Best budget laptops under $1500 in 2022

A cool grand (or even less) is more than enough capital to secure yourself some impressive portable power.

Best budget laptop under $1500
Apple M1 MacBook Air
Apple MacBook Air
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$1499
Processor
M1
Graphics
Integrated M1 GPU
Display
13-inch True Tone Retina Display
Best budget laptop under $1000
Image of the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$797
Processor
Intel Core i5-1035G1
Graphics
Intel UHD Graphics
Display
12.4-inch PixelSense display
Best budget laptop under $500
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i Chromebook
Lenovo IdeaPad 3i Chromebook
3 out of 5 stars
3
Starts at
$499
Processor
Intel Celeron N4020
Graphics
Intel UHD Graphics 6000
Display
14-inch FHD
Best budget gaming laptop
Dell G15 Ryzen
Dell G15 Ryzen Edition
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$999
Processor
AMD Ryzen 5 5600H Mobile
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
Display
15.6-inch, FHD 120Hz
Best super budget laptop
ASUS E410
ASUS E410
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$499
Processor
Intel Celeron N4500
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics
Display
14-inch HD
Fergus Halliday
Digital Content Editor
Read More
July 11, 2022
9 min read

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Budget laptops are often defined by how they fall short, but unrealistic expectations are usually the fastest way to set yourself up for disappointment when it comes to buying one.

There’s typically a sweet spot when it comes to computers. Those unable to find it either end up paying too much for a machine with too many features, or settling for the cheapest thing they can find. Either is an expensive mistake that likely to leave you with a begrudged opinion of whatever the manufacturer of that particular machine was. 

If you’re shopping on a budget, finding the right option is about picking your battles. Don’t just blindly accept the sacrifices that a brand asks of you. Think about the ones you’re willing to make and take that as your true north when it comes to finding the right option.

The search for a good budget laptop can often feel futile, but that there are decent options out there if you know how and where to look for them.

Category
Product
Price
Availability
Display size
Resolution
Weight
Rating
Icon Star Full  LightBest budget laptop under $1500
From
$1499
13-inchesFHD1.29kg
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Icon Star Full  LightNext best budget laptop under $1500
From
$998
13.3-inchesQHD996g
4 out of 5 stars
4
Icon Star Full  LightBest overall budget laptop under $1000
From
$797
12.4-inchesPixelSense1.11kg
4 out of 5 stars
4
Icon Star Full  LightBest budget gaming laptop
From
$999
15.6-inchesFHD2.449g
4 out of 5 stars
4
Icon Star Full  LightBest budget laptop under $500
From
$449
14-inchesFHD1.12kg
3 out of 5 stars
3
Icon Star Full  LightBest super budget laptop
From
$499
14-inchesHD453g
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.75

Apple MacBook Air

Best overall laptop under $1500

Macbook Air (M1)
Apple MacBook Air
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
5
Design
4 out of 5 stars
4
Display
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
From
$1,499
pro M1 processor
pro Apple ecosystem
con Limited ports
con Chunky bezels

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

If $1500 is your limit, then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option when it comes to laptops than Apple’s MacBook Air. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does polish the edges to a dazzling effect. 

Even if you prefer Windows-based PCs, the new MacBook Air is well worth considering. It won’t be the right fit for everyone, and especially for gamers. However, there’s a consistency and balance here that sometimes be hard to find at this price-point.

The MacBook Air won’t cover all the bases, but it’ll probably do a great job at almost all of the your computing essentials. The device is powered by Apple’s headlining-grabbing M1 processor and designed to get the most out of the company’s macOS operating system. There’s no touch screen, but there is a reworked magic keyboard, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a matching set of Thunderbolt-grade USB Type-C ports. 

If you’re the type of user who can work within the Apple ecosystem, you can’t get more obvious when it comes to sub-$1500 options than the new MacBook Air.

