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Samuel Thomas
Samuel Thomas

Gaming Laptops Under 400 Best Buy



Shopping for a laptop under $400 can be challenging. Most laptops in this price range are Chromebooks, which are great options for simple tasks like web browsing, text formatting, and video playback. However, they might not be powerful or versatile enough for professionals, especially those who need to run regular Windows x86 applications. That said, you can find some Windows laptops as long as you don't mind compromising on some features, like a dimmer display or lack of biometric login.




gaming laptops under 400 best buy


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We've bought and tested more than 65 laptops. Below you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops under $400 you can get. See our picks for the best laptops under $300, the best laptops under $500, and the best Chromebooks.


The best laptop under $400 we've tested is the Lenovo Chromebook C340 15 (2020), a well-built 2-in-1 convertible laptop with a thin and light design. It has a 1080p display that provides plenty of space for multitasking, a spacious and tactile keyboard, and a small but responsive touchpad. Its port selection is okay; you get one USB-A, two USB-Cs, and an SD card reader. Both USB-C ports can output a video signal to an external display and support charging. The battery lasts a little over 12 hours of light use, which is more than enough for a typical school or workday.


Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops you can get for under $400. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).


The good news is, we're here to help. If you're searching for a laptop under $500, we've tested and reviewed the best budget laptops you can buy right now. Not sure what to look for in a good budget laptop? Jump to the buying advice right below our recommendations. This advice is based on our years of testing and review experience if you want to continue your budget laptop hunt on your own.


The Acer Aspire 5 continues to be one of the best laptop deals available. Available in 14-, 15.6- and 17.3-inch sizes, I am partial to the 15.6-inch size because it's relatively compact and lightweight but still full-featured. Acer has a wide range of configurations to choose from starting under $500. This budget laptop also features a USB 3.2 Gen 1 USB-C port, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, Ethernet and an HDMI port. The Acer Aspire 5 regularly includes a backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader for quick sign-ins -- rarities at this price.


For a cheap gaming laptop, though, you'll still have to break the $500 ceiling to support most games. The least expensive budget laptops suitable for a solid gaming performance experience -- those with moderately powerful discrete graphics processors -- will run you closer to $700. Here are our recommendations if you're looking for the best gaming laptop under $1,000.


Although, if you like to live on the bleeding edge, cloud gaming services such as Nvidia GeForce Now and Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Ultimate's Cloud Gaming will let you play games on laptops with specs that hit the under-$500 mark.


Considering all specs and options -- battery life, storage space, screen resolution, screen size, core processor performance, general machine and battery performance -- you'll find some of our top picks for 2022's best Windows laptops and Chromebooks under the $500 budget in the list above, along with their pros and cons.


The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device's aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both those objective and subjective judgments.


We regularly test the most promising laptops, from sleek ultrabooks to cheap Chromebooks to massive gaming laptops and beyond. Here are the best models you can buy in every category, along with advice on how to choose which type of laptop is right for you.


Where they fall short: Laptops with color-accurate screens and enough power for creative professionals are expensive, and even more so with add-ons like extra storage and memory. Editing laptops also tend to be larger and heavier than ultrabooks, with most weighing more than 4 pounds. The powerful processors in editing laptops generate lots of heat, as well, so some can get too hot to use comfortably on your lap, though our top pick stayed cool even under the heaviest workloads. In addition, the MacBook Pro is impossible to service on your own, but Apple provides excellent support.


Andrew Cunningham is a former senior staff writer on Wirecutter's tech team. He has been writing about laptops, phones, routers, and other tech since 2011. Before that he spent five years in IT fixing computers and helping people buy the best tech for their needs. He also co-hosts the book podcast Overdue and the TV podcast Appointment Television.


This laptop is ideal for anyone looking for a powerful gaming laptop that won't break the bank. It's the best choice for gamers who want to play the latest games at high settings without sacrificing performance or visual quality. Despite its lack of biometrics, this laptop is also suitable for anyone who needs to balance both gaming and productivity, making it a versatile choice for students and professionals alike.


