Shopping for a laptop under $300 is in a way a lot simpler. You can pretend that you don’t want a MacBook and would rather take a closer look at Chromebooks. The other option is, of course, the PC laptop, and there are only a few brands that offer well-reviewed laptops in this price range.
There is a road less traveled that we feel compelled to bring up. It’s a road filled with goodies that might have been beyond somebody’s reach. But on this particular road, all the person has to do is reach up and grab the goodies. In case you wonder, its name is Refurbished Lane.
Buying a refurbished laptop can often be a better deal. It’s like buying a used car except you don’t have to worry about really old cars. No one in their right mind would waste their time trying to sell an old laptop. If you are concerned about the reliability of refurbished laptops, look for factory-certified refurbished laptops. These laptops are refurbished at the factory to appear almost like new and come with some kind of factory warranty.
In the end, the best laptop under $300 depends on the user. It’s been reported that almost 50% of all computers purchased by US schools in 2016 were Chromebooks, and therefore a Chromebook would make a lot sense for a student. On the other hand, refurbished business laptops may make sense for those who want a work laptop or a second laptop on the cheap.
The Acer CB3-431 is a current production Chromebook.The cool thing about this Acer is that it is available new or certified refurbished for quite a bit less. The certified refurbished Acer CB3-431 Chromebook comes with a 90-day warranty while the new one comes with a one-year warranty.
The story about the Chromebook is oft-repeated so we won’t delve too deeply into it. Pretty much you can just forget about the specs. Chromebooks are not great on specs. This is because Chrome OS is so much more efficient and faster than Windows that despite the lesser hardware Chromebooks are much faster than comparably priced and slightly more expensive PC laptops. The Intel Celeron N3160 processor used in the Acer CB3-431, for example, is a dog in CPU benchmarks compared to Intel Core i5, i7, or even the i3, but this Chromebook with 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM is much faster in what it does than comparable PC laptops.
In addition, the Acer CB3-431 comes with a Full HD 14” LCD screen with 1920×1080 maximum resolution. You would have to spend quite a bit more for a PC laptop with Full HD screen. It also comes with 32GB SSD storage, which is faster and much quieter than regular hard drives and double the size of earlier budget Chromebooks. If you need more storage space, the purchase of this Chromebook gives you 100GB of free storage on Google Drive for two years.
The Acer CB3-431 also has the latest MIMO 2×2 802.11ac wireless adapter and Bluetooth 4.2. You have to be online for everything to work on a Chromebook, but Google apps are now available offline for when you’re not. The battery life is a magnificent 12 hours.
The Dell Latitude E6420 was a high-end business machine back in the days, or 2011 to 2012 to be precise. It retailed for over $1500 but look! It’s now available for a song.
We are of course talking about certified refurbished Dell Latitude E6420. It comes with a 90-day warranty, all original accessories, and the operating system is the current 64-bit Windows 10 Home. Despite its vintage, the specs of the Dell Latitude E6420 exceed most new laptops in this price range. The CPU is 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 and the hard disk capacity is 320GB, though the 4GB DDR3 SDRAM memory is a bit dated.
The Dell Latitude E6420 is perfect for Microsoft Office and all basic games. The 802.11b/g/n wireless adapter lets you stream YouTube videos all day. This is a classic laptop so you will also find a DVD-RW drive built-in. With a 14” screen and weighing 4.6lb, it is not too big or heavy either.
Is it possible to find a better work or family laptop than the Dell Latitude E6420? Yes, but not anywhere near this rock-bottom price.
The Acer CB3-532 Chromebook was a best seller everywhere due to what it was able to offer at its humble retail price. It has since been discontinued but fortunately certified refurbished Acer CB3-532 are still available today. This is our awesome value pick at a price far below $300.
The star feature of the Acer CB3-532 is its 15.6” WLED display. It is an anti-glare screen with a maximum resolution of 1366×768. A large display is good for those who would rather not have to squint at overly small things on the screen. This alone can be a huge productivity booster. The drawback of the large screen is lower battery life, though the battery life of the Acer CB3-532 is still a very respectable 12 hours.
The processor in this Acer CB3-532 Chromebook is the older Intel Celeron N3060, as compared to the Acer CB3-431’s Intel Celeron N3160. The SSD storage capacity of 16GB is also smaller, but as is the case with all Chromebooks, you’ll be relying on SD card and Cloud storage anyway. The wireless adapter is Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265.
Acer’s ComfyView Technology for the 15.6” display makes the color very vivid and the black highly saturated. The screen may appear a bit dark at first but soon you’ll realize how natural and non-fatiguing it is. Trust us, your eyes will thank you for it.
Our pick for the best laptop under $300 is the certified refurbished Acer CB3-532.The Acer CB3-532 broke the $200 price barrier when it first came out in 2016 and it’s now available for even less! Once in a while, you will find that a value pick is also the best pick. There was a guy named Tom Brady who was picked in the 6th round of the NFL draft and went on to anchor a team for quite a number of years. The Acer CB3-532 promises to do the same for you.
If you don’t mind spending a bit more for a Chromebook, the Acer CB3-431 has double the memory and storage space, a better processor, and Full HD display. It is a current production model so you can buy the Acer CB3-431 new or certified refurbished. It also comes with 2 years of free storage on Google Drive.
If you’re not in the market for a Chromebook, the best PC laptop under $300 is the certified refurbished Dell Latitude E6420. Its 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 is faster than the processor any new laptops under $300. The Dell Latitude E6420 was a $1549 laptop back in the days, so you can expect unmatched value for some of its hardware. It’s impossible to find a better work or family laptop at this price.