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The 10 Best Laptops Under $400

Find a top tier budget laptop with our weekly updated guide to the best laptops under $400 based on raw consumer feedback, pro reviews and expert research.

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Welcome to our pro budget guide to the best laptops under $400 money can buy based on hardware performance, ease of use, design and raw consumer feedback. These are our top picks curated through hours of research each week to provide a one stop guide to the best budget  sub-$400 laptops on the market. This guide is updated regularly with new specials and laptops as they become available so you can be sure you’re not missing out on any great deals.

One level up in the price range from our previous guide to laptops under $300 in our cheap laptops series, the $400 laptop price range offers a number of full-fledged 15-inch laptop deals as well as more portable 13-inch netbooks that will cover all of our basic computing needs, perfect for studies, word processing  and media consumption. For entry level gaming, we recommend our budget gaming laptop guide which features more laptops with dedicated graphics units.

Top Picks >> Runners Up >> Honorable Mentions >>


Best Laptop Under $400 – Top Pick

1. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 81W10094US 15.6-inch

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 81W10094US 15.6-inch

Whether you’re a scholar or a working professional, and you’re looking for an inexpensive laptop to use in your at-home office, then the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 81W10094US is an ideal option to consider.

Lenovo’s budget IdeaPad 3 is geared towards casual users who are looking for a reliable laptop to get a day’s work in without having to break the bank. The AMD Ryzen 3 3250U mobile processor comes with the Radeon Vega 3 GPU, and, combined with 4GB of RAM, this will allow you to fairly comfortably carry out basic word processing, video conferencing or video streaming. Some even found it capable of providing a satisfying light gaming experience, even if only extremely low settings. The 128 GB SSD M.2 NVMe offers snappy performance but limited storage space, however this is fairly standard for laptops within this price range. Should you be looking to up the performance and increase your storage space, Lenovo have left a slot open for more RAM on the motherboard, and the SSD can always be swapped out for a larger one.

The build quality has been described as cheap-feeling given its all plastic chassis. It is also quite weighted at 4.84 pounds, which does make it feel a lot bulkier than it actually is. It is important to note however that even Lenovo’s high specced IdeaPad 3 models have plastic exteriors, so this design is consistent throughout the various price ranges. The 1366 x 768 LCD display falls short of the standard 1080p displays that one commonly sees in this price range, which is disappointing. The key travel is decent for basic writing tasks, but should you be the type that spends a lot of time typing, a higher end machine with a more mechanical feeling keyboard may prove to be more satisfying. The touchpad is responsive and has little issue with multi touch gestures.

The 6 hours of battery life is okay and the speaker quality is also said to be good, eliminating the need to plug in external audio devices to hear your media. It also comes with a webcam that comes with a shutter for privacy purposes. This should provide some feeling of security to those who fear that their computer security has been compromised, which in today’s times is a legitimate concern.

Pros

  • Decent speaker quality
  • Reliable for office or school applications
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • Can feel sluggish
  • Bulky design
  • Lower than expected display resolution

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Windows 10 S
  • 9 hours battery life
  • 4.84 lbs

Summary & Score

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 5 81W10094US 15.6-inch laptop is suited to media consumption and online e-learning or light at-home office, however its performance is constrained by its lower end components and its build quality is questionable.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15 81W10094US 15.6-inch
$359.00
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(as of 17-09-2021 18:26 UTC) Details

Best Chromebook Under $400 – Top Pick

2. Acer Chromebook 514 CB514-1HT-C7AZ 14-inch

The Acer Chromebook 514 CB514-1HT-C7AZ has been described by many reviewers as a Macbook-style Chromebook that makes an attractive option for those used to the high-end finishes of a Macbook but who are looking for a bargain option that will get the job done for a whole lot less cash. It features some highly attractive features for its price point and, despite its Celeron CPU, has received great feedback for reliable and speedy performance for day to day tasks.

Stand-out features of the Chromebook 514 include its Full-HD anti-glare matte display, which is excellent for outdoor or bright environments, its Gorilla Glass Trackpad which mimics the design found on Macbooks, and a lightweight aluminum build weighing in at only 3.09 pounds and at only 0.67 inches thick. The chiclet keyboard, which includes a white backlight, is also a throwback to the classic Macbook keyboard and received good reviews. It’s clear that Acer took a few pages from Apples’ book when it comes to design choices which will provide users who are familiar with Macbooks already a seamless transition in terms of design compared to many other laptops and Chromebooks.

