The 8 Best Laptops Under $200 to Buy in 2018

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If you’re in the market for a laptop, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money. For serious computing, there’s unfortunately not much you’ll be able to accomplish with a computer in the $200 bracket, but you can definitely get a machine that’ll get you online, let you compose and edit documents, and handle Spotify and Netflix streaming. If all you need is a bigger screen, a keyboard, and the ability to get some work done, then we’ve got some laptops for you. We’ve also found a few alternative options — like a tablet — that can perform most basic laptop tasks. Read on for our favorite laptops under $200 available now.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Acer Chromebook 14

Acer Chromebook 14

Courtesy of NewEgg

For a bit of everything, this Acer Chromebook 14 is an excellent pick. However, to get it below $200, we had to seek out a refurbished model. But, what it’s offering is worth it. For one, you’re getting a 14-inch display, as opposed to the smaller 10- and 11-inch screens on many other low-cost laptops. On top of that, it’s a Full HD IPS display, so you’ll enjoy high-quality video content much better on this machine.

Inside, the Acer Chromebook 14 is powered by an Intel Celeron N3160. While that may sound similar to a lot of the other processors listed in the laptops below, it’s actually a quad-core processor, offering superior performance over many of its dual-core counterparts. This model is also packed with 4GB of RAM and has 32BG of flash storage.

It runs ChromeOS, so you’ll be doing most of your computing in the Chrome browser. It’s designed with aluminum, so even though it’s under $200, it will have a more premium feel. Thanks to 802.11ac Wi-Fi, you can also enjoy a fast connection. And, with multiple USB 3.0 ports, you can readily attach a thumb drive to expand your storage options.

Best Windows: Dell Inspiron 11 3000

Dell’s Inspiron 11 3000 is a compact little laptop for under $200, but it packs some nice extras that make it a strong pick. It runs Windows 10, so you’ll enjoy the widest program compatibility as you’ll be able to choose your browser for online tasks and can install programs locally as well.

Inside, the Inspiron 11 is powered by an AMD A6-9220e processor paired with 4GB of DDR4 memory that can be upgraded to 8GB should you so choose. This should make it one of the speedier contenders on this list, especially when it comes to multi-tasking (an area most affordable laptops struggle with). 32GB of internal storage may not be much, especially since a portion of that will be occupied by Windows, but multiple USB ports and a microSD card slot offer expansion options.

All of this comes in a compact package, measuring less than 1-inch thick and weighing about 2.5 pounds. You’ll have an easy time taking the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 with you on the go, and should get decent life out of the battery.

Runner-up, Best Windows: Asus Vivobook E203NA

For a Windows machine under $200, you can’t do much better than the Asus Vivobook E203NA. This is a thin and light laptop, measuring just 0.7-inches thick and weighing only 2.2 pounds. With an 11.6-inch display, it’s sized well for taking on the go. It’s also designed with a 180-degree hinge, so you can fold the screen flat for sharing your view.

The Asus Vivobook has what are fairly standard specs for a laptop in this category, but in a few key areas it steps up above the competition. While many other devices under $200 have an Intel Celeron N3050 processor, the Vivobook steps up to a more powerful Celeron N3350 processor. It also increases storage to 64GB with a 32GB microSD card on top of 32GB of internal eMMC Flash storage. 4GB of RAM also delivers improved multitasking.

Straight out of the box, few laptops in this category offer 64GB of storage or 4GB of RAM, but this Vivobook does both. The screen may only be 1366 x 768 resolution, but that shouldn’t appear too pixelated on an 11.6-inch display.

Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook 15

Aside from the Acer Chromebook 14 — our top overall pick — the brand's Chromebook 15 comes in as our next best pick for Chromebooks. It runs ChromeOS on a Celeron 3205U with higher clock speeds than some of the competition. Inside, it has the typical 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, but with most work expected to be done online, the storage and memory shouldn’t be a big issue unless you do serious multitasking.

