5. Bluetooth 4.1 comes as standard for easy transfer and communication between Bluetooth devices, or for audio streaming to speakers or headphones of your choosing.

Should you want to go wired, a Gigabit LAN port has you covered. An HDMI port is also included to make connecting to TVs or monitors easy. 2x USB 2.0 and 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 provide enough connectivity for everything else.

Features

Acer’s choice of OS is Windows 10 Home (in S mode), a streamlined, lighter version of Windows that only allows the use of apps from its app store. Included in the software bundle is a 1-Year Subscription for Microsoft 365, which includes useful apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, and Outlook.

Other notable features include a built-in microphone and webcam that are useful for audio and video calls, and stereo speakers for music, or watching shows and movies.

Conclusion

The Acer Aspire 1 certainly packs a punch for a budget laptop that costs less than $300. It’s sleek looks, lightweight design, and big, Full HD screen are all very attractive for its price.

The included Microsoft 365 license is particularly useful for productivity, as Excel and Word are 2 of the most commonly used pieces of software around.

The Celeron 4020 CPU offers good performance for a budget laptop, and the DDR4 RAM makes it even snappier. Up to 10-hours of battery life is nothing to scoff at either.

When looking over the top laptops in this price range, this model did really stand out. Another thing that stood out was the large number of positive reviews, that obviously reports how well it performs.

Overall, it’s a good bargain that offers awesome value and gets our nod as the best $300 laptop on the market in 2020.

2. Best for Students – ASUS VivoBook L203MA

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • 1-year Microsoft 365 license
  • Long Battery Life
Cons
  • Smaller screen may not be for everyone

 

ASUS VivoBook L203MA Specifications 
CPUIntel Celeron N4000 (1.1 GHz/2.6 GHz Burst)
RAM4GB DDR4
Storage64GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 605
Display11.6” 1366×768
OSWindows 10 S Home
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Size286 x 193.3 x 16.9 mm (W x D x H)
Weight2.2 lbs

 

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Specs

Our pick for the best laptop under 300 dollars for students is powered by an Intel Celeron N4000 dual-core, with speeds of up to 2.6 GHz, Intel’s UHD Graphics 605 for crisp details and accurate visuals, and 4GB of speedy DDR4, for sharp performance. Storage space comes in the way of 64GB of eMMC flash storage.

Design and Display

The ASUS VivoBook L203MA is designed as a featherweight, ultra-portable computer, with its small size, lightweight, and sleek aesthetics. It’s 11.6” 1366×768 HD screen comes with ASUS’ Tru2Life technology.

Weighing in at just shy of 1kg, the VivoBook is incredibly lightweight, and thin too, at just 16.9mm thick. Battery life lasts up to 10 hours, depending on use.

Connectivity

The VivoBook L203MA comes equipped with 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi 5, for reliable internet connectivity wherever you go. Bluetooth 4.1 comes standard as well, for ease of access when it comes to phones, Bluetooth speakers or headsets, and cameras and other devices.

2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A connectors, and 1 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C connector provide lightning-fast connections to external hard drives, thumb drives, or phones. An HDMI port makes connecting to external monitors easy.

There is also a micro SD slot, should you want more storage space.

Features

As with most laptops around the $300 range, ASUS’s choice of OS is Windows 10 S, the more streamlined, lightweight version, though ASUS gives you the choice to upgrade it to the full Windows 10 experience (you’ll have to purchase your own key for this).

A 1-Year Subscription for Microsoft 365 also comes bundled, which includes useful apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook, handy for students. Other notable features include; 2w stereo speakers and a Digital Array microphone.

Conclusion

The ASUS VivoBook L203MA is our top choice as the best laptop for under 300 dollars for students due to its outstanding portability, lightweight, connectivity, and Microsoft 365 software bundle. You can travel with it practically anywhere with ease.

Its battery life makes sure you can get through your classes without worrying about running out of power.

The Microsoft 365 bundle is particularly useful for school or college, as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, are among the most frequently used software among students.