Model
Apple MacBook Air (M1)

Processor

Apple M1 Chip

Graphics

Apple M1 GPU

Memory

Starts at 8GB unified memory

Display

Retina display with True Tone

Storage

Starts at 256 GB of SSD storage

Ports

2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3), combo audio jack

Battery

49Whr

Speakers

Wide stereo speakers with support for Dolby Atmos

Webcam

720p FaceTime HD camera

Weight

1.29kg

Dimensions

30.51 cm x 21.24 cm x 0.41-1.16 cm

Graphic for best laptops 2022

The best laptops you can buy in 2022

If you’re looking to buy a new laptop in 2022, these machines represent the cream of the crop.

Lenovo Yoga S7 Carbon Evo

Next best laptop under $1500

Lenovo Yoga S7 Carbon Evo
Lenovo Yoga S7 Carbon EVO
Our Rating
4 out of 5 stars
4
Performance
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Design
4 out of 5 stars
4
Display
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
From
$998
pro QHD display
pro 11th Gen Intel processor
con Only USB Type-C ports
con Smaller display

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

With a 13.3-inch QHD display, an 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor, a shedload of SSD storage and design that’s sleeker than most sub-$1500 machines, the Lenovo Yoga S7 Carbon Evo feels like a genuine steal.

The one real sacrifice you’re making here is a smaller display, but the enhanced qualities of the screen on the Lenovo Yoga S7 Carbon Evo more than make up for that. It’s got a striking and clean pearl white design, with under-the-hood specs that squeeze every drop of performance out of the compact form-factor.

The Lenovo Yoga S7 Carbon Evo might not shatter expectations for what a laptop can do, but packs in a lot of premiums perks at a price that feels like a bargain. It can’t quite match Apple’s revamped MacBook Air as an all-rounder, but when it comes to Windows-based laptops, it makes the rest of the $1500 field come away looking worse for wear. 

Lenovo Yoga S7 Carbon Evo
Specifications
ProcessorIntel Core i7-1165G7
GraphicsIntel Iris Xe
MemoryStarts at 16GB RAM
Display13.3-inch QHD Display
StorageUp to 512GB of SSD storage
Ports
  • 3 x USB-C
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
SpeakersHarman-branded speakers with Dolby Atmos
Webcam720p + IR + ToF sensor
Weight966g
Dimensions295.9 mm x 208.9 mm x 14.25-15 mm

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go

Best laptop under $1000

Image of the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
Our Rating
4 out of 5 stars
4
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
3
Display
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Design
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
From
$797
pro Simple and appealing design
pro Super affordable
con Windows 10 S
con Limited performance

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

While there are plenty of options of available for those who want to go even cheaper, Microsoft’s own Surface Laptop Go is hard to beat as far as budget-friendly options go. It’s not hard to find the limits, but there’s plenty to like about the simple aesthetics, hearty specs and decent battery life found in the company’s entry-level house-brand laptop.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go brings together a tighter 12.4-inch PixelSense display, a 10th generation Intel Core processor and up to 256 GB of SSD storage. It’s probably not going to cut it was the last laptop you ever need to buy, but if you want something that can reliably handle the basics at an affordable price, it may be exactly what you’re after. 

The emphasis here is less on flair and more on functionality, with not a pixel of bloatware to be seen. That being said, there aren’t that many ports and some might come away irked by the size and brightness of the display. The Surface Laptop Go also runs Windows 10 S, which means you’ll have to upgrade to get the most use out of it.