While storage can be expanded via USB 3.0 thumb drives or SD card, the bigger selling point for the Chromebook 15 is its larger size. While some people may want a more portable device, the Chromebook 15 offers a more traditional 15.6-inch laptop size, with a fully-fledged keyboard and plenty of screen space. The resolution may only be 1366 x 768, but this laptop isn’t meant for pixel-perfect photo editing or working on multiple small screens simultaneously.

The Chromebook 15 should have enough performance features to help you get through whatever work you need to do, and when it’s time to kick back and relax, you can enjoy content on the larger screen and speakers.

Best Apple: Apple iPad Air

While you’re not going to get a good Macbook for under $200, that doesn’t mean you can’t get any Apple option. Like some of our other alternative picks, the iPad Air has a big enough screen to compete in the compact laptop space. Its 9.7-inch display may be on the smaller end, but at 2048 x 1536, it also has the sharpest resolution of the bunch.

To get below $200, we had to go with a certified refurbished model, but this doesn’t mean it’s a beat-up, old tablet. The iPad Air runs on Apple A7 chip and is still supported by Apple, meaning you can run iOS 12. With only 16GB of internal storage and no microSD expansion slot, you will be looking at limited space, but if you do most of your productivity and storage in the cloud, you’ll be able to get by.

By pairing the iPad Air with a Bluetooth keyboard, you’ll be able to get some laptop-like functionality out of it. So, if most of your work is simply writing and editing documents, you should have no trouble. And, for the rest of the time, you’ve got a good tablet with a great display and a long 10-hour battery life.

Best Large Windows: HP Stream 14"

If you want a Windows 10 machine that offers a bigger screen and keyboard, then the 2018 HP Stream 14 is a good option. To score it below $200, we picked out a certified refurbished model. What you get for the price is a good balance of internals and design, with the 14-inch display offering more screen real estate for those who aren’t as worried about portability.

The HP Stream 14 is powered by a Intel Celeron N3060 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. But, you don’t have to worry too much about that internal storage limiting you. This laptop has two USB 3.1 ports, giving you an easy way increase the space you have for files and media. It also has a media reader, making it easier to transfer files from cameras to your computer and upload to the internet.

Since a budget computer like this is focused largely around doing things online, it’s handy to have the 802.11ac Wi-Fi included here. For on-the-go use, this laptop also offers up to 10 hours of battery life.

Best Amazon: Amazon Fire HD 10

If you're Amazon loyal, you may want to give the online retailer's Fire HD 10 tablet a try. This runs Amazon’s own Fire OS, which is fairly similar to Android but is compatible with Amazon’s app store. The base model has a 10.1-inch display with a Full HD resolution, so you’ll get quality visuals that can help when you’re trying to be productive or streaming videos. The Fire HD 10 is so well priced that you'll have plenty left in your budget to pick up a Bluetooth keyboard and still come in well below $200 in total.

Inside, the Fire HD 10 has a quad-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM, and it comes with 32GB of storage, which you can bump up another 256GB with a microSD card. A 10-hour battery will also help you keep going with this highly portable laptop alternative. Plus, it’s built to be durable, so you don’t have to worry too much about taking it on the go.

At just 17.7 ounces and measuring 0.4 inches thick, this is also substantially smaller and lighter than competing laptop options. So, when you don’t need a keyboard but still need some of the functionality, you can take just the Fire HD 10 with you.

Best Android: Lenovo Tab 4

If you’re on the market for a laptop but don’t necessarily need a traditional laptop, you can kit yourself out with decent alternative using a large Android tablet. The Lenovo Tab 4 is our top pick for this. At 10.1 inches, it’s nearly the same size as competing laptops.

The Lenovo Tab 4 has 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, and it’s powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 425 processor. Performance should be fairly smooth on Android 7.1. and the storage can be expanded via microSD card. The screen resolution is also a fairly crisp 1280 x 800 resolution and used an IPS panel for clear colors and visuals.

While it stands out as a good tablet for the price, it can also be quickly converted to work in many of the same ways as a laptop. Pair this tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and you’ll be ready to edit documents and browse the web in much the same way as you would on a Chromebook, plus you get access to the host of great Android apps.

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular laptops under $200 on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 80 different laptops overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers and read over 80 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.