10 Best Laptops Under $150

Technology has penetrated our lives to an extent that we would find it hard to do the simplest of tasks without some of the gadgets we have at our disposal. It would be hard for us to imagine a life without television, smartphones, and computers. As life becomes more mobile, so does the technology. It wouldn’t be too far off the mark to call this era the era of portability. From laptops to smartphones, our lives seem to depend on these portable technologies for schoolwork, entertainment, connectivity and work/business related tasks. However, these technologies can be expensive and, thus, out of reach for some consumers. This article, therefore, aims to list the 10 best laptops available under $150.

Pros and Cons of Buying, Owning and Using a Laptop

Technology doesn’t always have to be expensive in order to provide value. With the right guidance, you can often find great technological marvels that fit within your budget. However, buying a laptop, even a cheap one, is an important decision. Therefore, let’s have a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages a laptop can bring to our lives:

Advantages:

  1. Convenience and Portability – Modern laptops often provide great computing power packed into a portable unit. They allow you to perform a variety of important school, personal, social and work tasks wherever you are.
  2. Connectivity – While desktops also provide connectivity, laptops win this battle because of their mobility. You can access the internet at your convenience.
  3. Flexibility – While tablets and smartphones share many features with laptops, they do not offer the same flexibility. Laptops allow you to use peripheral devices, from printers and external hard drives to USBs and HDMI cables, with ease.
  4. Computing Power – Laptops, in general, offer more computing power than tablets and smartphones. In fact, some laptops may offer more power than some desktops as well.
  5. Versatility – Laptops can used for work, for studies, for complicated tasks such as 3D modelling, for gaming, and for watching movies.
  6. Size – Laptop sizes can vary based on what you need one for. You can buy a larger one for gaming or watching movies, or a smaller one if you main priority is portability. Unlike desktops, they can fit in your backpacks… and unlike tablets, they can provide your more immersive viewing experiences.
  7. Battery Life – Desktops need to be placed near a power source. Laptops, on the other hand have rechargeable batteries that can give you many hours of battery life before needing a recharge.
  8. Perfect Balance of Features – Laptops share many features with desktops, while also having similarities with portable devices such as tablets.

Disadvantages

  1. Expensive – Some laptops can be very expensive. The best features often come with a hefty price tag.
  2. Less Powerful Than Desktops – While some laptops can be extremely powerful, most desktops win over laptops when it comes to computing power.
  3. Wear and Tear – Since laptops are portable, they are often exposed to the elements such as dust and rain.
  4. Breakage – Laptops are portable and therefore, prone to dropping and physical damage.
  5. Customization – Laptops, in comparison to desktops, are much more difficult to customize and upgrade. Extension or improvement of some features may be limited or impossible.

1. Lenovo Thinkpad T500

This Lenovo Thinkpad T500 is available in two display size variants – 14.1 inch and 15.4 inch. The screen has a matte finish that prevents finger marks. The processor is an Intel Core 2 Duo T9600. The Thinkpad T500 comes with 3 GB RAM and 160 GB of hard disk space. It has a sturdy and durable build, and weight just over 6 pounds.

Lenovo-Thinkpad-T500

Graphics can be switched between ATI Mobility Radeon 3650 with 256 MB memory and Intel X4500.

Pros
  • 15.4 inch screen
  • 1680 x 1050 WSXGA display
  • LCD has a matte finish
  • Great contrast ratio
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 160 GB HDD
  • DVD+/-RW Optical drive
  • Built-in webcam
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • Switchable Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon 3650 with 256 memory and Intel X4500
  • 9-cell battery with decent battery life
  • Weighs just over 6 pounds
  • Ports: DisplayPort, USB ports, SD Card Reader, Headphone/Mic jacks, Firewire, Kensington lock slot, LAN, PC card slot, express card/54, modem slot etc.
  • Parts are removable and easily upgradeable
  • Not very noisy
  • Does not overheat easily
  • Liquid drains to protect the laptop from spills
  • Larger touchpad than previous models
  • Loud sound system
  • The laptop base is designed to keep it stable and prevent sliding and slips
Cons
  • Sound has a weak bass
  • Battery feels wiggly
  • Keyboard seems to have a bit of flex
  • New keyboard design does not have a strong back-plate
  • No HDMI port
  • Could do with more USB ports
  • Screen lacks brightness
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2. Dell Latitude D830 15.4’’

The Dell Latitude D830 is a successor to Dell’s Latitude D820. It is designed to be a business notebook and has a 15.4 inch screen. It has the Centrino 2 Santa Rosa platform. It weighs nearly 6 pounds, which makes it incredibly thin and light in comparison to other laptops with similar specs.

