Top 10 Best Laptops Under $200 Of 2019

Sticker shock is a common problem when looking for a new laptop computer. There are plenty of options in stores or online that will run you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

But do you really need to spend that amount of money to get a machine that fits your usage? By digging a little deeper, you can find a budget laptop that gets the job done while staying firmly under $200!

Picking The Best Cheap Laptop Under $200

When you’ve got a limited budget of $199 or less, finding the right machine means prioritizing which features are most important to you.

To find a workable system within that constraint, the biggest question should be whether you truly want a full laptop. In many cases, a netbook or Chromebook under $200 might actually work out better and at a lower cost.

After deciding whether you need Windows 10 or a more streamlined Chromebook, next comes size and weight decisions. How small is too small, and how heavy of a device do you want to lug around to classes?

Devices in this price range are built with portability firmly in mind. There can still be a wide range of sizes available however, with screens varying from 10 – 14 inches.

Finally, be sure to consider the overall hardware specs. Even at this low end price point, some laptops will still outclass others in terms of system memory, processor speed, and hard drive space.

Once you have a clear idea of what you need in mind, let’s dive in and get started looking at the contenders!

In A Hurry? Here’s The Winner From Hours Of Research

Editor’s Choice

HP stream 14

HP Stream 14

Why is it better?

  • Fast specs for the budget price
  • Nice full sized keyboard
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Good battery life

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Read Review Details

The Lineup At A Glance

The Contenders For Best Budget Laptop Under $200

1. HP Stream 14 – Students Pick With Free Office 365

HP stream 14

The HP Stream 14 features an Intel Celeron processor and a full 4GB of RAM, which at this price point, makes it one of the best deals on the market. Add in on top of that it comes with a full year of Microsoft Office 365 and it’s a no brainer for students on a budget.

  • Full sized keyboard
  • Lightweight
  • 4GB of RAM
  • Low resolution screen
  • Only 32GB of storage

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When looking for a laptop for under $200, you generally have to weigh the pros and cons more carefully than if you have a bigger budget. Luckily, the HP Stream 14 has very few compromises and is a great laptop in this price range.

Key features & details

Intel Celeron Processor

Most laptops in this category will only give you a slower mobile processor, but the HP Stream features an Intel Celeron N4000, which is head and shoulders better than it’s Intel Atom competitors.

Office 365 Included

One of the greatest benefits of this laptop is the inclusion of a whole year of Microsoft Office 365. This will give you access to Word, Excel, and more to help with all of your school work.

Small Storage Size

While the hard drive that is included in the Stream is an SSD, it is only 32GB. This is not enough for an everyday use Windows laptop, but it does have an SD card expansion slot to help upgrade in the future.

Low Resolution Screen

The HP Stream 14 has a full 14-inch display, making it a decent sized laptop. The screen resolution is only 1366 x 768, making it pretty low resolution in today’s standards. We would love to see 1080p on anything above 13 inches.

Overall, the HP Stream is a fantastic choice in the sub-$200 category. You will get a ton of value for your dollar here, and we highly suggest this product for your consideration.

Specification
Hardware specifications for HP Stream 14
ProcessorIntel Celeron N4000 (1.1 – 2.6 GHz)
RAM4GB DDR4
Storage32GB eMMC SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Display14-inch WLED LCD, 1366 x 768 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life10 hours
Weight3.39 lbs
Other Features

Office 365 for 1 year included

2. CHUWI HeroBook – Most Portable

chuwi-herobook

If you are looking for a sleek and stylish laptop with a nice screen for under $200, the CHUWI HeroBook is great! It has decent performance and looks that are second to none in this category.

  • Beautiful full HD screen
  • 64GB of Storage
  • Thin and portable
  • Atom processor on the slow side
  • Feels cheap

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You may not know the name CHUWI, but after reading this review, it should be something you find out more about. The HeroBook is a beautiful 14-inch laptop that comes in right around the $200 amount.

Key features & details

Not the Best Processor

The main glaring weakness of the HeroBook is the inclusion of the older and slower Intel Atom processor. This means some more demanding tasks can get sluggish, and multitasking is almost out of the question.

Plenty of Storage

While 64GB of storage space may not seem like a lot, in the ultrabook space (especially the under $200 range), you hardly see this much storage. That means you will not have to upgrade to external storage right away.

Extremely Portable

The CHUWI HeroBook is thin and lightweight. You could easily throw this in a backpack or a small bag and carry it around with you all day.

