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The 4 Best Laptops Under $400 In 2022

Shopping for a laptop under $400 can be challenging. Most laptops in this price range are Chromebooks, which are great options for simple tasks like web browsing, text formatting, and video playback. However, they might not be powerful or versatile enough for professionals, especially those who need to run x86 applications. That said, you can find some Windows laptops as long as you don't mind compromising on some features, like a dimmer display or lack of biometric login.

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4. Acer Chromebook Spin 713 

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2020) is the best student laptop under $400 we've tested. It's a compact 2-in-1 convertible that's easy to carry around, with a battery that lasts over 12 hours of light productivity, so you don't have to worry about bringing the charger with you. The Core i3-10110U configuration with 4GB of memory is enough to handle most student workloads. If you tend to have multiple applications running simultaneously and don't mind spending just a bit more, it's best to opt for a model with 8GB because you can't upgrade the RAM later on.

Unlike most cheap Chromebooks, Acer stepped it up and equipped this laptop with a sharp, colorful display. Its 3:2 aspect ratio gives you a bit more vertical space so that you don't have to scroll as much when reading a document or website, but it does mean that you'll always see black bars at the top and bottom when watching videos. The keyboard is quiet, which is great for noise-sensitive environments like classrooms, and it's comfortable to type on for extended periods. The touchpad's size is decent, but actions like dragging and dropping don't always work.

If you're new to Chrome OS, you need to make sure that you can do all of your school assignments through the Chrome browser or Android apps. If you're in a more technical field that requires x86 applications, like engineering or graphic design, you're better off with a Windows device or an Apple MacBook. This laptop is becoming harder to find since there's a newer but more expensive Spin 713 with Intel 11th Gen CPUs, so it's a great time to snatch one up, and you might even find a higher-end configuration for around or below $400.

3. Acer Chromebook 315

If you're shopping on a tighter budget or for a younger student, consider the Acer Chromebook 315. It isn't as versatile as the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 since it isn't a 2-in-1 convertible, but it has a larger 15.6 inch screen and even longer battery life. The display doesn't get very bright, though, so it isn't ideal for well-lit environments or outdoors in broad daylight. The keyboard feels good to type on, but it's fatiguing over time as the keys require a fair amount of force to actuate. Likewise, the touchpad tracks movements well but doesn't always respond to gestures and actions like dragging and dropping. Its Intel Celeron CPU is powerful enough to provide a smooth experience on Chrome OS, though you'll have to be a bit more conservative in the number of applications or tab browsers you open at once.

Overall, the Spin 713 is a more premium device that provides a better overall user experience, its CPU can handle heavier workloads, and it's more versatile since it's a 2-in-1 convertible that you can use as a tablet. However, if you need something cheaper and don't mind a few compromises, the Chromebook 315 is a decent alternative.

2. Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5

The best media consumption laptop under $400 we've tested is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5. It's a 13.3 inch Chrome OS tablet with a kickstand built into the back cover and a detachable keyboard. The tablet feels decently well-built, with a mix of metal and plastic, and it's very portable as it's thin and light. Battery life is great as it lasts nearly 8 hours of video playback, enough to get through a couple of movies and TV show episodes.

This tablet's stand-out feature is its OLED display. It's sharp and produces deep, inky blacks, making it fantastic for dark room viewing. It also gets bright enough for use in well-lit settings, though not for outdoors in broad daylight, as its glossy finish struggles with bright reflections. Unfortunately, it can't play any content in HDR even though it supports a wide color gamut. There's pen input support if you want to take notes or draw, but unlike the keyboard, you have to buy the stylus separately.

The speakers get reasonably loud; however, they lack bass and sound slightly unnatural. If you plan on using headphones, know that it doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack, and there isn't a USB-C audio adapter in the box either. Lastly, the keyboard feels cramped, so it isn't the best for typing out a long document or paper. Nonetheless, it's a budget-friendly media consumption device that should satisfy most people.

1. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14

The best business laptop under $400 we've tested is the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14. It's a 2-in-1 convertible laptop with a 360-degree hinge, meaning you can use it as a tablet or prop it up in tent mode for presentations. It feels well built even though it's entirely plastic, and it's easy to carry around, thanks to its compact design. It has a good port selection that includes two USB-As, a full-size HDMI, and a USB-C port, although you can't use the USB-C for video output, and the HDMI port's maximum output resolution is only 4k @ 30Hz.

Its 14 inch display is sharp and provides just enough space for light multitasking. Visibility isn't an issue in most indoor settings, although it's best to avoid well-lit, sunny environments as the screen doesn't get very bright. The keyboard feels spacious, but it feels tiring to type on for extended periods as the keys require a fair amount of force to actuate. Sadly, the webcam's video quality is sub-par as the image looks washed out, underexposed, and lacking in detail.

The AMD Ryzen 3 4300U model with 4GB of memory can handle most productivity tasks like web browsing, text formatting, spreadsheets, and presentations. You can opt for a more powerful CPU and more memory if you multitask heavily; however, expect to pay a little more. Battery life is amazing as it lasts over 11 hours of light productivity, enough to get you through a typical workday with plenty of charge to spare. All in all, it's a decent and well-rounded business laptop that won't break the bank.

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops you can get for under $400. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you prefer to make your own decision, here’s the list of all of our laptop reviews, sorted by price from low to high. Keep in mind that most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it’s best to see the full review for information about other variants.