It also comes with a few useful features that Home doesn’t have, like; Bitlocker, Trusted Boot, Windows Sandbox, and native Remote Desktop capabilities. On this laptops’ graphics side of things, we have AMD’s Radeon Vega 6, fully capable of playing even Triple-A games, albeit with settings turned down. For RAM, we have 8GB of quick 2666 MHz DDR4 RAM in dual-channel, for extra responsiveness. The ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 is a thin and light laptop just 18.9mm thick and tipping the scales at a very reasonable 1.7kg.
In an office or classroom, you’ll have no trouble seeing the display but it isn’t a laptop for using outside. And, while it is perfectly fine for productivity tasks and your average Netflix show, you won’t want to be watching cinematic movies on this or looking at your carefully composed holiday snaps. There’s a lack of colour and, despite being 1080p, detail isn’t in abundance either.
Providing the performance to this sleek ultraportable laptop is an AMD Ryzen U 4 core, 8 thread CPU with boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz, for snappy performance. Pre-installed bloatware apps are also kept to a minimum, so less bloat. Also included with the laptop is a standard resolution webcam and mic for video chatting, stereo speakers, and an SD card reader. Thanks to the power-efficient Ryzen CPU, battery life on this personal laptop can last up to 9 hours on a single charge.
In this regard, I’m slightly surprised HP haven’t opted for a hybrid hard drive like the ASUS Vivobook which strikes me as absolutely ideal for a laptop like this but with 128GB as standard, there should be plenty. I still absolutely loved the Pixelbook Go, it’s a beautiful laptop which works really well, but it’s more like a generic Chromebook than the superior Pixelbook. Apple has finally ditched its awful ‘butterfly’ keyboard, where the keys lay more or less flat against the device eliminating a lot of the ‘press’ on the keys. Here we have the ‘Magic’ keyboard which is much, much more comfortable to write on for extended periods.
And, if you have some extra cash lying around, you can take a look at our best laptops for work under $1,000 (that are also under £1,000). Note that a Pentium or Celeron processor is adequate for a light-usage, budget-minded Chromebook. Intel Core processors tend to be found in the more premium class of Chromebooks. Lenovo’s IdeaPad 1 14 proves that you can have a decent, and even enjoyable, Windows 10 experience on an under-$300 laptop, as long as you don’t need USB-C ports and can make do with a basic processor. Now that you know which specifications to look for, we hope that parsing the good from the bad will be much easier. We update our top picks frequently, and you can find our current favorite laptops below.
MacOS is only found in Apple’s own laptops, while Windows powers all sorts of laptops from manufacturers such as Acer, Asus and Lenovo. Google’s low-powered Chrome OS is also rising in popularity and can be found on a wide range of devices. Compared with the iPad Air, the Surface Go 2 isn’t as sleek or as fast, but it costs less and has a more functional keyboard with a touchpad. Be warned, you’ll have to pay extra for a typing cover, but that price is still under the £500 mark. This list of best laptops under £500 will guide you through which of these value-priced notebooks are best suited for you.
The Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook is super light and it’s one of the best laptops under $500 thanks to long battery life and bright, vivid OLED display. With a sturdy aluminium hood and surprisingly narrow bezels on the display, the Swift 5 is like an upper mid-range laptop in disguise. That display also emits an impressive 276 nits of brightness, which gives the screen contrast. If you’re after a stellar, capable laptop without needing to count pennies, the Acer Aspire 5 will do the trick. Chromebooksused to be little more than glorified netbooks running Google’s Chrome OS. While these Chrome OS-based laptops are still resolutely web-centric, they now have fuller feature sets. If you spend most of your working hours in the cloud, a Chromebook will offer you much of the functionality of a regular Windows or Mac laptop, and it may well deliver longer battery life, depending on the model.
The changes run deeper than that with a dramatically improved Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor, while also delivering over 13 hours on a single charge. But this device’s transformative capability isn’t its only alluring feature — the Lenovo Chromebook Duet lasted almost 13 hours on our battery test, which beats the 10-hour average runtime for Chromebooks. For just over £250, you can own a lightweight machine that can endure all your intensive web multitasking. If you’re looking for the cheapest Windows laptop you could possibly buy, then the HP Stream 11 will satisfy you with its long battery life and solid performance. Other budget systems, particularly Chromebooks and some under-$400 Windows laptops, will have only a small allotment of local storage, but compensate for it with generous offers of additional free cloud storage.
In general, notebooks tend to save space by using SSD storage rather than the traditional HDD storage of older laptops. However, these days most bigger laptops are using SSD storage as well. It manages to pack a full-sized keyboard onto its laptop body, and you get 360 degree hinges, a touchscreen, fantastic speakers, a bright and sharp screen, and all the ports and connections you can shake a stick at. It’s still light too, at 1.26kg, the 13.5-inch model that I’ve been testing frequently made me wonder if I’d misplaced it.