Now more than ever, having access to a laptop is becoming more of a necessity for students, those working from home, and connecting with friends and family over video calls. With a budget of $200 or less, you can still get everything you need in a laptop without breaking the bank.
Note: Some of the products reviewed vary in price and sometimes go over the $200 price point. All products reviewed are close to the $200 price point.
What To Expect From A Laptop At This Price Point
A laptop has always been a great tool for students and workers who need word processing, spreadsheet, and slideshow applications like those included in Microsoft Office. They can quickly collaborate through Zoom and other video services.
Laptops under $200 are ideal devices for kids and teens for learning and homework, and owning one frees up other devices. In this price range, laptops are built to handle simple applications with ease and are designed to be lightweight and portable.
Laptop Under $200 Buyer’s Guide
Screen Size & Display
Screen size is measured diagonally from corner to corner, and for laptops under $200 many are between 11" and 14". Resolution is measured in pixels, and many laptops in this range are ideal for video resolution in the 720p range and can be up to 1080p, meaning that there are between 720 and 1080 pixels across the screen per line.
RAM & Storage Space
RAM works alongside the processor to help the laptop run programs and is measured in gigabytes. Under $200, you can expect between 2-4GB of RAM, which is more than enough to handle applications and light gaming.
Storage space is also measured in gigabytes and depending on the laptop you purchase, it may come as a dedicated HDD or SD flash memory that can be expanded upon.
The processor is the brains behind the laptop that works to interpret the operating system's code and programs into the actions seen on screen. Also called the CPU, processors have a wide range of speed and performance, but Intel and AMD processors are the most typical and widely regarded as the best brands on the market.
Battery life will vary by device and usage, but many laptops under $200 have estimated average use times between 6-11 hours. Settings like screen brightness and program usage have the biggest impact on battery life.
Charging time while the laptop is not in use is typically anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours from zero percent to full. While using the laptop, the charging time will be extended.
Laptops are typically constructed with shells that are as few pieces as possible to allow for more durability within the frame. For those with expandable memory via SD cards, there should be a small button to pop out the currently installed card and swap in a new one near the ports/charging port on the device.
The main advantage of a laptop is the ability to pick up and work from anywhere and have the flexibility to start and stop work quickly. All the laptops on our list are lightweight and small enough to fit in the average backpack/bag, making them ideal for students and those who travel for work.
Additional features on laptops can be both hardware and software-based. Many have battery saver modes that automatically change settings for the display to allow for longer work times. Some laptops can be used in a tablet mode by detaching the keyboard and allow for handheld and touchscreen usage.
Price & Warranty
Even under $200, you can still find a range of options for which laptop to pick up, and sometimes you can find previously owned laptops as well through sites like Amazon. The price on these is generally lower than new, and some come with warranties from the seller and possibly the manufacturer depending on the age.
Amazon has an Amazon Renewed program that inspects and determines if a device is in a "like new" state or if it requires further inspection, it is Amazon Refurbished and goes through more thorough testing. Click here to learn more about Amazon Renewed and Refurbished.
5 Best Laptops Under $200 Reviewed
1. HP Stream 14-ds0010nr
- Thin and light Laptop for work, school, and...
- Office 365 personal for one year: get full...
- Bios recovery and protection: automatically...
- Processor: AMD Dual-Core a4-9120e Processor,...
Best Laptop Under $200
Screen Size & Resolution
AMD Dual-Core A4-9120E
The best laptop under $200 on our list is the HP Stream 14-ds0010nr, which comes with one year of Office 365 Personal making it an ideal laptop for students or those working from home.
With an integrated webcam and headphone/microphone port, you are ready for video calls and meetings out of the box. The full HDMI out port allows you to easily connect to a second monitor with an HDMI cable to allow for an additional screen when needed or connect to a TV and stream movies, games, or any other content from your laptop.
The operating system installed on this laptop is Windows 10 Home in S mode, a streamlined version of Windows 10 designed for security and performance. This will restrict installations of programs to only those in the Windows Store so it can help protect against unwanted viruses masquerading as reputable programs from unknown websites.
