3 Things You Should Know Before You Buy a Budget Laptop

You may have been surprised to see a whole slew of seemingly decent laptops under the $500 mark lately. While some of these laptops could work for you depending on what you’re trying to do, you should know that most of them will have at least one major flaw, if not multiple. This is why you need to be especially careful when looking at these units and be smart with your decision. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you should know before you buy a budget laptop.

It Might be a Chromebook

When looking at cheap laptops, you have to first check if it’s a Chromebook. Chromebooks can be great machines, but they are very different from your average laptop and might not work for you.

This is because Chromebooks are made to work with Chrome OS, Google’s proprietary operating system. You cannot install programs directly on a Chromebook as you would on a Windows PC, and you will have to install a chrome extension. You’ll find most of the top programs or versions of top programs as extensions, but you need to know whether you’ll be using programs like Photoshop or other sophisticated programs on the machine first. If you do, then you might want to look elsewhere as you may run into issues.

You May be Able to Get a Much Better Machine for Slightly Less

You also have to ask yourself if you could wait until you can buy something closer to the $800 mark. This is when laptops start to get interesting, and you could find a great deal on a mid-tier machine if you buy it at the right time. Lenovo, for instance, starts their back to school sales early and you’ll find tons of great deals on their website right now, so check the Lenovo back to school PC sale if you’re looking for steals.

It Will be Flawed

You won’t find a budget laptop that can do everything well, so you have to know where you’re willing to make sacrifices. Most of these laptops have bottom-of-the-barrel graphics cards. That’s when they don’t have an integrated graphics chip. So, don’t expect high-level gaming with these machines. One thing you will find on many budget machines, however, is good processors. It’s not uncommon to see machines with 2.5 GHz processors on them with multiple cores and threads, so at least make sure that the machine has a capable one.

You should also try to test any budget unit in person before you buy it. This is because you might be disappointed with the viewing angles on some of these machines or the keyboards. If you’re someone who types a lot, you will get frustrated by a stiff unresponsive keyboard, so don’t overlook that part. You don’t want to have to play with the monitor to find that one angle where you can get a full-color spectrum either.

You get what you pay for when it comes to computers, so don’t assume that you’ll be able to find something mind-blowing in the budget aisle. You could get a serviceable machine, however, if your needs are not intensive and you know what to look for.