Best Laptops Under $600 In 2020

Jeremy Miller Updated on June 30, 2020
best laptop under 600

If you aren’t sure where to get started or how to pick the right notebook, we’ve got you covered! Below we’ve found five excellent picks best laptops under $600 for any user, including the gaming laptop with a dedicated GPU.

The number of potential options are huge at this price range, from tiny 14 inch screens to huge 17 inch displays.

Each contender listed below will be the one of the best laptops for online college classes, gaming, home usage, or even small business tasks.

The Lineup At A Glance

Best Laptops Under $600 in 2020

ASUS VivoBook 15 – College Pick

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ASUS VivoBook 15
Do you need high end specs but don’t care about having a touch screen? This should absolutely be your top pick for the best budget laptop for a college student! When you have some extra money, just make sure to swap out the HDD with a 256GB SSD instead.

By culling out the touch screen functionality — which many users don’t need — you get high level specs here but save yourself nearly $100! 

Yep, this one’s almost a full Benjamin Franklin cheaper than any other model in our roundup.

It’s also more than a pound lighter, so if you prefer portability over having a DVD-RW drive, this is a better way to go. While you lose the optical drive, you still get a card reader, three USB ports, and an HDMI port.

Two potential downsides are frequently brought up in reviews: the keyboard isn’t backlit, and the 1TB HDD is noticeably slower than laptops with a solid state drive.

That can especially be an issue when installing Windows updates. Be prepared to swap out the drive for an SSD when you’ve got some extra money to spend.

Your upgrade options are fairly open on the RAM as well. This model features two memory slots and only one 8GB stick, which means upgrading to 16GB is much cheaper than normal.

If you need to buy a lower cost unit now to save money for expensive college textbooks (and lot sof take out during study sessions), this is the way to go.

Hardware specifications for ASUS VivoBook 15 

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Processor Up to 3.5GHz | Graphics: Integrated AMD Radeon Vega 3| RAM: 8 GB RAM | Screen:  15.6 inch FHD(1920 x 1080) with four-sided wider NanoEdge bezel display | Storage: 128 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 9 hours| Weight: 3.75 pounds

Dell Inspiron 14 – Business Pick

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Dell Inspiron 14
Looking for the absolute best processor and RAM along with a touch screen all without going over $600? This should be your pick as the best laptop for small businesses to get a reliable machine.

Dell’s Inspiron line is all about combining form and function. This particular model seeks and less heavy than other units at this price range, but still offers all the features you’d normally want.

Despite being under five pounds, you still get an optical DVD-RW drive for burning discs or installing business software. Of course, you don’t lose out on more convenient storage options with the card reader or USB drives.

On the typing front, the Inspiron has a backlit keyboard for convenient use at night or in low-light office conditions. You also get the full 10 key design, so you don’t have to deal with a cramped keyboard style.

That’s all just window dressing, though. The real goods are what’s inside the machine, and you won’t be let down there, either.

The  i5-1035G4 is one of the best processors currently available at this price, offering plenty of speed while drawing less power from the wall outlet.

Besides the specs, buyers often mention this model’s strong wi-fi signal. That can be a big plus for work applications, as many laptops in the lower price range tend to have dropped connection issues.

Hardware specifications for Dell Inspiron 14

CPU: Intel Core i5-1035G4 1. 10 GHz, Turbo to 3. 70 GHz | Graphics: Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8 GB RAM | Screen: 14. 0-inch HD (1366 x 768) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Non-touch Display | Storage: 512 GB SSD  | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 9 hours | Weight: 4.03 pounds

Acer Aspire 5 – Full HD IPS display 

Acer Aspire 5
Easily our top pick when it comes to a great display, the Aspire series features long battery life, a fast SSD, decent GPU, and a processor that can handle everyday tasks with ease.

If you want to squeeze every last ounce of processing power without spending thousands, this is the computer to pick. Although there’s less overall storage space than standard 1TB HDD laptops, going with an SSD version means whisper-quiet hard drive operation that’s both faster and more reliable.

Acer Aspire 5 also has an amazing 15.6″ Full HD  display with an IPS screen. This ensures that you’ll be enjoying high-quality resolutions at a cheap price.  It also features a thin-bezel display that helps you focus on what’s on-screen maximizing the space of the display as well. 