Dell Latitude D830 15.4’’

The laptop has a robust magnesium case and comes with hardware that can be customized with ease. It uses Intel’s Core 2 Duo T7300 processor and comes with 2 GB of RAM and 80 GB of HDD storage. It relies on NVidia’s Quadro NVS 140M with 256 MB of dedicated memory for its graphics. It comes with a pre-installed Windows Vista Business OS.

Pros
  • 15.4 inch Wide Screen WUXGA LCD
  • Screen is brighter than some other models
  • Good horiztontal viewing angles
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 processor
  • Business-like appearance
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 80 GB HDD
  • NVidia Quadro NVS 140M with 256 MB of memory
  • 8X DVD+/-RW with Roxio Creator and Cyberlink
  • Intel 4965 WLAN
  • 9 cell primary battery
  • 6 cell modular battery
  • Vista Business OS
  • Strong hinges
  • Weighs just 6.5 pounds
  • Air vents
  • Clear and loud sound
  • The laptop is not very noisy
  • Good cooling system
  • Ports: 3 USB ports, IEEE 1394 port, Headset and mic jacks, ExpressCard and PC Card slots, Ethernet, modem, VGA, serial port etc.
  • Robust magnesium build
  • Keyboard allows good travel and feedback
  • The keys feel softer
Cons
  • 80 GB of HDD space is not enough
  • Screen and palm rest have some flex
  • Build quality feels cheaper than Thinkpad
  • Primary battery feels a bit loose
  • The screen has some light leakage
  • Vertical viewing angles are could use some improvement
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3. Acer Flagship CB3-532 Chromebook

This laptop provides a great many features within a reasonable budget. It has A 15.6 inch HD screen and a brushed aluminum finish. It is larger than most other Chromebooks available in the market. It is powered by an Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 processor.

Acer Flagship CB3-532 Chromebook

It comes with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB SSD. It runs on a Chrome OS and using Intel’s HD Graphics 400. It is backed by Amazon’s 90-day Renewed Guarantee.

Pros
  • 15.6 inch HD LED screen
  • Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 processor
  • Brushed aluminum finish gives it a premium appearance
  • Intel HD Graphics 400
  • Runs on Chrome OS – lots of exclusive features and apps
  • As most viruses are meant for Windows OSs, having a Chrome OS offers greater security
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB SSD
  • Ports: Lock slot, SD card reader, 2 USB 3.0, HDMI, headphone and mic jacks,
  • Backed by a 90-day Amazon Renewed Guarantee i) Professionally inspected, tested and cleaned by Amazon-qualified suppliers ii) Product looks and works well iii) Certified great battery life iv) Eligible for replacement or refund within 90 days v) Includes accessories
  • Zero Air Gap – enhanced screen clarity even in sunlight
  • ComfyView
  • Built-in webcam
  • Upward speakers
  • Speedy dual band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Backlit keyboard
Cons
  • Inadequate built in storage
  • Relies on cloud storage
  • Screen can be grainy
  • Bigger and thicker than other similar models
  • Nondescript design
  • Short keyboard travel
  • Tinny sound quality
  • Average webcam quality
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4. Apple MacBook MB061LL/A 13.3’’

The Apple MacBook is a laptop that is designed to be perfectly compatible with a mobile lifestyle. The screen is 13.3 inches in sizes and allows a glossy widescreen display. It is powered by a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and comes with 1 GB of RAM and 80 GB of hard disk space.

Apple MacBook MB061LL/A 13.3’’

It comes with a built-in iSight web camera. It is one of the best looking and most innovative laptops within its price range. The graphics are run by Intel’s GMA 950. It is available in multiple colors.

