While still considered a budget price category, $600 can net you a pretty good device for everything aside from AAA gaming. Notebooks sporting a price between $400 and $600 can have metal chassis, IPS screens, powerful 4 and 6 core CPUs, great keyboards, larger SSDs, and enough memory for performing heavy tasks such as video editing or rendering. Overall, a sub $600 laptop can be a great purchase, if you find the right deal. And today, we’re sharing our recommendations for the best laptops under $600. But before we jump to the list of the best convertibles under $600, let’s explain what you should expect from a laptop at this price point. And if you’re eyeing more affordable devices, check our list featuring the best laptops under the $400.
Best Laptops Under $600 – Our Picks
|Best Budget Sub $600 Device||Lenovo IdeaPad 3|
|Best AMD Sub $600 Laptop||ASUS VivoBook 15 S513|
|Best Sub $600 Intel Laptop||HP 15|
|Best Sub $600 Ultraportable||Microsoft Surface Laptop Go|
|Best Sub $600 2-In-1||Lenovo Flex 5|
|Best Sub $600 Chromebook||Acer Chromebook Spin 713|
|Best Apple Sub $600 Laptop||Refurbished 2015 MacBook Pro|
What to Expect from a Sub $600 Laptop
These days, budget laptops can offer a lot. That said, some things are still reserved for premium devices. For instance, while you can find devices with IPS displays in this price market, this price bracket is dominated by TN panels. And even if you snag a device featuring an IPS panel, chances are it won’t be exceptionally bright. Also, forget about wide color gamut support at this price point. And yeah, 1080p or an equivalent resolution is the maximum resolution you can get at this price point. 4K is reserved for much pricier devices.
Next, while the build quality of many $600 laptops is pretty good, you shouldn’t expect CNC aluminum bodies or chassis made of magnesium. Some models do come with housings made of metal but the majority of models have polycarbonate bodies.
When it comes to the specs, 8 gigs of RAM coupled with a Core i5/Ryzen 5 is the norm here. There are 2-in-1 devices and some ultraportable models that come with weaker CPUs but if you’re after a classic convertible device, do not settle for anything less. That said, if your budget is just north of $400, you’ll probably have to settle for an i3 or an older Ryzen CPU. If the budget’s higher, don’t go lower than a 10th gen i5/4th gen Ryzen CPU.
Finally, if you’re a gamer, you won’t find a gaming laptop at this price point. Getting an 11th gen Core i5 will give you Iris Xe integrated graphics, capable of running newer AAA games at about 30fps with low settings. On the flipside, Iris Xe chip is more than capable of providing a satisfactory experience with most indie games, as well as with most older AAA titles. And yeah, webcams are thrash, but that’s something you see even on the flagship models. Okay, now let’s check the notebooks.
Best Budget Sub $600 Device
Lenovo IdeaPad 3
|Storage||128 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||3× USB A, 1× USB-C, Full Size HDMI, Card Reader, Headphone Jack|
Users on a tight budget should consider the ASUS VivoBook 15. This device can be found for about $400 and for the money it offers a lot. The only downsides are the below-par screen and the 10th gen Core i3 CPU. You can find more about the ASUS notebook it in our best laptops under $400 list. If your budget surpasses $500, our vote goes to the Lenovo IdeaPad 3.
This is a budget model from Lenovo that packs the Core i5-1035G1 CPU, eight gigs of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. These specs are plenty for business use, web browsing, video conferencing, playing older AAA and almost every indie game, as well as for lighter multitasking and heavier multithreaded loads, such as rendering in Blender. Great specs at this price translate into a plasticky body with lots of flex as well as below par 15.6-inch, 1080p TN screen with awful viewing angles and very low contrast. At least the colors look okay and the brightness is high enough to use it in a well-lit room.
Excellent keyboard partly makes up for the low-quality display, and the device comes with a solid selection of expansion ports. There are three USB-A ports, a full-sized HDMI, combo audio jack, an SD card reader, and a gigabit Ethernet port. No USB-C here and that’s okay at this price point. Overall, this laptop packs powerful hardware with price cuts mostly affecting its screen and build quality.
The Acer Aspire 3 shares most of the specs with the Lenovo, but it doesn’t offer an SD card reader and comes only with a 256GB SSD. You can alternatively get the cheaper IdeaPad 3 model that comes with the 10th get a Core i3 and a 256GB SSD.
Best AMD Sub $600 Laptop
ASUS VivoBook 15 S513
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 5500U|
|Storage||512 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||2× USB-A, 1× USB-C, HDMI, Headphone Jack|
If you have the cash and want the most bang for your buck for around $600, get the ASUS VivoBook 15 S513 that packs the Ryzen 5500U CPU. This is a Zen 2 mobile CPU with Ryzen 5000 branding, but it’s still a very fast six-core/12 threads processor that can chew through everything you throw at him, except AAA games since the laptop doesn’t come with a discrete GPU.
