If you need to get your hands on the best laptop for basic needs, there are many budget laptops that will help you get through regular everyday tasks. The market is flooded with different types of laptops, but laptops are manufactured to accomplish specific purposes. For instance, some are designed specifically for gaming having powerful graphics cards, whereas others have high-end processors for offering professionals the best speed and efficiency. A laptop for basic needs would cover surfing the net, playing games, watching a movie or YouTube, sending emails, etc.
See also: Best laptops for writers
A laptop has now become an essential gadget to have due to some inherent features they possess. They are easy to carry around and work with, whether within the house or outside. While many functions of the laptops can be done using mobile phones these days, you may have many distractions there. Someone might call you when you were watching a video or there may be constant receipt of messages that can spoil the fun. With a laptop, you have no such worries. You can check mail, play some light games like minesweeper or solitaire and watch YouTube. How would you choose the best laptop for basic needs?
- Display Size: You should be happy with a moderately sized laptop in the 14-inch to 15-inch range. In the latest ones, the laptop makers have shrunk the size of the bezels offering you more display areas on the screen.
- Processor: A good Quad-core processor of the recent generation should be able to do the tasks you expect from your laptop. Intel CPUs come in a wide range and a Core i5 or Core i7 should satisfy your requirements.
- RAM & Storage: These may not pose huge challenges if you are going to be using the laptop for basic needs. A 4 GB or 6 GB of RAM and around 500 GB of storage memory should be sufficient to meet your needs. Most laptops these days come with these specifications.
- Color & Design: Look for some bright colors if they are available beyond the usual silver and black. It can liven up your day and make your computing activities a little more interesting. It will also be pleasant to the eye of a visitor to your home/office.
- Display: Depending on how many hours you may use your laptop every day, check if the laptop display has any special eye-protection coating or adjustments. This can be useful as your eyes won’t be strained by long hours of using the laptop.
- Battery: The battery life is important if you plan to take the laptop outside where charging facilities may be difficult to access. If you take flights frequently and use your laptops at the airports while waiting, then the battery has to last you that long. Laptop specifications usually include this detail of how long the battery lasts on a full charge with normal usage.
Best Laptops for Basic Needs
Sleek Budget 2-in-1 Laptop for Basic Needs
Acer Chromebook Flip C302CA, 12.5 inches
It is a perfect laptop for those who wish to complete mainstream tasks efficiently without breaking the bank. It comes with a 360-degree hinge and is a hybrid Chromebook offering good value for money. It is a well built, perfectly sized, and stylish laptop to take on the go. You can use it in different configurations, such as a tablet or as a tent for watching a video. The screen quality is great for watching videos, reading articles, and other basic tasks.
The 12.5 inches is a full HD touchscreen having a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The touchscreen is also supported by a Stylus. The device is powered by an Intel Core m3 chipset having a RAM of 4 GB and a storage of 64 GB. The processor clocks at a speed of 2.2 GHz. It is combined with an Intel HD Graphics card 515.
It comes with built-in antivirus protection and is always secure and up-to-date. The dimensions of the Acer Chromebook Flip are 8.3 x 12 x 0.5 inches and it is light at just 2.65 LBS. It is supported by the Chrome OS. The battery life averages about 10 hours. It has USB C ports on both sides of the device but does not support Thunderbolt 3.
The Asus Chromebook Flip is costlier than other Chromebooks, but this is because it has a top-quality construction and rich features offering capable performance that makes it a good value for the additional investment.
Who Should Buy This?
- Those who wish to buy a laptop for browsing and streaming videos at home.
- Those who want a laptop for productivity tasks, watching movies, playing games, etc.
- Suitable for those on the go.
- Professionals who want the ultimate Chromebook.
- Those who want an affordable laptop for casual use.
Light and Powerful Laptop for Basic Needs
HP Envy 13 inches Thin Laptop, Natural Silver
It is an Ultrabook offering speedy performance and excellent battery life with a bright display. It has a sleek and slim look with an expanding flap or drop-jaw mechanism. The HP Envy has a 4K Touchscreen of 13.3 inches with IPS technology and a micro-edge WLED backlit screen and Corning Gorilla Glass, with a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
The device is powered by a super-fast chipset 8th Gen Intel Core TM i7-8565, which a dual-core processor clocking at a base speed of 1.8 GHz and going up to 4.6 GHz. It has a RAM of 16 GB DDR4-2400 SDRM with an SSD storage of 512 GB. This is combined with an NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphics card with a RAM size of 2 GB.
The fingerprint reader offers secure login and access with just a finger touch. It also offers support for dual 4K displays. The drop-jaw mechanism can fit in USB 3.1 Type-A ports on either side of the laptop. It also has one USB C port and a headphone jack with a microSD card reader and a power jack included.