3. Our Top Storage Pick – Jumper EZbook X3

Pros
  • Large, upgradeable storage capacity
  • 1080p IPS panel display
  • Quad-core CPU
Cons
  • Shorter battery life

 

 

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Jumper EZbook X3 Specifications 
CPUIntel Celeron N3450 (1.1 GHz/2.2 GHz Burst)
RAM8GB DDR3L
Storage128GB eMMC (expandable to 1TB)
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Display13.3” 1920×1080
OSWindows 10 Home
Battery LifeUp to 6 hours
Size315 x 208 x 18 mm (W x D x H)
Weight2.71 lbs

Specs

Our pick for the best storage option for less than $300 today is the Jumper EZbook X3, it packs a punch with Intel’s Celeron N3450 quad-core processor with speeds of up to 2.2 GHz, for snappy compute performance.

Complimenting the CPU, we have Intel’s UHD 600 graphics, a whopping 8GB of DDR3L RAM for great multi-tasking abilities, and a very spacious 128GB eMMC flash storage capacity.

Design and Display

With a size that comes in the middle of ultra-portable and regular laptops, the Jumper EZbook X3 packs a Full HD 1920x1080p IPS display into it’s 13.3” screen size.

Weighing in at just 1.23 kg, and being only 18.2mm thin, Jumper has managed to stuff a lot into this space. Battery life is only up to 6 hours, yet should be sufficient for most.

Connectivity

Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 is par for the course on the EZbook X3 and provides high speeds and stable connections to any capable Wi-Fi hotspot. Bluetooth 4.2 makes connecting to devices and sharing data easy.

2x USB 3.0 ports give you the ability to access your external hard drives or thumb drives with speeds up to 10x faster than USB 2.0. A mini HDMI port makes sharing your screen easy.

Also included is a micro SD card slot, with the ability to read sizes up to 128GB. You can use this as a card reader, or for additional storage capabilities.

Features

Coming with the full version of Windows 10 Home, the EZbook X3’s computing experience comes unadulterated compared to other computers with the more restrictive S mode.

Expandable storage is this laptop’s best feature; its 128GB of eMMC is further upgradeable via an M.2 slot, which can take up to a 1TB SSD for super-fast storage. Last, but not least, is a built-in webcam for easy conferencing.

Conclusion

The Jumper EZbook X3 packs a lot of punch for its size and its dirt-cheap price. Its quad-core CPU is great for multi-tasking, and despite it having slower DDR3L, 8GB of RAM can really make a difference when browsing or doing productivity work.

The M.2 expansion slot, however, is what gives this the nod as the best economy laptop under $300, when considering storage.

Being able to add up to 1TB of fast SSD storage is a great feature for a computer of this price. The added storage space means you can bring Movies or TV-shows around with you, which will make great use of the 1080p Full HD IPS screen that comes with this personal laptop.

The only drawbacks to this model are the short battery life, and lack of Microsoft 365 bundle. This drawback is not a deal-breaker, so when considering the top laptops in a storage sense, this model comes out on top.

4. Best Battery Life – HP Stream 11-ak0020nr

Pros
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Light and Portable
Cons
  • Small capacity storage

 

 

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HP Stream 11-ak0020nr Specifications 
CPUIntel Celeron N4000 (1.1 GHz/2.6 GHz Burst)
RAM4GB DDR3L
Storage32GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Display11.6” 1366×768
OSWindows 10 S Home
Battery LifeUp to 12 hours
Size281.5 x 192.8 x 16.8mm (W x D x H)
Weight2.37 lbs

Specs

Our pick for the best laptop under $300, with the most impressive battery life today is the HP Stream 11-ak0020nr. Residing inside this compact laptop is Intel’s Celeron N4000 dual-core CPU, complemented with Intel UHD 600 Graphics, 4GB of DDR3L RAM, and 32GB of eMMC flash storage, it performs well for its size.

Design and Display

The HP Stream 11 is the 2nd ultra-portable PC on our list. With its sleek and minimalist design, it’s meant to be taken anywhere with ease. An HD 11.6” 1366×768 screen.