Performance-wise the CB514-1HT-C7AZ includes a relatively slow Intel Celeron N3450 CPU coupled with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM which, though fast enough for basic tasks, will struggle with more advanced applications or serious multitasking. The included 64GB is not enough to store large amounts of media or apps and as the laptop does not include a microSD card slot, the easiest option is to use an external hard drive for media and other large files.

Acer Chromebook 514 Unboxing & Hands-On

Despite many glowing reviews in terms of build quality, on release the Chromebook 514 did receive some negative feedback for certain manufacturing defects which caused the trackpad to come loose and some other design issues. It’s clear these may have only affected certain laptops, but these issues are still very much worth keeping in mind as worst case it may require you to return your laptop for a new one. Some reviewers also reported that the relatively sharp corners on the laptop can make it hard to hold comfortable in certain situations. As with all Chromebooks, the CB514-1HT-C7AZ is also limited to only apps available in the Chrome App store which will be a limitation for users using advanced Windows or Mac only applications.

If you are looking for a budget laptop that has some high-end design elements that take after much more expensive designs from Apple and other manufacturers and only plan on running basic applications available from the Chrome Store, the Acer Chromebook 514 CB514-1HT-C7AZ has some standout features that make it a great purchase for many buyers and one of our top picks at its price point.

Pros

  • Full-HD non reflective matte display excellent for use outdoors
  • High end aluminum build with Gorilla Glass Trackpad and backlit keyboard
  • Macbook style design finish
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Snappy performance for basic tasks

Cons

  • Reports of some manufacturing defects
  • Sharp edges can make the laptop hard to hold
  • No Windows only applications

Specs

  • 14 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Chrome OS
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 3.09 lbs

Summary & Score

If you want a basic laptop reminiscent of a Macbook Air but at a bargain price, the Acer Chromebook 514 CB514-1HT-C7AZ is a highly functional Chromebook that will get basic tasks such as web browsing and document editing done in relative style and comfort.

Acer Chromebook 514 CB514-1HT-C7AZ 14-inch
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(as of 17-09-2021 18:41 UTC) Details

Best 2-in-1 Laptop Under $400 – Top Pick

3. ASUS Chromebook Flip C213SA-YS02 11.6-inch

ASUS Chromebook Flip C213SA-YS02
If you are looking for a laptop for kids or for college students that can stand the abuse of day-to-day classroom life, then you won’t go wrong with the ASUS Chromebook Flip C213-YS02.

It has a versatile 2-in-1 design with two alloy-zinc hinges that can transform the laptop into different modes: stand, tent or tablet. It has an incredibly rugged construction with rubber bumpers protecting the body, with ASUS stating that it has been designed to meet MIL-STD 810G military specifications. It has a 11.6-inch matte 1366 x 768 display that is said to be fairly dim, but it is said to offer some impressive viewing angles.

The keyboard is comfortable to use with users praising its feedback and key travel, and the large, buttonless trackpad is also well designed and easy to use. It isn’t particularly powerful, featuring a a 1.1GHz Intel Apollo Lake dual-core Celeron N3350 CPU and a modest 4GB of RAM. You will be able to complete basic tasks such as video streaming, word editing and photo viewing, and you will be able to browse the web, but it will suffer from slow downs if you are a heavy multitasker. It is perfect for school use, however, as you won’t need much more for writing papers and doing research online.

The 32GB of storage space is nothing, and Chromebooks all suffer from storage space issues, so you will need to make use of cloud storage. There is also a microSD card slot that supports cards of up to 512GB. It has two webcams: one above the display that is only 1MP and that produces terrible picture quality; and another above the keyboard that is 5MP and that is supposed to be used during tent or tablet mode. It has a 12-hour battery life according to ASUS, but some have found that it is closer to 14 hours, which is the longest lasting laptop in this guide. It has a good selection of ports, coming with two USB Type-C ports and two USB 3.0 ports.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C213 Unboxing

While the ASUS Chromebook Flip C213-YS02 offers lower end performance when compared to our top pick under the traditional laptops, Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inch, it designed with durability and portability in mind, and its performance is perfect for school use and college use.

