Top 10 Best Laptops Under $200 2021 (Latest Models)

The Best Cheap Windows Netbooks & Chromebooks under $200 right now.
best laptops under $200 - featured image

Gone are the days when you had to spend a lot of money to buy a good laptop because now many laptop manufacturers are offering decent-performing laptops for a price lesser than $200! You can get all your basic everyday tasks done on them, but they are incapable of doing anything more intensive than that. So are the laptops under $200 the right choice for you? If yes, which are the best laptops under $200 right now? Read on to find out.

Pandemic forced people to work and study from home, which created a massive demand for inexpensive laptops. On the other hand, manufacturers could not meet the demand due to the short supply of components, and therefore the laptop stocks started drying out at all retailers. It was indeed very tough to find a good budget laptop during peak pandemic times. Thankfully, the situation has gotten a lot better since then, and if you are in the market for a laptop under $200 right now, there are abundant choices.

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You can get a 2-in-1 laptop if you wish to or get a traditional laptop under $200 for yourself. There are also Chromebooks available for under $200, which are great if you mostly work inside your browser, and if you want to use MS Office, there are also few Windows netbooks available under $200 that offer a year of Microsoft 365 subscription for free.

Choices are abundant, but depending on what you plan to do on your laptop, these cheap laptops may or may not be right for you.

Are the cheap laptops under $200 right for you?

So, you can’t play the newest games or perform demanding tasks such as video editing on these budget laptops because Windows netbooks and Chromebooks that you would usually find in this price range are simply not made for it. They run on lightweight operating systems such as Windows 10 S and Chrome OS and are powered by entry-level CPUs with no more than 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC type storage.

Although they can’t handle demanding workloads, they are perfect for everyday productivity tasks such as surfing the web, editing documents, managing small excel sheets, and creating presentations. They are also highly portable with a compact and lightweight form factor, and their less powerful hardware consumes very little power, so most of them have a full-day battery backup as well.

They could be an excellent option for frequent travelers, students, or anyone who wants an inexpensive laptop to get online and perform basic computing tasks, but for anything more than that, these cheap sub-$200 laptops and chromebooks fall short of offering smooth performance.

If you think that the laptops under $200 won’t cut your requirements, check out our list of top laptops under $300, which includes more capable laptops that cost just slightly more than $200. Alternatively, you can look at the budget laptops section of our website, where you’ll find more inexpensive options.

Well, if you think that these low-powered laptops would make do for your requirements, then below are our top picks that include the best Windows laptops as well as Chromebooks under $200. Go through them one by one and read their short descriptions to learn about them and buy the one that you think fits best to your requirements.

Best Laptops Under $200 – Top Picks

ProductCPU | RAMSize | Weight
ASUS L210MA 11″ Laptop (Our Top Pick)Intel Celeron N4020 1.1 GHz | 4GB11″ | 2.3 lbs
2021 HP Chromebook 14at-na100 (Best Chromebook Under $200)Intel Celeron N4500 1.1 GHz | 4GB14″ | 3.2 lbs
2021 Samsung Chromebook 4 (Best For Kids)Intel Celeron N4020 1.1 GHz | 4GB11″ | 2.6 lbs
HP Chromebook 11a-na0010nr (Cheapest option)MediaTek MT8183 2 GHz | 4GB11″ | 2.3 lbs
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11″ (Best 2-in-1 Laptop Under $200)MediaTek MT8183 2 GHz | 4GB11″ | 2.6 lbs
Asus E410MA 14-inch Windows LaptopIntel Celeron N4020 1.1 GHz | 4GB14″ | 2.8 lbs
Acer Chromebook 311Intel Celeron N4020 1.1 GHz | 4GB11″ | 2.4 lbs
HP Stream 11Intel Celeron N4000 1.1 GHz | 4GB11″ | 3.1 lbs
Dell Chromebook 3100Intel Celeron N4020 1.1 GHz | 4GB11″ | 2.8 lbs
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11″ ChromebookIntel Celeron N4020 1.1 GHz | 4GB11″ | 2.4 lbs

1. ASUS L210MA 11″ Laptop – Our Top Pick

ASUS L210MA 11-Inch Laptop - most recommended laptop under $200

Key Features:

  • Beautiful & lightweight
  • Touchpad doubles up as numpad
  • Comfortable keyboard with 1.4mm key travel
  • 180° hinge
  • One year Microsoft 365 (Personal) subscription worth $70 for free

ASUS L210MA is our most recommended laptop under $200 for a lot of reasons. Firstly, it is a very well-built and designed notebook. We think it’s probably the best-looking laptop you can buy in the $200 price segment. Moreover, it performs well and rocks some pretty nifty features that are not available on any other laptop under $200.

