Best Laptops for $600 or Less

Consumer Reports' testing identifies the best low-priced models from Acer, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft

A laptop opened and showing its keyboard.

Can you find a decent laptop for around $600? Sure, as long as you’re okay with a Toyota and not a Lexus.

Midpriced laptops make good work-from-home companions, letting you conduct video calls, answer emails, and edit spreadsheets or presentation decks with relative ease, but they lack the extra features and refinements found in higher-end models.

They generally have slower processors and less storage space and memory than their pricier counterparts, for example. They may be less sleek, too. But, if you’re more concerned with sticking to a budget than owning a laptop wrapped in leather, a $600 model may be a smart choice.

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That’s why we combed through the dozens of models in our ratings to find the ones with the chops to get work done without melting your credit card.

They all run Windows, but shoppers looking to save money might also want to consider buying a Chromebook. Typically inexpensive, those models use Chrome OS, a Google-developed operating system similar to the company’s Chrome web browser. If you’re a heavy user of Google services like Gmail, Google Docs, and YouTube, a Chromebook is not hard to master.

What about Macs? The MacBook Air starts at $999, unless you shop for a used model online. But you can also try outfitting the $330 entry-level iPad with a Bluetooth-connected mouse and keyboard, especially given recent advances in the iPad OS.

Those ideas aside, the following laptops are all priced around $600 and should perform well if you simply need a solid workhorse. All have passed through our labs, where they were rated for performance, portability, and ergonomics.

Microsoft Surface Go 2

This small, 10.5-inch laptop is a detachable, which means the screen and keyboard can be physically separated from each other, giving you the flexibility to use it like a laptop when the keyboard is attached or like a tablet when the keyboard is detached. It starts at $400. The keyboard is sold separately for $100.

Microsoft offers a few configurations, but we purchased the base model, which has an Intel Pentium processor, 4 gigabytes of memory, and 64GB of solid state storage. Those are modest specs, but our testers say they’re good enough for office work.

The model weighs just 1.7 pounds and delivers up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge. It also has one of the better webcams in our ratings, which helps you look your best on Zoom calls. And the bright display produces accurate colors, making for a versatile, portable streaming video device.

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