Pros

  • Rugged, durably design
  • Great for school or college use
  • Good selection of ports
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Good trackpad
  • Class leading battery life

Cons

  • Modest performance
  • Very little storage space
  • Camera quality is poor

Specs

  • 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Chrome OS
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 2.7 lbs

Summary & Score

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C213-YS02 drives a modest performance that is great for school goers, and it features an awesome durable body that is able to withstand drops and bumps.

ASUS Chromebook Flip C213SA-YS02 11.6-inch
$349.00$343.87
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(as of 17-09-2021 19:11 UTC) Details

Gamers will also be happy to know that the integrated graphics on all current i3 based chips in this list offers Intel HD 4000 graphics, capable of running many popular games including Counter Strike GO, Dota and League of Legends at playable framerates. Non-gaming users with a bigger budget should also head over to our all-purpose laptop guides for laptops under $500 and $1000 respectively or our high-end laptops guide for some more premium options. You may also want to consider a high-end Chromebook from our best Chromebooks guide or, if you are a student, our best laptops for college students guide.

Best Laptops Under $400 – Runners-Up

4. Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT

Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT 15.6-inch

The Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT, a very popular budget laptop that carries up-to-date components in a reasonably compact 0.7-inch body, and it is well suited to the needs of kids or college students thanks to its durable design and awesome price-to-performance ratio.

The Aspire 5’s aluminum lid offers some level of protection against day-to-day bumps and houses a sharp 1080p 15.6-inch display. The matte display is said to be dim during daylight hours, but it is great for evening use. It fortunately has pretty decent color saturation, which helps with improving the vibrancy of movies and photo viewing.

The laptop is said to be easily upgradable and weighs in at around 4 pounds, which is light enough for lugging around with you on any given day. The 11th generation Intel Core i3-1135G4 processor, 4GB of Ram, and the built in Intel UHD graphic card means it packs some power, and it will run processes such as video calling, MS Office applications, as well streaming and basic video and photo editing fairly well. However, more demanding processes will see it struggling. Fortunately, Amazon does offer a range of customization for this model, so should you require more power, the options are always there.

The 128GB SSD storage is decent considering that most popular laptops in this price range have storage options of 32 or 64 GB, and the fact that it is a 128GB NVMe SSD means your laptop and programs will boot up in a matter of seconds, and in combination with the Intel Core i3-1135G4 processor and 4GB of Ram, your laptop will be highly responsive.
The chiclet full-sized keyboard with a numpad on the right-hand side will accommodate most sized hands comfortably, and the backlighting allows you to use it in dimly lit areas. While Acer claims the laptop has 8 hours of battery life, customers have noted that it only pushes around 5 hours on a single charge. The built-in speakers are also said to be too soft for some users, however, a bluetooth speaker could mitigate this issue. Additionally, port selection is solid. You get three USB-A ports, a USB-C port, as well as an Ethernet and HDMI port for connecting an external display.

[ninja_product_=”551993″]

5. Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K

Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K 15.6-inch

For those who in recent times have been confined to working from home and are looking for an inexpensive workhorse laptop, then look no further than the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K.
The slim laptop houses all its components in a 0.7-inch thick chassis that weighs in at 4 pounds, making it light and similar to its Intel Core i3 counterpart, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT, which can also be found in this guide. It comes with a variety of ports, including a USB Type-C, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 Type-A as well as an HDMI port and a Gigabit ethernet port.

The 15.6-inch display is large, and at 1080p it is sharp. It is also an IPS panel, so you will have impressive viewing angles when compared to the TN panels. However, a 267 nits brightness rating means that while it offers enough brightness for daily entertainment and tasks, the screen may become hard to see in bright areas. While pricier laptops do nullify issues with brightness by installing brighter displays of around 300 nits, above 250 nits for a budget laptop is fairly decent.

