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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Best cheap laptop deals for February 2021

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Almost everybody who uses a computer owns a laptop, in today’s age of mobile technology and remote work, and it’s not hard to see why these clamshell PCs have overtaken traditional desktop towers in popularity. Today, you’ve got a million different options to choose from (especially with this week’s Presidents Day laptop sales going on right now), from MacBook deals and cheap gaming laptops to Chromebooks and 2-in-1 convertibles. There are so many laptop deals out there, in fact, that it can quickly induce choice paralysis.

Let us help you out with our handy roundup of the best laptop deals available this week. This list covers everything from super-cheap laptops to the latest touchscreen 2-in-1s, so whatever flavor you prefer, we’ve got it right here at a discount that’s sure to please:

Best laptop deals right now

  • Evoo Ultra Thin Laptop$299, was $499
  • Asus VivoBook 14$399, was $499
  • Lenovo Yoga C740 2-in-1 Laptop$600, was $800
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 7 with Type Cover Keyboard$699, was $959
  • Dell Inspiron 14 7000 2-in-1 Laptop$780, was $930
  • Apple MacBook Air (2020)$929, was $999

Evoo Ultra Thin Laptop — $299, was $499

Evoo Ultra Thin Series Laptop

Evoo is a relatively new and lesser-known builder of affordable Windows PCs and is currently cranking out some of the best high-value work machines. This 15-inch ultra-thin notebook is a great entry-level computer for anyone looking for a good work machine for less than $400: It runs on an Intel Core i7-7560U CPU and 8GB of RAM, and it also sports a high-speed 256GB solid-state system drive. Solid specs for a cheap laptop and perfectly suited for those with standard everyday needs.

At just $299, it’s around the same cost or even cheaper than many Chromebooks out there and is arguably the best cheap laptop you’re going to find right now for less than 400 bucks. Its specs rival laptops that often go for $400 or more — and since it’s packing pretty recent hardware for such a cheap laptop, it shouldn’t feel outdated any time soon despite its low price.

Asus VivoBook 14 — $399, was $499

Asus VivoBook 14 Laptop (white background)

No Windows laptop roundup would be complete without at least one cheap Asus laptop, and the VivoBook 14 is an unassuming one that you might have overlooked. Despite its straightforward appearance, it features just about everything you want in a modern PC right down to its solid hardware, great build quality, and generous battery life. The 14-inch FHD display also offers some extra real estate over smaller ultrabooks along with a 1080p resolution (no 720p corner-cutting on this one). In short, this thing is built for just about any type of work, and it’s built to do it all day long.

This configuration comes loaded with a new AMD Ryzen 5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD — perfect for a daily workhorse. This laptop can be yours for an eye-popping $399 right now after a $100 savings.

Lenovo Yoga C740 2-in-1 Laptop — $600, was $800

Lenovo Yoga C740 2-in-1 Laptop (white background)

Everyone knows Lenovo for its budget-friendly workhorse computers like the iconic ThinkPad, which causes many to overlook its also-excellent 2-in-1 laptops. The Yoga C740 brings Lenovo’s excellent no-nonsense design to a laptop with a great build quality, perfect 14-inch size, and great convertible 2-in-1 form factor. Its Intel Core i5 CPU, full 8GB RAM, and quick-loading 256GB SSD are also perfect specs for work (which is precisely what this thing is built for).

This cheap laptop can be your work companion for just $600, with a limited-time discount that delivers one of the best prices we’ve seen for this great modern 2-in-1 ultrabook.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 with Type Cover Keyboard — $699, was $959

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Resized

One of the best laptops on the market today — and in fact, for several years running — is actually a tablet. The Surface Pro line has sat among our favorite 2-in-1s for a while now and the new Surface Pro 7, while not a breathtaking update, is a very solid machine. It’s incredibly well-built, looks great, and performs well. It has a built-in kickstand, and when used with a Type Cover keyboard, makes for a fantastic 2-in-1 ultrabook. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention that gorgeous, productivity-friendly 3:2 touchscreen.

One of our few complaints was that the Type Cover still isn’t included by default, but this bundle solves that little hiccup: This configuration has a Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD, and comes with a black Type Cover keyboard so you can use it as a laptop right out of the box. And at just $699 ($260 off), the whole bundle falls well below our $1,000 budget limit.