The battery life is good for up to 12 hours. The dimensions of the device are 13.3 x 8.9 x 0.89 inches and it weighs 2.59 lbs. It is supported by Windows 10 Home OS. It is a light and powerful laptop with smart, state of the art security features. The keyboard is elevated for an ergonomic experience. The 4K screen is brilliant and made of durable glass that can stand up to regular usage.
Who Should Buy This?
- For college students who want a portable and sleek but sturdy laptop.
- Those who want an efficient laptop for their basic needs.
High-Performance 4-in-1 Chromebook for Basic Needs
Google Pixelbook, 12.3 inches, Silver
The Google Pixelbook is an affordable, beautiful laptop with solid speed and a bright, vivid display packed with impressive technology. It comes with Android app support as well, offering a great experience to users, with the Google Assistant always ready to help you. It is perfectly suitable for basic tasks. It is a small and slender laptop with an elegant look.
The Google Pixelbook comes with a 4-in-1 design so that you can use it as a laptop, a tablet, a tent, or in an entertainment mode. The display screen is a 12.3 inches touchscreen with a 360-degree hinge encased in an aluminum body with Corning Gorilla Glass for protection. The screen has a resolution of 2400 x 1600 pixels. You can also use the Pixelbook Pen for quick actions like drawing, writing, and designing. The stylus is Google Assistant-powered, so you can just hold down the button and circle an object, to send images or text to the Assistant for information.
The Pixelbook is powered by the 7th Gen Intel Core processor with a RAM of 8 GB and a storage of 128 GB. The processor clocks at a speed of 3.3 GHz.
It is super thin and measures just 10.3 millimeters weighing 2.45 pounds. It is supported by the Chrome OS, so you can always access automatic software updates and the latest virus protection. The battery life averages around 10 hours and you can also get two hours of usage with just a quick 15 minutes charging. The dimensions of the laptop are 11.43 x 8.69 x 0.44 inches and it weighs 2.45 LBS. It is a great Chromebook combining aesthetics with performance and a good display.
Who Should Buy This?
- Suitable for those who want a laptop for basic needs.
- Suitable for business class travelers who want a top-quality Chromebook.
- Meant for work, productivity, as well as play.
- For artists and designers.
- For those who want the best Chromebook with functionality, performance, and style combined.
Packing Top Performance and Battery Life for Basic Needs
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, 14 inches, Black
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a lightweight device in an attractive design, suitable for those who want a laptop to perform their basic tasks. The performance and battery life are sufficient for you to easily accomplish daily tasks and the keyboard is fantastic. The HDR screen and the far-field microphones are other attractions of this luxurious laptop, which is the best for productivity. It has a carbon fiber chassis that is reinforced and has passed durability tests. The lightness is due to a combination of carbon fiber with magnesium, making it both light and durable.
The display screen is 14 inches FHD using IPS anti-glare technology, with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is powered by the Intel Core i5-8350U with 4 cores and clocked at a base speed of 1.7 GHz, with turbo boost up to 3.6 GHz and 6 MB. It has a RAM of 8 GB and a hard disk size of 256 GB SSD. It is combined with the Intel UHD Graphics 620 graphics processor.
The battery life averages around 6 hours. It is supported by the Windows 10 Pro OS. The dimensions of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon are 12.74 x 8.55 x 0.63 inches and it weighs 2.49 lbs.
The device comes with a Match-in Sensor fingerprint reader that protects it from hackers. The keyboard is a world-class one offering comfort and responsiveness needed for accomplishing daily tasks. The touchpad is buttonless and accurate, responding smoothly to swipes and multi-touch gestures.
Who Should Buy This?
- For those who want a top-performing laptop for their basic as well as business needs and productivity.
- Those who want to buy a light but tough business Ultrabook for regular work.
- Ideal for those who are on the move.
Screen Pad Revolution Laptop for Basic Needs
Asus Zenbook 14, 14 inches
The Asus Zenbook 14 comes in an unbelievable screen-to-body ratio offering a large and ergonomic viewing experience. It has a screen with bezels measuring just 2.9 mm at the sides, offering a 92% screen-to-body ratio. The 14 inches display screen is a Full HD one with NanoEdge bezels and a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It also has an additional innovative screen pad of 5.65 inches with an interactive trackpad that is touch-enabled, so that you can access smart controls with greater efficiency. You can also access handwriting features on the screen pad, take notes, etc. The laptop design is ergonomic with a special ErgoLift offering improved typing positions.
