Jump to content

Best budget laptop for under $350: Top expert picks


Recommended Posts

I don't do laptops anymore but many here do. Here's a surprising group of them for under $350.00. Anyone have personal experience with these exact models?

Excerpt:

"Sometimes a simple, affordable laptop is all you need. Check out these top picks of the best budget laptops and convertibles for $350 or less.

You might have seen prices slowly going up, and most of this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the pressures it has put on supply chains. Not only did we see disruption to manufacturing, but the shift to working and learning from home meant that hardware was flying off shelves as fast as it could be made.

But, if you look around, there are still some good laptop deals to be had out there. You can score a very nice, very capable Windows 10 or ChromeOS laptop for under $350.This segment isn't as big as it was a year ago, so choices are a little more limited. But pick the right hardware, and you'll get value for money."

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/best-cheap-laptop/?ftag=CAD2e14604

 
Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect that anyone who buys a computer running Windows 10S without realizing the severe limitations of the operating systems will be very unsatisfied.  Every time Microsoft releases a stripped down version of Windows, it fails miserably.  I suspect that 10S will not survive long.

Safe Travels...

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, k4rs said:

I suspect that anyone who buys a computer running Windows 10S without realizing the severe limitations of the operating systems will be very unsatisfied. 

In reading about 10S, I'm getting the impression that one wouldn't be able to download Quicken to it...correct?  That's the main reason I wouldn't be able to use a Chromebook and it sounds like I should avoid 10S, too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Windows 10S is unable to install or run regular desktop applications such as Quicken, 3rd party anti-virus, backup, acrobat, Photoshop, etc.   It can only run apps from the Microsoft store.   Windows 10S restrictions prevent users from installing Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and other internet browsers unless the developers create versions for distribution through the Windows Store. Thus, Microsoft Edge is the only browser that can be used and Microsoft is also preventing users from changing the default search engine from Bing.

In addition, you can only use hardware if it has a driver in the Microsoft app store.  Many (most ??) printers, scanners, webcams will be affected.

You can upgrade to a full version of Windows but it will cost $$$.

Safe Travels...

Link to post
Share on other sites

K4rs. Maybe their original intent is for young people, others  first intro to computing, internet, etc and reason for budget low price.  So I heard once upon a time many years ago in a land far far away.  Just saying.  Gone fishing now will check  back next month.  Cheers everyone

https://www.facebook.com/william.perkins.79274

  https://photos.app.goo.gl/sroJrz6Wc1kNV77h7

Edited by NamMedevac 70
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Roger, everyone with Windows S on a New machine gets a free "one time only" switch to Regular Windows 10 home, No$$$$. 

OK guys, I "assumed" familiarity with, or if interested enough to comment on it, to look up Windows in S mode. I've excerpted the Microsoft article and a great Tech Republic Article at the bottom if you really want to understand what S is. I also provided a link at the bottom to a Tech  Republic excellent article on the Pros and Cons of S. So if someone buys one of them they can decide ahead of time which, S or Regular Win10. Lots of good reviews on it.

My Surface Go came in S mode and I had the choice on setup to change it just once and no backsies to Windows 10 Home regular. Since the Kindle reader App was not in the store, and that little 10" Surface it pretty much only for my night stand to read my Kindle books before drooping off to sleep in it and getting big forehead grease spots on my screen! LOL!

Excerpt:

"Switching out of S mode in Windows 10

Windows 10

Windows 10 in S mode is designed for security and performance, exclusively running apps from the Microsoft Store. If you want to install an app that isn't available in the Microsoft Store, you'll need to switch out of S mode. Switching out of S mode is one-way. If you make the switch, you won't be able to go back to Windows 10 in S mode. There's no charge to switch out of S mode.

  1. On your PC running Windows 10 in S mode, open Settings  > Update & Security  > Activation.

  2. In the Switch to Windows 10 Home or Switch to Windows 10 Pro section, select Go to the Store. (If you also see an "Upgrade your edition of Windows" section, be careful not to click the "Go to the Store" link that appears there.)

  3. On the Switch out of S mode (or similar) page that appears in the Microsoft Store, select the Get button. After you see a confirmation message on the page, you'll be able to install apps from outside of the Microsoft Store.

Source:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/switching-out-of-s-mode-in-windows-10-4f56d9be-99ec-6983-119f-031bfb28a307

Windows S is limited in that you can't load anything but safe programs and Apps from the Microsoft Store. As well it makes 4GB RAM act like more.

But you aren't stuck with S Mode as you saw above. For anyone liking the price and just wants the basics these are great buys. Not for me though. First I use Surface Tablet/ultra-book systems for portable, and our desktops for when home and productivity. Second I prefer the higher end of performance.

For those now confused these budget rock bottom laptops with Windows Can be switched out to regular Window but you only get to do it once.

Here is a great article from Tech Republic that is a good read if this is the first time you have heard about it.

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/windows-10-s-mode-pros-and-cons/

Edited by RV_
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Roger????

