Top 5 Best Laptop Under $200

The days of needing to shell out over $1,000 on a laptop for simple to moderate tasks are over. Now, many major laptop manufacturers offer strong all-around performance laptops for a price at or below $200. These laptops are obviously the strongest and most effective dollar-per-dollar option for everyday tasks. Still, there are quite a few limitations involved in purchasing the best laptop under $200.

However, what are the best laptops under $200? Are they worth the money, or are they too slow? Are these laptops lasting, or will they become obsolete in months? Let’s dig in a bit and tease out some information on some inexpensive laptop options.

The Best Laptop Under $200: Windows or Chromebook?

When looking for the strongest but most inexpensive laptops on the market today, you’ll see a distinct split between two operating systems: Windows and Chrome OS. Note: Unless you’re looking for a model that is refurbished and several years old, you won’t have much luck finding a laptop running MacOS for under $200.

With this, the most important question you need to ask yourself is: Windows or Chromebook?

Chromebook vs Windows: Pros and Cons

To purchase the strongest and most reliable option on a limited budget, this is a question that needs to be answered. If this is going to be a daily driver laptop, would Windows work best, or are you fine with the streamlined but speedy Chrome OS?

Proclivity of Windows Laptops vs Chromebooks

It is quite obvious that Windows is the most used operating system today. Many laptops at all price ranges run Windows, and Chromebooks are still growing in popularity. In fact, per Statista, the operating system market share of personal computers in July 2018 was:

  • Windows: 82.88 percent
  • Mac OS: 12.52 percent
  • Linux: 1.71 percent
  • Chrome OS: 0.5 percent
  • Other: 2.38 percent

While getting accustomed to a Chromebook is not too much of an issue, some don’t have the time to learn a new operating system. However, those willing to learn will find themselves learning quickly on this minimalist, clean and subtle operating system.

Software Compatibility: Windows vs Chrome

There aren’t many software compatibility issues with Windows laptops. Users can download free applications and games from Microsoft’s store. They can also install millions of software options from third-party sources, from Photoshop to OpenOffice and beyond.

Alternatively, Chromebooks are limited to applications available on the Google Play Store. Google has recently added Android store support to newer Chrome OS running models, however. Nevertheless, these apps are not optimized for Chromebooks, so it is vital to go for a Chromebook with touchscreen functionality.

There are many differences between Windows and Chrome OS. Both are widely available at the $200 price point for entry level laptops. But which are the best laptop options under $200? Here are our four selections:

  • Lenovo 14″ IdeaPad N42-20 Chromebook
  • HP Stream 14-inch Laptop
  • Samsung Chromebook 3, 11.6″
  • ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02

Lenovo 14″ IdeaPad N42-20 Chromebook

The Lenovo 14″ IdeaPad N42-20 Chromebook was manufactured and developed for the needs of the budget, everyday netbook user. This Chromebook provides a reliable level of performance in a solid package, and doesn’t skimp on battery life.

With a black finish, this Lenovo offering has a more stylish and professional look than other laptops that are on our list of the best laptop under $200. It is svelte, too, coming in at under an inch thick. This model weighs less than three pounds as well, coming in at half the weight of some of our Best Laptops Under $100. This Chromebook is ideal for portability in a backpack, or travel through an airport.

Some of the tech specs for the Lenovo 14″ IdeaPad N42-20 Chromebook include:

  • An Intel Celeron N3060 Processor 1.60 GHz (Turbo up to 2.4GHz) processor
  • 4 gigabytes of LP DDR3 RAM
  • 32 gigabytes of eMMC solid state storage (twice most entry level Chromebooks)
  • 14.0-Inch Anti-Glare Screen providing 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Up to ten hours of battery life

Additionally, this Lenovo Chromebook has a keyboard with quiet, large keys, and a high-quality touchpad. The 32 gigabytes of storage is expandable as well with an included SD memory card slot. With over ten hours of battery life possible, this is a laptop that can keep going all day. It is truly the best laptop under $200 for both college students and young professionals, or businesspeople who have low-intensity work and find themselves on a limited budget.

HP Stream 14-inch Laptop

HP Stream 14-inch LaptopThe HP Stream 14-Inch Laptop is a full Windows offering in a sub $200 package. It is extremely well-received due to its stunning design features and unmatchable performance. This laptop has a 14 inch display, ideal for working in all environments. Unlike some Chromebooks at this same price range, the HP Stream comes with a webcam for flawless video communication.