It is powered by the 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U, a quad-core chipset with a Cache of 6M and clocking at a maximum speed of 4.6 GHz. This is combined with the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card. The RAM is 16 GB and the hard drive memory is 512 SSD. The dimensions of the Asus Zenbook 14 are 12.6 x 7.8 x 0.7 inches and it weighs 2.98 LBS. It is supported by the Windows 10 Pro OS.
As for ports, there are two full-sized USB A ports with one being full 3.1 speed and the other offering a slower 2.0 speed. There is one USB Type C port, one HDMI out, and one microSD slot.
ASUS works with video editing software developers like Corel for optimizing ScreenPad tools, offering great productivity features. It has an intuitive interface similar to smartphones, which enables easy management of basic tasks and improving multi-tasking of your regular work. Several ASUS utility applications can enhance daily productivity tasks such as Doc Xpert, Sheet Xpert, Handwriting, etc.
Who Should Buy This?
- For creative people who need to take notes easily, jot down ideas, etc. and for video editors.
- For those who want a laptop for doing their daily, regular computer tasks.
Laptop for Business Environments and Basic Needs
Huawei Kepler Matebook D 14, Mystic Silver
The Huawei Matebook offers solid performance for doing basic computer tasks, at an affordable price. It has an efficient AMD processor and comes with a touch screen display that is glossy and stands up well for both work and play. It is a premium, stylish laptop with a metallic unibody. The display screen is 14 inches, with a 16:9 aspect ratio, wide IPS LCD Full HD technology and having ultra-slim bezels of just 5.2 mm. The display screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The device is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core chipset with 8 threads. As for graphics, it features the revolutionary Radeon Vega-based graphics, offering fast performance. The RAM is 8 GB clocking at a speed of 2 GHz.
As for ports, it has one USB Type C port, one USB 3.0 port, one HDMI port, one USB 2.0 port, and one headphone jack. The battery is large at 57.4 WHr capacity offering a battery life of 12 hours. It also features a power-saving mode that increases power efficiency by 15%. Its battery life is one of the top-selling points of the laptop. It is powered by the Windows 10 Signature edition, without any bloatware. The Huawei Matebook features the Dolby ATMOS system with quad-speakers offering an immersive experience. The dimensions are 12.72 x 8.7 x 0.62 inches and it weighs 3.46 LBS.
Who Should Buy This?
- Those who want a good laptop with great graphics performance, such as for gaming, etc.
- Those who want a solid, mainstream laptop for their basic needs.
Slick Performance for Basic Needs
Lenovo Yoga 730, 15.6 inches
The design is a flip and fold one that can fold 360 degrees, thereby offering 4 modes of operating – laptop, tablet, tent, or stand modes. It has a thin and lightweight design. The Lenovo Yoga 730 offers a slick performance with a bright, colorful display. The display screen is 15.6 inches LCD touchscreen with Full HD and 10-point multi-touch features, having a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It makes use of IPS technology offering wide viewing angles with an energy-efficient LED backlight.
The device is powered by the 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U mobile chipset in an ultra-low-voltage platform. It has a quad-core 8-way processor offering high-efficiency power clocking at a speed of 1.6 GHz. The RAM is 8 GB and is suitable for multi-tasking, such as performing basic tasks as well as games, photos, and video editing, etc. This is combined with the Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated graphics co-processor. The hard disk size is 256 GB.
As for ports, it has a thunderbolt port useful for connecting an advanced monitor or an external drive, supporting high-speed data as well as high definition video, along with offering power over cable for devices that are bus-powered. There is an additional headphone and microphone combo jack. It has a built-in HD webcam with dual microphones, enabling easy video chat and teleconferencing. It also features a built-in fingerprint reader offering greater security and type-free access to the system. The device is supported by the Windows 10 OS.
The dimensions of the Lenovo Yoga are 14.2 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches and it weighs 2.65 LBS. It is thin and lightweight and does not have a DVD or CD drive, offering greater portability.
Who Should Buy This?
- For those who want everything: speed, portability, writability, as well as comfort, in a sleek affordable device.
- Suitable for photo editors and video editors as well as those who want to do multi-tasking of their basic requirements.
- Suitable for digital content creators.
Top Quality Design in a Budget Package for Basic Needs
Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible Laptop, 11.6 inches
It is a 2-in-1 convertible, so it comes with a 360 degrees hinge and can be converted into a tablet. The display screen is a touchscreen of 11.6 inches of HD with a screen resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. It is light and portable, making it an attractive budget 2-in-1 device. The design is a fan-less one, so it is cool and quiet.
