If you are searching for the best laptops under $400 according to consumer reports in 2023 then this post is for you.
“Why do I always have to make compromises?” A boy to his MOM.
The Mom was suggesting to buy a cheap 400 dollars laptop because they were on a budget.
What do you suggest? Is the boy making any compromise if he buys a 400 dollars laptop?
The simple answer is ‘No‘.
Buying a budget laptop should never be a compromise if you know how to research.
You can get a better deal without cutting corners, and scarifying the features most important to you.
If it was a few years back, you may assume that laptops were expensive.
But for now, I don’t think a good laptop even on a budget price is a game of luxury.
The only thing you need is good research and a little technical knowledge about laptops.
Look in a laptop for the feature most important to you. Let me help you to narrow down some exciting deals.
In this post, I am going to review the best laptops under 400 dollars as per consumer reports. I have gone through dozens of laptops to make a list valuable for you. So without further ado, let’s get started.
5 Best Laptops Under $400 Consumer Reports
I have compiled a list of the top 5 best laptops under $400 based on consumer reports 2023.
1. Acer Aspire 5
It’s not just me who thinks Acer Aspire 5 is the best budget laptop, you can ask many experts in the field.
In my view, Acer Aspire 5 is a full package of whatever you want from even an expensive laptop from different fields and disciplines.
Although it is a previous year’s model, for the price, it still stands out in the crowd.
Its most highlighted features the ones that mark the real difference are its biometric fingerprint reader and backlight Keyboard.
You hardly see biometric fingerprint readers even on a good budget.
To make this laptop as good as you want, it comes powered by AMD Ryzen 3 3500U processor. It is a quad-core processor, that goes up to 3.5 GHz clock speed to speed up the operation.
Integration of Radeon Vega 6 graphics card further escalates the performance graph, especially for graphic-demanding tasks.
Well, I am not saying the integrated graphic card makes it a gaming machine. But for a $400 laptop, it allows you to play some light and less-demanding games with reduced graphic settings like CS: G0, Minecraft, and others.
15.6 inches FHD Display in our testing is very bright and crisp. The bezels though are bigger, giving it an old-fashioned laptop look. But in performance, increased viewing angles, and good brightness along with Acer’s proprietary Comfy View technology reduce eye strain.
I love how its 128 GB SSD storage adds a quickness to overall speed. For those had been using HDD storage before, SSD integration is life-changing. Loads apps in no time, boots windows in seconds, overall, multiply your overall speed.
Just for the mention, the $400 variant comes with 4GB RAM. If you want more RAM, there are other variants of the same model, with 8GB RAM too. Yes, but at an increased price.
I can’t still believe Acer Aspire 5 laptop under $400 price comes with backlit keys. In my testing, I type a lot, the keyboard is more than just fine. With good tactile feedback, a dedicated number pad, and above all illuminated keys, make my day.
The only concern one can have, as per consumer reports, it’s the weight and fat bezels. It is a 4.0 pounds laptop, compare to modern but expensive laptops, it is heavy.
- Backlit keys keyboard with dedicated number pad
- 6 Inches FHD IPS display with Comfy View technology
- 128GB SSD storage adds quicker speeds
- The fingerprint reader protects the privacy and offers instant logging in
- Bulky 4.0 pounds weight
- Bigger bezels
2. ASUS VivoBook Flip 14
Cheap Convertible Laptop! I thought I would never be able to use these two works in one sentence. But yes, you can buy a budget convertible laptop, without breaking your bank.
ASUS-designed VivoBook Flip 14 fits the needs of those budget users who want a convertible laptop. You know what you get in the name of power when trying to buy a budget convertible model.
But in the case of this model, without cutting the power or performance graph, this laptop helps you stream movies by converting them into a tablet, taking notes on the screen, and many other such operations.
To oomph, the performance graph there comes an 11th Gen core i3 processor. Make your laptop as good in task handling as above reviewed Acer Aspire 5.
The aspect this model stands better than Acer Aspire 5 is its sleek construction and weight. It weighs 3.30 pounds and shares a 0.7 inches thickness. Pretty bearable weight for students and those move a lot.
More than that, the feature that stands this model apart from the rest is its all-metal construction. Despite being a cheap-priced laptop, ASUS did not compromise on the making. Gives an all-aluminum alloy lid, to make the laptop have a premium feel and good gripable.
Don’t forget the screen, it shares a 14-inches FHD screen with wide viewing angles. You can open the lid with one hand, and opening the lid reveals its 360-degree rotatable FHD touchscreen display that has more than 82 percent screen-body ratio.
I am pretty sure you would be surprised as I viewed its backlit keyboard while testing it for the first time. Yes, it got illuminated keys, which is pretty hard to believe for convertible screen laptops under a budget price range.
It is a modern laptop, that’s why comes integrated with SSD storage. It has 128GB SSD storage, to help you store files at a good speed. The data transfer rate, and app opening speed, go without blinking your eye.