These basic laptops are a good buy for folks that want inexpensive and just the basics.

Wrong bud. It is free to go to Windows 10 home from S. As with anyone that has a computer running Home, it costs ~$49.00 to upgrade to Pro. No one is going to do that with these inexpensive systems.

I just converted my Windows S Surface Go on delivery in December 2019 to Windows 10 home, free. your article is from 2017. The policy was changed in 2018 and acknowledges it as a change from not allowing it.

Excerpt:

"Microsoft Windows 10 S users can now upgrade to Windows 10 Home for free Microsoft has not set any time limit and Microsoft Windows 10 S users can upgrade to Windows 10 Home at any given time or when they feel the need to. By Samden Sherpa | Published: Monday, February 26, 2018, 13:30 [IST] Microsoft will now allow Windows 10 S users to upgrade to the full version of Windows 10 free of charge. However, Microsoft is not doing away with the 10 S version but instead, the company is making Windows 10 S as a separate mode that will run on top of either Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro. Windows Central, notes that Microsoft has decided to convert Windows 10 S from a stand-alone SKU to a separate mode that will work in tandem with all the other versions."

Edited by RV_
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

From the Microsoft website:

"How do I switch out of S mode?

To increase security and performance, Windows 10 in S mode runs only apps from the Microsoft Store. If you want to install an app that isn't available in the Microsoft Store, you'll need to permanently switch out of S mode. There's no charge to switch out of S mode, but you won't be able to turn it back on. If you're blocked from switching and your device belongs to an organization, check with your administrator. Your organization can choose to keep all devices in S mode."

Source Microsoft.com today here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-in-s-mode-faq-851057d6-1ee9-b9e5-c30b-93baebeebc85

These basic systems are inexpensive, excellent systems and like some folks only want a subcompact car and have no need for the expense of a Ferrari some people only want to surf and do emails. However do your own due diligence, never buy anything you don't check out yourself.

Roger must be having a bad week, because I do see him as being a top resource here, especially with Linux.

Edited by RV_
Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess Micro$haft changed their policy and I did not notice.  The last I heard they were still charging for upgrades.

Safe Travels...

 

Edited by k4rs
Link to post
Share on other sites

The best budget laptop is a refurbished one.

I have lots of hobbies that require laptops and lots of storage.

So I have a astronomy laptop, a photography laptop, a fire laptop and a use everyday internet laptop. 

They are ALL Lenovo's machines of the same vintage and model number.  I bought some spare batteries that I can use in all four laptops. 

For the four machines I paid less than $900.  All machines with the pro version of Windows.

I don't think buying a NEW machine makes any sense these days.  My 15 year IMAX has finally died last week.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I also use budget refurbished laptops with good results. Just for grins I have at least 5 laptops of different sizes from very new Lenovo I Core 7 to old Acer Vista that I easily upgraded to WIN 10 and it still works great.  Also 8.1 dell (new) plus  refurbished Dell upgraded to WIN 10 and refurbished Lenovo WIN 7.  All work without flaw and two old ones upgraded to WIN 10 with no glitches and were free upgrades.  These are my backups just in case and I use them as desktops with good results.

Collected these over a period of 11 or 12 years so I am laptop poor and happy.

CWO Bill Perkins Civilian & Army Guard Pilot to two Texas Governors.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1739912699644241&type=3

Hazr4g3m.jpguhfje7em.jpg

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with you Vlad. I like refurbished by the manufacturer, or refurbed professionally and updated with an SSD and more RAM, AND a year's warranty.  Or used local from FB Marketplace and the like. My still current Dell 2720 loaded was refurbished by Dell with the same warranty as new. My Surface Pro 3 and Pro 4, were refurb'ed by Microsoft with a year warranty,  But sometimes I buy new like my Surface Pro 7 and Surface Go.

You too Nam.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For new laptops I find that about $400 to $450 is the magic range for a decent unit.  Every once in a while I find something for under $400, but there are plenty in the $400 to $450 range.  It is common for family to ask me to find them a deal or something to recommend.  For touchscreens or 2-in-1s you might have to go to $600 or so, which is the preferred type for the younger set.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I also just posted a link to Microsoft refurb Surface Pro 7 in this forum last week. $659.99 MS refurb with 1 year warranty for $659.99. Windows Home after switching from S.

There were only two Windows units in this list and 8 of ten reviews were good from folks who bought them for surfing and general use and the reviews are there to read from users. Windows Home after switching from S.

Anybody actually look and read reviews by owners?

Adrian closed the above article with this: "

"Don't be under the illusion that $350 is going to buy you a monster system that can do everything. It's not. If you are looking for a system that can handle things like photo and video editing, or a gaming system, then you are looking in the wrong place.

But, if you are looking for a basic system capable of browsing the web (keep the Google Chrome tabs down to a minimum), or doing word processing and spreadsheets, then these are the systems for you.

How were these systems chosen?