If you can afford the new Surface Laptop Go 2, we'd recommend it. However, if you’re a penny-pinching student looking for an affordable laptop that nails the basics and delivers plenty of bang for buck, the Surface Laptop Go is well-worth investigating in the interim.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
Specifications
ProcessorStarts at 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics
MemoryStarts at 4GB RAM
Display12.4-inch PixelSense Display
StorageStarts at 64GB eMMC storage
Ports
  • 1 x USB-C
  • 1 x USB-A
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • 1 x Surface Connect port
SpeakersOmnisonic Speakers with Dolby Audio
Webcam720p HD (f/2.0)
Weight1,110g
Dimensions278.18mm x 205.67mm x 15.69mm

Dell G15 Ryzen Edition

Best budget gaming laptop

Dell G15 Ryzen
Dell G15 Ryzen Edition
Our Rating
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Performance
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Design
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Display
4 out of 5 stars
4
From
$999
pro Ryzen chipset
pro 120Hz panel
con Not the most recent Ryzen chipset
con Only FHD

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

It might not do all it could to dispel the usual caveats that come with gaming laptops, but if you’re after something that will let you jump into PC gaming without breaking the bank, then Dell’s G15 Ryzen Edition gaming laptop offers a ton of value for a price-tag that sits on the better side of $1500.

As the name might suggest, the Dell G15 Ryzen Edition Gaming Laptop boasts one of AMD’s Ryzen Mobile CPUs inside it. This high-performance alternative to the Intel orthodoxy comes accompanied by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, up to half a terabyte of SSD storage and up to 16 GB of DDR4 RAM.

Even if the display on the Dell G15 Ryzen Edition is only FHD when it comes to quality, it's more generous when it comes to size and refresh-rate than many other laptops in its class. Between the 120Hz panel, narrower bezels and the anti-glare tech, the screen on the machine is primed to deliver when it comes to smooth and seamless visuals.

The Dell G15 Ryzen Edition won’t let you crank things up in the way that something twice its price will, but if you’re looking to do a modest amount of gaming on the go, it’s a confident way to go about it.       

Dell G15 Ryzen Edition
Specifications
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 5600H Mobile
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
MemoryStarts at 8GB RAM
Display15.6-inch, FHD 120Hz, Non-Touch,
StorageStarts at 256GB SSD storage
Ports
  • 1x HiSpeed USB 2.0
  • 1x HiSpeed USB 2.0 with PowerShare
  • 1x SuperSpeed USB 3.2
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x Power In
  • 1x RJ45 Ethernet
  • 1x 3.5 mm headphone jack
SpeakersStereo speakers with Realtek ALC3254
WebcamHD RGB camera with digital-array microphones
Weight2449g
Dimensions24.9mm x 357.26 mm x 272.11 mm

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 3i 14-inch Chromebook

Best laptop under $500

Lenovo IdeaPad 3i Chromebook
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 3i 14-inch Chromebook
Our Rating
3 out of 5 stars
3
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
3
Design
3 out of 5 stars
3
Display
3 out of 5 stars
3
From
$375
pro Extremely cheap
pro ChromeOS is much better than it used to be
con ChromeOS has limits
con Only 64GB storage

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

If you’re going to spend $500 on a Windows-based laptop, you’re going to have to accept a few major compromises. You won’t really be able to play any games or run intensive software, and the hardware involved is probably going to struggle to deliver anything beyond basic tasks like emails and browsing the web.

On the other hand, Chrome OS is built to deliver a snappy and smooth user experience even when paired with modest or under-powered specs. If ditching Windows is a step you’re willing to take for a better overall experience, then the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Slim 3i Chromebook might be the best bet you can find for under $500.

Even if it doesn't run on Windows, you can still get a lot of work done on this thing. It even supports Android apps, which increases the scope of what you can do on it compared to older Chromebooks or low-spec Windows machines.