Ready to dive into the details around budget laptops? Today's good news is that you'll have to accept fewer compromises with budget laptops than you did in the past. Intel's Celeron and Pentium processors (which power most of the under-$400 laptop set) have evolved to the point that they can support most of your web browsing and basic productivity needs without feeling sluggish. (That's especially true with Chromebooks; more on them later.) That said, the $400-to-$700 Windows laptop market is mostly populated by systems based on the much peppier Intel Core i3 and Core i5 and AMD Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 families of processors. Opt for these CPU lines if you need more than just the basics. (See more about how to choose a laptop CPU.)


All of these CPUs also host the silicon that runs the laptop's graphics. The newest integrated graphics solutions can hold their own in browser-based games and even some online games like World of Warcraft. The higher demands of AAA titles, though, still require a discrete GPU, which you won't find in this price range. (If money is no object, check out our top-rated gaming laptops and ultraportables, as well as our favorite cheap gaming laptops.)


In years past, many of the barest-budget Windows laptops would come with just 2GB or 4GB of main system memory, but nowadays, at least in the Windows sphere, most come with 8GB. (A 4GB RAM count remains more common in Chromebooks and under-$300 Windows laptops.) In terms of batteries, an ideal budget laptop has one with six cells or more. The battery life for a cheap laptop should come in at a minimum of seven or eight hours, and these days, many will last quite a bit longer. (A lower-resolution screen, which is a feature of some of these machines, can consume less power, all else being equal, and end up being a benefit of sorts.)


Other budget systems, particularly Chromebooks and some under-$400 Windows laptops, will have only a small allotment (32GB or 64GB) of local storage, but compensate for it with generous offers of additional free cloud storage. Of course, as with anything cloud-based, you'll need to be online to access it. Also, know that budget machines with this little local storage, among them many Chromebooks, are using what is called "eMMC memory" as their main storage. This is not the same as the flash memory used in a true solid-state drive (SSD), and it will feel a tad sluggish if you're used to an SSD.


An HDMI output and a USB-C port are definite pluses, and you can find these on even some of the very cheapest models. You shouldn't always expect a touch-screen display, however. (See our picks for the best touch-screen laptops.) Any 2-in-1 convertible machine, though, will by definition have a touch screen, as having one is necessary for using the machine as a tablet or in other orientations where the keyboard is covered up.


See our guide to the best 2-in-1 convertible and hybrid laptops for more information about this popular segment of the market. In part because of their added complexity compared with traditional clamshell designs, you won't find quite as many affordable ones, but there are a few Windows and ChromeOS-based models that cost $500 or below. They come in both permanently attached (generally 360-degree-rotating-hinge) designs, and in detachable-keyboard designs.


The best inexpensive laptops tend to go in and out of stock frequently. We've broken out the specs of our favorites here, and while we update this guide constantly, there's a good chance that at least one of our picks is back-ordered at any given time. But if you're on a strict budget, don't lose heart. You can definitely find PCs that will offer you enough performance to tackle your day-to-day tasks without a hitch.


For further in-depth breakdowns of our budget picks, take a look at our roundups of the best laptops for college students, the best laptops for kids, and the best Chromebooks. And for more general factors to consider when choosing a laptop, take a look at our buying guide with our top laptop picks overall.


Keep an eye out for storage, and memory size too. That's most true at the low end of the market, where manufacturers may aim to keep prices low by using single sticks of memory and therefore halving the potential memory bandwidth. That might not be a problem in the very cheapest of gaming laptops, however, where the GPU will make the most difference to your experience.


We're seeing last year's stock being flushed out ready for portable versions of Nvidia's 40-series graphics cards set to hit us sometime next year. While we wait for Nvidia to figure out how to slim down those monsters, you can bet you'll be able to find RTX 3060-powered gaming laptops on sale, all the way up to RTX 3080 machines if we're lucky. 041b061a72


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