Weighing in at just over 1 kg (2.37 lbs), and being razer thin at 16.8mm, the Stream 11 feels barely there when you’re carrying it around. It can go up to a full 12-hours on a single charge too.

Connectivity

Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5 is standard on this model. An updated Bluetooth 5.0 is also featured. It sports faster speeds, wider range, and lower power requirements for better battery longevity on headphones and headsets, compared to previous versions.

2 USB 3.1 Gen 1, and 1xUSB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C provide blazing-fast connectivity with speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s. And HDMI output, and microSD card slot are also included.

Features

Windows 10 Home in S mode is HP’s choice for the Stream 11, and is adequate enough for most tasks, and features fast boot times and secure browsing.

Included in the software bundle is a 1-Year Subscription for Microsoft 365, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook.

A built-in webcam, microphone, and stereo speakers also come standard.

Conclusion

The HP Stream 11 gets our nod for the top battery life option for around $300, for its outstanding capability of up to 12 hours of life on a single charge. Its sleek minimalist design looks great and is easy to carry anywhere you decide to go.

Weighing in at just 2.37 lbs, you’d hardly know it was in your bag. The only drawback to this model is the small 32GB of eMMC flash storage, you’ll need to use the microSD card slot should you want to save more files, or have a flash drive or external HDD ready.

When researching the best laptops regarding battery life for around $300, this really did stand out as the best option currently.

5. Best Chromebook Under $300 – ASUS Chromebook C223

Pros
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • Small storage capacity
  • Not the fastest hardware

 

 

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ASUS Chromebook C223 Specifications 
CPUIntel Celeron N3350 (1.1 GHz/2.4 GHz Burst)
RAM4GB DDR3L
Storage32GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 500
Display11.6” 1366×768
OSChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Size286 x 199 x 17.25mm (W x D x H)
Weight2.2 lbs

Specs

Our best Chromebook under $300 is the ASUS Chromebook C223. This Chromebook contains an Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core, with 4GB of DDR3L RAM, Intel HD Graphics 500, and 32GB of eMMC Flash storage, are what get the job done.

Design and Display

Small, compact, and lightweight, the ASUS Chromebook C223 is smaller square than an A4 sheet of paper. It is a simple device with the goal of being portable, easy productivity, and staying connected on the go.

It’s 11.6” HD 1366×768 LED-backlit display features anti-glare tech and crisp colors.

Connectivity

Stay connected with stable 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5. A USB 3.1 gen 1 x Type-C and 2 x USB 3.1 gen 1 Type-A connectors make sure you have quick and speedy access to your external storage devices.

A micro SD card slot gives you added expandability for storage, or for use as a card reader.

Features

The C233 is a Chromebook, and as such, runs on Chrome OS. It is fast, secure, and regularly updated by Google. Access to all Google apps are provided by the OS, including Chrome, Gmail, Docs, Play, Slides, Notes, Keep, Drive, and others.

Bundled with this software are; a free 1-year Google 100GB Cloud Storage offer, and a 3-months subscription to Disney+. Also included are a built-in HD Webcam, Stereo speakers, and a digital microphone.

Conclusion

The inexpensive ASUS Chromebook C233 is a simple, light, and portable way to stay productive and connected when out and about. As deals go this is a good one and is enough to get our nod for the best Chromebook for under $300.

Its streamlined Chrome OS makes things more intuitive and easy while making the most of the hardware resources available.

ASUS’ sleek, but the simplistic design gives us a laptop computer that is pretty to the eyes. Coming in with up to 10 hours of battery life, ASUS makes sure that you won’t run out when you need it the most. We only wish that an HDMI output or more flash storage was included.

The Verdict

While laptops for less than $300 may not be the flashiest, it’s good to know despite low prices, you can still get a decent entry-level laptop for work, productivity, or portability.

Be it a simple Chromebook, a small ultra-portable laptop, something with a battery strong enough to last the whole day, or a device with a bigger screen, there’s an option out there for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a 300 dollar laptop good?