4GB RAM looks short. But, for everyday computing, regular browsing, docs handling, notes taking, and many other such tasks, it is good to go.
The only thing I find complaining about in this model is the no option to increase the RAM size. It is a 4GB RAM, soldered to the motherboard, and at least should have given the option for the users to expand it later when they got money. Anyway, storage is expandable, you can increase the storage size if you like.
- A convertible laptop transforms into a tablet
- Backlit keys keyboard
- All-metal casing
- 14 Inches FHD wide-viewing display with an 82-Percent screen-to-body ratio
- No space for RAM extension
3. Microsoft Surface Go 3
If you have to take your laptop along every time, I recommend buying a laptop that stays with you without hurting your shoulder due to its weight.
If that’s the case, I highly recommend buying a Microsoft Surface Go3 laptop. It is a detachable keyboard laptop that can easily be transitioned into a tablet.
Just detach the keyboard, and it converts into a tablet; view, stream, take notes on the screen, and do whatever you like using a tablet.
In my tests, weight is it’s a standout feature. It stays with you like a silent companion.
But in its tiny construction, it encased all the power you need from a laptop. Running Windows 11 OS, it allows you to take all the tasks you use to get with other laptops. It has 4GB RAM on board, and 64GB eMMC storage to help you cater to a load of everyday computing operations.
To help you cater to a load of your everyday computing Microsoft provides this laptop with a Core i3 processor. Well, the processor does not provide a skyrocketing speed like the way you get from high-end processors, but for the everyday tasks for which this laptop is designed, it emerged victorious.
In my testing too, and according to consumer reports, it is a great laptop for word processing, browsing, docs handling, students, light video editing, and light gaming as well. Don’t take it for hardcore operations, as it is not designed for those modeling, rendering operations you take a desktop for.
It is a 10.5 inches FHD resolution 220 PPI touchscreen laptop. With good brightness of 408 nits, it makes a great pick for those who work outdoors. The screen produces no glares and helps you view everything in detail due to full sRGB gamut covering.
I loved the stylus pen performance. Well, the pen responds well on the touchscreen, but you can’t compare the performance with Apple pencils. Good for those who take notes on the screen while taking online classes or in physical classes too?
The most surprising edge this laptop provides you compare to other models is its marathon battery backup. It lasts for around 10-12 hours easily, well for those who can’t charge a laptop frequently due to their nature job or studies.
- Compact and portable laptop
- 2 In 1 laptop with a detachable screen
- Bright FHD display with good PPI
- All-day battery backup
- The keyboard can’t replicate a regular keyboard performance
4. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
If you use your laptop mostly for online tasks from browsing to docs handling, typing, viewing, streaming, zooming, online classes and many of such tasks. Why do you buy an expensive Windows Laptop? This all can be done using a Chromebook.
Yes, Chromebook is not different from laptops, they are laptops but with the different operating system running. Chromebooks run ChromeOS, designed by Google. This OS loads very fast and does not require a good resource to run and handle tasks done online.
That’s the reason, Chromebooks have taken the education niche by storm, and top institutes recommend their students of buying a Chromebook rather going with expensive laptops.
It is a 13-inches screen laptop with a Full HD Touchscreen. It comes with a rotatable screen. You can easily transform the screen around 360-degree and use it as a tablet. The screen bezels are think providing you with more screen area and less distraction when doing your online tasks.
As I mentioned Chromebooks do not require powerful resources. So, here too, to run multiple Chrome Tabs, and other operations you don’t require a high-end processor. The given one, the i3 processor is more than just good and does justice to the tasks you have to come across on regular basis.
It has 4GB RAM, and 64GB eMMC storage. Again, Chromebooks are not designed to store lots of stuff locally, they are made for online tasks. If you have to store larger files, ChromeOS, with every Chromebook offers 100GB of free cloud space with offline access too. You can use that space and put larger files there.
Chromebooks do not come with lots of connectivity Ports. This one although an exception comes with 2 USB Type-C ports, and one USB Type-A port, to help you connect your computer peripherals to upped your computing level.
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 also comes with a backlit keyboard. So, for those who move a lot and have to do their typing work on the way, the lit keys are handy. Don’t expect a Lenovo Thinkpad level comfort and performance from the keyboard, it is good to go for a Chromebook.
also read: best laptops under $300
- Lightweight, compact Chromebook
- A full HD display with minimal bezels around
- 2 USB Type-C ports
- The screen rotates 360-degree along with touch support
- The hinges start wearing out easily
5. Lenovo IdeaPad 3
If you want me to recommend a well-balanced package, the one that without scarifying overall performance and construction under the budget price range, that’s Lenovo IdeaPad 3.
This laptop packs a good powerful processor, a long battery life, integrated graphics, and HD crisp, sharp display.
Like Acer Aspire 5, this laptop too can be taken on board for light gaming due to its processor and integrated graphics.
It comes powered by AMD Ryzen 3 3250U processor. It is a quad-core processor, that goes up to 3.5 GHz clock speed to help you speed up your everyday tasks. The addition of AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics is what makes it good for handling light games, just the way I mentioned.