An area that impressed many users was the backlit keyboard. It is a full keyboard with a numeric keypad to the right (10-key), and the feedback and keystrokes are said to make it feel like a premium experience. Users reported a positive overall experience when it comes to everyday tasks, however, multitasking will take a hit given the 4GB of RAM. But should you be looking to run MS Office applications or simply stream your favorite series, then you can’t really go wrong. The AMD Ryzen 3 3350U is able to boost up to 3.5GHz for when the programs are demanding a bit more. AMD has been winning the price-to-performance game when it comes to budget CPUs. Like the Acer Aspire 5 A515-56-36UT, it also comes with a 128GB NVMe SSD that’ll boost the overall responsiveness of your system, however, 128GB isn’t enough storage for media hoarders, so you may need to make use of an external hard drive for these purposes. There were some negatives reported on however, which includes the loud fans when it is under sustained load. This is a common issue with laptops that house components in a thin, lightweight chassis.

Pros

  • Decent day-to-day task handling
  • Full backlit keyboard
  • Decent IPS display
  • Slim design
  • Decent battery life
  • Fingerprint scanner

Cons

  • 4GB of RAM is middling
  • Runs loud under load

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Windows 10 S
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 3.97 lbs

Summary & Score

The loud fan and 4GB of RAM on the Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K are the only real negatives of an otherwise well priced machine that performs well for modern task handling and offers a very pleasing IPS display and premium feeling full backlit keyboard.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K 15.6-inch
$399.00$368.00
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(as of 17-09-2021 18:20 UTC) Details

6. Samsung Chromebook 4 XE350XBA-K03US 15.6-inch

Chromebooks have had their ups and downs over the years. Once all the rage, finding a Chromebook on the retail market is a lot harder today than it once was.

Luckily, for those with an eye for simplicity and who enjoy Google’s simple and reliable Chromebook OS, the Samsung Chromebook 4 XE350XBA-K03US offers some exceptional features for the price.

Its standout feature, as with many Samsung products, has got to be its design which is extremely thin and lightweight for a 15.6-inch laptop. At only 0.65 inches thick and weighing in at 3.62 pounds, if you are someone who travels a lot and likes to work on the go, Samsung’s design prowess will allow you to be productive on the go in relative comfort and style.

It’s lengthy 10 hour battery life received good reviews on the whole and most users also reported snappy performance for day to day work tasks and web browsing. Combine this with a well designed keyboard, and we have all the makings of a great mobile work laptop, provided you are happy with the limitations of Chrome OS.

Samsung Chromebook 4+ Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Despite overall good reviews, the Samsung Chromebook 4 did seem to fall short in a couple of areas. Notably, it received poor reviews on its display quality, which is quite unusual for Samsung, with many users reporting dim brightness levels and bad viewing angles not suitable for environments with a lot of glare. Some reviewers also complained about the audio quality of the onboard speakers.

Overall if you are a fan of Samsung’s award winning design and are looking for an extremely portable and lightweight laptop for under $400, the Samsung Chromebook 4 XE350XBA-K03US is hard not to recommend.

Pros

  • Extremely thin and light
  • Lengthy battery life
  • Reliable performance for basic tasks
  • Comfortable keyboard

Cons

  • Dim display with limited viewing angles
  • Below average audio quality

Specs

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Chrome OS
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 3.62 lbs

Summary & Score

Despite a few minor shortcomings, the Samsungs 2019 Chromebook 4 offers an extremely lightweight and portable PC from a popular brand at a bargain price.

Samsung Chromebook 4 XE350XBA-K03US 15.6-inch
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(as of 10-11-2020 19:46 -07:00) Details

7. Dell Inspiron i3168-3272GRY 11.6-inch

Dell Inspiron i3168-3272GRY 11.6-inch
Over the years Dell has learned a thing or two about making great affordable laptops and the Dell Inspiron i3168-3272GRY is no exception to the rule. Not only do you get a great laptop, the Dell Inspiron i3168-3272GRY can also be easily transformed into a Windows tablet for easy web browsing or streaming.

Its Pentium N3710 processor won’t win any performance awards, however it will easily cope with basic tasks such as Skype, web browsing or sending emails. Its 4GB of RAM will run most applications, however the memory cannot be upgraded. This means that RAM hungry applications such as Google Chrome will cause the system too feel sluggish once you reach a certain amount of open tabs.