The Acer Chromebook R11 is powered by the Intel Celeron N3060 and a dual-core chipset clocking to a maximum of 2.48 GHz. It has a RAM of 4 GB with a hard drive of 32 GB eMMC and gives a 10 hours battery life. As for ports, there is one USB 2 port and one USB 3 port, along with one HDMI port, an SD card reader, and a 3.5 mm headset jack.
As it is supported by the Chrome OS, you have to depend on cloud-based storage to get the maximum advantage. It has limited storage and so, the photos will be directly stored in the cloud. It comes with plenty of basic apps that are useful for basic needs and productivity tasks such as Gmail, Polarr, Spotify web app, YouTube, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. You can also access the Google Play store for apps, games, and music from the laptop itself. It has built-in virus protection and updates automatically. The dimensions are 8.03 x 11.57 x 0.78 inches. The laptop weighs 2.76 lbs.
Who Should Buy This?
- Those who want a budget package for their basic needs.
- Those who want a reasonably priced laptop for tasks like emails, Spotify music, document writing, viewing YouTube, etc.
- Also suitable for photo editors and multi-media tasks.
Fast Overall Performance for Basic Needs
Asus VivoBook L203MA, 11.6 inches, Black
It comes with a colorful design and an innovative ScreenPad 2.0, encased in a sleek chassis, and offers fast performance for daily, basic tasks. It has a new and improved ScreenPad 2.0, which is a touchpad offering a secondary screen of 5.65 inches with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels touchscreen. It is large and power-efficient and is easy to use, offering a good overall experience for accomplishing basic tasks. It has a display screen of 11.6 inches HD with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The Asus VivoBook L203MA is powered by the Intel Celeron N4000 chipset with a cache of 4M and clocking at a maximum speed of 2.6 GHz. The RAM is 4 GB LPDDR4 and it has hard drive storage of 64 GB flash storage. This is combined with the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 600 graphics co-processor.
As for ports, the reversible USB C port makes it simple to connect devices. The 3.1 Gen 1 port also offers quick data transfer. Besides, it offers good compatibility with 2 standard USB 3.1 ports and 1 HDMI port. It is slim and portable, being just 0.7 inches in thickness. The dimensions are 11.3 x 7.6 x 0.67 inches weighing 2.2 LBS. It is supported by the Windows 10 OS.
Who Should Buy This?
- Those who want a laptop with fast performance for basic needs.
- Those who want a budget laptop offering strong performance.
- Being compact and lightweight, it is perfect for those who want a laptop to take on the go.
Powerhouse Machine for Basic Needs
HP Spectre x360 -15t, 15.6 inches, Dark Ash
The HP Spectre x360 is a powerful laptop with appealing aesthetics, in a sleek but sturdy design and a reasonable price tag for such a star laptop. In short, it is a stunning laptop with a sharp 4K display screen and versatility in performing daily tasks efficiently. The display screen is 15.6 inches with EDP micro-edge, BrightView being WLED backlit, and featuring a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. It also comes with an HP Active Stylus and HP Sleeve that is included in the package.
It is a premium 2-in-1 laptop with a stunning 4K IPS display having a refresh rate of 60 Hz, coated with Gorilla Glass for a sturdy and premium feel. It also comes with an HP TrueVision FHD IR web camera and dual-array digital microphones, perfectly suitable for video conferencing.
The HP Spectre x360 is powered by the latest 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U processor clocking at a base frequency of 1.8 GHz and going up to 4 GHz with Turbo Boost, having a cache of 8 MB and 4 cores. This is combined with the NVIDIA GeForce MX150. It is supported by the Windows 10 Home 64 OS. The RAM is 16 GB and it has a hard drive memory of 512 GB PCleNVMe M.2 SSD. As for ports, there is one Thunderbolt 3 for data transfers with performance up to 40 Gb/s, one USB 3.1 Type C, one USB 3.1 Gen 1, one HDMI port, and one combo port for headphones and microphone. The dimensions of the laptop are 14 x 9.88 x 0.7 inches and it weighs 0.77 lbs.
Who Should Buy This?
- Those who want a lethal combination of star performance with dazzling laptop design, to perform daily tasks.
- Suitable for video conferencing.
Highly Portable, Sturdy Ultrabook for Basic Needs
HP Envy x360, 15.6 inches, Dark Ash
It is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop-cum-tablet that is highly portable and robust. As it is a convertible, the hinges are quite strong and it is easy to switch between the two modes. It hits the sweet spot, as it is a premium laptop with great looks, has a lightweight build and comes with excellent AMD internals. The design is sleek with a 15.6 inches Full HD IPS Touchscreen with a WLED display, having a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The device is powered by the AMD quad-core Ryzen 5 2500U chipset with a base frequency of 2.0 GHz, going up to a maximum of 3.60 GHz. It has a Smartcache of 6 MB and this is combined with a RAM of 8 GB 2400 MHz SDRAM and a hard drive memory of 256 GB SSD. The graphics card is an AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 integrated card. The AMD processor is similar to the 8th Gen Intel i5 chipset.
