Here are our reviews of the cheapest laptops currently on the market with up to date prices. The majority of these cheap laptops are best suited to office, student and multimedia users.
Cheapest Laptop: eMachines E520 15.4inch Laptop
At first glance the name eMachines brings memories or reliability problems from many years ago which had us a little apprehensive at reviewing this laptop. Fortunately, our worries are unfounded. Last year Acer purchased eMachines along with Gateway and have since cleaned up their act. Today an eMachines laptop has the same solid reliability you can expect from an Acer laptop and therefore we cant find a reason for not buying it at least for reliability reasons.
It is clear from the price tag that this is one fantastic deal suggesting that Acer is using the eMachines brand to target the cheap laptop market. The eMachines E520 has a similar specification to the Compaq Presario CQ60-107 we reviewed last month but with slower integrated graphics.
The 2.0Ghz Intel Celeron 575 processor provides more then enough power for surfing the internet, playing media, and all office applications. A 160GB hard drive should ensure that you never run out of space for your office files. Individuals looking to download or store movies might want to look into an external hard drive for additional space.
The 1GBs of RAM is the minimum we would recommend with a new laptop. Luckily it is very easy and cheap to upgrade the memory if you find it too slow for your liking. These days we recommend 2GBs of ram and the Ideal amount of laptop RAM.
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M Shared Graphics is one of the best integrated graphics card on the market behind the ATI HD 3200 so you should have no problems playing media files and movies. If you would like t play games on this laptop you might be able to play a few of last years titles, but certainly dont expect to be able to play any of the latest games.
The screen at 15.4inches is a good size and possesses a good resolution providing a nice clear image. You get Vista Home Basic pre installed meaning the laptop is ready to go out of the box and the DVD RW means you can burn your own DVDs.
Perhaps the only thing we can find wrong with this laptop is that it only has 2 USB 2.0 ports which you might find a bit low if you prefer using an external mouse and keyboard. Other than that we can seem to fault this little laptop. At £270 it is the cheapest full sized laptop on the market today leaving us with no option but to recommend this for all users on a very tight budget.
Cheap Laptop: Compaq Presario CQ61-406SA
The Compaq Presario CQ61-406SA is balanced to perfection with enough power to do absolutely anything you through at it. While it wont play games on high or even medium graphics settings it will be able to play the latest games on low, which is more than can be said than any other laptop in this price range.
3GBs of RAM will be more than enough to run anything smoothly. It is no powerhouse but HP have designed it beautifully with all the hardware complementing each other without any of the performance bottlenecks you often see in laptops.
The AMD Turion II is a good processor giving superb performance for this price and will let you do absolutely everything. The Graphics card is a very tasty ATI HD 4200 giving you a lot more power than most laptops with weak integrated graphics. The 320GB hard drive should give you plenty of space for your files but the added benefit is that it runs at 7200 rpm making it much faster than a normal laptop hard drive. This means that it will take a lot less time to load the notebook, load and save files and programs.
Its a slightly bigger screen than your average laptop at 15.6 inches making it more pleasant for watching movies and the included number pad on the keyboard makes it very handy for office use and number crunching.
Compaq is part of HP so you can rest assured that the largest computer manufacturer in the world has produced a quality laptop. The price tag is fantastic especially as you are getting a dedicated graphics card for that money. It will suite almost all users apart from the most power hungry such a gamers who will need a laptop with more graphics power. The bottom line: you wont find a laptop this powerful at a cheaper price!