Powered by a dual-core Intel Celeron processor with 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC storage, the Asus L210MA is a capable everyday performer. It can handle everything from multi-tab web browsing to streaming HD videos and even some light indie games.

Its 11-inch display does not get too bright to use comfortably outdoors, but it’s perfectly fine for indoor usage, and it is anti-glare, so less reflections and eye strains. Its keyboard is also very comfortable with tactile keys, and a 1.4mm key travel distance makes all the difference when typing for long hours. Its trackpad is also smooth to operate, and it doubles up as a Numpad! There are hardly any laptops under $200 that can accommodate a full-size keyboard with a numpad. That said, if you are the kind of user for whom the numpad is very important, then this “on-trackpad numpad” on the Asus L210MA works flawlessly.

The Asus L210MA also offers plenty of connectivity options ranging from a standard USB 3.0 port to a USB Type-C port, and even an HDMI port and an SD card slot which would aid to expand its less onboard storage.

Overall the ASUS L210MA is a well-rounded package that checks most of the right boxes, and hence it is an excellent Windows laptop under $200 for everyday use, be it for students or business professionals.

Read our full ASUS L210MA-DB01 11″ Laptop Review

Hardware Specifications of ASUS L210MA 11″ Laptop:

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4020 Dual Core Processor (Turbo up to 2.8GHz)
RAM4GB DDR4 RAM
Storage64GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD 600 Graphics
Display11.6-Inch HD Anti-Glare Display with 1366 x 768 pixels
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home in S mode
Battery LifeUp to 8 hours
Weight2.3 lbs

2. 2021 HP Chromebook 14at-na100 – Best Chromebook Under $200

HP 14at-na100 - the best Chromebook under $200 2021

Key Features:

  • Newest Intel Jasper Lake CPU
  • Tactile keyboard (backlit optional)
  • Large 14-inch display
  • Storage expandable via microSD card
  • Audio powered by B&O

If you are looking for the best chromebook under $200, you won’t find a better-performing one than this HP Chromebook 14a. Why? It is among the very few laptops available with Intel’s latest Jasper Lake Celeron N4500U processor in this price range, meaning it is faster and more battery efficient than most other laptops listed here. The goodness does not end there, though. The HP Chromebook 14a features many other exciting features that make it a great package overall for the price.

Starting with the display, it has a large 14-inch screen, providing more room to open multiple windows and use them side by side for increased productivity. The bezels around the screen are also comparatively small, and there’s also a built-in HD webcam which is decent enough for video conferencing. You also get an excellent keyboard with chiclet-style keys, and it also has a huge touchpad to use Chrome OS with ease.

All the ports and slots are lined up on either side of the Chromebook, including multiple USB Type-C ports for charging and data transfer, a single USB Type-A port, and there’s also a microSD card reader to expand its storage. You also get the latest and fastest WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 on this Chromebook for reliable wireless connectivity.

With lightweight chassis, a long-lasting battery, and loud stereo speakers powered by Bang & Olufsen, the HP 14a-na0020nr Chromebook is an excellent option for anyone to work/study from home.

Hardware Specifications of HP Chromebook 14a-na0020nr:

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4500 Dual Core Processor (Turbo up to 2.8GHz)
RAM4GB DDR4 RAM
Storage32GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics
Display14-Inch Anti-Glare HD Screen, 1366 x 768 pixels resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight3.24 lbs

You can also consider last year’s HP Chromebook 14a ($237.00 from Amazon), which comes with an Intel Celeron N4000 processor. That’s a pretty old CPU, but it’s good enough for a home computer that will get used from the couch for basic tasks like streaming videos, paying bills or banking. Why we recommend it is because it offers a 14-inch full HD display. It would deliver a more enjoyable experience when watching shows on Netflix or while watching videos on YouTube. So, if that’s what you plan on doing on your laptop, then last year’s HP Chromebook 14a gets you more eye candy for the same price.