If you’re trying to buy a laptop at a budget this small, then some sacrifices are going to be necessary. However, if you’re willing to make Windows itself one of those trade-offs, the Lenovo’s IdeaPad 3 Slim 3i gives you plenty of value in return.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 3i
Specifications
ProcessorIntel Celeron N4020
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 6000
MemoryStarts at 4GB RAM
Display14-inch FHD
StorageStarts at 64 storage
Ports
  • 2x USB-A 3.2
  • 2x USB-C 3.2
  • 1x Micro SD
  • 1x 3.5 mm headphone jack
Speakers2x down-firing speakers with Dolby Audio
Webcam720p
Weight1.12 kg
Dimensions286.7 x 205.5 x 18.05 mm

ASUS E410

Best super-budget laptop

ASUS E410
ASUS E410
Our Rating
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.75
Performance
2.5 out of 5 stars
2.5
Design
3 out of 5 stars
3
Display
3 out of 5 stars
3
From
$499
pro Extremely cheap
pro Decent design
con Low RAM
con Limited performance

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

The ASUS E410 is a lean and mean Windows machine that nails the basics and squeezes in a few fun extras. If you’re satisfied with the idea of budget-friendly Windows laptop that handles the essentials and not much else, it’s hard to beat - even if it’s not hard to wish for a little more.

The ASUS E410 comes kitted out with one of Intel’s Celeron processors, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD storage. While it’s not hard to imagine a beefier version of this product armed with a Core processor instead, the upshot is that the E410 comes with the lofty promise of 12 hours of day-to-day usage.

In addition to a quirky and eye-catching rear design that helps the E410 stand out and avoiding feeling generic among other laptops at this particular price point, the machine also boasts ASUS’ nifty TouchPad 2.0. Your mileage may vary, but this feature does add utility that many other budget laptops can’t match.

The ASUS E410 is armed with everything you expect from a lean budget laptop, plus a few fun extras. When most of its competition sticks solvely to the former, it’s easy for the latter to win you over.

ASUS E410
Specifications
ProcessorIntel Celeron N4500
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics
MemoryStarts at 4GB RAM
Display14-inch HD
StorageStarts at 128GB storage
Ports
  • 2x USB-A 3.2
  • 1x USB-C 3.2
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x 3.5 mm headphone jack
SpeakersStereo speakers
Webcam720p
Weight453g
Dimensions32.51 x 1.85 x 21.69 cm

Budget laptops we also considered

Here are more budget laptops and budget laptop alternatives that we considered that didn't make the cut.
Huawei MateBook D14
Huawei Matebook D14
Our Rating
4 out of 5 stars
4
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
3
Design
4 out of 5 stars
4
Display
3 out of 5 stars
3
From
$1312
pro Thin bezels
pro Great price
con Redundant smartphone integration features
con No expandable storage

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

While the specs on the Matebook D14 are not as cutting edge as they were when the machine first launched, Huawei’s desperation to cling on to a shrinking market share in recent years is something that budget buyers might want to consider taking advantage of. 

Don’t let the price-tag fool you, the hardware here is solid. The Huawei Matebook D14 comes powered by AMD’s Ryzen 7 3700U mobile processor with integrated RX Vega 10 graphics, up to 512 GB of SSD storage, a 1080p screen with thin bezels, fast charging via USB Type-C and a fingerprint sensor. 

Huawei’s fast depreciation in Western markets might be bad news for them, but it leaves the Huawei Matebook D14 armed with many of the premium perks of a luxury laptop at half the price.

Model
Huawei Matebook D14

Processor

Up to AMD Ryzen 7 3700U

Graphics

Up to Radeon RX Vega 10 Graphics

Memory

8GB RAM

Display

14-inches, FHD, IPS

Storage

Up to 512GB PCIe SSD storage

Ports

2x USB-A 3.1, 1x USB-C 3.1, HDMI, combo audio jack

Battery

56Whr

Speakers

Stereo speakers, 2 x 2W

Webcam

720p pop-up camera

Weight

Starting at 1.38kg

Dimensions

32.2 cm x 21.4 cm x 1.5 cm

Apple iPad mini Wi-Fi (256 GB)
iPad Mini (6th Gen)
Our Rating
4 out of 5 stars
4
Display
4 out of 5 stars
4
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
4
Design
4 out of 5 stars
4
From
$749
pro Apple Pencil 2 support
pro Goregeous design
con No FaceID
con No expandable storage

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

If you’re looking to spend than $1000 on your next laptop, there’s a good chance that one of Apple’s iPads might work as an alternative. 

