Although most laptops tend to be in the range of $700 to $1,500 - and can be much more for premium options - you can absolutely find a laptop that works great for web browsing and general productivity for only $300 or less. You could also use it as a replacement laptop if your previous machine stopped working suddenly. Or you can consider it as a backup laptop for travel, or as a supplement to your existing desktop PC.
Regardless of why the $300 price point is one that you need to maintain for a new laptop, HP® has a robust number of options for purchase that maintain a great balance between price and quality.
What is the best laptop deal of 2019?
We have two major lines of bargain laptops on offer - the HP Chromebook
and the HP Stream
- that can provide the best deal for you, depending on your needs. Both series offer different specs and features that set them apart.
Like its name suggests, the HP Chromebook runs on the Chrome OS™. It’s a Linux-based operating system developed by Google that primarily runs web applications. HP Chromebooks are designed specifically for those who use productivity apps from Google as a part of their workflow, such as Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Gmail.
The best way to determine if an HP Chromebook is right for you is to try using the Google Chrome web browser for a week on your current machine. If you find that you can live off applications within Google Chrome, then you may want to go with an HP Chromebook laptop. If you prefer using Windows instead, you may want to consider an alternative from the HP Stream laptop family.
In contrast, the HP Stream is a more traditional laptop that runs Windows 10. Plus, according to tests run by Laptop Mag, the HP Stream’s display is capable of strong color accuracy and runs the color gamut, which is the measure of a display's ability to recreate color from video or graphics output . This makes it one of the best bargain laptops in terms of picture quality at this price point.
The 3 best HP Chromebook laptops
HP Chromebooks offer a great balance between price and user experience, with the latter being due to the Chrome OS. This line is very compact as well and has a sleeker design, while still offering superior value. With that in mind, here are the top HP Chromebooks for budget shoppers.
1. HP Chromebook 11A G6 EE (Education Edition) notebook
The HP Chromebook 11A
is the perfect laptop for students who carry around their laptops in between classes or for the young professional straight out of college. That’s because it’s designed with co-molded rubber and reinforced corners, giving it a sleek yet durable feel.
This HP Chromebook performs exceptionally well thanks to the multi-core AMD A4-9120C APU processor, which allows for the efficient use of applications through Google Chrome. This level of efficiency helps save on battery life as well, meaning it's unlikely you'll have to charge this laptop throughout the day.
It also encourages collaborative learning with the use of multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology. This allows the device to connect to transmitters and receivers that enhance the quality and speed of data transfers, so you can easily send and receive files from nearby users. Additionally, the HP Chromebook 11A comes slotted with a universal USB-C adapter that can be used to charge compatible accessories and even the laptop itself.
- 32GB of speedy eMMC storage
- 720p HD webcam
- Integrated AMD Radeon™ R4 graphics card
2. HP Chromebook 14-inch notebook
While the HP Chromebook 14-db0020nr
also runs off Chrome OS, it is built to be more of a budget entertainment machine. With integrated Bang & Olufsen dual speakers, you’ll have sound quality that well exceeds its price point. It also boasts 9 hours and 15 minutes of battery life, which means you can use it for plenty of music and video streaming during the day.
The HP Chromebook 14-inch also comes with a 1366 x 768 resolution, giving it a crisp and sharp picture on its 14-inch diagonal HD SVA anti-glare WLED-backlit display. It allows for Plug and Play with USB-compatible accessories and devices as well. This is a nice perk because it means that your existing compatible headsets, external speakers, or mice will work instantly when plugged into one of its two USB-C ports.
- Integrated AMD Radeon™ R4 graphics card
- AMD Dual-Core A4-9120C APU processor
- 1 microSD media card reader
3. HP Chromebook 14 G5 notebook
Unlike the other models on our list, the HP Chromebook 14 G5
runs on the latest Intel® Celeron® processors, making it one of the more powerful HP Chromebooks on the market. Although not as speedy as higher-end processors, the included Intel Celeron N3350 has a max clock speed of 2.4 GHz, as well as 2MB cache. This makes it well suited for everyday business tasks, as well as video and audio streaming.
In the style department, this laptop has a slick flat design and is thinner than 19 mm. It also comes equipped with a wide-angle HD webcam and echo-canceling mic, making it great for both personal and business communication.
This laptop comes bundled with our HP Classroom Management software, which allows teachers to manage and collaborate on their student's devices. Not only that, but you’ll get a free 2-year subscription to Google Drive that includes 100GB of cloud storage.
- Up to 10 hours of battery life
- ENERGY STAR® certified
- Integrated Intel HD Graphics 500
The 2 best HP Stream laptops
If you are looking for a more traditional laptop, the HP Stream line will certainly fit the bill. They are great value laptops, and have good specs relative to their various price points. There are two different variants of HP Stream laptops, both of which come in blue and silver variants. Of course, you do make sacrifices when purchasing a bargain laptop that are measured against more traditional ones, so keep that in mind when evaluating the specs of HP Stream laptops.
1. HP Stream - laptop
Although the HP Stream 11-ak1010nr
is the less expensive of the two HP Stream variants, it certainly packs a punch given its $200 price point. Boasting a quad-core Intel Atom™ processor and over 9 hours of battery life, this laptop is perfect for anyone who works on-the-go and needs access to a highly portable laptop.
The Intel Atom processor was designed with tablets in mind, so it prioritizes efficiency, low cost, and smaller physical size. While it’s not going to be as fast as a higher-end and far more expensive processor, it more than makes up for it. That’s because it allows this laptop to run virtually any software at a significantly cheaper price point.
For even more bang for your buck, this machine comes bundled with some great free perks. They include 1 year of Netflix, 60 minutes each month of Skype credit for 1 year, 1 year of Office 365 Personal, and 1 year of McAfee LiveSafe™ software. Those extras alone make this laptop a great value that still retails for less than most budget tablets on the market.
- 32GB eMMC storage
- 1 microSD media card reader
- ENERGY STAR certified
2. HP Stream 14-inch laptop
The HP Stream 14-ds0060nr
is the premium option of the two HP Stream laptops on our list. The HP Stream 14 has a 14-inch WLED-backlit display, which gives it a clearer image quality and a crisper resolution.
This HP Stream comes equipped with integrated AMD Radeon™ R3 Graphics, which can run games with less demanding graphics on lower settings such as Fortnite, League of Legends, and Minecraft. Plus, this machine is nearly as portable as its slightly smaller counterpart, because it weighs only 3.2 lbs and can easily fit inside any backpack.
The HP Stream 14 is really the gold standard for a bargain laptop and is meant to compete with the standards of a traditional laptop versus an HP Chromebook. Like the smaller HP Stream, this one also comes with a year of Netflix along with 60 minutes a month of Skype credit and a year of Office 365 Personal.
- 64GB of eMMC storage
- HP Webcam with integrated digital microphone
- 8 hours and 15 minutes battery life
While there are many different types of laptops available, the bargain laptop lines, the HP Chromebook and the HP Stream, are truly hard to beat. They both offer great value for their respective price points and are some of the top options on the market.
While you won’t get the same specs out of a bargain laptop that you would from a midrange or premium laptop, you can expect HP quality nonetheless. Plus, all of our laptops come with a 1-year limited hardware warranty, which shows our confidence in the manufacturing and components used within these laptops despite their budget price point.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.
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