However, for work-centric or student-centric machine buyers, the 2021 HP Chromebook 14a is a much better choice with the latest and more robust CPU, and you can configure it as well with a 1080p display, but that would cost you more than $200.

3. 2021 Samsung Chromebook 4 – Best For Kids

Samsung Chromebook 4 - best cheap laptop for kids

Key Features:

  • Ultraportable design
  • Strong build quality (MIL-certified)
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • Anti-glare screen
  • Expandable storage (via microSD)

If you are those clumsy types of person who always break things or if you are looking to purchase your kid a new laptop, then Samsung Chromebook 4 is the one you should get. It is an ultraportable Chromebook weighing less than 3 pounds that passes the MIL-STD-810G tests, meaning it can take a lot more beating than the standard notebook, and it features a spill-resistant keyboard too.

From design, it still looks pretty much like a standard notebook, though. The exterior is entirely made of plastic, and it has an aluminum lid, lending it a premium feel. Its 11-inch display is nothing to boast of — it’s dim but good enough for home usage, and it’s anti-reflective, so your eyes will thank you for it.

If we talk about the performance, it feels just like every other Chromebook under $200 since it also has a dual-core Intel Celeron inside paired with 4GB RAM. That is, you’ll be fine as long as you don’t open too many Chrome tabs or apps at once. For storage, it has only 32GB of space, but you’re saved by a microSD card reader provided on the left-hand side.

With all the other essential ports, a full day’s worth of battery life, and a price tag that wouldn’t leave a dent in your wallet, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is a terrific value for under $200, and if you don’t mind older specs we have seen it selling refurbished for less than $100!

Hardware Specifications of Samsung Chromebook 4:

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4020 Dual Core Processor (Turbo up to 2.8GHz)
RAM4GB LPDDR4 RAM
Storage32GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Display11.6-Inch Anti-Glare HD Screen, 1366 x 768 pixels resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 12.5 hours
Weight2.6 lbs

4. HP Chromebook 11a-na0010nr – Cheapest Option

HP 11a-na0010nr Chromebook - The cheapest laptop under $200

Key Features:

  • Three color options
  • Optional IPS touchscreen display
  • Strong build quality
  • Good trackpad
  • Competitively priced

Here’s another great Chromebook from HP that is worth considering for the people who like to fancy their laptops around. That said, the HP Chromebook 11a is available in three different color options – White, Black, and the most flashy of them all Indigo blue.

It’s not all about color options, though. It is powered by a MediaTek processor – a company that’s known for its smartphone chips. However, the MT8183 chip is specially designed for Chromebooks, and it features 8 cores! Accordingly, the performance with everyday tasks feels brisk, and it is also a very energy-efficient chip as this Chromebook can last up to 15 hours on a single charge.

Apart from great performance, the build quality of this HP Chromebook is also pretty strong compared to other inexpensive notebooks. It isn’t tested for MIL standards like the Samsung Chromebook 4, but its chassis does not flex as much as some other laptops under $200.

For display, it offers two options: a non-touch 11.6-inch display that uses a TN panel ($119.00 from Amazon) and an IPS touchscreen. We recommend the latter because it provides better viewing angles, and touchscreen would make the experience of using Android apps and games much better.

All in all, the HP Chromebook 11a is another excellent option for Chromebook buyers with the robust build quality, decent performance, and unique color options.

Hardware Specifications of HP Chromebook 11a-na0010nr:

ProcessorMediaTek MT8183 8-Core CPU (Up to 2GHz)
RAM4GB DDR4 RAM
Storage32GB eMMC
GraphicsIntegrate ARM Mali-G72 MP3
Display11.6-Inch IPS Touchscreen, 1366 x 768 pixels resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 15 hours
Weight2.36 lbs

5. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11″ – Best 2-in-1 Laptop Under $200

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11 Inch Convertible Laptop Under $200

Key Features:

  • Versatile design
  • Multitouch IPS display
  • Good ports selection
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Long battery life

If you had done even a little bit of research about laptops under $200 on your own, then you would know that there aren’t many convertible laptops available under $200, especially if you are looking for one with Windows operating system. There are few options from some lesser-known brands, but they are not worth the risk. So, either you’ll have to spend more, or you’ll have to settle with a 2-in-1 Chromebook.

