Summer is almost over, your kids are going to head off to college. Parents always want to give the best for their children, however, college tuitions are expensive nowaday, most parents have tight budget for getting laptop for their kids. We have done a lot of research in the market to come up a list of good value laptops for the lowest price.
When choosing laptops for college, size and weight are really important for students. If you are a student who is looking for cheap laptop for gaming, we have some good recommendations for you.
Before I show the specifications of the recommended laptops, let me explain how to choose a good laptop in general.
What should I look for when buying a laptop?
CPU is one of the most important component of a computer, It is the brain of the computer. There are two major type of CPU, Intel vs AMD. I have used both AMD and Intel CPUs, I would not recommend AMD even though they are cheaper. AMD CPUs have a lot of compatibility issues. Intel CPUs, however, are more reliable and stable. Intel’s CORE series are the most commonly used in laptop and desktop, respectively i3, i5, i7 and m series. The vast majority of people will recommend to buy i7, as it has the highest performance, however, great performance come with high price, i7 is the most expensive CPU.
If you don’t know if you should choose i5 or i7, I would suggest to go for i5, it is $100-$200 cheaper, but you don’t loose too much noticeable performance. In normal usage, for example, browsing internet and watching movies, you couldn’t tell the differences between i5 and i7. If you are really low in budget, choose i3, don’t think about the m series, it is useless.
Computer memory determine how fast your computer is. People usually think CPU is the speed of the computer, it is not 100% true, CPU loads applications, but once application is loaded, computer will put it in memory, they more memory you have the more applications it can store. If a computer does not have enough memory, it will drop the less frequently used application from the memory, if you need to use that application again, CPU will have to load it from the beginning again.For modem computers, I would suggest to have at least 8GB of ram, 16GB is recommended.
Hard disk is used to store files permanently. There are three types of hard disks, mechanical hard disk drives(HDD), solid state drives(SSD) and hybrid hard drives. The speed of SSDs far surpass mechanical hard disks. When a computer loads a program, CPU read the files stored in the hard disk and load them in memory(RAM), the faster it reads, the quicker you load the program. Generally, SSD is quiet and it reads 3x faster than traditional hard drives. The only downside of SSD is that they are usually more expensive and it has less storage space than HDD, but I think it is worth spending the extra money. Hybrid hard drives was introduced to solve the SSD capacity issue, the loading speed is not noticeable. So Ii do not recommend using it.
Screen resolution is important, the higher resolution, the sharper the screen will be. I would suggest to buy at least 1080P, which is 1920 x 1080 resolution, with this resolution, you can barely see the dots on the screen. With 4K resolution, it is retina, you can’t see the dots with your eyes. There are two types of screen panels, Twisted Nematic (TN) and In-Plane Switching (IPS), TN screen’s view angle is small, brightness is relatively low, so I recommend IPS screen.
Other than the laptop performance, the other thing I consider is the appearance, I would choose thin and light laptops, they are portable, you can easily fit them in your backpack. However, portable laptops come with high price, for example the HP Spectre x360, cost over $1500. Battery Life is also very important, the average laptop battery can only last an hour or two. I need laptop that can last at least 4 hours. Some laptops consume less energy because they have good cooling design, cooling in laptop is very important, it not only saves energy but also made the hardware last longer. The last thing to consider is the screen, most new laptops now use LED screen, they are thinner and the color is very sharp, it also save energy.
Best Budget Laptops Around $1000
LG gram 15Z970 Laptop - 15.6” Full HD IPS Display, Intel Core I5 (7th Gen), 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
This laptop is very compact and light. It has long lasting battery life. Many laptops which are over $1500 won’t provide what the LG gram does, I think it is really worth it for this price.
- Windows 10; 15" (W) x 10.2" (D) x 1.2" (H); 5.29lbs; Color: black, steel gray
- Light Weight Laptop - Weighs Under 2.5 Pounds
- Long-Lasting 60Wh Battery , Speakers : Stereo Speaker (1.0W x 2).
- 15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Display w/ Ultra-Slim Bezel
- Multiple Inputs - Including USB Type-C
- Back-Lit Keyboard
2018 Acer Aspire E15 High Performance 15.6” FHD Laptop Computer, Intel Core i7-7500U up to 3.5GHz, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD
This laptop is not as sexy as the LG gram, however, it is over $100 cheaper and it has more poperful CPU and double the ram. This laptop provides the most power for this price range. It is amazingly fast, you can play fortnite and overwatch without any issues.