Pros
  • Designed for portability and performance
  • 13.3 inch glossy widescreen display
  • Supports dual-display
  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • Intel GMA 950 Graphics
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 80 GB HDD
  • iSight webcam
  • Premium and sleek appearance
  • Multiple colors
  • Innovative features such as iLife, Front Row etc.
  • Lots of multimedia and content editing features
  • Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme
  • MagSafe power adapter
  • Apple Remote is included
  • Ports: Firewire, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Gigabyte Ethernet
  • Slot loading optical drive
Cons
  • Glossy screen means finger marks and smudges are more visible
  • 80 GB memory may not be enough for modern day usage
  • Just 1 GB RAM
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5. HP Stream PC 11-y010nr

The HP Strem PC 11-y010nr is a great choice for students as well as for work related tasks and basic entertainment. It is extremely lightweight and meant to be compatible with a mobile lifestyle. It is a great choice for those that need basic computing power within a reasonable price.

HP Stream PC 11-y010nr

It has an 11.6 inch screen and runs on a Windows 10 operating system. It has an Intel Celeron N3060 processor and comes with 4 GB of RAM as well as 32 GB of flash storage. It comes with Intel HD Graphics 400.

Pros
  • 11.6 inch HD LED screen
  • Anti-glare – suitable for outdoor use
  • Pleasing and vibrant colors with good contrast
  • Windows 10 operating system
  • Intel Celeron N3060 processor
  • 4 GB RAM – better than most other laptops on this list
  • 32 GB flash storage
  • Intel HD Graphics 400
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Long battery life
  • Comes with a 1 year subscription of Office 365 personal and 1 TB of OneDrive storage
  • Built-in webcam
  • Digital media card reader
  • Stylish appearance
  • Scratch resistant build
  • Multiple add-ons and accessories
  • Ports: Lock slot, USB 2.0, audio jack, HDMI, microSD card slot, USB 3.0 etc.
Cons
  • Relatively smaller screen than other laptops with a similar price tag
  • Limited built-in storage
  • Relies on cloud storage
  • No optical drive
  • No number pad
  • No fingerprint reader
  • Only meant for basic tasks – not for gaming etc.
  • Average webcam quality
  • Sound lacks volume and bass
  • Shallow keyboard travel
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6. Samsung Chromebook 3 XE500C13-K04US

This is a budget laptop that offers a bright and vibrant 11.6 inch display. It is ideal for those that need a laptop for uncomplicated everyday activities such as internet surfing, entertainment, schoolwork etc. It has an Intel Celeron N3060 processor. It comes with 4GB of RAM and a 16 GB SSD.

Samsung Chromebook 3 XE500C13-K04US

It runs on a Google Chrome OS. It offers a long battery life and a decent number of ports and connectivity features. It weighs just 2.5 pounds and offers some degree of spill resistance as well.

Pros
  • 11.6 inch HD screen
  • Matte and anti-reflective finish, making it ideal for outdoor use
  • Decent viewing angles
  • Ideal for uncomplicated everyday activities
  • Intel Celeron N3060 processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 16 GB SSD
  • Lightweight – just 2.5 pounds
  • Spill resistant keyboard – makes it a child friendly option
  • Google Chrome OS – lots of exclusive features
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Intel HD Graphics 420
  • Keyboard is curved and comfortable
  • Decent sized touchpad for an 11.6 inch laptop
  • Long battery life
  • HD Webcam
  • Ports and Connectivity: USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, MicroSD card reader, Headphone and mic jacks etc.
  • Stylish exterior
  • Lots of security features
Cons
  • Screen is smaller than some other laptops on this list
  • Not meant for performance intensive tasks such as gaming or 3D rendering
  • Low internal storage
  • Reliance on cloud storage
  • Little room for customization and upgrades
  • Average quality sound
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7. Fusion5 C60b

Fusion5 is a relatively newer and unknown brand. However, it offers laptops with a great variety of features while ensuring great value for money. The C60b offers an 11.6 inch full HD IPS screen and runs on a Windows 10 Home operating system. It is powered by an Intel Quad-Core processor.