If you are okay buying a convertible Chromebook, then Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11″ is the one we recommend. It’s powered by a MediaTek MT8183 processor, which is similarly capable as the Intel Celeron processor, and it is accompanied by 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, which is adequate for a Chromebook. It can handle moderate multitasking and tasks like web surfing, video streaming, and likes without any problem. Moreover, you can also install Android apps on it and enjoy playing games on its touchscreen display.

Speaking of the display, it comes with an 11.6-inch touchscreen IPS panel with a 360° hinge, so it can be used in the stand, tablet or normal mode, typical of a 2-in-1 laptop. The display produces decent colors, has good viewing angles, and it’s also bright enough to use comfortably under the shade, but it is glossy, so it shows a lot of reflections and makes it hard to use the laptop outdoors.

Overall, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11″ is one of the best convertible laptops you can buy for under $200 right now. With a decent amount of ports, up to 16 hours of battery life and an ultraportable design, it could be a great little 2-in-1 for students to take to school or a laptop/tablet combo for professionals to complete basic tasks on the go.

Hardware Specifications of Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11″:

ProcessorMediaTek MT8183 2.0GHz 8-Core CPU
RAM4GB DDR4 RAM
Storage64GB eMMC
GraphicsIntegrate ARM Mali-G72 MP3
Display11.6-Inch HD IPS Touchscreen with 1366 x 768 pixels resolution (glossy)
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 16 hours
Weight2.6 lbs

DEAL ALERT: Lenovo Chromebook Duet Detachable with MediaTek Helio P60T processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC storage for $319.99 $214.99 from Lenovo

If you are looking for a 2 in 1 laptop under $200, this deal is sure to excite you. Lenovo Chromebook Duet, one of the best detachable Chromebooks is $100 OFF right now at Lenovo. It offers an excellent 10.1-inch full HD display along with detachable keyboard that connects to the tablet via magnetic pins. It weighs just 2 pounds with keyboard and its performance also feels smooth with most tablet-intended tasks, so overall, it makes up for a great versatile device to use on the go.

6. Asus E410MA 14-inch Windows Laptop

Asus E410MA - best Windows laptop under $200

Key Features:

  • Premium design
  • 14-inch display
  • Trackpad doubles up as numpad
  • Upgradable RAM
  • Storage expandable via microSD card slot

Before you start calling this a Chromebook biased list, here’s another Windows laptop that we recommend to buy under $200. The Asus E410MA features a large 14-inch display, on trackpad numpad like the Asus L210MA 11″ (our top pick), and decent performing specs to get you through your everyday computing needs.

It has the exact same specs as the Asus L210MA 11″ — an Intel Celeron N4020 processor with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. So, performance would feel mostly similar, meaning you’ll be fine as long as you don’t tax its hardware too much by opening a lot of browser tabs or having multiple applications running in the background. However, a bigger 14-inch display makes all the difference here. Its larger size gets you that extra screen real-estate so that you can work comfortably by opening two apps side by side, and it’s also sharper with 1600 by 768 resolution, so watching YouTube or Netflix would be a better experience on this laptop. However, its speakers do not get loud, so you’ll have to use headphones with it.

Apart from that, everything else from design to keyboard and trackpad feel is more or less the same as the Asus L210MA, just stretched out to fit the larger display.

So, if you want to buy a Windows laptop under $200 that feels like a “standard notebook” than a “netbook,” then Asus E410MA is the one for you.

Hardware Specifications of Asus E410MA 14-inch Laptop:

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4020 1.1GHz Dual-Core (Turbo up to 2.8 GHz)
RAM4GB DDR4 RAM (Expandable up to 8GB)
Storage64GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Display14-inch HD Anti-Glare Display, 1600 x 768 Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 S
Battery LifeUp to 12 hours
Weight2.8 lbs

7. Acer Chromebook 311

Acer Chromebook 311 with free wireless mouse

Key Features:

  • Premium metallic exterior
  • IPS display
  • Long battery life
  • Storage capacity expandable via microSD card
  • Free Acer Wireless Mouse

Ok, if for some reason you didn’t like any of the Chromebooks that we recommended until now, then here’s one from Acer.

