I still remember those financially broken days during my student career, sheer pain. I also remember when my only asset, the HP Pro book, didn’t leave my hand during the rainy days. I perfectly know, with the advancement in technology and fancy computing gadgets becoming a “Status” for every individual, the struggle of students to get a great budget laptop is becoming a pain in the neck.
However, the good news is, you can still find a superb yet aesthetically chic machine under a budget. That being said, my today’s focus is to put plenty of the best student laptops under $300 on your table.
Nonetheless, our budget is much restricted, so you should also be aware of things that make a perfect laptop under a $300 budget. Before jumping onto the products, an informative buying guide can seemingly solve your problem to find a best $300 laptop apart from these machines.
Buying The Best Student Laptops Under $300 in 2021 – Know the Crucial Points
A best machine under $300 is damn real. However, you have to be a little conservative on the specs side. What could be your target? Here is the recipe;
Know Your Field First:
As we are talking about the student category, we should take things generically. Finding a budget student laptop greatly relies on your academic field. If you are a student of technical computing fields like Information Technology, Graphics, and designing, 3D architect, etc., ideally, you should raise your budget limit a bit. As you have to deal with higher-end software and apps like Photoshop, Sun Eclipse, Android Studio, etc., it may be hard to find a power-packed machine.
On the other hand, things look good for your search in case you are having a business, medical, or other non-computing technical majors. This way, where your most tasks have to revolve around text documentation, slides, and text content creation, your hunt to find the cheapest student laptop won’t squeeze much blood and sweat.
Processor Can Be a Twist:
It may sound a little harsh, but a low-end processor is the only option left with such a budget limit. The least option is to choose the Intel-Celeron, but Core 2 Duo and Quad can be good finds here. Moreover, you can also find Core i3 Machines, but that would be from older generations, possibly from the 5th or 6th generation.
Nevertheless, in case you are still stuck not to join the older generation, a fanless machine can be a savior in this regard.
But bear in mind, finding a high-end chip is an exception here.
Be Very MindFul at Storage Department:
SSDs make for an ideal pick as they consume lesser power and faster hard disk access. SSDs are more reliable and speedy than HDD. However, if your primary focus is to store bigger files and utilize more extensive storage, yes, SSD also comes in more enormous capacities yet, the budget line will cross the 300$ barrier. So, the suitable option is to get an HDD.
Otherwise, if you are a believer in faster data transfer speed and accessibility, SSD comes for that way. For HDD, getting 512GB is an ideal scenario, whereas you’ll only get 128GB in the SSD category with this budget.
Portability is a Crucial Factor:
This may not be an issue for some of the students. Nonetheless, you should take it seriously for the sake of your wrists or shoulders. I mean, imagine shifting your classrooms or wandering around your campus with a machine weighing 3KG or 4Kg hanging to your shoulders.
This may not be less than a burden factually. Ideally, choose a laptop under 2-3Kg not to make your portability a real-life mess.
Screen Size and Battery
Any screen size between 11.6 inches to 15.6 inches is ideal on laptops. Students may want to consider going for a smaller screen for better portability. As for battery life, it should not be less than 8 hours.
5 Best Student Laptops under 300 in 2021 | Comparison Table & In-Depth Product Reviews
|Laptop Model||Hard Drive & RAM||Battery Timing|
|ASUS E410 Intel Celeron N4020||128 GB & 4GB||Upto 10Hrs|
|Lenovo Chromebook C330||64 GB & 4GB||Upto 10Hrs|
|ASUS Laptop L210||64 GB & 4GB||Upto 11Hrs|
|HP Stream Laptop 9MV74UA||64 GB & 4GB||Upto 11Hrs|
|Acer Chromebook Spin 311||64 GB & 4GB||Upto 11Hrs|
1. ASUS E410: Overall Best Student Laptop Under $300
Specification: CPU: Intel Celeron N4020, Storage: 4GB Memory, 128 GB eMMC, Display: 14″ LED 1366 X768, Intel UHD 600, Battery: Upto 10Hrs
Why should one buy this? Nothing has changed much with this machine when we compare it with the lastly reviewed L210. I mean, the same configurations and excellent battery life pop when you first see this machine. However, some notable changes may swing your mood as we see a bigger 14” screen, 100+ GB space, and some design changes. This overall approach doesn’t change its class but blossoms its value to the money factor.
