Buying a laptop is a little bit like buying a car. You need to do your research, 9 times out of 10 you’ll need to take it for a spin before you commit to taking it home, and what’s right for you is probably not going to be right for your next door neighbour. Before you even think about the one you’d like to have, you’ve got to consider the cost and your budget too! Well I’ve done the hard part for you, and put together a list of the 12 best budget laptops 2015 with something for everyone, no matter what you want to use it for.
Before we get down to the list, let’s expand on that ‘there’s no one laptop for every person’ point. The best budget laptop for you will completely depend on what you want it for; which is why this list is in price order and not ‘ok –> best’. You might want the best gaming laptop, or maybe the best work laptop, so it’s important you work out what you’re looking for in a laptop. I’ve broken that down in a previous post detailing how to choose a budget laptop based on what you’ll be using it for, so take a quick look at that before you start considering specific models.
So without further ado, let’s begin and look into the 12 best budget laptops of 2015 in the UK. I’m not simply considering what the best cheap laptops are, I’ll be considering price, looks, technical specs and more.
If you don’t want to read the whole thing you can just use the buttons below to skip to the each of the laptops that made it on The 12 Best Budget Laptops 2015 In The UK list:Acer Aspire ES1-111M Packard-Bell EasyNote 10 Dell Inspiron 3531 Lenovo G50-30 Acer Aspire V13 Lenovo Flex 2 Apple Macbook Air 13.3
Use the button below to skip to the Chromebooks that made it on The 12 Best Budget Laptops 2015 In The UK list:HP Chromebook 14 Samsung Series 3 Acer Aspire Chromebook 11 HP Chromebook 11
Or use this button below to skip to the best budget gaming laptop that made it on The 12 Best Budget Laptops 2015 In The UK list:Gigabyte P15F
- 1 The Best Budget Laptops 2015 – All Rounders
- 2 The Best Chromebooks 2015
- 3 The Best Budget Gaming Laptop 2015
- 4 So, Which Budget Laptop Should I Buy?
- 5 SEE MORE: Best Budget Laptops 2015 – What To Look For >>
The Best Budget Laptops 2015 – All Rounders
I’m going to be totally straight with you before I start the first part of this list. All of the laptops below (with the exception of one Apple Macbook) are Windows laptops. And in all honesty, I’ve just added to the list the Windows laptops I hated the least. It’s not that Windows laptops are bad, it’s just that I’m used to using a Chromebook for the same things and in most cases they’re cheaper and offer just as much for you.
If you need a laptop for light use (as in, you want to check your email, browse the web, update your social media, edit some pictures, watch Netflix and work on Microsoft office or Google Docs and nothing more), then I recommend you seriously consider a Chromebook. I’ve given them their own list in the second half of this best budget laptops 2015 guide. But if you’re dead set on Windows, or need something more powerful, then I’ve got the best options for you below.
Acer Aspire ES1-111M
This is a quiet and small little notebook, probably best suited as a second laptop, or a working laptop for students or professionals. You get what you pay for; so don’t expect ultimate speed and usability. However, despite it being the cheapest laptop on this list, it’s got some pretty impressive specifications.
The Acer Aspire ES1-111M Specs You Need To Know:
– Intel Celeron Processor
– 2GB RAM
– 32GB SSD
– 11.6″ Screen Size
– Weighs 1.9kg
– 5hrs+ Average Battery Life
The most impressive thing you should’ve spotted is the 32GB SSD, which is a big thing considering most of the other laptops on this list don’t have an SSD. You should think of the Acer Aspire ES1-111M as Microsoft’s answer to the Chromebook. If you don’t think you’d get along with Chrome’s Operating System because you’re so used to using Windows 7 or 8, then this is one of the best budget laptops 2015 that still runs Microsoft.
That means that this Acer Aspire would be best suited to light, common use, like browsing the web, using Microsoft Office (like Word and Excel), checking and updating social media, and watching Netflix and Youtube.