So first things first, there’s nothing exceptional about its performance since it is also powered by the same Intel Celeron N4020 processor that you would find inside of most Windows laptops and Chromebooks under $200.

So what’s unique about this Chromebook? Well, we love its design, especially the metallic finish on the exterior. It feels premium in hands and also looks more costly than it actually is. Apart from that, the 11-inch display of this Acer Chromebook 311 is also better than the rest. It is an IPS panel, so colors and viewing angles are much better than other laptops’ displays in this price range. Moreover, it comes with Acer’s proprietory ComfyView tech that helps to reduce the eye fatigue that we usually face after prolonged computer usage.

What makes this deal even better is Acer is offering a free wireless mouse with this Chromebook for a limited time!

Hardware Specifications of Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H-C7C8):

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4020 (Dual Core, 1.1GHz – 2.8GHz)
RAM4GB LPDDR4
Storage32GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Display11.6-inch HD IPS Anti-Glare Display with Acer ComfyView
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight2.43 lbs

8. HP Stream 11

HP Stream 11 - windows laptop under $200 with free Microsoft 365 subscription

Key Features:

  • Ergonomic keyboard
  • Good ports selection
  • Good looking design
  • Comes with Windows 10 Home (Not in S Mode)
  • One year Microsoft 365 subscription free

Once a most popular laptop under $200 — the HP Stream 11 is no more as valuable offering from the brand as it used to be. It comes with an Intel Celeron N4000 processor, which at this point is a 3-year old CPU, so it’s definitely not the most powerful laptop you can get under $200 right now. The Intel Celeron N4020 powered Asus L210MA – our top pick, among other Windows laptops on this list, are much better performers. But, HP Stream 11 still manages to entice buyers with its clean minimal design, unique color options, and excellent keyboard in such a small device.

So, it comes in two color options, Diamond White and Royal Blue; the former goes well in a professional environment while the latter is well-suited for students. What we love most about the HP Stream 11, though, is its design. It is clean on the outside, and the keyboard deck has a slight texture that feels good on wrists while typing.

Speaking of typing, its keyboard is just phenomenal. It has a great layout, keypresses feel precise and tactile, and it’s comfortable to type for long hours. The trackpad also feels smooth, and since it uses Windows Precision drivers, you can use multi-finger gestures on it.

Honestly, if all you want to do on your laptop is surf the web, stream media, or do light work on MS Office apps, you’ll find HP Stream 11’s performance more than adequate. Only when you have more than two apps opened you’ll start seeing it slowing down since it uses slower DDR3 memory. The onboard storage is also just 32GB, although there is a microSD card slot to expand it.

Overall, the HP Stream 11 is still a worth considering option. It has one of the best feeling keyboards on 11-inch laptops in this price range. Plus, HP includes a free year of Windows 365 subscription with it, which alone makes it a great deal.

Hardware Specifications of HP Stream 11:

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4000 Dual Core Processor (Turbo up to 2.6GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3
Storage32GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Display11.6-Inch HD WLED-backlit Anti-Glare Screen (1366 x 768 pixels resolution)
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery Life9 hours
Weight3.1 lbs

9. Dell Chromebook 3100

Dell Chromebook 11 3100 - good laptop for kids

Key Features:

  • Tough kid-proof design
  • Reinforced ports
  • Superb warranty coverage
  • Long battery life
  • Less on-board storage
  • No SD card slot

If you are looking for a laptop for your kid, then here’s another excellent option for you to consider besides the previously mentioned Samsung Chromebook 4. This Dell Chromebook offers the best warranty you can get in a $200 price range laptop, which includes unlimited accidental damage claims! Plus, it also features a highly kid-proof design.

So, it has an all-plastic body, but it is tough enough to meet MIL-STD standards. Apart from that, it features rubber edges which means less impact to the critical internals of the laptop during accidents. The kid-proof design features do not end here, it also features a spill-proof keyboard, and its ports have reinforced protection so that they can take more beating than usual.

