A Complete Guide To Buying A Laptop On A Budget (Under $1000)

Buying a laptop on a budget can present many challenges.  The computing industry is inundated with offerings from different brands and the technical jargon can often make it difficult to identify the best option for your requirements. 

When considering laptops, there are several factors that you will need to account for, particularly for those who are focusing their search on laptops that retail for $1000 or less. 

We have identified the technical specifications that you will need to consider along with a few other factors to make the process easier for you. 

What is the laptop being used for?

First, you will need to consider your intended use of the laptop. Do you require it for casual purposes, e.g browsing the web, watching Netflix, or checking your social media applications, or do you need it for work and study purposes? For the aforementioned, a Chromebook will likely suffice as they are affordable and perform well too. For the latter, you will need to select a laptop that copes well when subject to intense and prolonged use, for example, a Lenovo or Acer model. 

You must also be willing to make compromises. Approaching the market with high expectations when looking for a laptop on a budget can often lead to disappointment. The value of the laptop is often reflected in the quality and features. While a laptop may flourish in some areas e.g impressive performance speed, you will likely identify a flaw elsewhere. For that reason, it is important to assess what you need in a laptop rather than what you want. Doing so will allow you to make your selection accordingly. 

Technical Specifications

Understanding the technical specifications of different models can be daunting, particularly for those who do not have much knowledge in this area. However, considering these features will make it easier to find a laptop within budget.

The Operating System

One of the first things to consider is the operating system. The operating system is responsible for the memory, hardware, software, and processes of the computer. Chrome OS and Windows 10 are the two operating systems that are commonly found on budget-friendly laptops. Chrome OS is a lightweight system that is only available on Chromebooks. Offering a low-cost option, it will likely cater to those who require a laptop for basic uses. There are limitations to be aware of, the main ones being that Chrome OS only supports Google and Chrome Web Store Applications. 

Windows laptops utilize a Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. Another inexpensive option that offers power and productivity while allowing you to enjoy a selection of apps that are available on the Windows Store and desktop. There are some issues concerning the compatibility of this system with particular software and hardware. 

Both provide budget-friendly options, although it is likely that you will find one to be better suited to your requirements in comparison to the other.

The Memory

The majority of budget laptops have either 256GB SSD and 512GB SSD, of memory pre-installed. In some instances, you may discover a laptop that fits your budget that has more memory. If you like to store data like photographs you will benefit from the use of a USB flash drive if the current memory of the laptop doesn’t satisfy your needs. 


RAM is an abbreviation of Random Access Memory and is a crucial element of computing. It is the temporary data storage space that stores data and information that needs to be accessed quickly. 4GB is doable although 6GB to 8GB of RAM is recommended as this will support most basic computer programs.

The Processor

A computer processor, otherwise known as the CPU plays an integral role in the functioning of a laptop. Essentially, the processor provides the laptop with the instructions and power it requires to operate. A poor CPU can impact how well the laptop performs and handles tasks. The most common processors used in budget laptops are Intel Core I5,  AMD A6, Intel Pentium, and the AMD A9. The performance of the processor is influenced by the clock speed, cache speed, and the number of cores. Conducting a simple online search will provide you with information as to which processor is best. Most entry-level, budget-friendly processors are deemed to be mid performers. 

The Size

Considering the size of the laptop is also important. Do you require one that is smaller and more portable or one that is larger and more substantially built? The size of the laptop determines the screen size which in turn affects the resolution and image quality. While some have screens as small as 11.6″, others are bigger at 15.6″. Although laptops with a lower resolution can still provide a decent image, those with a higher resolution will display the image with more precision and detail. 

The Battery Life

The battery life will determine how long the laptop can be used on a singular charge.  This can vary from a couple of hours to a day and often depends on how the laptop is used. A laptop with a long battery life will allow you to use it for prolonged periods without needing to plug it into a power supply. Many budget laptops offer between 7 to 10 hours of use on a single charge. The specifications tend to exaggerate the longevity of the battery life so it is important to be cautious of this. 

Test a few before you pick

Conducting thorough research before selecting your laptop is fundamental in ensuring that all of your needs are met. While you can gather valuable information from browsing the web, you will likely benefit from visiting a selection of stores and looking at the selection that they offer. This will allow you to gain a feel for the laptop and assess whether it is a worthy investment. Analyze the trackpad, the keyboard, and the number of ports. You may even wish to invest in a 2-in-1 laptop that functions as both a laptop and tablet providing you with the best of both worlds.

A Complete Guide To Buying A Laptop On A Budget (Under $1000) was last updated February 11th, 2021 by Leah Williams

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