Other specs include 8 gigs of memory, a 512GB SSD, and a 15.6-inch, 1080p display. While there is a version with an IPS display, this particular model comes with a TN display that was also found on the last year’s version. The screen has narrow viewing angles, washed-out colors, and isn’t as bright as panels found on some other laptops. Overall, the screen is the biggest downside here.
Luckily, the Vivobook 15 S513 has other things going for it. Aside from the superb CPU (at this price point), the device has pretty good build quality, a thin and light profile with narrow screen bezels, a solid keyboard, fingerprint reader, and an additional NVMe SSD slot along with a 2.5” SSD bracket. The battery can offer almost 14 hours of screen time, and when it comes to expandability you get three USB-A, one USB-C, a full-sized HDMI, combo audio jack, and a microSD reader. Overall, pretty good.
The VivoBook 15 S513 offers plenty for the money, with the only sour point being its screen. Alternative buys include the Vivobook 14 with the same specs but a smaller, 14-inch screen. You could also get the HP 14 that packs the same CPU but also a smaller, 256GB SSD. Finally, there’s the HP Pavilion that comes with an older Ryzen 4500U CPU but it also packs a much better IPS screen, has a higher build quality, and Wi-Fi 6.
Best Sub $600 Intel Laptop
|CPU||Intel Core i5-1135G7|
|Storage||256 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||2× USB-A, 1× USB-C, HDMI, Headphone Jack|
If you’re going with Intel, you will get a better iGPU that can run newer AAA games with low settings and about 30fps. If you want a sub $600 laptop that can be used for occasional gaming, get this one instead of our Ryzen pick. The 11th gen Core i5 is good enough for any task you could throw at it. It’ll be slower across the line compared to faster models, but it’s still usable for video editing, rendering, etc.
The biggest advantage the HP 15 has over the Ryzen-equipped Vivobook 15 is its IPS screen. It has much wider viewing angles and better colors than the Vivobook 15’s but its brightness still could have been higher. On the flip side, you get a 256GB SSD instead of a 512GB unit. The device packs 8GB of RAM, which is the standard for this price bracket.
The keyboard’s pretty good and the convertible includes two USB-A, one USB-C, full-sized HDMI, combo audio jack, and an SD card reader, which isn’t perfect but is still a pretty solid selection of expansion ports. As for the battery, it’s better than average but not by much. Finally, the design is utilitarian, without narrow bezels or a slim profile. The build quality is above average.
Overall, this is a pretty good laptop that doesn’t pack the same punch as our Ryzen picks and that doesn’t come with a fingerprint scanner. That said, the 11th gen Core i5 is still a pretty snappy mobile CPU and the Iris Xe iGPU is capable of running newer AAA games at playable framerates. As for the alternatives check the Dell Inspiron 15 that packs the same internals but also a TN display. Finally, there’s the Lenovo Ideapad 3 17 with a worse screen, last year’s i5 (that has a much slower iGPU), and a 1TB of HDD storage instead of an SSD.
Best Sub $600 Ultraportable
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
|CPU||Intel Core i5-1035G1|
|Storage||128 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||1× USB-A, 1× USB-C, Headphone Jack|
The Surface Laptop Go is a budget version of the excellent Surface laptop from Microsoft. And it is the best ultraportable laptop in the sub $600 market. It’s thin and light but it still packs a 3:2 12.4-inch screen with a Full HD-comparable resolution that has plenty of screen real estate thanks to its unusual aspect ratio. Perfect for writers, people who work in Excel, and those who often read on their laptop. On top of it all colors, viewing angles, and brightness are all much, much better than what you usually get at this price point.
The superb screen is complemented with the superb build quality and premium design. The device is rigid yet surprisingly light thanks to its aluminum and high-quality polycarbonate body. Surface laptops are known for their high-quality keyboards and the Laptop Go is no exception. The keyboard is a joy to type on with the only downside being the lack of any backlight.
What we really like are small things you don’t usually get for less than $600. Like the aforementioned screen; or the combination between a fingerprint scanner and Windows Hello-capable webcam. You won’t find this combo in any other similarly priced laptop. Then you have a perfect video conferencing experience thanks to dual studio mics and Dolby Audio speakers, which are miles ahead of our other picks.
Of course, you will find shortcomings. For starters, you only get 128GB of storage. Next, the Surface line of devices isn’t known for its great expandability and that’s the case here. The device comes with a single USB-A and a single USB-C coupled with a combo audio jack. There’s also the proprietary Surface Connect port used for charging. Finally, the battery’s pretty good unless you plan on using the device for heavier workloads.