Now, despite such strong build quality, if your kid still manages to break the laptop or if it stops working after an accident, then Dell would allow unlimited accidental damage claims! You can read more about its warranty on its product page on Dell here.

However, it’s not all bed of roses. Although the Dell Chromebook 3100 offers a reasonably powerful Intel Celeron N4020 processor paired with 4GB RAM, the onboard storage on the model that costs under $200 is just 16GB. That’s very less even for even school-going kids’ requirements. What’s even more disappointing, though, is it does not have an SD card slot to expand its low storage!

Of course, you can get more storage capacity by paying extra, but Samsung Chromebook 4 offers well-balanced specs and a kid-proof design for under $200. However, the warranty on this Dell is too good to be true, so if you can spare some more money, then this Dell Chromebook 3100 is a great pick for kids.

Hardware Specifications of Dell Chromebook 3100:

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4020 Dual Core Processor (Turbo up to 2.8GHz)
RAM4GB LPDDR4
Storage16GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Display11.6-Inch HD Anti-Glare Screen (1366 x 768 pixels resolution)
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 14 hours
Weight2.8 lbs

10. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11″ Chromebook

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 11 Chromebook

Key Features:

  • Premium design
  • Decent performing specs
  • Excellent feeling keyboard
  • Good ports selection
  • 720p webcam

Last but not least, the Lenovo Chromebook 3 is also an equally great option as other 11-inch laptops under $200. We would not talk about its performance since it is also powered by the same specs as most laptops do, so you get the idea about its capabilities. It’s good enough for regular internet-based jobs.

The unique aspects of this laptop that make it worth considering are its design and the display’s 180° hinge. So, the laptop comes in an Onyx black color, but the left part of its lid has a gray-textured finish, and there also lies a subtle Chromebook branding. That adds a premium vibe to this Chromebook and looks unique from other mostly plain-looking laptops in this price range. Apart from that, it features a 180-degree display hinge, which sometimes can be helpful to share the content on the screen with a group of people.

Rest everything is more or less similar to other laptops in this price category, but its keyboard is right in league with the best ones in this price range, and its 720p webcam is also better than VGA cameras on most other cheap notebooks.

So, all in all, if you are looking for a premium-looking ultraportable laptop, then Lenovo Chromebook 3 11 is one of those beauties in this price range that manages to fool people into thinking it is a much expensive device.

Hardware Specifications of Lenovo Chromebook 3 11″:

ProcessorIntel Celeron N4020 1.1GHz Processor (Dual Core, Up to 2.8GHz)
RAM4GB LPDDR4
Storage64GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Display11.6-Inch HD (1366 x 768) Anti-Glare Screen
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight2.4 lbs

So, these are the best laptops under $200 you can buy right now. As you can see, the sub-$200 price segment is mostly flooded with Chromebooks, and there are very few Windows laptop options. While there’s nothing wrong with that because Chromebooks make a lot of sense at this price range, but depending upon the programs you want to run on your laptop, you might need a Windows laptop.

So if you are still confused and can’t decide which laptop to get, choosing between Chromebook or Windows laptop could be a great starting point. Below are some comparisons between Chromebooks and Windows laptops which shall help you to decide on one, and then we have also enlisted and briefed on the must-have features and things to look for when shopping for a laptop under $200.

Go through it to get all your doubts cleared, and if you still have any after that (which we highly doubt), feel free to ask us in the comments section below or contact our experts for laptop advice.

Windows Laptop vs Chromebook: What should you buy under $200?

As mentioned earlier, Chromebooks make a lot of sense in this price range because Chrome OS is a more lightweight operating system than Windows, meaning it does not require much powerful hardware to run. So Chromebooks with low-end hardware feel smoother to use than Windows laptops.

Now, Microsoft did launch Chrome OS competitor – Windows 10 S, which does not allow users to install apps outside of the Microsoft Store in order to make it more fast and secure, but it took away the number one reason for which people opted to buy a Windows laptop over Chromebook – “App Compatibility.” Thankfully, if you want to install any third-party software on Windows 10 S laptop, it is very easy to switch to full Windows 10 Home from stripped-down Windows 10 S, but it’s still one more thing to do.