It has integrated Intel 7th Gen graphics. It has a 2 GB RAM and 32 GB of hard disk space. Weighing just around 2 pounds, it is one of the lightest and slimmest laptops on this list.

Pros
  • 11.6 inch IPS Full HD display – very few laptops within a similar price range offer such high screen quality
  • Excellent viewing angles up to 170 degrees
  • Comes with a preinstalled Windows 10 Home OS
  • Intel Quad Core processor
  • 7th Gen Intel HD integrated graphics unit
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 32 GB SSD
  • Webcam
  • Extremely lightweight, slim and portable
  • Applications launch with very little lag
  • 12 months USA warranty and support
  • Reasonable battery life
  • Ports and Connectivity: HDMI, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Audio and mic jacks, MicroSD card reader etc.
  • Suitable for casual and low-graphically intensive gaming
  • Ideal for basic entertainment, schoolwork and low to average performance work tasks
Cons
  • Relatively smaller screen
  • Relatively unknown brand
  • No touch screen functionality
  • Average webcam quality
  • Not suitable for serious gaming
  • No optical drive
  • Insufficient storage space
  • No USB 3.0 port
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8. ASUS Chromebook C202

The Chromebook C202 is designed for school work, low-intensity work tasks, basic entertainment and other everyday uses. This laptop is suitable for those looking for basic functionality on a budget. It has an 11.6 inch HD anti-glare screen with excellent viewing angles. It is powered by an Intel Celeron N3060 processor and runs on a Google Chrome operating system.

ASUS Chromebook C202

Weighing just 2.65 pounds, it is a lightweight and stylish looking laptop. It comes with an Intel HD graphics card, 4GB RAM and 16 or 32 GB of flash storage.

Pros
  • 11.6 inch HD screen
  • Anti-glare, making it suitable for outdoor use
  • 180 degree viewing angle
  • Powered by an Intel Celeron N3060 processor
  • Google Chrome OS – Exclusive features including security, Play Store, and media
  • Weighs just 2.65 pounds
  • Intel HD graphics 400 unit
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 16 or 32 GB flash storage variants
  • Spill resistant keyboard, making it suitable for kids
  • Rugged and sturdy build, offering some degree of drop resistance – up to 3.9 feet
  • Long battery life
  • Strategically placed grips to prevent accidental slips
  • Designed for easy maintenance and minimum downtime
  • Parts can be easily removed, repaired and replaced
  • 1 year of free Google cloud storage
  • Comfortable and familiar keyboard
  • Keyboard deck and touchpad feels sleek
  • Loud and clear audio
  • Ports: HDMI, audio and microphone jacks, 3 in 1 card reader (SD/SDHC/SDXC), 2 USB 3.0 ports, Kensington lock slot
  • Built-in web cam
Cons
  • Smaller screen than some laptops on this list
  • Low internal storage
  • Dependence on cloud and external storage
  • Heavier than some competitors
  • Can be sluggish when running multiple browser tabs
  • Lack touchscreen functionality unlike some other Chromebooks
  • Limited bass
  • Only 720p webcam
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9. Samsung Exynos XE303C12-A01US

This laptop offers a small 11.6 inch screen and runs on a Google Chrome operating system. It is designed for internet surf, school work, basic entertainment and low intensity work tasks. It is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 5 Dual-Core processor and comes with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of SSD. It is compact and stylish in design, and has a Chiclet keyboard and a large touchpad. It has a Mali-T604 GPU. This laptop is backed by Amazon’s 90-day Renewed Guarantee.

