Looking for the best budget laptop for online classes? Then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve already researched the different types of budget desktops available in the Indian market and now it’s time to look at laptops. While everyone wants a sleek and powerful laptop, spending a lot of money may not always be the right answer, especially if taking online classes and basic productivity apps is the only thing you’ll be using the computer for.
There are plenty of cheap options on the market and in this guide we will go through some of the popular series and models from well-known brands that you should keep an eye out for. Like our desktop guide, we mainly focus on the established brands for one simple reason: better after-sales support.
Laptops may not be as flexible as desktops when it comes to upgrading components, but unlike a desktop, they are highly portable so you can take your work with you wherever you go. If you only need a laptop for lessons or writing assignments and are not dependent on an app for your work or study, then you can also consider Chromebooks. These are laptops with Google’s operating system called Chrome OS, which is lighter and easier to run on low-end hardware compared to Windows. You can access the full Google suite of apps and you can also download Android apps from the Google Play Store.
Matching your expectations with your budget
Before you hit the road, it’s important to establish your budget and set your expectations accordingly. You can get a Windows 10 laptop from around Rs. 20,000, but it’s hard to find one from a big brand. Hyderabad-based startup RDP has its ThinBook 1010 and so does the local brand Avita with its Essential series. Most laptops around this price point come with an Intel Celeron or Pentium CPU, 4GB of RAM, an HD resolution display, and a low-capacity eMMC for storage.
Increasing your budget to about Rs. 30,000 you get a lot more options from established players like HP and Lenovo. In this segment, you should be able to expect slightly more powerful CPUs, such as AMD’s Ryzen 3 series and Intel’s older 10th Gen Core i3 models. The hard drive size is typically 1 TB in this segment, but this would be a mechanical hard drive and not flash storage. The RAM will still be 4GB on most, which isn’t ideal for Windows 10, so it’s better if you upgrade to at least 8GB after purchase.
Pushing your budget to about Rs. 45,000 opens the doors to better CPUs, more RAM, and full-HD displays. You can also find models in this price range with mechanical drives and SSDs, which should provide a faster Windows experience. Of course there will always be better models as you move up the price ladder, but that is beyond the scope of this guide.
Now that you know how much you want to spend and what kind of components to expect, let’s take a look at what’s available on the market from some of the well-known brands.
Microsoft Windows laptops
Dell has a decent selection of budget laptops from the Inspiron and Vostro lines. The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Series starts at around Rs. 29,500 that gets you an AMD Athlon Silver 3050U CPU, 4 GB RAM, a 15.6-inch HD display, and a 256 GB M.2 PCIe SSD or a 1 TB hard drive, depending on the model you choose. Your budget closer to Rs. At 40,000, you get 8GB of RAM, an AMD Ryzen 3 3250U CPU, and a full-HD display.
Dell’s Vostro series is aimed at small business users, but also works well for simple home use. The Dell Vostro 15 3500 is the least expensive at around Rs. 30,000, and offers basic specs like an Intel Pentium Gold 7505 CPU, 4 GB RAM and 1 TB hard drive, but a full-HD 15.6-inch display. Expenses around Rs. With an extra 10,000, you get a better Intel Core i3 10th Gen CPU, 8GB of RAM, and SSD storage options.
HP has a similar distinction with its product lines for home and business users. The 14s and 15s series of laptops for home users can be found online at heavily discounted rates. You can expect similar specs to Dell’s Inspiron 15 line with choices of AMD or Intel CPUs, mechanical or flash storage, and 8GB of RAM in the models that cost closer to Rs. 40,000.
HP’s business laptops may be less flashy, but they do offer competitive specs within our budget. Look out for the G7 and G8 series laptops with AMD Ryzen 3 and Intel 11th Gen CPUs for between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000.
You will find plenty of Lenovo V14 and V15 series laptops priced around Rs. 40,000 (lower if you look online) that offer decent designs and current specs, like Intel’s 11th Gen CPUs. If you’re looking for something stylish and portable, try Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 3i, which comes in at a starting price of less than Rs. 40,000, has an Intel 11th Gen Core i3 CPU, 4 GB RAM, a 256 GB SSD and a full-HD 15.6-inch display. On the website you will also find interesting deals for student laptops.
If you are looking for a cheap Acer laptop, you should focus on the Aspire 3 and Aspire 5 series. Through Acer’s own online store, prices start as low as Rs. 26,499 for which you get decent specs like an AMD Athlon Silver 3050U CPU, 4GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive with the option to add an NVMe SSD later. The Aspire 5 range starts a little higher, around Rs. 38,999, but this series offers a slimmer design and better CPU specs.
Acer also has its Extensa range of mainstream models if you’re on a really tight budget. We also saw an Acer TravelMate series laptop with impressive specs (Core i3 11th generation, 8GB RAM, full HD display, 1TB hard drive) for just Rs. 37,999 on Amazon.
If you’re looking for value for money specs, it’s hard to beat Xiaomi’s RedmiBook 15 e-Learning Edition, which recently launched for Rs. 41,999. For this money you get a full HD display, Intel Core i3 11th generation CPU, 256 GB SSD and 8 GB RAM. If you need more storage space, there is a 512GB SSD variant for Rs. 44,999. Realme has also recently launched its first laptop, the Realme Book (Slim), which is slightly beyond the scope of this guide, but is a good option if you don’t mind spending around Rs. 46,999. The base model gets you an Intel Core i3 11th Gen CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 2K (2160×1440) resolution screen.
Asus has long provided value-for-money laptops in the Indian market and continues to do so today. The VivoBook 14 and 15 series offer competitive specs for the price. For example, the Asus VivoBook 15 X515 starts at around Rs. 30,000, which gets you an Intel Pentium Silver N5030 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a full-HD display. Asus also offers a stylish EeeBook 14 E410 series that comes with an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, 4 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD for around Rs. 24,990.
If you don’t need a specific Windows application for your work or study, you should really consider getting a Chromebook. Google’s lightweight operating system should offer better performance than Windows on the same hardware, plus longer battery life. Chromebooks can get very expensive, as can thin and light Windows laptops, but there are also affordable options.
The HP Chromebook 14a is available for Rs. 27,999 which gives you an Intel Celeron N4020 CPU, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage that is expandable and a 14-inch HD display. Earlier this April, the company also announced an 11-inch model, the HP Chromebook 11a, with a MediaTek MT8183 SoC, 4 GB of RAM and a battery life of up to 16 hours.
Lenovo has a nice budget-friendly offering, the Duet Chromebook. It is a 10.1-inch convertible laptop with a detachable screen and built-in kickstand, starting at Rs. 26,999. Last but not least, Asus also has a few regular models with different screen sizes, including the Chrombook Flip which comes with a 360-degree rotating keyboard.