Packard Bell EasyNote 10.1 Touchscreen NotebookGet it on Amazon
Some people say Windows 8 was made to be used on touchscreen devices like tablets, and that it never should have reached desktop and laptop computers. Well, I kind of agree. I never got along with Windows 8 and lovingly hung onto Windows 7 for my laptop after trying out it’s successor on my dad’s computer. But after I was given the chance to try out Windows 8 on a tablet, I realised it actually can be intuitive, if you know how to use it.
Where am I going with this? Well, this Packard Bell Notebook has a touchscreen so you can experience Windows 8 in a whole new way. Of course it works with the touchpad or a mouse too, but finally you can use the screen sort of how you’d use a tablet to take advantage of all of the features of Windows 8.
The Packard Bell EasyNote 10.1 Notebook Specs You Need To Know:
– Intel Celeron Processor
– 2GB RAM
– 320GB HardDrive
– 10.1″ Screen Size
– Weighs 1.1kg
– 8hrs Average Battery Life
All in all it looks great, works as you’d expect for this price range, and it’ll suit the kind of person who wants a basic laptop with better usability. There’s not too much of a difference between this and the lower priced laptops on this list, apart from the touchscreen.
Dell Inspiron 3531Get it on Amazon
This is one of the cheapest laptops on this list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. For everyday use this will see you through with a great battery life, speedy processing and even the ability for light gameplay (on games like Minecraft – I know I know, but if you’re looking for a laptop for a child then this really does matter, trust me).
The Dell Inspiron 3531 Specs You Need To Know:
– Intel Processor
– 4GB RAM
– 500GB HardDrive
– Weighs 3.2kg
– 15.6″ Screen Size
– 6hrs+ Battery Life
The main downside to this laptop, according to reviews, seems to be it’s lack of a DVD drive. This is becoming a standard for most budget laptops though so don’t let it put you off. Most software you need, like Microsoft Office, you can buy as a download so you won’t even need a disc. If this really is a bother though, you can usually pick up an external DVD drive for around £20.
For the screen size, quality, and those specs above though, this is great laptop if you’re keeping to a budget.
Lenovo G50-30 15.6-inch Notebook
The Lenovo G50-30 is possibly one of the best budget all-rounder laptops I’ve spotted for this list. It’s a best seller on Amazon, and it’s pretty easy to see why when you compare it to other laptops in this price range.
The Lenovo G50-30 Specs You Need To Know:
– Intel Celeron N2840 Processor
– 4GB RAM
– 500 GB Hard Drive
– 15.6 Inch Screen
– 4hrs Average Battery Life
– 4kg Weight
So the specifications above are pretty standard for a capable all-rounder, but what else is so great about it? Well, Lenovo opted to ignore flashy features like a touchscreen in place of more old-school essentials we all still love. It has an integrated DVD Reader / Writer (something you won’t find in most laptops of this price range), as well as a full HD display with an AMD Radeon Graphics card and Dolby Advanced Audio v2 so that movie and TV watching is the quality we’ve all come to expect.
This is the kind of laptop you can work and play on. Although it’s not the smallest or the most portable, it’d still be easy enough to take to and from the house, work on with Windows 8.1, watch TV and movies and even potentially play some simple games. For the money, I’d hesitantly say (only because of the variety of laptops out there) that this is one of the best budget laptops 2015 in the UK.
Acer Aspire V13 (Sometimes Called V3-371)
This is a tad more expensive than the other laptops on this list, but I’m throwing it in anyway. It’s made it’s way to some of the top spots in other budget laptop guides, and even made it to the first place in PC Advisor’s best budget laptops of 2015 list. So is it worth the extra money?