Its Intel HD Graphics 405 GPU won’t allow you to play GTA V or Fallout 4, however it will allow you to play some classic titles and even World of Warcraft on the lowest settings. The Dell Inspiron i3168-3272GRY is by no means a gaming laptop, however it will allow you to enjoy your favourite 720p media content thanks to its 1366 x 768 pixel display.

You will also be able to copy over some of your favourite media onto the 500GB storage drive to allow you access when you are on the go. While you get both WiFi and Bluetooth, the Dell Inspiron i3168-3272GRY doesn’t feature the faster AC WiFi that some of its competitors feature.

Pros

  • Touchscreen display
  • Good amount of storage space
  • Price
  • Convertible design

Cons

  • Average hardware
  • No optical drive or Ethernet
  • RAM cannot be upgraded
  • No full size SD card reader

Specs

  • 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 5.25 hours battery life
  • 3.24 lbs

Summary & Score

The Dell Inspiron i3168-3272GRY is a budget friendly laptop that can be quickly transformed into a handy Windows 10 tablet. However, the hardware is not suited to intensive tasks and the RAM cannot be upgraded.

Dell Inspiron i3168-3272GRY 11.6-inch
$369.99$360.00
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(as of 17-09-2021 18:14 UTC) Details

Laptops Under $400 – Honorable Mentions

8. Acer Chromebook R 13

Acer Chromebook R 13 CB5-312T-K5X4 13.3-inch
Acer’s convertible Chromebook R13 has been commended by many for its excellent battery life of +12-hours and its premium look.

For under $400, it is packed with hardware that competes other laptops and convertible within the price range. The quad core 2.1 GHz MediaTek M8173C delivers a respectable performance for web browsing, streaming Full-HD videos and word processing, but throwing anything heavier at it will be met with some resistance.

The 4GB of RAM backing it is slightly limiting too, as this will make any heavy multitasking a somewhat strenuous affair. But if you are out looking for a well-priced 2-in-1 that gets the basics right, then the Chromebook R13 is perfect for you. The aluminium chassis gives it a very professional look and its Full-HD, 1920×1080 IPS display easily rotates from a notebook to a display, tent and tablet position. Its build quality has received criticism due to its overall flexibility, with many pointing out that the rotation hinge feels flimsy.

On the left side of the Chromebook R13, you will find a USB Type-C port, an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 Port and a microSD card reader slot, with Acer placing the headphone jack and lock slot on the right side. The Chrome OS can take some getting used to and it does run Android apps, which is quite a great bonus for Android fans.

The keyboard is comfortable, but the fact that it’s not backlit surprised some reviewers, who directed some criticism towards this fact. The Acer Chromebook R13 is good for casual use, but productivity users and heavy multitaskers would do best to find something that packs a bit more power.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Attractive body
  • Good display
  • Quick boot times
  • Performance to price ratio

Cons

  • Heavy for a 2-in-1
  • Flimsy feeling
  • No backlit keyboard
  • Average performance for productivity users

Specs

  • 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Chrome OS
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 3.3 lbs

Summary & Score

For the price, the Acer Chromebook R13 is an affordable option with some competitive hardware, but its performances are slightly underwhelming, especially for those looking to maximise on productivity.

Acer Chromebook R 13 CB5-312T-K5X4 13.3-inch
$314.99
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(as of 17-09-2021 19:02 UTC) Details

This covers all of the current laptops that we’d recommend checking out. If you can spare a few bucks be sure to check our guide to laptops under $500 . For more options and reviews be sure to checkout our other guides to cheap laptops which can help save you time and money in the search for the ultimate machine to meet your needs. If you have more than a few hundred bucks to spare then our best all-purpose laptop guides will be your best bet to find top of the line machines at awesome prices. If you find a new laptop you think deserves a spot on our list not listed here feel free to drop us a line and we’ll get right on it. Let the hunt continue!

More Cheap Laptops >>

By Joseph Ashburner

Joe is the founder of LaptopNinja and has been reviewing laptops and writing professional laptop recommendations since 2010. With the help of the LaptopNinja editorial team he is dedicated to helping you choose the right laptop for your needs and spreading knowledge about everything tech. Founded in 2012, the LaptopNinja team of motley tech specialists spend countless hours every week scouring the best deals across the web to help save you time and money based on more than half a decade of experience researching and recommended the top value for money and high performing laptops on the planet.