Questionable Build Quality

The HeroBook is not built as sturdy as some of the competitors on this list. While it does feel okay, it tends to have more plastic bits and flex than we like to see in a laptop.

CHUWI has created a great machine in the HeroBook. It is nice to look at, both in design and the full HD screen. Don’t let the brand put you off this fantastic notebook that will cost you less than $200.

Specification
Hardware specifications for CHUWI HeroBook
ProcessorIntel Atom X5-E8000 (1.04 – 2.0 GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3
Storage64GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics
Display14.1-inch LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life9 hours
Weight3.06 lbs

3. Fusion5 Laptop – Best for Gaming

Fusion 5 laptop

If you are looking for the perfect small laptop to use as a portable video game emulation machine, or to play 2D games on, the Fusion5 is a good choice. It is portable, has a good battery, and expandable storage for all of your games.

  • 1080p Resolution
  • Extremely portable
  • Good battery life
  • Only 2GB of RAM
  • 32GB of storage is not enough

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When you are searching for a small gaming laptop to use as an emulator or to run 2D games such as Brawlhalla or Shovel Knight, you may look to buy a bigger brand name than Fusion5.  However, it is definitely worth your consideration if your budget is under $200.

Key features & details

Intel Atom Processor

While the Intel Atom x5-z8350 processor is not as strong as even the low end Core processors, it uses much less power and is still a capable component. With a boost clock of up to 1.92 GHz, it can handle all of your light gaming needs.

Light and Portable

The Fusion5 is a great small and light laptop for when you want to ditch the small Nintendo handheld screens and upgrade.  While still on the smaller side for a laptop, as a portable gaming machine it is miles ahead of any handheld device on the market.

Small Storage Size

The 32GB of storage space on the Fusion5 is simply not enough to use for gaming. You will need to run either an external hard drive or an SD card loaded with your games in order to get the best experience.

Full HD Screen

The best thing about the Fusion5 is definitely the screen. At a full 1920 x 1080 pixels, the resolution of the Fusion5 is fantastic in this price range.

Light, portable, and capable of playing classic games, the Fusion5 is an easy recommendation here.  Buy one, and take your games with you wherever you go!

Specification
Hardware specifications for Fusion5
ProcessorIntel Atom x5-Z8350 (1.44 – 1.92 GHz)
RAM2GB DDR3
Storage32GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics
Display11.6-inch IPS, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life13 hours
Weight2.8 lbs

4. Samsung Chromebook 3 – Best Value

Samsung Chromebook 3

If you are looking for the absolute best value laptop on the market, the Samsung Chromebook 3 is the clear winner. At under $200, you are getting 4GB of RAM and a Celeron processor, plenty enough for a great experience on Chrome OS.

  • Lightweight
  • Snappy Celeron processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • Outdated DDR3 RAM
  • 16GB of storage fills quickly

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There are a ton of Chromebooks on the market, but none as affordable as the Samsung Chromebook 3. This little laptop has great specs for this price point, and is snappy when using it even for extended periods.

Key features & details

Intel Celeron Processor

A step up from the budget friendly Atom processor line, the Celeron N3060 is a great budget processor. It can handle light multi-tasking and everyday use in Chrome OS without a hitch.

4GB of RAM

It would have been easy for Samsung to only put 2GB of RAM in this laptop and call it a day, but they opted for the much more capable 4GB solution. This will ensure the RAM doesn’t bottleneck the CPU, and give the computer plenty of room to move quickly through your tasks.

Unacceptable Storage Size

The glaring weakness of this Chromebook is the absolutely awful 16GB of storage space. While your storage does stretch farther on a Chromebook, 16GB is just not enough for modern laptops and you will want to use an external storage solution.

Extremely Portable

The Chromebook 3 is a very lightweight and portable laptop. While it is still strong enough in hardware to feel nice and snappy, the weight is light and extremely comfortable to carry with you.

When money is tight and you are looking to buy a laptop on a shoestring budget, the Samsung Chromebook 3 should be the first one you look at. It is extremely affordable, first and foremost, and yet still packs a decent amount of specs inside.

Specification
Hardware specifications for Samsung Chromebook 3
ProcessorIntel Celeron N3060 (1.7 GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3
Storage16GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 400
Display11.6-inch LCD, 1366 x 768 pixels resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life11 hours
Weight3.65 lbs

5. Acer Business Chromebook – Best Chromebook

Acer Business Chromebook

The Acer Business Chromebook is one of the best Chromebooks on the market, regardless of it being a budget machine. It has really good specs and a full HD 1080p screen to boot. What a deal!