The Acer Aspire V13 Specs You Need To Know:
– Intel Core i3 Processor
– 4GB RAM
– 500GB Hard Drive
– 13.3″ Screen Size
– Weighs 2.4kg
The Acer Aspire V13 is one of my picks for the best budget laptops 2015 list because it can stand whatever you throw at it (except bricks), and a little bit extra. It flies through all the basic work applications like Microsoft Office, general web browsing, watching Netflix and Youtube, and it can even play games (albeit very slowly in their low-medium quality graphics, it wasn’t designed to be a gaming laptop!). Because of that, it’s one of the best budget laptops you can get for under £500.
Lenovo Flex 2 – 14″Get it on Amazon
The Lenovo Flex 2 is a bit of an unusual one on this list. It has a rotatable, full HD (1920 x 1080) LED touchscreen. This means you can convert it to viewing mode if you want to watch any movies or youtube videos.
The Lenovo Flex 2 Specs You Need To Know:
– Intel Core i5 Processor
– 6GB RAM
– 500 GB SSHD
– 14″ Screen Size
– 6hrs+ Battery Life
– Weighs 1.9kg
Yep, apart from the Macbook this has the best processor on the list. The Lenovo Flex 2 is a bit lighter than the other laptops , although it still can’t match the slightness of the Chromebooks further down. It’s more powerful than the previous laptops, and although the flip screen might seem a bit gimmicky, reviewers have said it works well with the touch capabilities.
Basically this has the usability of the Packard Bell EasyNote, but with some much better specs.
Apple Macbook Air 13.3″Get it on Amazon
Yep, I know, this is way above the pricing of all the other laptops on this list. But it does happen to be one of the cheapest and highest rated Apple laptops I could find, so for this one let’s just pretend it’s an Apple budget laptop guide!
The Apple Macbook Air 13.3″ Specs You Need To Know:
– Intel Core i5 Processor
– 4GB RAM
– 128GB Hard Drive
– 12hrs Average battery life (probably a bit of an overestimation…)
– Weighs 1.4kg
Although this is the older version of the Apple Macbook Air 13.3″, it’s just as good as we’ve all come to expect from Apple products. To put it into context, this little laptop was around £949.00 when it was first released, and it’s now just £692.00 thanks to it’s successor. You can still install the current Apple Operating System, OS X Yosemite, for free, and the specifications it has means it can easily rival any laptop on this list. But again, in some cases it’s over £400 more expensive than them…
But if you need a lot more power than the other budget laptops on this list are offering, and if you need to look much more flashy when you’re working on it out and about, this Apple Macbook Air might be the best budget laptop of 2015 for you. It’s a bargain for an Apple product at least!
The Best Chromebooks 2015
I’m giving Chromebooks their own category because they’re just so different to any Apple or Microsoft laptop you’ll have tried in the past. Forget all the fancy added extras that normally push the price of laptops up, if you’re only looking for an internet browsing device then the Chromebook could be perfect for you. I’ve been using one for just about a year now, and it’s been better than any laptop I’ve previously owned at using the internet quickly, watching Netflix and Youtube, working on Google Docs and Microsoft Office and taking out and about with me.
If you want more information on Chromebooks specifically, I wrote about why I think Chromebooks are the best laptops you can buy for under £500 here. Otherwise, here are my top four, from most expensive to least:
1/ HP Chromebook 14
This is the Chromebook I’ve personally used, and I’ll say from a non-expert perspective that it’s incredible. The main features are;
- It loads up within 5 seconds when you first switch it on. That’s from off to being able to get onto the internet in 5 seconds. Crazy fast.
- It has a 14″ screen which is larger than most other Chromebooks in this price range – it’s not too glossy and the quality is great for watching movies and youtube videos.
- I can (and honestly have most of the time), 20+ tabs open in an internet browser without it slowing down.
- The speakers are fine for general listening. They’re underneath the Chromebook though, so you’ll find them muffled if you often use it on your lap.
- It’s only 1.7kg which makes it extremely portable.
- The battery life is insane – it’s 6+ hours easy.
I’d say this is at the very top of the best budget laptops 2015 list in my mind. I think it’s the best laptop for students because of it’s size, price and weight. It’s also got the standard microphone and webcam combination, so you can keep in touch with friends easily. It would make a great home laptop for all the family too because it’s so easy to take from room to room.
