Best Cheap Laptop 2019 HP EliteBook 840
If I had $500 and needed a machine to do web and email on, I’d get an iPad.
But if you need to run PC programs, isn’t it wonderful we live in a world where cheap laptops under $500 are as fast as top of the line machines from 2008? Few writers review cheap laptops but one thing is clear–HP consistently beats other companies when it comes to making nice ones. I like Best Cheap Laptop 2019 HP’s G4t, their 14 inch one.
I’d get the one configured with a second generation Intel Core i3 processor. They start at $479 at the moment.
Laptop Mag is the most dedicated publication to reviewing cheaper laptops, and the G4 is their editor’s choice. They say, “Bargain hunters who don’t have a lot of computing demands beyond surfing the web, checking e-mail, some multimedia streaming, and light productivity/office tasks will find a lot to like in the HP Pavilion g4.”
Scott Stein at CNet says, “Budget shoppers take note: the extremely aggressively priced HP Pavilion g4-1215dx is a worthwhile laptop pick for those who want a basic, cheap computer. It’s hard to find a decent laptop for less–and we’ve seen lesser laptops that cost more.”
Most of the rave reviews were for the slightly cheaper AMD version of this laptop, which is currently not available on HP’s website at the moment. But who cares? The Intel Core i3 versions have the same lauded chassis and design, and are more powerful and have finally dipped below $500. Otherwise, the Intel ones are faster all around by about 25%.
How about netbooks? I don’t recommend netbooks because typing and reading on a small keyboard and screen is torture, and for a little bit more, you can get a full sized computer.
What do you miss compared to a full powered laptop that costs over $900 ABC’s Joanna Stern, one of the best laptop reviewers today, says, “Build quality.” That is, build quality in the keyboard and trackpad and screen but also, a big old plastic body instead of a sleek metal one. audio quality, and enough processor, drive speed and memory to easily multitask without much lag. You also don’t get some higher end features like hard drive shock protection and higher resolution screens. The kind of performance you get out of a computer like the G4t with a second generation core i3 chip is best applied to fewer than, oh, say, 4 programs open at a time, as a ballpark. In other words, a stock G4t should be able to handle Netflix HD streaming, email, and web browsing, as long as you don’t expect to do them all at once with much speed. It’s also nearly 5 pounds.
The G4t can also be wildly upgraded to near top of the line processors and full memory and storage. Most of the upgrades aren’t worth it but a little more RAM might be if you plan on having many windows open at once and the graphics upgrade will help you in 3D gaming. But try to avoid them. Because adding a few of these upgrades can easily double the cost of the laptop, and at that point, you should just consider a better base machine.
Competition is thin. Lenovo and Dell’s comparable offerings don’t keep up with the design, build and cost of HP’s G4 line, and in my opinion, the only real competition the G4 has are the HP G6 laptops which have bigger 15-inch screens and sometimes cost the same on sale for the same configuration with an Intel Core i3 chip. If you can get one for the same, and want a slightly bigger screen, I wouldn’t stop you.
Otherwise, on any given day, I like the G4 the best because of it’s long history of being a lot of laptop for not a lot of money.
What To Wait For: Windows 8 and Ivy Bridge based chipsets will be out later this year. If you can wait, you may want to because the cost of an operating system upgrade alone will be at least $100.
Last Year’s Model: If you’re looking for a cheap laptop, the G4t is the one I’d get with all things considered equal. But there are always sales on laptops on fatwallet.com. And costco.com and bestbuy.com also have some special deals on laptops once in awhile that bring them under $400. So do outlet stores, like Lenovo’s. It’s not as fast with a celeron CPU so I wouldn’t get it, but for $350, PC Magazine likes this Acer from Walmart. We live in an age where a shitty computer can still get a lot of work done. You should also consider buying an old Macbook Pro on ebay if you can get the price and the specs below $500, simply because Apple computers are easy to repair at retail shops, and the Macbook Pro’s unibody construction, trackpad and keyboards are very durable and well designed. Try for one still under Applecare extended warranty.