The COVID-19 crisis has seen more and more of us choosing to work from home instead of commuting to an office.
With the increased home workload that comes with this, it might be that we want to give our regular PC or laptop a break, and inject our productivity with the pace of a brand new machine: something that is quick and effective, yet doesn’t break the bank.
These budget options can handle everyday work tasks with ease, and you can get them for a bargain price — often for far less than we expect.
Lenovo Chrome C340-11
Let’s start with one of the lowest-priced options you can find. The Lenovo Chrome C340-11 might cost around 300 dollars or euros, but it packs a lot into the deal to leave you feeling as if you’ve struck a bargain.
If you decide to snap it up, you’ll get 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, with a microSD card slot giving you the option to add more. The battery can withstand around 10 hours of medium-intensive use and you’ll continue receiving Chrome OS updates until 2026.
On the downside, you may find the audio and sound quality pretty poor, but if you’re not looking to do anything too elaborate then you might not notice that too much.
Summary: If you’re just looking to perform light, everyday tasks and you’re on a budget then this is probably the best you’ll find. Some people might even see it as a great backup to a heavy-duty device.
Microsoft Surface Go II
The Surface Pro 7’s little brother does the Microsoft family proud by proving itself as one of the best 2-in-1 options on the market.
Just in case you don’t know, a 2-in-1 device combines the portability and ease-of-use of a tablet with the functions of a small laptop. The Surface Go II is light enough to be treated like a handheld device but packs a beautiful display, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage into its delicate frame.
That said, it’s low price will probably need an extra 100 dollars/euros added onto it if you want a decent keyboard attached, and the battery could be better. But the truth is, this little fella runs a full version of Windows 10, including Windows Hello face recognition for login. It also gives you an impressive webcam and powerful speakers, making a great deal even better.
Summary: Low-end computers get a bad rep, but the Surface Go II proves that you can get a device that is super-affordable, efficient and nice to look at.
Dell G5 SE Gaming Laptop
What’s that? You want a good gaming laptop for less than 1,000 dollars/euros?
Let me introduce you to the Dell G5 SE, a device that carries the rocket-fuelled AMD Ryzen 5 4500H CPU to bring a powerful gaming experience to your fingertips. Graphics are brought to life by an AMD Radeon RX chip and the 8GB of RAM is great for entry level gaming. The 256GB of storage is also very competitive at this price.
The 1080p display might not be the best in the game, but you won’t mind it so much when you see that it comes with a 144Hz refresh rate for your games. You can also upgrade to a slightly more expensive option with double the RAM and SSD, and an even faster Ryzen 7 4800H that’s also a great gaming choice.
Summary: Whether you get the smaller or larger version, it’s very difficult to find such a powerful gaming laptop at such great value for money.
Lenovo IdeaPad/Chromebook Duet
If you’re a fan of something that does the basic things extremely well and you’re on a tight budget, then the IdeaPad is right up there as one of the best options around.
Web browsing, light productivity work and streaming media are things that this tablet-style laptop does extremely well. It can also handle low-spec PC games that don’t push its capabilities too much, as well as browser-based games like those you find in mobile casinos.
If you’re a big Google web services fan, and you love to watch streaming services like Netflix, then the IdeaPad Duet is a great option. It’s also extremely portable and feels great to handle; not to mention its excellent battery, which can last for several days under moderate use.
For a price of around 300 euros (or dollars), it’s a super-cheap way to inject some life into your everyday routine.
Dell Inspiron 13 7000
If you’re lacking inspiration for a great laptop purchase, then let the Inspiron show you the way. It’s designed for intensive use, so if you’re working long hours from home, then this device’s strong and steady hardware will handle most things that you can throw at it — even a cup of water if you take its spill-resistant keyboard into account.
Its range of 9th-generation intel CPU options will power your everyday tasks with ease, and many people will struggle to overwhelm its 16GB of RAM. If it’s games you want, then its dedicated Nvidia graphics chip will see to that, plus you can upgrade it to a new-gen 1650 if you want.
Summary: Another wonderful laptop that will only cost you three figures, and will satisfy both your work and gaming needs. A real value-for-money option.