Whereas on Chromebooks, you can install all the apps available on the Chrome Web Store, and they now also support Android apps, meaning you can install all the apps and games available on the Android Play Store on your Chromebook. That’s great, but those apps are made and optimized for Android smartphones and tablets, so the experience of using them isn’t great on Chromebooks, especially the ones with “non-touch” displays.

If we try to see the overall picture, besides app compatibility, there’s no other reason to not opt for Chromebooks. Most people buy a laptop under $200 to get online and do basic stuff like surfing the web, attending zoom meetings, watching videos on YouTube or maybe editing a word document. Chromebooks can handle that all. You can’t use MS Office apps on Chromebook, but Google Docs and other productivity apps in Google’s suite are great too. If you haven’t tried them yet, this could be a great opportunity to switch, and in case you don’t like them, you always have an option to access MS Office online from the web browser.

However, if you must use Windows-specific apps or MS Office, Windows is the only option for you since it is impossible to install proprietary third-party software on Chrome OS right now.

This in no way was the most comprehensive comparison between both the operating systems. Still, these critical differences will give you a good overall idea to decide between Chromebooks and Windows laptops when shopping for a laptop under $200.

Now, as you know what type of laptop you need, below are all the essential things you must check in a laptop under $200. You don’t need to go through them if you are purchasing any of our recommended laptops mentioned above, but if you like any laptop that’s not on our list, then before you pull the trigger on it, this handy essentials guide will help you make a better purchase decision.

Things to check in a laptop under $200 – A Handy buying guide

Buying a laptop is not easy, but when you are buying a laptop with a shoestring budget like this, there are certain things that you must check. We have listed all the essential things to check below in the form of a handy buying guide for you. Go through it as it would be helpful if you buy any laptop that’s not on the list of our top picks.

Processor: You’ll find most laptops under $200 powered by Intel Celeron and MediaTek processors, but those are the brand names. You need to pay attention to the specific model numbers of CPUs. For instance, Intel Celeron N4000 was launched way back in 2017, whereas N4020 and N4500 are comparatively recent CPUs launched in 2019 and 2021, respectively. In the same way, MediaTek MT8183 is the recent one from the brand launched in 2019 and MT8173 is older launched way back in 2015. So, as a general rule of thumb, you should avoid buying any laptop in 2021 with a CPU launched before 2019.

RAM: Most laptops in this price range would come with 4GB RAM, and that’s what we recommend as well, but there are some old and refurbished laptops available that offer 2GB RAM, and you should avoid them.

Storage: You’ll get at most 64GB of onboard storage in the laptop for under $200. Anything less than that is generally not advisable, but if the laptop has a memory card slot, 32GB is also acceptable. Avoid laptops that provide just 16GB onboard storage at all costs because more than half of it is occupied by the operating system, and then there’s hardly any room left for you to install apps.

Display: Most laptops under $200 compromise on display quality, so finding a cheap laptop with a good screen is a task in itself, but it’s not impossible. Look for laptops with IPS panels. They generally are better in quality in terms of viewing angles and overall vividness and brightness. Also, if it has higher than HD (1366 by 768) resolution, consider it a home run. But, if you are getting it at the cost of performance, you should probably prioritize the key hardware like processor, RAM and storage more.

Build Quality: This happens to be another area where manufacturers tend to compromise a lot with budget systems. However, we have seen few extremely well-built machines under $200, one that passes rigorous military certified tests and comes with spill-resistant keyboards. If you are buying a laptop for your kid, buying such a laptop would make your life as a parent a thousand times easier.

Apart from that, checking how the keyboard feels while typing and the trackpad’s smoothness and responsiveness are also important. You should also look at the number and types of ports a notebook has and assess its overall weight and size by taking in hands. If possible, go to Best Buy, Walmart, or Target near you to have a look at the laptop in person and use it for a few minutes.

Lastly, don’t forget to compare prices at different online and offline retailers. That would help you find a better deal, or sometimes get you a gift with your laptop at no extra cost.