I went for a combination of bang-for-the-buck (because the bucks are limited) and longer-term reliability and durability. Laptops get quite a hard life, so picking one that can put up with some abuse pays off in the longer term."

You can lead a horse to water . . .

I can't believe the topic changing to refurbished, the totally wring assumptions without even checking first.price assumptions without a discussion of the two under discussion.

I don't do Chrimebooks.

Anyone want to discuss those two budget laptops, pros and/or cons? The HP and the Lenovo Windows units. No? Nothing new here in that. To discuss them you'd have to read the specs and reviews in the article.

Roger, when I told you you were wrong with a link you doubled down wrong. Nice guy. Your response? Last I heard . . . No roger last you heard was the link in my first post here. Then when I said no Roger wrong, not rude. Then you insisted with an old link from 2017. The second link from Microsoft I gave you finally got read. Roger that policy changed four years ago! Sheesh. Try reading the link. Or stay on topic. Vlad, Roger, Nam and the rest who were incapable of reading the specs and pros and cons in the article, I've been too easy on the rude and crude. Your egos are safe if you check before you attack.

Roger, Lynda asked a question based on your insisting on trying to be right instead of doing right. I gave you enough time to answer but you can't own up. So I'll answer.

Yes Lynda, you can load Quicken on them after you choose Windows 10 Home and are not running Windows S. I had to transition my 2018 Surface Go from S to 10. It runs MS Office 2016 Professional just fine as well as the Kindle App, Nord VPN Premiere, and plays Pandora in the background in shuffle mode across my favorite stations while surfing writing etc. and mine was the first year with a slow Pentium Y. I'd suggest seeing if Best Buy has them to demo. They price match too if you like them.

I do like the idea of S for our grand-kids my youngest waited to have and are now three and five this year.

To the rest, I would like to cordially invite you to the theological place of eternal punishment. Seriously. :P

Edited by RV_
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nam,

The topic are the two Windows and three Chromebook budget laptops. Any comments on them pro or con? I don't do Chromebooks so I was all about the Lenovo and the HP.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/13/2021 at 1:39 AM, RV_ said:

Roger, when I told you you were wrong with a link you doubled down wrong. Nice guy. Your response? Last I heard . . . No roger last you heard was the link in my first post here. Then when I said no Roger wrong, not rude. Then you insisted with an old link from 2017. The second link from Microsoft I gave you finally got read. Roger that policy changed four years ago! Sheesh. Try reading the link. Or stay on topic. Vlad, Roger, Nam and the rest who were incapable of reading the specs and pros and cons in the article, I've been too easy on the rude and crude. Your egos are safe if you check before you attack.

Roger, Lynda asked a question based on your insisting on trying to be right instead of doing right. I gave you enough time to answer but you can't own up. So I'll answer.

RV,

I am not sure why you are being so argumentative.  You act as if you have been insulted.  Certainly nobody has attacked you.   Just who has been rude and crude?

I think that it is very gracious of you to give me enough time to answer Lynda's question, but I stand by my opinion that:

A.  10S is a hobbled version of Windows that will disappoint users if they are not aware of the limitations.

B. You can not load desktop applications in Windows 10S.

I previously admitted that I was incorrect about Microsoft charging for upgrades.  That is what I remembered and a quick Google search for "Cost to upgrade Windows 10S" led to the article I linked to.   I apologize for failing to follow every link in your voluminous posts.

In any event, I acknowledge your supreme knowledge of all topics and tip over my king. 

 

Edited by k4rs
Darn typos...
Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread was not about Windows 10 S, never was. The thread was about some very good deals on five basic computers, three running only Chrome, and two that you could use with Windows S or Windows 10 Home, whichever we prefer. Buyer's choice!

The thread is there for all to read. I posted the good deals and that you could upgrade to Win 10 Home free. Then you disrupted the thread, claiming it cost to upgrade twice and telling Linda it could not load quicken etc. Why? It switches to Windows Home free, who cares about S? The thread was about some good prices on basic laptops two of which ran S but could be switched to regular Windows free once, buyer's choice. All correct from my first post to last. I even posted last year about my December 2019 purchase of a Windows S Surface Go I had a choice to keep in S or upgrade free - I upgraded To Windows 10 Home for free. If anyone buys one only get the M3 Go2. Big improvements.

Me argumentative?? Thanks for the grin Roger. Don't like the length of my posts? Stay away from them. No one makes you read them, No one makes you post pure BS as "corrections" that are wrong, twice. And then say it was because you only did a quick search? And can't bother to read answers. Sounds pretty lame bud.

Why? Because when I post you can skip my post in its entirety and go to the link at the bottom and read the source directly. If you are going to contradict anyone, perhaps you might want to check your premises against today. A year old in tech is not current. Your links were three or four years old. And I own one that I switched. Dang! Real experience?

The thread is here for all to read.

It's snowing again! I love Colorado! It's like living in a ski postcard.

 

 

Edited by RV_
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...