Just about any notebook under $400 will serve your most basic needs, but some inevitably will 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 demanding user and are planning to use it for casual, business or school purposes (as these are the main use cases for these laptops) then don’t think twice about buying one.
The best performance you can get for under 400 dollars?
I think that most 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 point. While some are looking to get the absolute best performance for the money, others are more specific about the set of features they need or the laptop brand they are loyal to like Dell, HP, ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, Gateway, etc.
Sometimes I’m really surprised to see how powerful a laptop for such a low price can be. Even more, with a little bit of luck, you can find a sale on some of the better laptops, thus making them fit the price range around 400 dollars (give or take 50 dollars). Finding such bargains is 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. Based on what we find we then add the laptops we like most to this list.
The most powerful configuration we’ve been able to locate in this price range? 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.
2020 Dell Inspiron 14-inch
The best performance available at the moment comes with the new 2020 model year Dell Inspiron 14-Inch Notebook
Dell Inspiron 14-Inch Laptop
- Intel Core i5-1035G4
- 8GB RAM
- 512GB SSD
- Windows 10
The new 2020 model year Dell Inspiron 14-Inch laptop comes with the much improved 10th generation Intel Core i5 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and an above average for this class 512GB SSD as standard. Unfortunately it doesn’t also have a touchscreen, but the performance more than makes up for that. It comes with the full version of Windows 10 preinstalled from the factory.
Lenovo Ideapad 330 15.6-Inch
Our next Laptop has been a staple of the Lenovo lineup for quite some time. The Ideapad line of laptops has had some genuinely good laptops. This one is one of those laptops.
Lenovo Ideapad 330 15.6-Inch Laptop
- AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
- 8GB RAM
- 256GB SSD
- 1080p Screen
The Lenovo Ideapad 330 is a 15.6-Inch laptop currently available with the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The big advantage of this laptop compared to most of its competitors is that it is equipped with a 1080p screen. It also gets the full Windows 10 Home Edition version from the factory.
Dell Inspiron 5575 15.6-inch Touchscreen
For our last pick I’m going to recommend the Dell Inspiron 5575 15.6-Inch Touchscreen Laptop.
Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Laptop with Touchscreen
- AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
- 8GB RAM
- 1TB HDD
- 1080p Touchscreen
Just like the Ideapad series from Lenovo, Inspiron has been Dell’s high value line for years. This laptop comes equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U CPU, 8 GB of RAM, a 1080p high resolution Touchscreen and for all you data horders out there, a 1TB HDD. The only reason this laptop is so low on my list is precisely because of that HDD. A hybrid solution would have been better, but for this price category, if you’re looking to store a lot of photos and videos then it’s still a very good choice.
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 2020
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.
The only laptops currently available with a somewhat decent GPU right now are last gen AMD powered Laptops. As such here’s one I’m able to recommend:
ASUS VivoBook F510QA 15.6-Inch Laptop
- AMD A12-9720P
- 12GB RAM
- 128GB SSD+1TB HDD
- AMD Radeon R7 GPU
This Laptop from ASUS features an AMD A12-9720P quad-core processor running at 2.7GHz, comes with 12GB RAM and the most important bit, a Radeon R7 graphics card. The storage arrangement is also very good with the combination of a 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD giving you a total of 1128GB of storage capacity.
Overall just based on the spec sheet, one’s tempted to think this is the best laptop here. Unfortunately due to the quite old generation of CPU this laptop might struggle with more demanding workloads. Battery life will also not be as good as on modern chips. Good for gaming and productivity, not very mobile or with latest features.
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 performance. As for other features, 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 powerful graphics card. Of course, for those of you running less demanding games, Intel’s integrated HD Graphics cards are well suited to run them.
On a side note, the previous HD 4000 graphics processor is positively great. I had the chance of using one 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 these demands, the game ran around 38 frames per second on the Ultra High settings. Intel’s integrated graphics card are very good.
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.