So, that’s all you’ll need to check if you are planning to purchase a laptop under $200. Again, if you are buying any laptop from our top picks, you don’t need to check for these things.

Our top picks pass all these checks and more. We have carefully picked laptops by keeping the requirements of all types of users in mind, and accordingly, we have all kinds of laptops on our list (touchscreen, 2 in 1, and traditional laptops). We also have different sizes of notebooks (11-inch, 14-inch, and 15-inch), and if you are buying it for your kid, then we have options for that as well.

So, we hope that this budget laptop buying guide helps you buy the best laptop under $200 for yourself. If you found it helpful, tell us about it in the comments section below, and consider sharing it with someone who might find it useful as well.

If you have any questions/doubts about our laptop recommendations or anything else that we mentioned in this guide, feel free to ask about it in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by.

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20 comments
  1. I need help I am planning to get a computer for my birthday soon the Direkt-Tek 11.6 I saw the reviews and it worries me if I get it it will be bad is it a bad model or not I need help, please.

  2. If I am a student with a limited budget looking for a laptop/Chromebook/notebook/other only for studies, which one you would suggest? I would prefer that I can store some files in the actual hard drive and have enough space to install Microsoft office. Can you help me?

    1. Hi Joze,
      I would recommend you to get the Chromebook and use the Google’s suite of productivity apps like Google Docs and Sheets for your work. That would be better option as after installing MS Office on Windows Netbook, there’s hardly any space left to store other files in it.

  3. Could you please suggest a budget laptop for video editing ?
    Will these above-mentioned ones be good for basic video editing?
    Thank you for your help.

    1. Don’t even mistakably buy any of these laptops for video editing. They are made for just basic usages like surfing web and editing word documents. To buy laptop for editing videos, I would recommend you to check out our guide to buy video editing laptops. The cheapest laptop that you can buy for video editing right now is Acer Aspire E 15, you will find it in our guide.

  4. Hi
    I’m looking for the laptop just to use internet (Ex: search, chat, find some information…) but I don’t know which one the best for that with the price under $200. Can you please help me?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Francesco,
      Acer Aspire one is better because of its slightly better hardware specifications and full HD display.

  5. I’m looking to buy the HP Stream 14 but not sure if it suits me. In a few weeks, I’m going to canada for like a week and need a laptop for my personal stuff. I’m not sure because I have seen alot of people saying things like “It’s So slow I had to return it” and stuff like that. Please Help!

    1. Hi,
      HP Stream 14 is a good machine for basic productivity tasks such as checking emails, typing word documents, managing medium-sized excel sheets, etc. You can play some flash based games on it and even watch Netflix and YouTube at your leisure. But, I think the Acer Aspire 1 provides good value overall. The processor on Acer is faster with quad-cores, and it even has a better display with full HD resolution. It will be much better machine than HP Stream 14.

  6. any thoughts on either getting HP 14-inch stream versus the Acer 11.6 convertible laptop for a 10 year old?

  7. I had Acer Cloudbook 14 but the issue with this mode is it get heat up very soon. But now after reading you post I’m planing to get HP Stream 14-ax010nr Notebook. Hopefully it will be good decision.

      1. Hi how do u compare the hp stream 14 and dell inspiron 3162 11.6? Need for 12 yr old roblox musically player. My other question is the dell 3162 I’m looking at days it has 500gb hdd. Is that better or the same as 32 gb sad? Also what processor is better Intel quad core Pentium or Intel Celeron dual core? Please help..

        1. Hi Jaclyn,
          Go with HP Stream if you need bigger display and can work with low 32GB of inbuilt storage. If smaller display is fine and if you want more storage then go with the Dell Inspiron 3162. SSDs are faster than HDD, they allow the laptop to boot up faster and open apps more quickly. Performance wise SSDs are good but if you want more storage then Dell will be better choice overall. And, among Intel quad-core pentium and Celeron dual-core, Pentium is more powerful.

          I hope this helps.

    1. Hi Earl,

      If you are going to travel and use your laptop on the go then I think 11″ would be better and If you are going to use it on your desk and travel occasionally only then 14″ would be better choice because it will give you more desktop like feeling while using it.

      I have just replied to you expert advice email and I have sent few best laptops recommendations for you in it. Please check.

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