Value / Budget

Laptops in this category are usually popular among students and users with limited funds, who need something more powerful than the average netbook. Budget notebooks offer a good blend of price, features and portability. These commonly equip 14 or 15-in displays, integrated graphics, full-sized keyboards, and all the essential connectivity options.

For around $600 you can expect to find an Intel Core i3, Pentium or AMD E-Series processor with integrated graphics, 2GB to 4GB of RAM, a 320GB or larger hard drive, a DVD burner, and around 4 hours of battery life.


Toshiba Satellite L655-S5161

A second-generation Core i3 processor gives the Satellite L655 strong overall performance, decent graphics, and good battery life for a relatively low price. This 15-inch system is a good entry point for midsize laptops and can be found for just under $700, making it a worthwhile budget choice. Its connectivity options are on the bare bones side, as it doesn't have Bluetooth, USB 3.0, or eSATA. It does, however, offer 802.11n Wi-Fi, three USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader, HDMI and a DVD drive.

Additional views:

Quick specs | Full specs Starting price: $699
Processor: Intel Core i3 2310M 2.1GHz Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
Memory: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz memory Storage: 500GB 5,400RPM HDD
Display size: 15.6" (1366x768) Optical: DVD SuperMulti
Weight: 5.5 lb Battery: 6-cell (~4.5 hours)



Samsung RV511

This 15-inch notebook has plenty to offer for its $550 price tag: a stylish design, Core i3 processor, 6GB of RAM, a dedicated graphics card, a 500GB hard drive and good build quality. In terms of ports you'll find two USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, headphone and microphone jacks, and a card reader joining the power jack on the RV511-A01's left edge. The DVD burner and another USB 2.0 port can be found on the right.

Additional views:

Quick specs | Full specs Starting price: $550
Processor: Intel Core i3 380M 2.53GHz Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
Memory: 4GB DDR3 (2 DIMMs) Storage: 500GB HDD
Display size: 15.6" (1366×768) Optical: DVD SuperMulti
Weight: 5.3 lbs Battery: 6-cell (~4.5 hours)



HP Pavilion G6x

The HP Pavilion g6x offers a snappy Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and roomy 500GB hard drive. It has a sturdy, attractive design with a comfortable keyboard and offers really solid performance for the everyday user without having to spend a lot of money. Its SRS Labs stereo speakers sound surprisingly good for a budget notebook.

This 15-inch budget notebook packs a DVD drive and a decent array of connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, HDMI, a media card reader and three USB 2.0 ports. You can get the G6x in an assortment of colors such as charcoal grey, pacific blue, sonoma red and others.

Additional views:

Quick specs | Full specs Starting price: $450
Processor: Intel Core i3 370M 2.4GHz Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
Memory: 4GB DDR3 (2 DIMMs) Storage: 500GB HDD
Display size: 15.6" (1366×768) Optical: DVD SuperMulti
Weight: 5.5 lbs Battery: 6-cell (~4.5 hours)


Other noteworthy budget options

MSI CR650

This 15-inch (1366x768) system is powered by AMD's E-350 APU and 3GB of RAM, which should offer plenty of performance for standard usage and remain light on power consumption with an 18W TDP.

Price range: $470