  • Full HD screen
  • 4GB of RAM
  • Loud speakers
  • Keyboard feels slick
  • 32GB of storage is not enough

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Chrome OS is a fantastic operating system, and it takes very little hardware to run it smoothly.  This makes it a great system to run on budget laptops, such as the Acer Business Chromebook.

Key features & details

Decent Processor

The Intel Celeron N3160 in this laptop is a great chip, with enough power to easily handle Chrome OS and all of your favorite applications. It isn’t quite as fast as an i5, but it is plenty enough in this case.

Perfect Amount of RAM

4GB of RAM is the perfect amount to pair with the Celeron processor.  It is only DDR3 and 1600 Mhz, but that is adequate, especially for Chrome OS.

Good Speakers

On most small laptops the spears are atrocious. The Acer Business Chromebook is one of the best on the market in terms of loudness and clarity in the onboard speakers.

Mediocre Keyboard

While the spacing of the keyboard and key travel feel fine, the keys are a bit too slick. This can make for mistakes and errors when typing at times, and the lack of a backlight makes it a bad choice for night time work.

Acer is known as a budget brand, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on the quality of their products.  The robust build and feature rich Business Chromebook is a great choice for the business-savvy person on a budget.

Specification
Hardware specifications for Acer Business Chromebook
ProcessorIntel Atom x5-e8000 (1.6 GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3
Storage32GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics
Display14.1-inch LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 
Battery Life12 hours
Weight3.42 lbs

Should I Go With Windows Or The Chrome OS?

When picking a laptop or hybrid device at this price point, Windows won’t always be your primary option. While full Windows 10 Home version machines exist under $200, they will usually have tiny hard drives.

While you may be more familiar with the Windows layout, don’t discount a Chromebook that uses the Chrome OS. There are major differences between the operating systems, but they aren’t difficult to overcome.

The Chrome OS is based around the web browser, and behaves more like a tablet. Rather than using the typical Microsoft Word or Open Office, the Chrome OS instead utilizes web-based programs like Google Docs.

Now that Chrome OS has received Google Play support, a Chromebook also opens up your options significantly in terms of downloading apps.

Do I Want A New Or Refurbished Unit?

The $200 – $400 range is where you start to see laptops with specs capable of running most programs. If you don’t want to lose out on a lot of functionality, spending less than $200 often isn’t an option.

The main exception to that rule involves buying a refurbished unit. You can get a much better system with significantly higher specs at a lower price.

There are some inherent issues to going this route, however. There are plenty of horror stories to be found in online reviewers where a buyer received a broken or malfunctioning computer.

When picking a refurbished unit, choosing a bigger name brand is usually a safer bet. Make sure to check the return policy and support options as well.

Some refurbished units only have warranties of as low as 30 days. Others have multi-year warranties, but they may charge you shipping to send the laptop in for repairs.

Whether you decide to pick a new or refurbished unit, taking a look at the return and warranty policies is always a good idea!

What Features Won’t I Get At This Price Point?

In order to find a laptop under $199 or less, unfortunately you can’t expect blazing fast speeds or huge hard drives. Manufacturers will often provide less RAM and slower processors here than with higher priced computers.

It isn’t usually until the $200 – $300 range that you get full 500GB – 1TB hard drives. At this price point, 32GB is usually the largest amount of storage space offered.

Due to that tiny amount of storage, remember that you may end up spending more buying an external hard drive or MicroSD card.

Screen resolutions also typically aren’t up to par with more expensive notebook computers. Some of them will be listed as “HD,” but that’s used more as a catch all term than a specific hardware specification.

In most cases, you won’t find high end displays at a full 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution. If you want higher end specs, normally you will have to bump up to a higher price point or make trade offs on other components.

Frequently Asked Question

Is the processor, RAM, or storage space more important?

We would prioritize a decent processor first, followed by higher capacity RAM, and lastly the amount of storage space. The reason being you can’t really upgrade the first two, but the storage space you can always add an external drive.

Are Chromebooks good budget options?

Yes!  Chrome OS is a lightweight, fast operating system. Google has created a wonderful ecosystem where you can download and use almost any app on the market.  This makes it great for home, business, or school use.

Conclusion

Did you find a cheap laptop for school or work that will meet your needs in our list of contenders?

Between these five options, there should be a perfect Chromebook or laptop for everyone! Let us know what you thought of our budget notebook picks, and leave us a comment if you see any killer deals we missed.

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