I am not saying you can take it for Cyberpunk 2077, but it is good for CS: GO played at reduced graphics and many others. For many other tasks like light photo editing, Photoshop running, and video editing too, this laptop can be relied on.
I think you did not notice the U at the end of the processor name. This denotes the power consumption of a laptop, and this one consumes way less power than others and makes it last longer.
In our testing, this laptop lasts for around 10 hours on casual operations, and 8 hours on streaming.
This mid-range mobile processor is assisted by 4GB DDR4 RAM and 128GB SSD storage. The SSD storage as you know is known for loading windows at great speed, along with apps you run and load on your laptop.
Plus, there is an extra space to expand the storage. But for RAM, there is no expansion option.
It is not the end, the laptop has many more additional features for which consumers are more than just happy. Likes of its 3 USB Ports, with an SD Card and HDMI port.
It got decent speakers for those got taste in music. Don’t forget the shutter-backed webcam, physical turn of the camera is one of the top security features to protect your privacy.
The only concern and complaining aspect is its display. Although it is a pretty standard-sized display, shares a 15.6 inches screen but it is an HD display. HD display is good for everyday computing and operations, but for streaming and many other operations, it sucks.
So, if you love to watch lots of movies, or stream a lot like me, I don’t think this laptop can live up to your expectations.
- Powerful AMD Ryzen processor
- Hosts a good range of connectivity ports
- Decent speakers for music lovers
- Physical shutter for the webcam
- Does not have a full HD Display
- No space for RAM expansion
400 Dollar Laptop Buying Guide
Again, as I mentioned, buying a good laptop for 400 dollars is not impossible.
It requires only good research and some time patience.
And in our guide, you must have seen how good these laptops are even at a tiny price range.
But, what if you don’t like any of them.
What if you love the new look of some other laptop?
How would you weigh in that laptop, and learn if that laptop deserves the price or falls right on your need?
That’s why we decided to pen down a special section that helps readers learn what features or specs you should expect from a 400 dollars laptop.
You can’t and shouldn’t expect a core i7 processor from a 400 dollars laptop. Let’s be truthful and practical. But that does not make you go with even old mobile series processors.
For the price, as you can see we can easily expect a core i3 processor or at least AMD Ryzen 3 processor.
Go for the latest generation, and in our reviews, we picked the latest generation model to ease up the computing operations.
For most of us who use laptops for professional’s tasks, the keyboard is a paramount feature. I remember buying a cheap HP laptop long back its keys were fall off within just months.
Since that time, I pay special attention to the keys, their feel, feedback, travel, and many other things.
Well, for a budget price range you can’t buy a Thinkpad series keyboard. But what you can assure is a good typing experience overall with 1.4 mm travel.
If it is a backlit keys keyboard, it’s icing on the cake. Because those move a lot, have to do their typing work on the go. And to prevent hitting the wrong keys, and illuminated environment or keys is important.
RAM and storage
RAM helps you run multiple programs at one time. To make your laptop never lags when you switch back and through, always ensure a good-sized RAM.
As we are on a budget, we can’t afford the luxury of 32GB RAM, what you can get for the price is obvious; 4GB RAM.
The same goes for storage, we can get around 128GB of storage. Don’t forget to have SSD storage, it is an important thing, and a life-changing if you never have used SSD RAM before.
Well, portability matters the most for those who move a lot, not like me who work from home. So, if you move a lot, attend college or school, business meetings, or for other purposes.
Portability is not only the biggest but the deciding factor for you.
Even for those like me who stay at home, portable and compact laptops attract more than bulkier ones.
As I have mentioned above too, what you buy is directly related to what you are buying.
If you are a student who travels a lot and handles tasks mostly online, you should go with a Chromebook rather than a Windows laptop.
If you use your laptop at home mostly, the weight and battery should not be on the top of your priority list.
In the same way, if you attend online classes, zoom meetings, or a senior mostly do video chat with your friends and colleagues at home, a good camera with security feature should be the utmost priority.
A good laptop is always about what is your top priority. Now, asks yourself, what do you want to do with your laptop?
In this detailed guide, we have hand-picked for you the best performing laptop under $400. We tried to pick the latest, top-selling and good specs laptop to help you do your computing.
In this guide, we have also listed out the best use of every particular laptop for individuals and tasks. All of them are powerful enough to help you handle most of the operations you do.
Yes, you can’t expect a superb gaming performance from these laptops along with high-end video or photo editing.
Are $400 laptops good enough?
Yes, 400 dollars laptops are good enough for most of the operations large majority of the people use a laptop. It would be good enough to help you handle basic computing, content-specific tasks, light gaming, light video, and photo editing.
Are $400 laptops good enough?
No, for a 400 dollars laptop we can’t get a laptop with 16GB RAM. For the price, in our laptop review guide too, you can see most of them come with 4GB RAM. But, if you are lucky, and laptops are on sale, the most you can get is 8GB RAM.