Yes, you’ll probably have to invest in a keyboard and an extra accessory or two to get the most value out of it. However, if your workflow can play nice with or fit within the lines and limits of what a modern iPad can do experience, then it might be worth considering one instead of a traditional laptop. The form-factor is a little more lightweight, and the software experience of using a sub-$1000 iPad is generally a lot smoother than that of most sub-$1000 PCs. 

There are plenty of things that a proper laptop can do that an iPad simply can’t match. But if all you’re doing is answering and writing emails, working on shared documents or collaborating using a browser-based platform like Trello, then one of Apple’s tablet might be able to do the job better and at a cheaper price. 

Apple’s iPads continue to be the default tablet for good reason, and if you can get away with using one for work, they can be an option worth investigating. 

Our methodology

How we chose the best laptops

When it comes to picking and choosing the best laptops on the market, the easiest place to start is with the similarities that each brand brings to the table. This helps give us a basis for what the "meta" of laptops  looks like at any given time.

The next phase in our analysis specifically looks into the details. Where do the different laptops designs brought to market by hardware manufacturers like Lenovo, Dell, HP and ASUS differ, and why? What additions or twists on the formula are novelty versus necessary? How much value do these niche features really provide end consumers?

We then weigh the findings of this process against the price expectations market-segment attached the category involved. While the overall category assumes you're a consumers who isn't looking to cut corners, neither does it act like your budget is unlimited. This helps us determine which laptops are providing the best bang for buck and value for money.

Budget laptop buying guide

What to look for when comparing budget laptops
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Pro OLED product shot 5

The limits of budget laptops

There’s a knack to finding a budget laptop that works for your needs. However, in order to get there, you’re inevitably going to have to accept some level of compromise. The trick to making that sacrifice work in your favour is to calculate it ahead of time rather than at the till. 

Ask yourself what you’re planning to use your budget laptop for, work you what specs matter the most for that purpose, and ranks your potential picks accordingly. If you’re only planning to use your budget laptop for streaming or social media, then maybe a bigger or better screen matters more than additional hard drive space or RAM. 

It’s rare to find a budget laptop that does it all, but if you know what you’re looking for, it’s much easier to find one that does what you need it to do. 

Try last year’s stock

Looking for online deals or clearance sales for last year’s laptops can be a great way to expand your options when it comes to shopping for a new laptop on a budget. 

One of the biggest mistakes that many budget shoppers make when it comes to laptops is exclusively looking at the most recent ranges from major brands like Acer, HP and Dell. While you can go awry by rewinding the clock back too many years, there’s a good chance that a depreciated laptop from last year will serve you just as well as its successor. 

Try to make a budget buy last

If you’re buying a budget laptop but want it to last a bit longer, it can be worth spending that bit of extra cash for the model with a better CPU, more RAM or SSD storage. 

Even if doing so doesn’t feel like it makes a massive difference in the short term, it could help you eke out an extra year or so of usage before you eventually have to upgrade. No laptop is going to last forever, but the version of a budget laptop that’s best positioned to go the distance is usually a good investment.

Budget laptop FAQs

Here are the most commonly asked questions about budget laptops

Depending on what you consider budget-friendly (and what you consider to be a good display), it is possible to find an affordable laptop with a decent screen. While QHD and 4K screens can be found on many modern laptops, the benefits of those extra pixels aren't necessarily written in stone. For many, FHD is resolution enough and there's no shortage of budget laptops that boast this spec.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a Digital Content Editor for Reviews.org who specialises in technology, entertainment, gaming and pop culture. His work has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, Press Start Australia, The AU Review, Screen Rant, Superjump and more. You can follow him on Twitter.

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