There are some tradeoffs to using a machine in S mode, but you can decide to switch out of S mode, although that is a one-time decision, and you cannot enable S mode again. To learn more, check out this article from How-To Geek on S mode.
2. Simbans TangoTab
- 3 FREE BONUS ITEMS INCLUDED - A high-quality...
- PRE-INSTALLED OFFICE APPS - The tablet comes...
- PREMIUM 10 INCH TABLET with SUPERIOR CPU -...
- HIGH RESOLUTION SCREEN, LARGE DISK and TV...
Best 2-in-1 Laptop Under $200
Screen Size & Resolution
Quad Core MTK8163
2-1 laptops can be used as both a tablet via the touchscreen or as a traditional laptop by hooking up a keyboard—some of the best laptops for kids under $200. The best 2-1 laptop under $200 on our list is the Simbans TangoTab, an ultra-lightweight laptop ideal for families to share and take on the go.
An included mini-HDMI out port allows for connection to TVs or an external monitor for easy use on the big screen. You can install any app from the Google Play store on this device, and with Microsoft Office pre-installed, you can quickly get to work right away.
This device offers wireless connections via Bluetooth so you can connect to audio devices like headphones or speakers and enjoy music or videos on the go. An included screen protector comes already installed for security and easy cleaning when using the touchscreen.
The flexibility offered by a 2-1 laptop cannot be matched by other devices and is a great option for multi-device homes where many people need access to a device but not always for the same reason. For those using an Android phone, using the same account across your phone and laptop is another bonus and makes setup even simpler.
3. Acer Aspire 1
- Intel Celeron N4020 Dual-Core Processor (Up...
- 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen...
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi | Bluetooth 4.1 | 10/100/1000...
- 1 - USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port, 2 - USB 2.0 ports, 1...
Best Windows Laptop Under $200
Screen Size & Resolution
Intel Celeron N4020
Windows 10 has emerged as a popular operating system that is efficient and intuitive, and for those looking for the best laptop under $200 with Windows 10, the Acer Aspire 1 is our recommendation.
Certainly the largest screen on our list, the full HD means that this laptop is ideal for those who value screen quality and want the best picture while streaming, playing games, or working.
The HDMI port means that you can hook this laptop up to another screen for even more workspace or share content on the big screen. Additional USB ports make sure that you do not need to worry about connecting external devices like hard drives, mice, or keyboards.
Like the top pick on our list, this laptop also comes with Windows 10 in S mode, but it is Windows 10 Personal rather than Windows 10 Home which you can learn more about here and includes 1-year of Microsoft Office 365 for out of the box productivity.
This means that apps can only be installed from the Windows Store, and with the enhanced security options, the startup should be quick. If you need the flexibility to install apps outside of the Windows store, you can switch out of S mode. The large screen, long battery life, and processor make this laptop a top performer for under $200.
4. HP Chromebook 11 G4
- WORK AND PLAY: Browse the Internet, write...
- SPACIOUS HD DISPLAY: Large, 11.6-inch screen...
- CONNECT ADDITIONAL SCREENS & DEVICES:...
- GREAT FOR MULTI-TASKING: 2GB RAM memory and...
Best Chromebook Under $200
Screen Size & Resolution
The Chromebook was first launched as a budget option to more traditional laptops and was made for those who want to use their device specifically for streaming video, office work, or running apps. To learn more about the Chromebook, check out this article from PC World.
The best Chromebook under $200 on our list is the HP Chromebook 11 G4 that balances price and power in a sleek, small package. The Chrome operating system works with the Google Play Store and Android applications, so nearly anything on an Android phone will work on a Chromebook.
Since the Chromebook was made with Google Chrome at its core, internet browsing is efficient, safe, and multiple profiles can be created for the whole family to save their favorites. The anti-glare screen on this laptop means that you can have optimal viewing even if you need to work outside or in the car.