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 2-in-1 Laptop — $780, was $930

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 2-in-1 Laptop (white BG)

Any laptop roundup will almost feel naked without one of our favorite 2-in-1 staples, the Dell Inspiron 14 7000. If you’re looking for a featherweight laptop that’s as light as it is durable, then you need to look no further than this one, which has stood out as one of the best ultrabooks money can buy in recent years owing to its gorgeous gem-cut design, excellent performance, solid build quality, and all-day battery life.

Right now, you can grab this 14-inch 2-in-1 with an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, boosted 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD on sale for $780 after a very nice discount. This is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen on a superb convertible with specs like these, which might make it our favorite laptop deal to be had for under a grand right now.

Apple MacBook Air (2020) — $929, was $999

Macbook Air M1
Deals on Apple products are hard to find, and so sometimes you need to grab them when you can. The MacBook Air, which was modernized and redesigned in 2018, is the best entry-level MacBook you can buy — perfect for a college student or businessperson. The latest 2020 refresh is just as great, and if you want the one with the latest and greatest hardware (that you can still find for less than 1,000 bucks), this is it.

Right now, you can score this deal on this 2020 MacBook Air at $929. This configuration comes with an Intel Core i3, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. It also comes with a lovely display with a 2,560 by 1,600 resolution, giving you plenty of performance for productivity work. What’s not to like? If you want to give the new M1 CPU a spin, that model is also on sale for $949.

How to choose a laptop

The first step of choosing a laptop, after setting your budget, is determining what you need it for. Most people just need a standard laptop that will perform well and won’t feel outdated within one or two years, and for that, you’ve got plenty of very affordable options available to you. Those with more specific needs — artists, graphic designers, video editors, and gamers, to name some examples — may need extra features like touchscreens, fold-flat displays, and dedicated graphics cards. Keep size in mind as well. Laptops commonly range from 13 to 17 inches (which refers to screen size measured diagonally), and also pay attention to overall dimensions and weight if you’re going to be moving and carrying yours around fairly often.

As far as hardware goes, the three basic components to consider are CPU, RAM, and storage. The CPU, or central processing unit, is the “brain” of any PC. It’s what actually does the computing: Reading data, running programs (and other processes), and so on. The two biggest CPU makers are Intel and AMD, and unless you’re on the tightest of budgets, we typically recommend sticking with 10th or 11th generation Intel Core i5 processors, AMD Ryzen 5 processors, and above (Core i7, Ryzen 7, etc.). If the specific generation of Intel CPU isn’t stated explicitly, it will be indicated in the first two digits of the processor’s model number. For example, a Core i5-10400 is a 10th-gen model, while the Core i5-11400 is 11th-gen.

RAM, or random access memory, is a bit more straightforward. In simple terms, if the CPU is your PC’s brain, then RAM could be described as its short-term memory. It supports your CPU’s performance by storing data and tasks for quick recall when needed. The more the better. We suggest a minimum of 8GB for good performance by modern standards, and like Core i5 and Ryzen 5 CPUs, you can find this even on cheap laptops — you really aren’t saving much money my skimping on RAM, but you will definitely feel your computer stumbling when under load.

Storage needs are personal to the user, but today, solid-state drives (SSDs) have largely replaced older platter-based hard disk drives (HDDs) owing to their superior read/write speeds and reliability due to lack of moving parts. However, SSDs are typically smaller (or at least cheaper per gigabyte) than traditional HDDs, which is something to bear in mind if you do need a lot of storage space for things like games or large project files. We recommend sticking with SSDs as a rule, but some laptops come with a smaller solid-state system drive paired with a larger HDD for overflow, so you’ve got options.

Finally, depending on your needs, a discrete video card may be worth the extra money. A GPU, or graphics processing unit, is essentially a second processor dedicated solely to demanding graphical tasks like rendering videos and playing 3D video games. Mobile laptop GPUs are a bit different than their desktop counterparts and Nvidia GeForce cards are by far the most common. The current-gen models are the 16-series, 20-series, and (less common) 30-series cards. Avoid the 10-series cards still found on some laptops, as they are significantly outdated by today’s standards. AMD has also rolled out its own line of laptop graphics cards, the 5000M series, as mobile counterparts to its desktop GPUs. These are a fine option as well, especially if you prefer AMD hardware.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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This srticle was first published on Digital Trends

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