As for ports, it has one USB 3.1 Type C port, 2 USB 3.1 ports, one HDMI port, and one combo jack for microphone and headphones along with a microSD card reader. It is supported by the Windows 10 Home 64 bits OS. The dimensions of the HP Envy x360 are 9.68 x 14.3 x 0.74 inches and it weighs 6.61 LBS. The battery life averages around 10.5 hours.
Who Should Buy This?
- Those looking for a highly portable laptop offering the versatility of a tablet.
- Suitable for tackling all basic tasks like working on documents, presentations, web browsing, streaming music or binge-watching movies, all of which can be done smoothly and efficiently.
Solid and Sturdy Build Laptop for Basic Needs
Acer Chromebook 14, 14 inches, Silver
It is a solid and sturdy Chromebook that can easily take a few knocks. It is also slim and portable.
The processor is a budget one that is usually seen in most budget Chromebooks. It can perform daily tasks like video streaming, net surfing, and running Android apps without any problem. Its highlight features are a smart design, decent battery life and a crisp display, which is sufficient to easily tackle everyday tasks. The screen is 14 inches of Full HD with ComfyView widescreen, an IPS LED-backlit display with an aspect ratio of 16:9, and a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
It runs on the Chrome OS and offers automatic boot up and built-in virus protection. Being a Chromebook, it comes with all the standard Google apps, making it easy for daily tasks. You can also access a rich variety of apps, movies, magazines, etc. on Google Play Store along with 1000 GB of drive space in Google, with all files being automatically backed up.
The Acer Chromebook 14 is powered by the Intel N3160 quad-core chipset clocking at a speed of 1.6 GHz, which can be boosted up to 2.24 GHz with the Intel Burst Technology. It has a RAM of 4 GB LPDDR3 and internal storage of 32 GB. The graphics card is an Intel HD graphics one. As for ports, it has two USB 3.0 ports and one HDMI port. The battery is a 3 cell Lithium Polymer 3950 mAh offering about 12 hours of battery life. The dimensions are 13.43 x 9.31 x 0.67 inches and it weighs 3.42 LBS.
Who Should Buy This?
- Suitable for anyone looking for a sturdy and stable Chromebook for tackling basic tasks.
- For those who wish to do multi-tasking and for those who want a simplified laptop for work and play.
Frequently Asked Questions
After having purchased a basic needs laptop can I upgrade it later?
There are limited options for upgrading a laptop. The one area you can lift the performance of your basic needs laptop is the RAM. Many laptops come with a spare slot for inserting a RAM card. If the laptop you bought came with 8GB RAM you can make it 16GB by adding an 8GB RAM that is easily available in the market. Check that the processor is compatible with a higher level of RAM. There is hardly any other way you can go for upgrades and you will have to invest in a new laptop.
Can I switch the touchpad ‘off’ on a laptop?
Yes, you can turn OFF the touchpad on your laptop, provided you have installed a mouse. You can add a wired or wireless mouse to your laptop which can handle all the functions of the touchpad. There is normally a touchpad icon on the bottom bar and you can click on it to switch the touchpad ON and OFF.
Can I download and install apps on a basic needs laptop?
Yes, you can download any app as long as you feel it is safe to do so. Usually, the apps in the Play Store are expected to be safe to download.
How important is an antivirus program on a basic needs laptop?
Antivirus programs are very important for any connected device. Your computer can be hacked if there are no proper firewalls to protect it. If you are going to use your basic needs laptop for storing vital information like your bank account details and passwords, then you should be extra careful. You should buy the best antivirus package and install it.
Can the keyboards in the laptops be changed to a language other than English?
You can type in a different language using the same keyboard by making alterations in the settings on the laptop. This is done on a Windows 10 laptop by going to Settings and then choosing “Time & language” and then “Region & Language”. You can then add the language you wish to type in.
While trying to pick the best laptop for your basic needs, first decide on a budget and then select a good manufacturer, such as the ones mentioned above. You will need to consider the screen size and other features like storage, battery life, graphics processor, the chipset, connectivity, the kind of keyboard, the screen resolution, etc., that will suit your requirements before you decide which one to buy. For most of us, basic tasks consist of using Word, spreadsheets, sending emails, and browsing the Internet along with watching movies and on-demand services such as Netflix, etc. These devices are good for such uses including spreadsheets and presentations and other work apps.