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All the best laptops you can find for under £400

All the best laptops you can find for under £400

Need a laptop that won’t break the bank? We’ve lined up a selection of the best cheap laptops from top brands like Lenovo and Acer.

All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

A new laptop is always a big investment, one that you’ll likely need to make every few years to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. You might even put it off after an initial browse when you start to see how pricey a new laptop can get, and the sheer volume of how many options are out there. 

But you don’t always need to break the bank to get a suitable laptop. You’ll still have a huge range of products to choose from if you’re only looking to spend a few hundred pounds. And if you just need another device to check email on, browse YouTube, or pull up recipes, maybe a budget laptop is all you need. Cheaper laptops may not have all the features of top-of-the-line computers, but you can still get reliability and the basic features that you’ll be using every day.

Each individual will find different specs to be their priority. Depending on what kinds of tasks you’re hoping to accomplish with your new laptop, maybe a larger screen display is what you’re looking for. Perhaps if you’re the kind of worker who enjoys taking your laptop to the cafe, battery life is super important. Maybe you’re looking for a place to store all your photos and documents, in which case, more storage space is what you’ll have in mind. A commuter may value a lighter laptop over a heavier machine, for ease of transport. 

It’s all up to the individual, and just because you’re looking at a lower price point doesn’t mean you don’t have all of these options available.

What size laptop should you get?

This really comes down to two things: personal preference and lifestyle. Personal preference is self-explanatory, really — do you like having a huge display, or do you prefer something more compact? Lifestyle is where practicality comes into play. If you’re travelling often and usually have your computer on your back in some way, you’re going to want to go with something more light and compact (thin, 11-inch models will most likely be the best). But, if you’re a huge movie buff who doesn’t normally take their laptop on the road with them, spring for a 15-inch (and higher) screen with a bulky construction so you can have epic Netflix sessions. If you’re getting a gaming laptop, you should probably “go big or go home,” as well.  

What do you lose by getting a cheap laptop?

Laptops in the £400-or-below price range are not going to be good for PC gaming. You won’t get a 4K resolution display or a refresh rate higher than 60Hz. RAM is going to max out around 8GB, which isn’t bad but also isn’t spectacular. You’re also unlikely to get more than 500GB of storage space.

In this price range, laptops are going to be best for web browsing, word processing, Zoom calls, and streaming. As long as you don’t expect more than that, you’ll be fine.

Are cheap laptops actually worth it?

You know the old saying: You get what you pay for. But thanks to the technology boom of the last few decades, a cheap laptop can actually take you pretty far and won’t break down immediately. It’s all about knowing which one to select.

Cheaper laptops may not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive options, but the truth is those have very little use in daily life. Why spend the extra £200 for a graphics card that will maybe matter two times a year? Instead, you can spend less than £400 and be ready for anything work, school, or life has to throw at you on a day-to-day basis.

What is the best laptop available for under £400?

We’ve lined up a selection of the best cheap laptops from top brands like Lenovo and Acer, with something for every type of user. Rather than just making a few purchase suggestions and sending you on your way, we’re also going to equip you with some knowledge that’ll help you be a more informed laptop shopper. You know all that computer jargon of processor-this and gigahertz-that — we’ll explain it all in terms that anyone can understand.

It’s worth taking some time to properly consider all of these options, and weigh them up against your own set of priorities. This way you should be able to pinpoint the device that best fits your lifestyle. 

These are the best laptops for under £400 in 2021.


32GB storage • Reliable webcam • Excellent battery life

No touchscreen • Cannot handle too much at once • Chunky bezels

Fast speeds and 12.5 hours of battery life, plus the double last model’s storage make this a strong option.

Samsung Chromebook 4

Fast speeds and 12.5 hours of battery life, plus the double last model’s storage make this a great laptop for under £300.

