If you have been hunting for budget laptops lately, you must have stumbled upon ultra-cheap mini notebooks on several e-commerce platforms. Most of these usually cost about the same as modern midrange smartphones and are specced out decently to go through basic laptop stuff such as typing, web browsing and light multimedia usage, without breaking a sweat. If you are on a shoestring budget for a laptop, these come across as great options.
However, before you initiate you research and head over to store, here are some parameters that you should consider while going for an ultra-affordable laptop.
Know your processor: Most budget laptops usually skip the mainstream Core i-series processors and opt for low-end power efficient chips. Usually, the choice right now is limited between Intel’s Atom and Celeron processors. The Atom is a more power-efficient quad-core processor clocked of 1.4GHz whereas the Celeron is more powerful with Turbo Boost of up to 2.4GHz. In fact, Celeron is the new name for more powerful Atom chips.
Look out for storage: Ultra-budget laptops are usually low on storage — most offer only up to 32GB of eMMC storage, which is hardly enough on a Windows 10 PC. However, there are some who offer SSD storage upgrades along side conventional HDDs. If you are dependent on cloud computing, a 32GB model with a 128GB micro SD card should be enough. However, we suggest an external drive for those who prefer to have a backup of every file or store movies.
Connectivity options: Most of these laptops offer up to two USB ports, micro SD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone port, a VGA port and an Ethernet port as standard. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity come across a standard too. While ‘more-the-merrier’ is applicable here, keep in mind your requirements — if you store everything online or just stream media, you can go for the ones that have the bare minimum — lesser ports translate to lightweight laptops.
Display: The standard practice in this segment is to offer either 11-inch or 14-inch display — personal preference dictates the choice. Some offer an HD-only picture resolution whereas others offer full HD. Do note that HD resolution is good enough on smaller displays and help with longer battery life as compared to a full HD display.
Battery: With the power efficient processors and low-resolution displays, most of these can manage up to five hours, despite running a full version of Windows 10. Check for battery mAh ratings before zeroing in on one — the bigger, the better.
With that sorted out, which one should you choose, considering the plethora of options available in the market? We take a look at some of the worthy options.
1. ASUS EeeBook Celeron Dual Core
Priced at Rs 13,990, this is one of the cheapest laptops from an established PC brand. The ASUS EeeBook is built around a 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron Dual Core chip with Turbo Boost up to 2.4 GHz, which is paired with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of EMMC onboard storage. You can upgrade the storage up to 1TB with an HDD. Additionally, there’s a micro SD card slot for storage expansion. The notebook runs on Windows 10 Home and is entitled to the latest updates. The 14-inch LCD display renders pictures at HD resolution. Connectivity options include 2x USB ports, 1x USB-C port, 1x VGA port, 1x HDMI port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
2. i-Life ZED Air
At Rs 12,990, the ZED Air comes across as one of the most stylish offerings in this category. The notebook is powered by a 1.44GHz Intel Atom quad-core processor accompanied by 2GB of RAM and 32GB of EMMC onboard storage. The notebook comes with Windows 10 Home preinstalled. Connectivity options aren’t comprehensive though — 2x USB ports, 1x micro HDMI port and 1x micro SD port. However, it offers a 14-inch full HD display and is kept alive by a 10000mAh Li-Ion battery.
3. iBall CompBook M500
The CompBook M500 is the most expensive one in this list at Rs 14,999, but it offers the most powerful internals in this category. The M500 is built around an Intel Celeron dual core chip clocked at 1.1GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 2.4GHz. The chipset is accompanied by 4GB of RAM and 32GB of EMMC onboard storage, which is expandable via micro SD card up to 128GB. Connectivity options include 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x mini HDMI port and 1x micro SD port. The M500 offers a 14-inch full HD display too. iBall claims up to a maximum of 5 hours of battery life.
4. RDP ThinBook 1430p
At Rs 13,999, the RDP ThinBook 1430p is only notebook here resembles Apple MacBook Air with its slim chassis and a narrow-bezel 14.1-inch display. The notebook is built around a 1.92GHz Intel Atom quad-core chip paired with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage, which is expandable up to 128GB. It comes with ports for a USB 3.0, a USB 2.0, a mini HDMI, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It comes preloaded with Windows 10 Pro. A 10,000mAh battery ensures a longer battery life as well.
5. Micromax Canvas L1160
Priced similar to a budget smartphone at Rs 8,999, the Micromax Canvas L1160 is certainly one of the cheapest Windows laptops you can buy right now. It sports a smaller 11.6-inch HD LCD display. It’s built around a 1.33GHz Intel Atom quad-core chip paired along with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of EMMC onboard storage. It comes preloaded with Windows 10 Home. Connectivity options include 2x USB ports, 1x HDMI port and a micro SD slot. The laptop is kept alive by a 4000mAh battery.
6. Acer Switch One SW110-ICT 2-in-1
At Rs 11,990, this is one of the few worthy convertibles with a swivelling display. The Switch One can transform into a Windows tablet and can be used as a laptop when required. The 2-in-1 notebook is built around a 1.44GHz Intel Atom quad-core chip paired along with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of EMMC onboard storage. It is powered by Windows 10 Home out-of-the-box. It sports a 10.1-inch HD touchscreen display. Connectivity options include 2x USB ports, a 2-in-1 card reader and a mini HDMI port. It is kept alive by a 6000mAh battery.
7. Venturer BravoWin 10K 64 B
Priced at Rs 13,999, this is a tablet with a detachable keyboard and dedicated graphics memory. It runs on Windows 10 and sports a 10.1-inch HD touchscreen display. It’s built around a 1.3GFHz Intel Atom quad-core chip paired with 2GB of RAM and 2GB of dedicated graphics memory. It also gets an option between 64GB of SSD and 64 GB of EMMC storage. For connectivity, it has one micro SD card and one HDMI port. The device is kept alive by a 5000mAh battery.
8. Reach Quantro RCN-025
The Reach Quantro is the only in the list that comes equipped with a massive 500GB HDD for Rs 14,999. It sports a 14-inch HD LCD display. The notebook is built around a 1.6GHz 5th-gen Intel Celeron dual-core chip accompanied by 4GB of RAM and 500GB of onboard storage. The laptop comes preloaded with DOS. Connectivity options include 2x USB 3.0 ports, one Type A HDMI port and micro SD card slot. Reach claims up to 3 hours of battery.