Searching for the best laptop for under $400 can be a real headache. You will come across a ton of options that are relatively similar in specifications – but it’s important to get the best bang-for-buck.
Budget laptops have improved in speed, quality and design over time. At this price range, you can expect to get an Intel i3 (or similar AMD Ryzen) processor, 128GB or 256GB SSD storage and 8GB RAM (that can often be expanded down-the-line). Skip a Celeron or Pentium processor – they can be really slow – even for daily use.
With a budget laptop, don’t expect to use the most resource intensive applications. However, any of the laptops below will be perfect for every day activities including web browsing, streaming, writing documents, using DJ software and basic usage in DAW software.
Asus VivoBook 15 – Best Budget Laptop
The Asus VivoBook 15 is a fantastic budget laptop that comes in both AMD and Intel flavors. Both of them come highly recommended, which is why we have gone into detail for both models.
This edition of the Asus Vivbook 15 comes with the latest 10th generational Intel i3-1005G1 CPU, 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD. It’s also got a backlit keyboard which is great for using in bed, in the studio or during a mobile event at night.
While the AMD edition below comes in at just over $400, it’s bumped up the SSD to 256GB and includes an AMD Ryzen 3500U – which is much faster than the Intel i3-1005G1 CPU above. Everything else is pretty much identical, but the difference for $70 is worth it.
Acer Aspire 5 – Best Budget Acer Laptop
For the price, the Acer Aspire 5 Slim features an impressive aesthetic that is usually only found in premium laptop models. It has thin bezels, silver chassis and a black keyboard that is nice to type on.
This Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop comes equipped with an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U CPU (similar to an Intel i3), 4GB RAM (that can be expanded) and a 128GB SSD. The 15.6 inch Full HD screen looks great and the black keyboard is nice to type on.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 – Best with AMD CPU
If you’re looking for a fantastic 14″ budget laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU which smokes the Intel i5 counterparts by a mile.
Furthermore, it’s also got 8GB of RAM (which can be expanded) for smooth multitasking, 256GB SSD storage, and a 14-inch Full HD (1920×1080) screen which looks pretty crisp.
If you shop around, you might be able to get this under $400 which is a deal.