  • Processor:
    Intel Celeron N4000
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    32GB flash storage
  • Display:
    11.6 inch HD LED
  • Weight:
    1.1 kilograms
Chromebooks are the go-to for affordable laptops, and the Samsung Chromebook 4 only improves on earlier models. This simple, reliable notebook will do the trick for work, school, or basic daily use.
The Intel Celeron N4000 along with 4GB of RAM provides reliable performance, and, at 32GB of storage, this model offers double the storage of the Chromebook 3, which itself was a well-loved affordable option. 
The Chromebook 4 has a slightly more modern design than the 3, and it charges via USB-C, which also serves to transfer data at speeds up to 5Gb/s and can connect to a 4K monitor. It includes a USB-A port as well.

Impressive display • 13 hours of battery life • Lightweight

Chunky bezels • No audio jack • Small display

This is a great intermediate between tablet and laptop for those who want the best of both worlds.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet

This is a great intermediate between tablet and laptop for those who want the best of both worlds.

  • Processor:
    MediaTek Helio P60T
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB eMMC
  • Display:
    10.1 inches
  • Weight:
    0.9 kilograms
With a colourful display, robust storage, and 13 hours of battery life, the Duet is possibly the best Chromebook. It’s small and lightweight, yet powerful and reliable enough to handle heavy browsing.
This is a great choice for tablet fans who want something even lighter and more versatile — the keyboard will allow you to treat this as a laptop whenever you please. 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM are packed inside this machine, too.
While this has only one USB-C port, and is missing an audio jack, you’ll be able to connect to just about any accessory via Bluetooth. 

Lightweight • Good performance • Good value

Bad webcam • Low-res display • No USB-C port

Budget-conscious shoppers will love the bang they’ll get for their buck with this laptop.

HP Stream 11

Budget-conscious shoppers will love the bang they’ll get for their buck with this laptop.

  • Processor:
    Intel Celeron N4020
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB eMMC flash storage
  • Display:
    11.6 inches
  • Weight:
    1.05 kilograms
The HP Stream 11 may not be the latest product on the market, but it’s one of the best available for the price. 
At under 1.1 kilograms and 11.6 inches, this laptop is highly portable, making it a great option for someone who travels often or has a daily commute. It sports a long battery life and pretty strong performance for the price point.
A microSD card reader, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.1 port, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack are included, but unfortunately there is no USB-C port. 

Large display • Good performance

Slightly heavier than other models • Display is otherwise unimpressive

This is the largest screen you’ll find on a laptop under £300.

Acer Aspire 1

This is the largest screen you’ll find on a laptop that costs less than £300.

  • Processor:
    Intel Celeron N4020
  • RAM:
    4GB
  • Storage:
    64GB eMMC
  • Display:
    15.6 inches
  • Weight:
    1.9 kilograms
If a bigger screen is important to your work life or personal browsing, the Acer Aspire 1 has the biggest display for its price point, at 15.6 inches. 
It’s a basic laptop, great for your home office or for the kids’ schoolwork. It’s typical of what you’d see for a laptop that’s less than £300, with 4GB RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, but it is a bit heavier than other models. 
Wireless performance is good, and this laptop runs Windows 10. A comfortable keyboard and an attractive design sweeten the deal. The laptop includes two USB-A ports, a headphone jack, an HDMI port, and an Ethernet port.

Awesome display • Large storage capacity

Shorter battery life than other models • Runs warm

This is a great budget laptop for those who do video editing or any kind of visual work.

Chuwi HeroBook Pro

This is a great budget laptop for those who do video editing or any kind of visual work.

  • Processor:
    Intel Gemini Lake N4000
  • RAM:
    8GB
  • Storage:
    256GB SSD
  • Display:
    14.1 inches
  • Weight:
    2.06 kilograms
If visual work or video editing is part of your daily life, this is the laptop for you. With a vibrant, 14.1-inch display and 256GB of SSD storage, the Chuwi HeroBook Pro seems like anything but a budget laptop. 
The laptop is lightweight and slim at 0.8 inches. The design is sleek and modern, lending the appearance of a much more expensive notebook. The display has anti-glare properties and unbeatable viewing angles for the price. While it’s not the biggest display we have on this list, it is one of the best (behind the Acer Aspire 1). 
Otherwise, performance and speed are great with this machine. Battery life isn’t the longest, however, as it lasts about nine hours. 

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