Just about any notebook under $400 will serve your most basic needs, but some inevitably do it a whole lot better than others. We are aware that these laptops are probably the cheapest you could possibly find, but then again, if you aren’t a very power-hungry user and you’re planning to use it for casual, business or school purposes (as these are the purposes these laptops are mostly used for) than don’t think twice about buying one.
The best performance you can get for under 400 dollars?
I think that most of the budget-minded consumers are searching online for the best laptops under 400 dollars because they don’t know exactly where to start or what to expect for such a low price. While some are looking to get the absolute best performance for the money, others are more specific about a specific set a features they need or the laptop brand they are loyal to like Dell, HP, ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, Gateway, etc.
For such a low price, sometimes I’m really surprised to see how powerful a laptop could be. Even more, with a little bit of luck, you can find some sales on some even more powerful laptops, thus making them worth around 400 dollars (give or take 50 dollars). It’s also what we are trying to accomplish with this website.
Helping you pick the best laptop for your needs is where our motivation comes from. While doing our own research we’re scouring all over the internet for the latest benchmark test results, official guides and manuals from the manufacturers & other authority magazines, reviews and ratings, new deals available online and then we add here some of the laptops we liked most.
The most powerful configuration we’ve been able to locate for this price? It’s actually a little more than 400 dollars but the benchmark scores for the processor and video card were the highest I’ve seen in this price rage of 400 to 450 bucks. Usually when the price exceeds 450 dollars we’re listing the laptops in the sub $500 category as well.
Dell Inspiron 15 i15RV-3767BLK 15.6-Inch Laptop (Black)
Price: $459.99 Go to Store
(0 Customer Reviews)
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
The Dell Inspiron 15 i15RV-3767BLK 15.6-Inch Laptop in black is one of the best all-rounders we can find at the moment. The Processor is a bit slower than it’s other competitors, with just 1.8 GHz, but the 6 GB of DDR3 RAM and the 500GB HDD more than makes up for it. The high quantity of RAM means it can be used for multitasking without any problems, and because of it’s 3rd Generation Intel Core Processor some basic gaming is also possible on it. It’s very capable for it’s class and I think it’s a better package overall.
We’re constantly searching for the top-rated laptops to list here, but meanwhile if you happen to find a better one do not hesitate to contact us and we will add it here as well.
Gaming Laptops Under 400 dollars in 2013
Though it may seem unbelievable, there are cheap gaming laptops under 400 USD out there that can be used to play most of the latest games (with medium to low detail settings). Now please don’t get me wrong as these inexpensive laptops were not specifically built for gaming, but their low-midrange graphics cards the modern games should be playable at low settings and resolutions.
Other than the Dell Inspiron listed above, we have also managed to find this HP 15.6″ Pavilion Sleekbook Laptop. The powerful configuration features a Quad-Core AMD A8-4555M processor (having around 2232 benchmark points which is a lot, trust me), a quite strong AMD Radeon HD 7600G integrated video card (which is slightly faster than the Intel HD Graphics 4000 in Ivy Bridge CPUs, so better than the Inspiron), with a 750 GB of Disk Space, 6GB of DDR3 RAM Memory, 15.6-inch display, up to 3.5 hours of battery life and it comes with Windows 8 already installed I honestly believe that the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15.6-inch Laptop is one of the strongest budget laptops to come out recently. I’ve had a hard time deciding between this HP and the Dell, but the Dell won in the end.
HP Sparkling Black 15.6″ Pavilion Laptop PC – AMD Quad-Core A8-4555M Accelerated Processor, 6GB Memory, 750GB Hard Drive, Windows 8
Price: $444.44 Go to Store
(3 Customer Reviews)
For those of you looking for a 17-inch Laptop on a budget, I managed to find the Acer Aspire E1-731-4656 17.3-Inch Laptop. It’s performance isn’t anything special but it will keep up with casual users’ needs well enough. I think this might be a good first device for people having problems seeing everything on a regular 15-inch screen. I don’t recommend this device for anyone looking to do much multitasking or moderately intensive applications. In the case of this device it’s really a case of paying more for the bigger display and chassis.
Acer Aspire E1-731-4656 17.3-Inch Laptop (Steel Gray)
Price: $399.99 Go to Store
(3 Customer Reviews)
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Ultrabooks and Touchscreen Laptops are slowly making their way down the price range and it seems the new Asus VivoBook S500CA 15.6″ Touchscreen Laptop has just come in the 400$ range. As you would expect, the fact that it’s an Ultrabook and also Touchscreen enabled means the performance has had to suffer some. The performance is slightly better than the Acer above, making it more usable for students and business users who need light devices with high mobility.
Asus VivoBook S500CA 15.6″ Touchscreen Laptop – Intel Pentium 2117U / 4GB DDR3 / 500GB HD / Webcam & Microphone / Wireless LAN / Windows 8 64-bit OS
Price: $380.00 Go to Store
(0 Customer Reviews)
For the people who have the 400 dollar mark as a hard limit but still want good performance there’s only one choice available at the moment. It’s the Asus X501A 15.6″ Laptop. It has the makings of a very good device for students with its textured exterior and 3rd Generation Intel Core Processor. Its processor is the best thing it has going for it and will do a very good job for this budget. The 4GB RAM can also be upgraded relatively cheaply later and it could even become better than the Dell from above.