For those on a lower budget, laptops below $300 serve their purpose. They’re good for productivity, media playback, light photo editing, and video conferencing/voice calls.

How long will an affordable $300 laptop last for?

A good low-cost basic laptop should easily last for up to 2-3 years.

What’s the best 2 in 1 laptop for less than $300?

We have written a separate review guide about the top $300 2 in 1 laptops. Click the link to find our top pick.

What’s the difference between a Chromebook and a laptop?

A Chromebook is still a laptop, but it runs Google’s Chrome OS, and is usually a bit cheaper than a traditional laptop.

It’s a stripped-down, streamlined OS made for budget-friendly laptops, and manages limited hardware resources well. They’re meant for simpler productivity tasks

A traditional laptop generally runs a Windows OS and will come with a higher spec processor, RAM, storage, or all of the above. They’re more versatile but also come with a higher price.

A Buying Guide to Help You Choose a Superb Laptop With This Budget

Below is our guide to terms and specifications you want to look out for when considering the best laptops under $300. We’ll explain the importance of each of these features, and tell you generally what you want to look out for.

CPU

The processor is the heart of any system and is what does all the heavy lifting. Most laptops in this $300 price range have CPUs that are either some form of Intel Celeron N-series, or the occasional Pentium silver.

These are either dual-core or quad-core. They are rated in base clock (maximum frequency when both cores are loaded), and burst frequency (highest short-term single-core frequency).

AMD Ryzen CPU inserted in motherboard CPU socket

Some other options include AMD 7th gen A-series CPUs. We tend to avoid recommending these as they are based on older, outdated architecture, and aren’t as energy-efficient, or as powerful, as their Intel counterparts.

More cores are generally better for performance, but more cores also means more power draw, so battery life may become an issue for higher-core count processors.

Newer CPUs also tend to have more effective onboard graphics, which can be a benefit if you’re playing light games.

RAM

RAM is where the CPU stores the data it needs to immediately access since even SSDs aren’t fast enough to feed the CPU data at the speeds in needs.

Most laptops around the $300 range will only come with 4GB of DDR3L or DDR4, and this is the minimum that’d we’d recommend.

DDR4 is generally slightly more power-efficient than DDR3L and has the added benefit of being faster. But if the choice is between 4GB of DDR4 and 8GB of DDR3L, we’d recommend going with the option with more RAM.

As more RAM means more tabs you can open simultaneously or more sheets/slides that can be viewed at the same time.

Unfortunately, most $300 laptops cannot be upgraded when it comes to RAM. This is why it’s important to buy a model with enough RAM to suit your needs.

Storage

Storage is where your files are permanently saved, and where the Operating System resides. Most budget laptops come with only 32GB or 64GB of eMMC Flash Storage, which is like a built-in microSD card.

The lowest we’d recommend is 32GB and would prefer a 64GB or better option. Some portable PCs come with expandable storage in the form of either a microSD card slot, and M.2 socket on the back of the laptop, or both.

If you really need extra storage space, a larger flash drive, or an external USB 3.0 hard drive may come in handy when the files start to pile up.

Display

When choosing a laptop, the display is one of the most important considerations. Choosing a smaller size laptop generally means sacrificing display resolution for portability.

Most $300 budget laptops sport a 1366×768 resolution LED-backlit display, though there are the rare models that come with a Full HD 1920×1080 panel, even rarer is an IPS panel, which provides more vivid colors over a regular TN panel.

A higher resolution is always better but may cost you extra.

Everyone has their own preference though, and larger displays make it easier to work on text documents and editing, while smaller screens help with portability, which happens to be our next topic.

Portability (Size/Weight)

How big (or small) do you want your laptop to be? There’s a right size for everyone.

Smaller and slim laptops boast weights of just over 2 lbs, a thickness of less than ¾ of an inch, and a size of less than an A4 sheet of paper.

