With a full return to work, faculty and spending time with household in actual life fairly than on a video name nonetheless not in sight, you’ll have lastly determined that it’s value shopping for a brand new laptop computer. If you need an reasonably priced laptop there are tons to select from, together with Chromebooks and Windows 10 PCs.

Actually low-cost Chromebooks are sometimes higher than the equal Home windows machines as a result of Chrome OS is a lighter, low-maintenance working system constructed round Google’s Chrome browser, internet and Android apps. Simply examine how lengthy the machine will receive updates from Google before you purchase.

When you want sure desktop software program, although, reminiscent of Photoshop, Windows PCs may be a greater choice. Listed here are my picks for 5 of the very best choices for £500 and beneath.

Lenovo Chromebook C340-11





Lenovo’s 11in Chromebook C340 in sand pink.



Lenovo’s 11in Chromebook C340 in sand pink. {Photograph}: Lenovo

RRP: £269.99

One of many most cost-effective new Chromebooks, the Lenovo C340-11 provides a whole lot of bang for the buck.

For £270 you get a steel lid however a plastic physique with a reasonably stable development coming in at 1.18kg and 17.9mm thick.

The small 11.6in 720p HD touchscreen is a bit boring and low decision however wonderful sufficient at this worth. The machine is a convertible, which means the display folds all the way in which over to the again to show it right into a pill.

The keyboard is OK, however a little bit mushy and loud, whereas the trackpad is a little bit small however pretty good, as low-cost computer systems go.

The processor is the widespread low-performance Intel Celeron N4000 and it has 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, plus a microSD card slot for including extra. Two commonplace USB-A ports, two USB-C ports and a headphone socket spherical out the physique. It helps the older wifi ac and Bluetooth 4.2 requirements.

The efficiency is nothing to shout about however it’ll handle on a regular basis computing and enjoying a video simply wonderful.

The 720p webcam is a bit garbage and the audio system are fairly quiet. The battery lasts for about 10 hours. The Lenovo C340-11 will obtain Chrome OS updates till June 2026.

Verdict: A bit small and underpowered however good worth for such a low worth and wonderful for gentle computing.

Acer Chromebook 514-1HT





Acer’s Chromebook 514 has long been popular, with its 14in screen and aluminium body.



Acer’s Chromebook 514 has lengthy been well-liked, with its 14in display and aluminium physique. {Photograph}: Acer

RRP: £369.99

Acer makes a variety of excellent Chromebooks however in order for you one thing a little bit greater than an 11.6in display, the premium-feeling Chromebook 514 might do the trick.

The 14in Chromebook 514 is available in varied variations however the 514-1HT variant has a full HD display that’s noticeably crisper and clearer than the 720p variations.

The 514-1HT will be purchased with an previous however nonetheless succesful Intel Pentium N4200 quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB storage, which handles day-to-day computing nicely sufficient.

Cheaper variations include a slower Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core processor.

The 1.5kg, 17mm-thick physique is aluminium, which feels slim and stable. The backlit keyboard is pretty good and the trackpad is an efficient measurement, and clean and responsive.

Wifi ac, Bluetooth 4.2, two USB-A, two USB-C ports, a headphone socket and a microSD card reader spherical out connectivity choices.

The 720p webcam and audio system aren’t nice, however the Chromebook ought to last as long as about 10 hours between costs with gentle looking and fundamental workplace duties.

The Chromebook 514-1HT will obtain updates till June 2024.

Verdict

A preferred premium-feeling Chromebook with a good display and sufficient energy to deal with looking and lightweight work.

Lenovo Chromebook C340-15





The 15in version of Lenovo’s Chromebook C340 has a full keyboard and number pad.



The 15in model of Lenovo’s Chromebook C340 has a full keyboard and quantity pad. {Photograph}: Lenovo

RRP: £499.99

The 15in Lenovo Chromebook C340-15 is a big step up in all of the ways in which matter together with worth. It has a big 15.6in full HD touchscreen, which is large, even for a mainstream laptop computer. It has a full-size keyboard with a quantity pad and a big trackpad.

The display can fold all the way in which over for use as a pill, too, however at 1.96kg and 19mm thickness it will be big.

It has the same old mixture of common 720p webcam and barely extra highly effective audio system. Nevertheless, the star of the present is a considerably extra highly effective eighth-generation Intel Core i3 processor, which makes most issues quicker, even with the usual 4GB of RAM. It additionally has 128GB of storage, which is giant for a Chromebook.

Wifi ac, Bluetooth 4.2, one USB port, two USB-C ports, a microSD card slot and a headphone socket spherical out the connectivity choices.

The Chromebook C340-15 will obtain updates till June 2025.

Verdict: If you need a extremely large display and extra highly effective processor the Chromebook C340-15 ticks the field with out breaking the financial institution.

Microsoft Floor Go 2





microsoft surface go 2



Microsoft’s smaller, extra reasonably priced Floor Go 2 is a good, lower-cost Home windows 10 pill PC. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

RRP: £399 + £100 keyboard

As soon as you’re looking at spending greater than £500, succesful Home windows PCs are sometimes a greater choice than a Chromebook. My new decide of the lot is Microsoft’s new Surface Go 2, which proves lower-cost, lower-performance PCs don’t have to be garbage.

The Floor Go 2 is the most affordable of Microsoft’s well-liked removable pill PCs. Your £399 buys the slim and lightweight pill with a terrific full HD 10.5in display, nice audio system, exact touchscreen, wifi 6, Bluetooth 5, webcam and glorious Home windows Hi there face recognition for logging you in. What it doesn’t purchase is a keyboard, which is a £100 important extra buy for something past simply watching Netflix – however not less than it and the trackpad are glorious.

Its gutsy Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y processor is not going to win any velocity awards however will get the job carried out, whereas 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is the naked minimal you need to use with Home windows 10. A £529 model has 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD however all fashions have a microSD card slot for cheaply including extra storage, and the fashionable commonplace USB-C port is there for connecting equipment.

For an actual worth of £499 you may definitely discover greater, extra highly effective PCs however you’ll not discover a higher all-round expertise. Search for offers on the original Surface Go as nicely, which shares a lot of the new mannequin’s good qualities.

Verdict: Small, gentle and reasonably priced, the gutsy Floor Go 2 reveals low-end Home windows PCs can nonetheless be nice.

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