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Best Budget Laptop: Top 5 laptops under £600

Introduction

Laptops can be dauntingly expensive, but you don’t need to spend big to get a great portable. We’ve rounded up the best budget laptop options you can buy right now to prevent your bank balance getting a hammering.

Our team of experts have reviewed countless laptops over the last few years, so we’ve decided to assemble a list of the highest ranking products that are also available for less than £600/$600.

We’ll be frequently updating this list as soon as more budget laptop reviews are published, so keep this page bookmarked and check back later if you can’t find anything to your liking right now. 

Whether you’re a student, office worker or simply someone on the lookout for a bargain, check out our picks of the best budget laptops below. And if you’re looking for the absolute best laptops and best gaming laptops, check out our those Best List rankings instead.

How we test

Learn more about how we test laptops

Every laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life. 

These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how well it runs the most frequently used apps. 

We also make sure to use every laptop we review as our primary device for at least a week to ensure our review is as accurate as possible.

Trusted Reviews
Shop the range of AMD Ryzen™ Laptops at Currys

Shop the range of AMD Ryzen™ Laptops at Currys

On the hunt for a top-notch laptop to help with your school or university work that’s also great for the odd spot of Netflix binging and gaming, but not sure which to get?

We’d recommend looking at one with an AMD Ryzen™ 5000 Series Mobile Processor

Surface Laptop Go

Best all-round budget laptop
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Pros

  • Incredible value
  • Small and classy design
  • Excellent performance
  • Comfortable keyboard

Cons

  • Low-resolution display
  • No keyboard backlight
  • No fingerprint scanner on base configuration

The Surface Laptop Go isn’t the cheapest laptop on this list, but it’s arguably the best and it’s still very affordable. It’s packing an 10th Generation i5 Intel Core processor, which is comfortably powerful enough to coast through basic productivity tasks such as browsing the web, filling up word documents and watching Netflix. 

Weighing just 1.1kg and having a compact 12.4-inch display, the Surface Laptop Go easily fits into most bags too, making it a good option for those who work on the go, whether you’re commuting to an office or hopping between university lecture halls. 

Its biggest flaws are a sub-par resolution which isn’t ideal for video content, as well as the omission of a keyboard backlight for late night use. But if you just want one of the best Windows 10 laptops round for a super-affordable price, the Surface Laptop Go is our top recommendation.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Surface Laptop Go review

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Best 2-in-1 budget laptop
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Pros

  • Very affordable price
  • Bundled keyboard offers versatility
  • Superb screen for video content
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • Lack of headphone jack
  • Poor speaker quality
  • Keyboard is uncomfortably small

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is one of the cheaper options in this list. During testing, we found it is a fantastic option for those who want a basic productivity performance. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet also boasts a fantastic battery life and a lovely Full HD display, making it a great value laptop option worth considering. 

There is a slight catch, as this isn’t a traditional clamshell laptop but rather a tablet bundled with a keyboard accessory – think iPad with an optional keyboard attachment, but at a far more affordable price point, using ChromeOS instead of iPadOS. 

Having a detachable screen means this is a very versatile gadget, allowing you to use it as a tablet for watching YouTube or reading the news, but with the added ability to snap the screen back into its keyboard as soon as you need to do some serious work. We did find the keyboard slightly cramped compared to proper clamshell laptops, but it still does a commendable job. If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 laptop at an affordable price, this is your best bet.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full review: Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Best classic Chromebook
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Pros

  • Super-light and portable design
  • Sharp display with decent colours
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Whisper-quiet performance

Cons

  • Flat speakers
  • Mediocre performance
  • No keyboard backlight

Think of a classic Chromebook, and you’ll likely conjure up an image of the Acer Chromebook Spin 513. It’s a clamshell laptop with a touchscreen, which can easily be flipped into tablet mode.

This laptop ticks all of the important checkboxes too, with a sharp Full HD display, super-portable 1.2kg design and a 13-hour battery life. And while the performance may be mediocre at this price point, it’s still perfectly speedy enough for basic tasks such as browsing the web, sending emails and filling up spreadsheets. And as a bonus, it has a whisper-quiet performance so you don’t need to worry about the fan distracting co-workers.

Acer has had to make some compromises to the quality of the speakers, while the lack of a keyboard backlight may be annoying to some, but this is otherwise a fantastic ChromeOS-powered laptop available for a dirt-cheap price.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full review: Acer Chromebook Spin 513 review

Acer Chromebook 314

Best budget Chromebook
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Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Sturdy construction
  • Good port selection
  • Fantastic battery life

Cons

  • Flat colours and dim display
  • No touchscreen
  • ChromeOS could provide some limitations

The Acer Chromebook 314 takes the ‘budget laptop’ accolade to the extreme, and is currently available for under £200. Despite the bargain price, it features a great 13-hour battery life and a solid performance, while also rocking a sturdy design. There’s also an abundance of ports here, so you don’t need to take up the dongle life.

The laptop does admittedly have a few weak points, as there’s no touchscreen and the display quality is substandard since it has low brightness and a low 1366 x 768 resolution. As a result, this may not be the best option for those who want Netflix and Disney Plus videos looking their best.

But it’s easy to forgive this laptop’s shortcomings given its fantastic value price. If you just want a laptop that can coast through emails and spreadsheets, while also being capable of running your favourite apps through Google’s app store, then this is a fantastic choice for anyone on a tight budget.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full review: Acer Chromebook 314 Review

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

Most powerful Chromebook with convertible design
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Pros

  • Pleasant screen
  • Comfortable, quiet keyboard
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Value of high-spec models is questionable
  • Plastic touchpad
  • Weak speaker

The Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 Chromebook is one of the most powerful Chromebooks you can buy, packing Intel’s 10th Generation i5 processor so it can pace through day-to-day tasks. 

It’s also flaunting a 2-in-1 design, allowing you to flip into tablet mode for whenever you want to watch a video or scroll through Instagram. Lenovo’s Chromebook also features a fantastic battery life and a comfortable keyboard, making it ideal for student and office goers.

However, at this price, you could argue that you might as well buy a Windows laptop instead. This means the Lenovo is only worth considering if you’re not fussed about the restrictions of ChromeOS. 

Reviewer: Andrew Williams
Full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

FAQs

What is a budget laptop?

We’ve deemed a budget laptop to encompass any portable computer that costs less than £600/$600. This could include Chromebooks, Windows laptops or even 2-in-1 convertibles.

What is the best budget laptop brand?

That’s subjective, especially since two laptops from the same brand can differ significantly in quality. Lenovo has built up a good reputation for budget laptops, while Acer offers a lot of affordable Chromebooks. But we suggest judging each individual laptop on its own merits rather than relying solely on the reputation of a brand.

Are budget laptops worth it?

It really depends on the laptop. You can find a lot of sub-par systems for less than £600, but there are also some outstandingly good value options at this price point. We suggest reading reviews for any budget laptop you consider purchasing, as specs can’t tell the whole story.

What is the best budget laptop for video editing?

If video editing is a priority, then you’ll need to increase your budget. Heavy workloads such as video editing will require a beefier performance than what Chromebooks and budget laptops currently offer. The latest MacBook Air is one the best value options for such tasks right now, but you’ll need to pay just shy of a grand for that laptop. 

Comparison specifications

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Trusted Reviews test data

PCMark 10
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Geekbench 5 multi core
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