Samsung Exynos XE303C12-A01US
Pros
  • 11.6 inch screen
  • Meant for basic tasks such as internet surfing, entertainment, school work etc.
  • Powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Dual-Core processor
  • Chrome OS – multiple exclusive features
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of SSD
  • Compact, lightweight and stylish in design
  • Body has a matte finish – no finger marks or smudges
  • Mali-T604 GPU
  • Backed by Amazon’s 90-day Renewed Guarantee: i) Professionally inspected, tested and cleaned by Amazon-qualified suppliers ii) Product looks and works well iii) Certified great battery life iv) Eligible for replacement or refund within 90 days v) Includes accessories
  • Ports: HDMI, 2 USB ports including 1 USB 3.0, USIM, Headphone and microphone jacks, 3 in 1 reader (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
  • Good touchpad quality – it is large and easy to use
  • Chiclet keyboard
  • Built-in webcam
  • Comes with 100 GB Google Driver storage for 2 years
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • Screen is smaller than some other laptops on this list
  • Not recommended for graphically intensive gaming
  • Low internal storage
  • Relies on cloud and external storage
  • Construction lacks rigidity
  • Made of plastic
  • Laptop has some flex
  • No Ethernet, RJ 45 or DisplayPort
  • Could do with more USB ports
  • Does not have a wide viewing angle
  • Screen resolution is not Full HD
  • Speakers produce muddy sound
  • Keyboard isn’t backlit
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10. Acer Chromebook 13 C 810

This laptop is a sleek looking Chromebook that was the first Chrome operating system based laptop to use NVidia’s Tegra K1 Kepler graphics processing unit. It provides good speed, quality graphics and a long battery life. It is Acer’s first 13.3 inch Chromebook with an HD display. It comes with 4 GB of RAM and a 16 GB SSD.

Acer Chromebook 13 C 810

The battery can last up to 13 hours, depending on usage intensity. It is ideal for everyday computing tasks such as school work, light office work, basic entertainment and some light gaming. It is backed by Amazon’s 90-day Renewed Guarantee. It is powered by a Quad Core Cortex A15 processor.

Pros
  • 13.3 inch HD display
  • Good viewing angles
  • ComfyView
  • Anti-glare – Suitable for outdoor use as well
  • Uses NVidia’s Tegra K1 Kepler GPU
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 16 GB SSD
  • Runs on a Chrome OS – Gives you access to a wide range of exclusive apps and security features
  • Long battery life of up to 13 hours
  • Meant for everyday activities
  • Backed by Amazon’s 90-day Renewed Guarantee: i) Professionally inspected, tested and cleaned by Amazon-qualified suppliers ii) Product looks and works well iii) Certified great battery life iv) Eligible for replacement or refund within 90 days v) Includes accessories
  • Sleek and classy appearance
  • Slim and trim build
  • Large, indented and smooth touchpad
  • Comes with an HD webcam
  • Loud and clear speakers
  • Keyboard is spacious and provides snappy feedback
  • Good travel
  • Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports, SD card slot, HDMI etc.
  • Comes with 100 GB of Google Drive storage
  • Laptops allows relatively easy multitasking
Cons
  • Not suitable for performance and graphically intensive activities such as 3D rendering or professional gaming
  • Lid gets scuffed and smudged easily
  • Screen doesn’t show a wide color range
  • Speakers produce very little bass
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Final Advice

Buying a laptop can be a daunting task. Primarily, the kind of laptop you buy depends on why you need one in the first place. We buy laptops for different reasons which can which can be put under the following categories:

  1. Value – where price is the deciding factor.
  2. Everyday Use – where you don’t need high end configurations.
  3. Gaming and Professional Use Laptops – are designed for performance intensive activities including 3D applications and graphically intensive gaming.
  4. Ultraportable – these are for users with extremely mobile lifestyles that prioritize easy portability over other features.

In addition to knowing your reasons and priorities, it is also important to consider the following advice:

  1. Know the size you want. Size is not upgradable. It will have a direct impact on screen size and hardware configurations. It will also determine the laptop’s portability.
  2. Laptops come with screens of different sizes and qualities. These, in turn, may determine factors such as the laptop’s size and price. Choose wisely.
  3. The laptop’s CPU and GPU are the determining factors behind the laptops performance.
  4. The laptops RAM determines its ability to multitask smoothly.
  5. The storage capacity is not only important for saving data, but also determines the type and size of applications that can be used on a laptop.
  6. Laptops are, primarily, portable computing devices. Therefore, a laptop without a good battery life would defeat the purpose.
  7. One of your primary considerations should be your budget. However, it is important to know that the price of a laptop is likely to depend on its features and capabilities. This article has aimed to provide you with a list of the 10 best laptops you can buy within a budget of $150 while ensuring that you do not compromise too much on performance.