5 Best Laptops Under $600 [2019] With Gaming & College Student Picks

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 laptop 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.

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

Editor’s Choice

ASUS VivoBook F510UA

Why is it better?

  • Thin and Light
  • AMD Vega graphics
  • Fast SSD

Check Latest Price

Read Review Details

The Lineup At A Glance

The Contenders For The Best Laptops Under $600

1. ASUS VivoBook F510UA – College Pick

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.

  • Thin, light, and portable
  • Excellent processor for the price
  • Lacks a touch screen or optical drive
  • Uses slower HDD instead of an SSD

Check Latest Price

Key features & details

Speed And Power On A Budget

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.

Specification
Hardware specifications for ASUS VivoBook F510UA
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8250U (1.6 – 3.4GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage1TB HDD
GraphicsIntel UHD 620
Display15.6-Inch Anti Glare Full HD Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery Life6 hours
Weight3.7 lbs

2. Dell Inspiron 15 – Business Pick

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.

  • Top quality CPU
  • Touch screen
  • No SSD
  • Higher price

Check Latest Price

Key features & details

Business Class Solution

Dell’s latest Inspiron line is all about combining form and function. This particular model is seek 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 i5-8250U is one of the best processors currently available at this price, offering plenty of speed while drawing less power from the wall outlet.

The only major downside is that you get a hard disk drive instead of a solid state drive. There are two ways around this issue.

First off, other models are available in this same series with varying specs. The price goes up, but you can get a 256GB SSD instead if you want a faster drive.

It’s also quite simple to manually upgrade components if you want to install your own SSD or extra RAM.

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 ranges tend to have dropped connection issues.

Specification
Hardware specifications for Dell Inspiron 15
ProcessorIntel i5 8250U (1.6 – 3.4 GHz)
RAM12GB DDR4
Storage1TB HDD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display15.6-inch LED LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life7 hours
Weight4.8 lbs

3. Acer Aspire E 15 – Best Gaming Laptop Under $600

Easily our top pick for a budget gaming laptop with NVIDIA graphics at the moment, the Aspire E series features long battery life, a fast SSD, decent GPU, and a processor that will make gaming much smoother.

  • Excellent CPU + GPU combo for the price range
  • Fast data speeds from the SSD
  • Smaller storage capacity
  • Doesn’t have the flashy aesthetic of more expensive gaming models

Check Latest Price

Key features & details

High Performance, Low Cost

If you want to squeeze every last ounce of graphical output from your gaming library 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.

Note that at this price range, you aren’t going to be able to get the higher end GTX 1050 graphics card unless you buy a used or refurbished unit.

At this price though, this is the best cheap laptop with NVIDIA graphics you’ll find in a new unit.

Stay Ahead Of The Curve

This is a laptop with future upgrades in mind, as the RAM can be expanded up to 32GB so you don’t get left behind as the required specs on new games continue to increase. 

The DDR3 RAM used here is a bit slower than DDR4 variants, with a full rack of 32GB you won’t even notice. On the plus side, DDR3 means better battery life.

Prefer a larger display size? While you lose a bit of processing power, you can find a 17” version of the Acer gaming laptop for the same price.

Specification
Hardware specifications for Acer Aspire E 15
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8250U (Up to 3.4GHz)
RAM8GB DDR3
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce MX150
Display15.6″ Full HD IPS display, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery Life15 hours
Weight5.27 lbs
Other FeaturesExpandable to 32GB RAM

4. Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 – Best Chromebook

If you are looking for a chromebook under $600, you will be hard pressed to find one better than the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2. Not only does it have decent specs for a chromebook, but it comes with a stylus pen for your artistic side.

  • Light and portable
  • Front and rear camera
  • Pen included
  • Tiny storage size
  • Only 4GB of RAM

Check Latest Price

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 Plus V2 on the market.

Key features & details

Lightweight

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

Cameras

One of the awesome things about this laptop is the inclusion of both a rear and front camera. Take high quality photos with the rear facing camera, or use Skype with your friends and family with the front facing webcam.

Stylus Pen

There is a pen included with this laptop, perfect for note taking or drawing your next masterpiece. It is nice and responsive, and has a nice feel for a smaller stylus.

Storage Space

One of the down sides of most chromebooks is the lack of hard drive storage space. This laptop is no different, as it has a miniscule 64GB of space.

Overall, if you are in the market for a laptop under $600 and don’t mind Chrome OS, the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is a great option. It has everything you need to be your computer on the go.

Specification
Hardware specifications for Samsung Chromebook Plus V2
ProcessorIntel Celeron 3965Y (1.50 GHz)
RAM4GB LPDDR3
Storage64GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 615
Display12.2-inch IPS LCD, 1920 x 1200 pixels resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life7 hours
Weight2.98 lbs

5. Dell Inspiron 5570 – Best Overall

If you are looking for the absolute best laptop computer under $600, you can not go wrong with the Dell Inspiron 5570. Equipped with an i7 processor and 12GB of RAM, you are getting a ton of computer for an extremely great price.

  • Fast i7 processor
  • Plenty of RAM
  • Good battery life
  • Clunky touchpad
  • Keyboard not backlit

Check Latest Price

Dell has squeezed it’s way down into budget range with their Inspiron 5570. This laptop has insane value for the powerful specs that are inside.

Key features & details

Fast Processor

This laptop is equipped with an Intel i7 4-core processor with 8 threads. That is insane for a laptop costing under $600, and will give you plenty of speed and power for your daily tasks.

RAM

Most laptops in this price range will give you 4 – 8GB of RAM. But not this one, here you are getting a whopping 12GB to handle all of your multitasking. 

Battery Life

With a battery that lasts up to 8 hours, you will get a 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.

Bad Trackpad

The trackpad on this laptop is not very good. It feels okay, but the tracking is poor and the clicks feel much too clicky.

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 monies worth.

Specification
Hardware specifications for Dell Inspiron 5570
ProcessorIntel i7 8550U (1.8 – 4.0 GHz)
RAM12GB DDR4
Storage1TB HDD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display15.6-inch LED LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life8 hours
Weight5.2 lbs

Criteria used for evaluation

1. 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!

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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

5. 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
Categories Reviews

Leave a Comment