Hardware specifications for Acer Aspire 5

CPU: 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10210U Processor  | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620| RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15 6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display  | Storage: 256 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 9 hours | Weight: 5.74 pounds

Samsung Chromebook 3 – Best Cheap Chromebook

Samsung Chromebook 3
If you are looking for a Chromebook under $600, you will be hard-pressed to find one better than the Samsung Chromebook Plus 3. Not only does it have decent specs for a Chromebook, but it also has very long battery life.

Chromebooks tend to get a bad rap as being lesser than their Windows counterparts. This is unfair, especially when you have awesome laptops such as the Samsung chromebook 3 on the market.

One of the best things about this Chromebook is weight. It weighs under 3 pounds, making it extremely portable.  Throw it in your backpack and you are good to go!

One of the downsides of most Chromebooks is the lack of hard drive storage space. This laptop is no different, as it has a minuscule  16 GB of space.  Thankfully it makes up for it with its battery life since the Samsung Chromebook 3 has over 10 hours of uninterrupted battery life.

Overall, if you are in the market for a laptop under $600 and don’t mind Chrome OS, the Samsung Chromebook Plus 3 is a great option. It has everything you need to be your computer on the go.

Hardware specifications for Samsung Chromebook 3

CPU: Intel Celeron N3060  | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 4GB LPDDR3 RAM | Screen: 11.6 inch HD Anti-ReflectiveLED Display (1366 x 768) | Storage: 16GB eMMC | Operating System: Chrome OS| Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight: 2.54 pounds

Lenovo Flex 5  – Best Overall

Lenovo Flex 5
If you are looking for the absolute best laptop computer under $600, you can not go wrong with the Lenovo Flex 5. Equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor and 16 GB of RAM, you are getting a ton of power for an extremely great price.

This laptop is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor. That is insane for a laptop costing under $600 and will give you plenty of speed and power for your daily tasks.

Most laptops in this price range will give you 4 – 8GB of RAM. But not this one, here you are getting a whopping 16 GB to handle all of your multitasking. 

With a battery that lasts up to 10 hours, you will get solid days worth of use out of this laptop with normal tasks. Playing games and other highly intensive tasks will make it drain faster, but it is still impressive.

We have no problem recommending this laptop as the best you can buy for under $600. It has the specs of a laptop with twice the price, so you are definitely getting your money’s worth.

Hardware specifications for Lenovo Flex 5  

CPU:  AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Processor | Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics| RAM: 16GB DDR4 OnBoard RAM | Screen: 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight: 3.63 pounds

Lenovo Ideapad 330 – Best gaming laptop under $600

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Lenovo Ideapad 330
You really can’t buy a top-tier gaming laptop under $600 but you can get close to one. One of the closest laptops that reach the specs of gaming laptops in this list is the Lenovo Ideapad 330. Its has a powerful AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Processor and an AMD Radeon Vega 8 which can play most mid-end games out there.

Our best overall laptop the Lenovo Flex 5 has tons of power and its specs are capable of running games smoothly however it only has a 14 inch screen which is lacking in the immersion department.

The Lenovo Ideapad 330 takes the spot for the best gaming laptop since it pretty much has similar although less powerful specs than Lenovo Flex 5 with its AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Processor, 8 GB or RAM, and an AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics card which is one of the most powerful low-end integrated graphics card around.

The Lenovo Ideapad 330’s screen is much more suited for gaming as well since its 15 inch PS Anti-Glare Display allows you to see the screen perfectly and clearly even on a bright day. 

Despite not really being a gaming laptop, the  Lenovo Ideapad 330 also suffers from a low battery life of 6 hours which is low compared to the other laptops in this list.

Hardware specifications for Lenovo IdeaPad 330

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Processor (2.0 GHz base frequency up to 3.6 GHz, 6 MB cache, 4 cores) | Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 8 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM| Screen: 15.6 inch HD (1366 x 768) IPS Anti-Glare Display | Storage: 256GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home  | Battery Life: 6 hours| Weight: 4.1 pounds

Lenovo 100E Chromebook – Best budget option

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Lenovo 100E Chromebook
If you’re really short on cash and you’re only looking for a functional laptop to do everyday tasks in, then you might want to settle for the Lenovo 100E Chromebook. This is one of the cheapest options out there and it will be very useful to you especially its 10 hour battery life.