Like others on our list, there's an HDMI out option and USB connections so you can use this laptop with additional screens or devices for a more integrated experience at a desk. The small size and lightweight design help with quickly unplugging and working from wherever you go next.
Take a video call from the beach with the integrated webcam on this device and send back an email on the slopes with the portability of the HP Chromebook 11 G4.
5. Dell Chromebook 11 CB1C13
- WORK AND PLAY: Browse the Internet, write...
- LARGE, HD DISPLAY: Large, 11. 6-inch screen...
- CONNECT TO ADDITIONAL SCREENS AND DEVICES:...
- GREAT FOR MULTITASKING: 2GB Ram memory and...
Best Gaming Laptop Under $200
Screen Size & Resolution
Sometimes a break from work or school is just what you need to relax, and with the Dell Chromebook 11 CB1C13, you can hop into a game whenever and wherever as the best gaming laptop under $200 on our list.
Like other Chromebooks on our list, the Chrome OS is designed to work with the Google Play store, and most games and apps available for Android phones are available for this Chromebook. For games that support account saving, you can easily switch from phone to laptop and pick up where you left off on the 11.6” HD screen.
When you want to level up your screen even farther, simply connect the Dell Chromebook 11 to a second monitor with it’s HDMI out port and game on the big screen. The USB ports mean that you can connect supported peripherals like controllers or headsets to take your game even farther.
When work comes knocking, swap back to the productivity apps on this device and work with the Google suite of services like Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets. Be ready for anything you need to do whenever and wherever with the Dell Chromebook 11 CB1C13.
Windows Laptop Vs. Chromebook – Which Is Best?
The main difference between a laptop and a Chromebook is the operating system that the device runs on. For those who want additional flexibility and more program compatibility, a computer running Windows is a better option. If you already use Android devices, a Chromebook can take advantage of many features already tied to your Google account.
Care & Maintenance Tips For Laptops Under $200
Laptops under $200 require similar precautions and maintenance to laptops of any other range. Be sure to keep liquids and food from getting too close to avoid issues of anything getting inside the laptop and causing damage.
Whenever possible, try and keep the laptop from staying on the charger when it's at 100% and not in use. For laptops, and especially those with touchscreens, regular screen cleaning with a microfiber cloth will keep them looking and working great. Keyboards should be checked for any debris inside the keyboard or under the keys to avoid key sticking issues.
Laptop Troubleshooting Guide
Like with any electronic device, laptops can run into issues that require some additional work to correct. If you have software issues, be sure to consult the included diagnostic tools on your device, which can be found in the documentation on the device or by searching "Help" through the operating system browser (Windows/Chrome logo).
Common hardware issues like key sticking or screen smudges can be prevented with regular cleaning and maintenance. If you notice problems with connecting via the HDMI or USB ports, use a flashlight to look in them and see if there is anything blocking access.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What can I expect from the Windows 10 operating system?
Windows 10 is the product of user research and feedback from previous iterations and is designed to be user friendly, easy to navigate, and has Cortana to assist with any issues. Windows 10 laptops under $200 enjoy these benefits without breaking the bank.
How often should I get my laptop serviced?
If you regularly take steps to maintain and clean your laptop, you should not need to service your laptop by a professional unless you are running into issues that cannot be solved with installed diagnostic tools.
How long do laptops under $200 generally last?
The lifespan of a laptop under $200 is heavily dependent on how heavily it is used, what conditions it is used under, and how well it is maintained. With appropriate steps to take care of the device, laptops under $200 can last upwards of 10 or more years.
Is it even possible to find an Apple laptop under 200?
Some older or used Macbooks can be found under $200, but newer laptops from Apple are not designed for the $200 budget.
Where is the best place to start browsing for cheap laptop deals under 200?
Amazon is a great place to look at a variety of laptops under $200, and slickdeals.net often promotes deals on laptops on Amazon, BestBuy, and other vendors.
For productivity and peace of mind in the digital age for under $200, consider picking up an HP Stream 14 and enjoy browsing the internet, watching videos, working, learning, and more without breaking the bank.