- 15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LEC-Backlit Widescreen display; Intel HD Graphics 620
- Intel 7th Generation Dual Core i7-7500U (2.7 GHz, turbo boost up to 3.5 GHz, SmartCache), 16GB DDR4 2133 MHz memory, 256GB PCIe SSD
- Multi-gesture touch pad, precision touchpad, Numeric Keyboard, SD Memory Card, shared video memory (UMA)
- 802.11ac (1x1), Bluetooth 4.1, USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, LAN, USB 2.0, USB-C, Headphone/microphone combo jack, USB 3.0 port with power off charging
HP Pavilion 15-cc183cl Touchscreen Laptop - Intel Core i7-8550U - 4GB NVIDIA - 12 GB RAM 1TB HD
This laptop has fast CPU and 12GB of RAM, however, the only downside is not using SSD.
- Processor & Memory: Intel Core i7-8550U Processor at 1.8GHz 12GB DDR4 (2 DIMM) RAM
- Drives: 1TB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive DVD Writer (writes to DVD/CD)
- Operating System: Microsoft® Windows 10 Home (64 bit)
- Communications: Intel® Wireless-AC WLAN + Bluetooth HP Wide Vision HD Webcam with Integrated Dual Digital Microphone
- Graphics & Video: 15.6" Touchscreen WLED-backlit FHD IPS (1920 x 1080) Display 4GB NVIDIA GeForce 940MX Graphics
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, 15.6” Full HD IPS, Intel i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, GeForce GTX 1060-6GB
This is an impressive laptop that’s worth your consideration and represents a good value for a few reasons. This is the nicest ‘feeling’ Acer product I’ve reviewed. This is a premium product. The external branding is a more muted than on a lot of ‘gaming’ laptops and this model will not look gaudy in a classroom or office environment. That’s not the case for many competitors, which look obnoxious. The red screen bezel is a muted red, more like an accent, and the only really distinction will be that sweet backlit keyboard. While you can tell this is a gaming laptop at first sight, it still looks professional. The laptop has a high performance SSD hard drive, with no moving parts, leading to a perception of a very fast system because Windows and your programs will load very quickly, however, there’s only 211 gb free on the hard drive. That’s not a problem if you just delete games you aren’t using, and adding another hard drive is possible.
- Latest 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor 2.8GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.8GHz | Windows 10 Home 64-bit
- Latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
- 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display, Red Backlit Keyboard
- 16GB DDR4 DRAM Memory & 256GB SSD | Extra empty expandable hard drive slot for 2.5" hard drives
- Up to 7-hours of battery life
Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop - 15.6” Full HD, Core i7- 7700HQ, 8 GB RAM, 1000 GB HDD + 128GB SSD, GTX 1050, Metal Chassis - i5577-7359BLK-PUS
-Cheapest gaming rig for this specs.
-Very long battery life - 10 hours
-It runs anything for now.
-3 USB 3.1s, 1 of which is thunderbolt
-128GB SSD is enough for Windows 10 only,
-8 GB of RAM is not enough
-It weighs 3 kg
-Heavy charger to power up battery
- 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core (6MB Cache, up to 3.8 GHz)
- 8GB 2400MHz DDR4 up to 32GB (additional memory sold separately)
- Dual drives with 128GB Solid State Drive + 1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive, No Optical Drive option
- 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit English
ASUS ZenBook UX430UA-DH74 14” FHD wideview display 8th gen Intel Core i7 Processor, 16GB DDR3, 512GB SSD, Backlit keyboard
It's an amazing laptop, beautiful and very powerful for how thin it is. It is ultra portable with a lot of RAM and SSD spaces.
- 14-Inch wide-view Full-HD nano-edge bezel display in 13.3" chassis with Windows 10 Pre-installed
- Latest 8th generation Intel i7-8550U 1.8 GHz Processor (Turbo to 4.0 GHz)
- Fast storage and memory featuring 512GB SSD with 16GB DDR3 RAM. Display : 7.18mm-thin bezel with 80% screen-to-body ratio for larger visible screen area
- Extensive connectivity with micro HDMI/USB Type C, 802.11a/c WiFi, and SD Card Reader
- Sleek and light weight 2.75 lbs aluminum body for comfortable portability
If you still don’t know which model to choose, here is my configuration suggestions:
- CPU: i5 or above, but at least the 6 generation, e.g. i5-6xxxxU series.
- RAM: at least 8GB.
- Hard Drive: at least 256GB SSD.
- Graphic card: 950M or above.
- Screen resolution: 1920x1080 or above.
A decent laptop with above configuration should cost about $500 to $800. For example, this 2018 Acer Aspire E15 is less than $800.
Different laptop serves different purpose, if you are a college student, I would highly recommend to buy the LG gram 15Z970, it is lightweight and compact with the beautiful modern design, I really like this laptop. If you are a new gamer with limited budget, the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-51-55WL is not a bad option. I am a big fans of portable laptops, I would choose the ASUS ZenBook UX430UA-DH74, but many people complains about the fan noise, be aware of that. Enjoy!