If you’re in this budget section, then you’re probably looking for the cheapest functioning laptop you can find that still works smoothly but is affordable even if you’re short on cash. Well, Lenovo 100E Chromebook is what you’re looking for.

This cheap effective laptop is powered by a MediaTek MT8173C Processo, a Powervr GX6250 graphics card, and 4 GB of RAM. Now this isn’t anything amazing  specs wise but considering its price, its bargain!

You’ll only have 32 GB of storage space with the Lenovo 100E Chromebook, so don’t expect this laptop to store large audio and video files as well as big programs. You’ll probably be using this laptop for surfing, as well for handling basic documents.

Hardware specifications for Lenovo 100E Chromebook

CPU: MediaTek MT8173C Processor | Graphics: Powervr GX6250 | RAM: 4GB RAM | Screen: 11.6″ HD (1366 X 768) Display | Storage: 32GB eMMC | Operating System: Chrome OS | Battery Life: 10 hours| Weight: 2.7 pounds

MOTILE 14 – Best Portability

Motile 14
Want a laptop that is cheap and easy to carry around? The MOTILE 14 is a Walmart brand and it delivers powerful and serviceable graphics despite its relatively lightweight. Weighing only 2.55 pounds the MOTILE 14 is light as a feather and usable almost everywhere with its small 14 inch screen.

Most of the laptops on this list are lightweight and easy to carry. Since they don’t have very powerful specs, it’s understandable that they don’t have big and bulky parts with lots of power. 

One laptop that is relatively powerful yet being very light is the Motile 14. It’s a Walmart brand that weighs only 2.55 pounds and features decently powerful specs like the AMD Ryzen 3-3200U processors, an AMD Radeon Vega 3 Graphics Card, 8 GB of RAM.

It has a small storage space of 128 GB SSD but it comes with a 500 GB external hard drive which gives you a total of 628 GB. Lastly, the MOTILE 14 has a long battery life of 7 hours meaning that you can use this laptop for the entire day without having to charge it. 

Hardware specifications for MOTILE 14

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3-3200U 2.6GHz| Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 3 Graphics| RAM: 8 GB RAM| Screen: 14” FHD Tuned by THXTM display | Storage: 128 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: 7 hours | Weight: 2.55 pounds

HP Pavilion 14 – Best battery life

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HP Pavilion 14
Are you the type of person who prefers using their laptop while lying down or are generally far away from a power source, then you might want to consider using the HP Pavilion 14. With 11.5 hours of battery life, you won’t need to charge this laptop after a few hours use which can be pretty annoying.

The HP Pavilion 14 is one of the best laptops on this list. It has a powerful 10th Gen Intel 4-Core i5-1035G1 processor that can go up to 3.6 Hz. This ensures that it won’t lag or hang compared to other budget laptops of the same price range.

Its Intel UHD Graphics might not be the ideal for gaming but it can still run some mid-end games 

without problems. Just make sure to turn the settings to low if you’re having drops in framerate.

The laptop is  also relatively light as well, weighing only 3.2 pounds making it ideal for travel.Its 11.5 hours of battery life only makes it better for travellers as well since you can just charge this until its full and to use it on the plane or waiting area without having to compete with either people for charging spots.

Hardware specifications for HP Pavilion 14

CPU: 10th Gen Intel 4-Core i5-1035G1 up to 3.6GHz | Graphics:Intel UHD Graphics | RAM: 8 GB  | Screen: 14 inch diagonal HD SVA anti-glare micro-edge WLED-backlit (1366 x 768) | Storage: 256 GB  | Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 11.5 hours| Weight: 3.2 pounds

HP 15 – Best Touchscreen

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HP 15
If you prefer navigating your laptop using the screen rather than a touchpad, then you might like the HP 15. Its an affordable laptop with decent specs and its 15 inch touchscreen screen is wonderful for watching movies and TV shows.

