Laptops for $600 or Less

Consumer Reports identifies low-priced models from Acer, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft

A laptop opened and showing its keyboard.

Under routine circumstances, it’s pretty easy to find a decent laptop for around $600. But these are no ordinary times.

Thanks to increased demand from families working at home and logistical challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, finding a laptop that's reasonably priced and still in stock can be a supreme challenge.

As we reported in the summer, there are things you can do to increase your chances of actually buying a laptop, including making judicious use of in-stock alerts and looking into refurbished models.

And if you're willing to abandon the Windows or Mac operating system, you might even consider a Chromebook, which uses Google’s Chrome OS. Those can often be purchased for $250 to $500.

More on Laptops

But here we've taken the liberty to locate a few laptops that can be purchased right now for $600 or less. We haven't tested every model, but we are familiar with the brands and product lines and can point to a comparable laptop that has passed through our rigorous evaluation process so that you can see for yourself what sort of performance you're likely to get.

In each case, we're careful to note which models have been tested and which have not. Consumer Reports members are welcome to consult our laptop ratings as well. The models there were all purchased at retail stores (to prevent manufacturers from sending us cherry-picked units), then tested in our labs. We evaluated their performance across a range of criteria, including battery life, portability, and display quality.

Microsoft Surface Go 2

We tested this model earlier this year, and it's widely available (even directly from Microsoft). It's a compact 10.5-inch detachable model, which means the touch screen can be separated from the keyboard and used like a tablet.

You should know, though, that the keyboard is sold separately, which adds another $100 to the price.

We purchased the base model, which has an Intel Pentium processor, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of solid-state storage. Yes, those are modest specs, but our testers found them to be adequate for typical productivity tasks like emailing, video calls, and browsing the web.

The Surface Go 2 weighs 1.7 pounds and delivers up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge, making it a good choice if you don't want to be tethered to a power cord all day. It also has one of the better built-in webcams in our ratings, which is useful in this age of Zoom calls.

Our testers like the display, too, noting its brightness and color accuracy. That makes it a good pick if you stream a lot of video.

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