They’re lightweight, compact, and can be carried virtually anywhere because of this. Though some sacrifices are made to achieve this small size.

packing laptop in leather laptop bag

 

Smaller laptops don’t have as big of a screen as their larger counterparts, since many of these only sport 11.6” screens and keys can be compact and small making typing difficult for some.

Battery life may also suffer as you can only fit so much battery with such space and weight constraints. The thinnest laptops may even cut out the HDMI port

Bigger laptops will be heavier, and take up more space, but have more features to make up for it. Some larger 15.6” models will sport Full HD 1080p screens, keyboards with bigger keys, more USB ports, and make working a bit easier than smaller sizes.

Battery life may be improved as well since having more space means being able to fit a larger battery. Others will have expandable storage, usually via an M.2 slot in the back of the laptop.

Operating System (OS)

Microsoft Windows 10

The most popular choice for sub-$300 laptops, Windows 10 is the latest version of the well known, and widely used Microsoft Windows operating system.

Initially released in 2015, Windows 10 has since overtaken Windows 7 as the version with the highest percentage of users when comparing Windows OS.

With an estimated over 1 Billion devices using Windows 10, it is the most widely used OS in existence. Most of our selection runs Windows 10 Home, in either its full form or in S Mode, which we’ll touch upon below.

The full version of Windows has the most compatibility with software out of any of our other Operating Systems or versions and most performance potential, but can also be heavy to run on systems with lower-spec hardware and limited amounts of RAM.

Windows S Mode

Windows 10 in S Mode is Microsoft’s “walled garden” version of the full-blown Windows 10. In S Mode, things are streamlined, and performance is snappier as the entire OS is lighter, but that comes at a trade-off.

In S Mode, you can only use the Edge browser, and you can only install apps through the Windows Store. You cannot install 3rd party apps and don’t have access to Command Prompt or Powershell.

S Mode, however, is optional. You can usually leave S Mode in favor of the full version of Windows providing you have enough space on your internal storage. However, choosing to switch means that you cannot switch back to S mode.

Chrome OS

Chrome OS is the Operating System that comes with all Chromebooks. Designed by Google to be “speedy, simple, and secure”, it is exactly that. Chrome OS is much like an Android OS, but specifically designed for budget laptops.

It is lightweight and uses hardware resources efficiently. Google updates are regular, and frequent to keep security tight and optimization fast.

Chrome OS features all apps you’d normally find from Google integrated into the OS, as well as support for others. While what you can install is limited compared to a Windows OS, there are some great apps that are available.

For photo editing, you can take your pick from Adobe Lightroom, Canva, or Pixlr to name a few.

For video editing, Power Director and Kinemaster are supported. Other productivity software like PicsArt, Adobe Spark, Figma, and AutoCAD are all available to use through Chrome OS. Full support for apps from the Play Store leaves you with an endless variety to choose from.

Resale Value

While we don’t recommend buying a new laptop purely with resale value in mind, there is some merit to considering brands when thinking about possible future resale.

Big brand names like ASUS, Lenovo, HP, Samsung, and Acer generally hold their resale value better than other, lesser-known brands.

Keeping accessories complete, and taking care of physical appearance, also helps bring in better resale value.

Purpose

Most sub-$300 laptops aren’t capable of gaming, but they serve their purpose well.

Laptops in this price range are no-frills and are geared towards students who need a portable device with good battery life to take notes during classes, or for spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, or word document projects.

Business and office workers can benefit from portable productivity on a budget as well.

university student preparing her notes in her laptop

 

In the current environment where work-from-home setups are becoming more common, built-in webcams and microphones are great for video conferencing and voice calls. Professional photographers may benefit from an ultra-portable laptop to do quick editing while in the field.

I hope you found this article about the best laptops under $300 helpful, and you found a laptop that suits your needs the most.

If you can stretch your budget a little more, you should read our guide about the top laptops for less than $800. These laptops may not be the cheapest and are priced higher, but they do offer a very good performance jump.

Another thing I would like to mention is, if in future you find your laptop fans making more noise than usual, you can read our guide on the matter. I suggest you bookmark it for future reference.

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