The design of this model is fanless, eliminating hideous and bulky air vents from the outside body. It also keeps the laptop from overheating or causing loud noises. The keyboard and touchpad are highly responsive, providing high-value clicks and high-contrast keys. Some of the other features of the HP Stream 14-Inch Laptop include:

  • Intel Celeron N4000 Dual Core Processor (1.1 GHz – 2.6 GHz)
  • 4 gigabytes of DDR4 SD RAM
  • 32 gigabytes of eMMC storage
  • 14-inch HD WLED backlit Screen at 1366 x 768 pixels
  • 3.1 pounds with over 14 hours of battery life

With 32 GB of storage, it is in line with the Lenovo offering above, however its Intel HD graphics are a step up. A step down is the size a standard Windows operating system takes compared to Chrome OS, though. And with over 14 hours of continuous battery life, this is a great option for a good quality laptop under $200.

Samsung Chromebook 3, 11.6″

Samsung Chromebook 3, 11.6For over a decade, Samsung has been creeping up in the market share of laptop markets. Now, its current laptop offerings are in stiff competition with some of the power players in the laptop game, like HP, Dell, and Lenovo. The predecessor to the laptop in question was the Samsung Chromebook 2. It was a solid option for those on a budget but still wanting an efficient laptop. The new Samsung Chromebook 3 takes things up a notch, with some changes and feature improvements at the helm.

The laptop itself is plastic, and the screen is smaller than alternative offerings at this price point, at 11.6 inches and 2.5 lbs. This makes it super portable, and easy to move around when traveling. While plastic, the grainy exterior finish ensures that the Samsung Chromebook 3 does not look “cheap”. Additional tech specs for the Samsung Chromebook 3 include:

  • An Intel Celeron N3060 1.6 GHz Processor
  • 4 gigabytes of DDR 3L SD RAM
  • Standard 16 gigabytes of eMMC memory, expandable with an SD card
  • Intel HD Graphics with an 11.6″ LED screen at 1366 x 768 pixels
  • 11 hours of constant battery life

These features are standard for Chromebooks coming in at the sub-$200 price point, and makes this offering a good blend of the rest of the offerings for the best laptop under $200. It has all essential ports like HDMI, USB 3.0 and 3.5mm audio jack. Overall, it is a pretty solid all-around performing laptop. With its 11 hours of battery, and sub-three-pound weight, this is a wonderful option for on-the-go professionals on the lookout for inexpensive laptop options with operating systems that have great ease-of-use.

ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02

ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02The ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 is a well-built, light weight laptop running Chrome OS. We believe it is well worth consideration as one of the best inexpensive laptops under $22. ASUS has long been known for making high-quality laptops at reasonable price points. The ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 is no exception, being tough, lightweight and compact.

The finish of this laptop is silver and dark blue, providing a professional look and feel. While the display is a compact 11.6-inch, the ASUS model provides a full-size keyboard and a larger trackpad than the other three offerings on our list of the best laptop under $200. Additionally, the keyboard has strong spill resistance. This means that even if water, tea or coffee is spilled while working, it can be quickly wiped and cleaned with a cloth to avoid damaging the interior of the machine.

Additional specs and features of the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 include:

  • An Intel Celeron N3060 processor (same as the above, but turbocharged up to 2.48 GHz)
  • 4 gigabytes of DDR3 SD RAM
  • Standard 16 gigabytes of eMMC memory, expandable with an SD card
  • Intel HD Graphics with an 11.6″ LED screen at 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life, Chrome OS and a weight of 2.2 pounds

With the lowest weight of the four laptop offerings in our list, we were surprised at the lack of extensive battery life, especially with a smaller screen size as well. However, with the minimalist and streamlined Chrome OS, the laptop runs smooth and efficient. For offline storage of data, it provides 16GB of eMMC storage, and it also has a memory card slot to expand its storage further. This is a great machine to take daily work to the next level.

Wrapping Up: The Best Laptop Under $200

In this day and age, a laptop is basically a requirement for students, businesspeople, and beyond. However, one of the limiting factors keeping some from buying laptops is price point. It is crucial to find laptops that can perform standard tasks. Every laptop will differ in capacity, performance, weight, power and overall quality.

When on the lookout for a laptop in the $200 range, we very much suggest the above offerings.

As your budget increases, trust DigiArch to provide the highest quality reviews of laptops to meet your needs. Some of our best options are:

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