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.
1. Lenovo IdeaPad 3: Best budget laptop under $600
Users on a tight budget should consider the ASUS VivoBook 15, which you can find 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 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, and 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 and below par 15.6-inch, 1080p TN screen with awful viewing angles and shallow 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, primarily 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. Alternatively, you can get the cheaper IdeaPad 3 model with the 10th gen Core i3 and a 256GB SSD.
There are several sub $600 laptops based on the latest AMD CPUs, and our pick is the HP 14 powered by the Ryzen 5 5500U. Look, the screen’s far from being great, but at least it features a 1080p resolution and okay colors. They’re a bit washed out, but, as a whole package, the IPS panel is more than adequate at this price point. Also, the build quality is average, and the keyboard and touchpad are good but, again, not great.
The hardware, though, is excellent for less than $600. The Ryzen 5 5500U is a capable processor. Fast enough for any workflow. It won’t break any records for video editing, but it can handle heavy workloads and multitasking. 8GB of RAM is enough for basic usage along with nondemanding work but, luckily, the device comes with a free RAM slot so that you can upgrade to 16GB. Finally, the 256GB SSD is okay for most users.
The HP 14 has a powerful enough battery with battery life for about eight, eight, and a half hours of usage. Not great, but far from being terrible. Of course, the speakers and webcam are poor, but you can’t expect anything better out of a $600 laptop. On the flip side, we like the connectivity options. You have one fast USB-C and two fast (USB 3.2) USB-A ports, coupled with an SD card reader and a full-sized HDMI port. Overall, for the price, this is an excellent machine that can hurdle over any task you throw at it, especially after you equip it with an extra stick of RAM.
As for the alternatives, there’s the HP 15 with the same specs but a bigger screen and a full-sized keyboard. Next, we have the IdeaPad 3 from Lenovo that packs the same specs but costs more. IdeaPad 3 lineup has a bit worse screen, but Lenovo knows how to make excellent keyboards. Other than that, the two devices are remarkably similar, so you won’t get wrong if you buy the one that has a lower price when you decide to get a new laptop.
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 you can use 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 than faster models, but it’s still usable for video editing, rendering, etc.
The most significant 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 life, 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 can run newer AAA games at playable framerates. As for the alternatives, check the Dell Inspiron 15 that packs the same internals and 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.
4. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go: Best ultraportable laptop under $600
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 laptops. On top of it, all colors, viewing angles, and brightness are much better than what you usually get at this price point.
The superb screen is complemented with the outstanding 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.
We like small things you don’t usually get for less than $600, like the screen, as mentioned earlier, 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 excellent 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 life is 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 wish to an ultraportable laptop that won’t break the bank. Check the Microsoft Surface Go that packs a serious punch for such a small device if you want even more portability. Just don’t forget to buy the Type Cover keyboard. Or, you can check the 2-in-1 devices listed below.
5. HP Pavilion X360: Best 2-In-1 laptop under $600
The sub $600 2-in-1 market is relatively poor, offering devices with washed-out 768p screens and hardware that won’t make anyone impressed. So, we recommend saving some extra cash and getting a device that costs a bit more than $600 since they offer both much better screens and hardware. Something like the Lenovo Yoga C740, which packs a beautiful screen and a relatively capable Core i5-10210U. Or the Lenovo Flex 5, with an even more powerful Ryzen 4500U and not as bright screen. There’s also the Dell Inspiron 5406 that has an excellent CPU (Core i5-1135G7) but a poor 768p touchscreen.
If your budget is hard-capped at $600, we can recommend the 2020 HP Pavilion X360 2-in-1 equipped with a Core i3-1005G1, 8GB of memory, and a 128GB SSD. This is a solid, affordable 2-in-1 that packs good enough hardware for light workloads, web browsing, and media consumption. The screen’s poor in every regard, but for less than $500, which is the regular price of this device, you can’t ask for more.
If you’re okay with a device that packs 4GB of memory, consider getting a weaker variant of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5. It has a noticeably faster Ryzen 3 4300U CPU and 512GB SSD. The screen is also miles ahead of the one seen on the Pavilion X360. An IPS panel with 1080p resolution, much wider viewing angles, and punchier colors. It’s almost the whole package, but only 4GB of memory is a massive downside. Again, if you’re okay with this, the Flex 5 is a much better choice for less than $600.
6. Acer Chromebook Spin 713: Best Chromebook under $600
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 excellent keyboard. The 3:2 IPS screen features vibrant colors, 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 life, 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 the 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 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.
7. MacBook Pro (Refurbished 2015): Best Apple laptop under $600
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 cheap Apple laptops. 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.
This device’s main advantage 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 this is still a pretty solid purchase for the price.
What to expect from laptop under $600
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.
For the specs, eight 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 can provide a satisfactory experience with most indie games and most older AAA titles. And yeah, webcams are thrash, but that’s something you see even on the flagship models.