The HP 15 is one of the best laptops on this list. It features decently powerful specs with the latest Intel Core i3-1005G1 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and an Intel UHD Graphics Card. Now this is not as good as other laptops above the $600 price range but this is a catch for a laptop under $600.

The laptop also has over 10 hours of battery life making it very useful for long travels or to avoid the hassle of having your laptop tethered near a charging station. 

Lastly, the HP 15 features a wonderful 15.6 in HD WLED touchscreen that allows users to navigate and operate their laptops without using a mouse or touchpad.  Some people don’t like the feel of touchpads and it’s nice using a laptop similar to how you would use a smartphone.

Picking The Best Laptops Under $600 In 2020

Design

Laptops are all about portability, so make sure to pick a model that is lightweight and has a comfortable keyboard layout.

Your specific needs on size, weight, and keyboard style can vary from other buyers.

If you are lugging a computer around between multiple college classes a day and still take it back to the dorm for homework, smaller may be better.

Do you often need to flip your laptop around to show off a design to co-workers? A larger screen may be a better pick for you in that instance.

In general, we recommend a 13 – 15 inch screen in the 3 – 5 pound range.

Weight isn’t the only deciding factor here, however. Different screen types can also mean different hardware specs.

2-in-1 flip hybrids often come with the Chrome OS instead of Windows, or they may come with the stripped down S version of Windows 10. Be sure to check what you are getting before placing your order!

Features

Rather than just directly comparing hardware specs, make sure to take into account any extra features that makes one laptop more user friendly than the others!

At this price range, your main differences will include features like touch screen displays, fingerprint scanners for security, and the presence of optical DVD-RW drives for burning discs.

Some of those features may be critical to your usage, while others can be safely ditched to save money.

Performance

Aside from the extra bells and whistles, your main consideration when buying a new laptop should be the speed and overall performance while running apps.

At this price range, we strongly recommend picking a laptop with a minimum of 8B of RAM and an i5 processor, preferably of 8th generation.

If you try to save money by going lower than those specs, you’ll end up with a very sluggish overall experience, especially when gaming.

Battery

One of the most commonly mentioned criticisms in negative laptop reviews is easily a short battery life, so make sure to take that spec into account before buying a new portable computer!

In most cases, we recommend picking a laptop that estimates at least 8 hours of battery life.

Your actual battery life will typically be less than the estimated amount, so the higher the number, the better. This is especially true if you prefer to keep the brightness up to max and like to play games.

Although it can vary depending on the specific hardware used, in general a bigger screen will also mean a shorter battery life

Gaming Graphics

All other specs being equal, you want the best possible GPU you can find if you plan to run games at high settings.

Most gamers prefer graphical fidelity over any other consideration, and we agree on that front.

No matter the price point, we always recommend picking the most powerful graphics card possible if you want to avoid dropped frame rates.

We recommend an MX 150 at the sub-$600 price range, although you can find the better GTX 1050 if you are willing to buy a refurbished machine.

Because you won’t be able to get a top of the line graphics card at this price point, don’t cut corners on the CPU or RAM.

Graphics may be the main concern with a gaming laptop, but you still want fast speeds when booting up the OS, downloading game updates, and so on.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is gaming possible on an under $600 laptop?

Not really. While you may be able to play some older titles or 2d games, the latest 3d games will more than likely be unplayable at this price point.

Should I choose a Chromebook or Windows computer?

Both are viable options, it really depends on whether you need full Windows software, or you can use Chrome apps just fine. If the apps on the chromebooks are good enough for your daily use, then it will suffice.

Resources

  1. Matthew Elliot, Asus VivoBook Review, PC Mag
  2. Mike Jennings, Dell Inspiron Review, Tech Radar
  3. Terrence Mai, Acer Aspire E 15 Review, PC Gamer
  4. Brian Westover, HP 17” Review, Laptop Mag
  5. Carl Ellis, Lenovo IdeaPad 330 Review, PC Verge
Jeremy Miller
Article by:
Jeremy has been building computers for the last 20 years. He has expert knowledge of computer hardware, and a passion for writing to match. He has joined the NetbookNews.com team to share his knowledge and passion for computer technology with you.

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