Overall, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is the best sub $600 laptop for students, users who want a bright screen with great colors, and students who want an ultraportable laptop that won’t break the bank. If you want even more portability check the Microsoft Surface Go that packs a serious punch for such a small device. Just don’t forget to buy the Type Cover keyboard. Or, you can check the 2-in-1 devices listed below.
Best Sub $600 2-In-1
Lenovo Flex 5
|Screen||14 inch 1080p|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 4500U|
|Storage||256 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||2× USB-A, 1× USB-C, HDMI , SD Card Reader, Headphone Jack|
If you want the absolute best 2-in-1 for about $600, get the Lenovo Flex 5 which’s just north of $600, for a couple of percents. For the price, you get a lot. Firstly, Lenovo equipped this convertible with a pretty capable six-core Ryzen 4500U CPU – comparable with top-of-the-line 10th gen i7 CPUs – that can get any work done. You also get 16GB of memory, which is double the amount most laptops offer on the sub $600 market. Finally, there’s also a 256GB SSD.
The 14-inch IPS screen has excellent colors but it could be brighter. Still, it’s much better than your standard sub $600 laptop offering. It supports touch input and is compatible with the Lenovo Digital Pen, which is part of the selling package. This is great news for any student out there and also for people who often have to take notes.
The keyboard’s pretty good, the build quality is excellent, without much flex except when you rotate the screen. On the flipside, equipping this 2-in-1 with such powerful hardware resulted in a bit higher thickness and weight that could prove problematic for some users who plan on using the device mostly in tablet mode.
As for the expandability you get two USB-A, one USB-C, combo audio jack, HDMI, and an SD card reader. Excellent for a 2-in-1. Sadly, no fingerprint reader is present. Overall, the Lenovo Flex 5 is a marvelous 2-in-1 that can compete with many devices sporting four-figure price points. You can’t get a better 2-in-1 at this price point. There’s the HP 2020 Pavilion X360 2-in-1 but it comes with a much slower (10th gen Core i3) CPU and a much worse screen. If you’re on a tight budget, check out the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5. It packs a pretty capable four-core Ryzen 3 4300U CPU and an IPS display but it also only has four gigs of RAM.
Best Sub $600 Chromebook
Acer Chromebook Spin 713
|Screen||13.5 inch 1054p|
|Storage||128 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||1× USB-A, 2× USB-C, 1× HDMI , Headphone Jack|
The Chromebook Spin 713 is hands-down the best sub $600 Chromebook. Acer packed this baby with excellent hardware, an impressive screen (for the price), a lot of storage (for a Chromebook), and an awesome keyboard. The 3:2 IPS screen features vibrant colors, lots of vertical real estate, high brightness, and a 2256 x 1504 resolution. In other words, the screen on the Spin 713 is worthy of a laptop that sells for double the price.
Then you have the performance, which is more than enough for a Chromebook. The laptop is snappy and responsive and will chew through anything you throw at him with ease. The design is nothing to write home about but the build quality is excellent, on par with pricier models. As for the battery, it offers higher than average screen time when under load, but it’s not impressive.
Side port selection is pretty good on this laptop. It packs one USB-A, two USB-C ports, a micro-SD card reader, a full-sized HDMI, and a combo audio jack. A whole package. As for the negatives, you don’t get a fingerprint reader and speakers are plain bad, but that’s expected on a budget laptop. Overall, the Chromebook Spin 713 is a brilliant device that punches well above its weight. If it were a Windows laptop it would probably be the best choice overall on this list.
Other sub $600 Chromebook choices aren’t as exciting. The HP Chromebook 14C packs an i3 CPU, 64GB of much slower, eMMC storage, and a worse screen. It’s cheaper but if you can stretch to the price of the Spin 713, definitely buy that one instead of the HP model. There’s also the Lenovo Chromebook C340 but that one comes with 4GB of RAM, which is too little for the price it’s selling at.
Best Apple Sub $600 Laptop
Refurbished 2015 MacBook Pro
|Storage||128 GB SSD|
|Connectivity||4× USB-C, 1× HDMI, Headphone Jack|
Last but not least, we have a refurbished 2015 MacBook Pro. Yes, it’s a refurbished device but refurbished units are your best bet to get an Apple laptop for cheap. That, and the second-hand market. This particular model packs eight gigs of RAM, 256 SSD, and an i5-5257U CPU that’s powerful enough for Office, browsing, media consumption, as well as photo editing.
The main advantage this device has over our other picks is the superb build quality and amazing screen experience you get with a MacBook Pro. There’s also the outstanding keyboard and touchpad as well as excellent speakers. The battery might be an issue since these are refurbished units but for the price, this is still a pretty solid purchase.