2/ Samsung Series 3 Chromebook (XE303C12-A01UK)
With an average of 4 out of 5 stars from almost 1000 Amazon reviewers, I’m going to have to say this might be one of the most popular Chromebooks you could get in 2015. What’s so special about it? Compared to other Chromebooks nothing much; it’s well-made, safe and secure as well as easy to use. You know you’re getting a really good piece of gear in a tiny package.
Of course, there are technical differences between this Chromebook and the one above, for example the Samsung Exynos 5000 Series 1.7 GHz Processor compared to the NVIDIA or Intel Celeron processor’s you can opt for in the others. But in all honesty, you won’t feel a massive difference. It all comes down to which you prefer on looks and design.
3/ Acer Aspire Chromebook 11 – CB3-111
You might not think you can get a good quality laptop when we start dipping down below £200, but trust me when I say Chromebooks are different. The Acer Aspire Chromebook comes with 2 USB ports and a headphone slot, but nothing else (so keep this in mind if you were hoping to be able to hook it up to a second screen or TV with a HDMI cable) and it has an 11.6″ screen size.
It’s got all the looks of the HP 14 Chromebook, just in a smaller and slightly less powerful package. You can still use it for all the same purposes as the other; an internet browser, with the ability to work on Google Docs or Microsoft Office (using an App), watch things on Netflix and Youtube, and go on Google hangouts with friends and family using the webcam and microphone. It weighs just 1.2kg and has an impressive battery life of 8.5hrs+, making it great for commutes or students to use in lectures.
4/ HP Chromebook 11
The HP Chromebook 11 is the cheapest Chromebook, and cheapest laptop, on this blogpost. Despite it’s tiny price it has glowing reviews from people who’ve used it, claiming it’s a good solid Chromebook just like any other. But, like we always say, you get what you pay for. So don’t expect to be running a little super computer here, it’ll definitely have it’s limitations.
It’ll still do everything you’d want a Chromebook to do though. It’ll let you browse the web, watch videos, work on documents etc. It still has a microphone and webcam. And it still has a solid build. It’s just a personal choice you need to make for whether you get the absolute budget option, or put a bit more money towards a better built and higher recommended machine.
The Best Budget Gaming Laptop 2015
Gigabyte P15F V2-CF1
The Gigabyte P15F V2-CF1 might seem like a pricey option, not a budget laptop, but believe me when I say that you need to put the money in if you want quality when it comes to gaming laptops. And this is the lowest priced laptop I could find for the kind of quality you’re going to want from your games. So to sum it up, this is probably the best value gaming laptop you can buy for this low price.
The Gigabyte P15F V2-CF1 Specs You Need To Know:
– Intel Core i7 Processor
– 8GB RAM
– 1TB HardDrive
– Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M 2GB Graphics Card
– Sound Blaster Cinema Sound Quality Optimization Technology
– 15.6″ Screen Size
– Weighs 2.5kg
Although this is just a notebook, it’s got everything you’d want for gaming, plus a bit more for the money you’re paying. Reviewers sing it’s praises, and if you want a benchmark to judge it on, one reviewer mentions it running Alien Isolation on all high settings, 1080p, 60FPS.
Being one of Amazon’s top sold laptops, and the top sold of all their gaming laptops, I’d say this has earned it’s place on the list. Of course you could get one of the cheaper laptops for gaming, but you won’t get anything like the quality this will give you (and you possibly won’t be able to even run some of the games you want to).
So, Which Budget Laptop Should I Buy?
Honestly, if you take away anything from this post let it be that only you can decide that. I’ve given you good selection, now it’s up to you to work out what your needs are and how much you have to spend.
Do you disagree with any of the laptops on this list? Or maybe I’ve missed out one of your favourites? Let me know in the comments below, or over on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll make sure it gets added in!