Asus X501A 15.6″ Laptop Computer – Intel i3-3120M / 4GB DDR3 / 500GB HD / Webcam & Microphone / Windows 8 64-bit OS
Price: $409.99 Go to Store
(2 Customer Reviews)
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Well, the thing is you won’t really find anything that can be labeled “too powerful” in the 400 dollars limit. You can, however, find many things that are decent and useful for certain purposes, but you have to be really lucky to find something with an Intel i series processor on it or even an AMD quad-core powered laptop. Even so, if you do find one of those you won’t find it under 400 dollars at its full price. It will probably have some sort of discount on it if you’ll find it for such a low budget (which is what we’re looking to find for you).
What you can usually find for this relatively inexpensive price group are pretty decent laptops. However, keep in mind that I use “decent” loosely as the laptop is only good for a few limited tasks. If you are a student, a casual user or even a beginning business user, then that is the laptop for you. For heavy gaming and power usage we’re struggling to find good laptop deals that will accomplish these tasks to some extent.
Most common configuration you will find on laptops under 400 dollars:
The most common configuration for this budget is: a decent dual-core processor (not very powerful though), a maximum of 4 GB of RAM which are more often than not upgrade-able to the amount of 8 GB, a hard drive of around 500 GB and an integrated video card of limited strength. As for other things, it may or may not have certain things related to its connectivity – things such as Bluetooth, or HDMI or USB 3.0 or such.
Who can use these budget laptops?
These laptops can be used by a wide range of people. Of course, some will benefit more than others, as is the case with the cruel world in which we live. Even so, these devices can be useful for almost all of the categories below.
A student will most definitely benefit from these devices. One of the main factors that indicates that is the budget. Who can honestly say they are doing awesome as a student, living the dream and having enough money to do whatever the hell they please. Exactly – money is a big problem with the student life. Paying less for things is the most useful thing you could possibly do. That’s where these devices come in as they are the cheapest they can possibly find.
As for performance, a student will require enough hardware strength to do his / her school work and nothing else. Do not get me wrong, but finding the time for other activities is a pretty difficult task. However, should they find the time for relaxation, these devices are great for the occasional browser game or movie. The fact that they have a ton of storage space is also good for many reasons. It is not for me to name those reasons, but you will probably see the benefits of it yourself.
Laptops Under $400 for Casual Users
The way I define a casual user is as somebody that uses the PC for the occasional movie, social networking websites and listening to music. Once in a while they also like to play a game of sorts, if you can refer to playing browser games as gaming. That is why, as far as performance goes, the average casual user will not require as much hardware strength as a power user or gamer.
Since these laptops don’t actually have all that much hardware strength and they were made for a very low budget, I’d say they are ideal for the casual user. Asking for say, a gaming laptop, or something with a great deal of performance would be a pretty bad investment if you only plan on using it for purposes such as those mentioned above.
Laptops Under $400 for Power Users
A power user, as I would define one, is a person that requires a bit of hardware strength in his / her laptop. Well, perhaps not strength, but speed. A power user is that person that uses the laptop for Multitasking and all sorts of demanding purposes. They require hardware strength, but a graphics processor would just be another unnecessary expense for them.
These laptops can be very decent for a power user as they all have a around 4 to 8 GB of RAM, thus allowing for quite a bit of multitasking as long as you don’t over-stress it. the processors are quite decent allowing for more than a bit of powerful usage. The only thing that will most surely prove an impediment for you is if you try to run any sort of games on these laptops. By games, I am not referring to the apps you play on all sorts of websites, but the serious kind.
Laptops Under $400 for Business Use
These laptops are rather useful for the aspiring businessman. Sure, you may not have so much hardware power for demanding operations such as 3D rendering and development, but any program from the Microsoft Office suite should work just find. Most of them also have Office 2010 on them, but it is a Trial version or at best the Office 2010 Starter. Either way you will have to pay a lot ( with emphasis on “a lot” ) for the license of Microsoft Office 2010.
As for the hardware side, I don’t see a Business user actually requiring a video card for their laptops and these device not having so much hardware in them are perfect. Perhaps you just started your own business and now have a limited budget out of which you have to get all that you require. These laptops are a pretty good investment as they are pretty cheap and are pretty reliable themselves. Thus you will probably not regret this purchase since these budget laptops have all of the necessary things to fulfill the role of Business laptop.
Best Laptops Under $400 for Playing Games
A gaming laptop is usually the apex of laptop technology. Not only must it have a really powerful processor, a ton of RAM but it must also have very strong graphics card. Of course, some of them do not require a dedicated graphics card, for instance those equipped with Intel HD 4000 as the third generation intel processors have, but for others you require more (much more).
On a side note, that HD 4000 graphics processor is positively great. I had the chance of using one and I tried it out on Grand Theft Auto IV as I think it’s the least optimized game for the PC (and also, it is unfamiliar with the idea of switchable graphics, if you happen to have for instance and HD graphics card and a dedicated one, it will usually ignore the dedicated card). Even with this, the game ran with around 38 frames per second on the Ultra High settings. That being said, the graphics card is extremely powerful.
These under 400 dollars budget laptops are good for certain kind of games, but not all, thus making them ineligible to be called a “Gaming Laptop” in the true sense of the word.
In conclusion, it is very important for you to know what you plan on using the laptop for. If you already know in which category to place yourself, then that is very good. However, if you do not, try doing an introspect and realizing what you need a laptop for. Other than that, these laptops are pretty useful for just about any of the above categories. They may not be so suitable for the last of those categories, but then again, they are more affordable than the laptops that usually fit that category.