Who’s it for? School-college students, casual multimedia users, low-power users.
Why we picked ASUS E410? Where all good quality laptops under 300 bucks procure an 11.6 or 10” screen, ASUS tried to break the shackles with its 14” bigger screen bringing it under the full-fledged notebook category. With that said, we see a rise in the storage capacity, some tuning in body-screen ratio, and the same exceptional battery life. Overall, we mark this machine as a good $300 student laptop.
ASUS has done weird-like stuff with the aesthetics of this machine. The rear surface of the lid comes with a shell design. It includes the printing of letters and symbols that may look cooler to some audience or may not impact the users. Otherwise, the chassis design pattern is still the same, but we see much thinner bezels posing a 70% body-screen ratio.
So overall, the design sense is the same you see mainly with the ASUS VivoBook series, but shell design is a whole new approach to digest.
On the configuration part, the hardware combination still remains the same. The Intel Celeron N4020 with UHD 600 graphics isn’t the very best setup for graphics and overall processing. That being said, the laptop is still the best for fundamental tasks and text-documentation stuff. Consuming some high-pitch multimedia content will definitely expose this machine to accelerate with struggling feet.
There is nothing new to enjoy on the port side. With 2x USB-A 2.0 and 3.2, 1x USB-C 3.0, 1x HDMI, and 1x SD card port, the port lineup seems very basic.
While you are looking for one sweeping deal-making factor, the extended battery life is for sure. It’s pretty apparent fanless machines come with lengthy battery life, so is the ASUS E410. The 10-11 hours battery life is a great addition to use this machine extensively in outdoors and mobile scenarios.
- Big screen with 70% body to screen ratio
- It comes with Virtual Numpad
- Excellent battery life
- Bigger 128GB SSD capacity
- Middling performance
2. Lenovo Chromebook Convertible c330 – Best Lenovo Laptop under $300
Specification: CPU: MediaTek MT8173C Processor, Storage: 4GB Memory, 64 GB eMMC, Display: 11.6″ Slim 1366 X768, PowerVR GX6250 iGPU, Battery: Upto 10Hrs
Why should one buy this? Lenovo Chromebook convertible C330 may not be the best cheap student laptop under 300, but you’ll definitely see its greatness on some major points. Though it’s overall a plastic machine, build quality is still a big plus here. Otherwise, the chunky battery life is a signature feature here, along with some plus and minus in the performance section.
Who’s it for? School and college students, casual multimedia users, home users, light consumers
Why we picked Lenovo Chromebook C330? Apart from some positives and negatives, the C330 machine successfully gets some good regards in our criteria. With respect to its pricing, the display is dim and glossy, but no PWM flickering is like a miracle here. Other than this, a competitive setup of touch, 360-degree flip, and worthy 10-11 hours battery life makes it a full-time, reliable laptop for college students.
On the display side, you don’t have to expect much, seriously. As it’s a student budget laptop, the 11.6 inch IPS display isn’t the brightest one, only breaks above 230nits level while featuring 250 nits averagely. Commonly, we see budget machines carrying 1366 X 768 resolution; the story is the same here but with some twists that make the situation much more balanced for good quality results.
The 11.6” aspect ratio doesn’t make the pixels distort, giving a smoother experience even displaying 1080P resolution. Going above this point can be turned into a mess, but no PWM flickering is somewhat a blessing for sensitive eyes.
On the whole, the display section performs above standards except for the low brightness that could be a dot on its scorecard.
The Chromebook c330 comes with Mediatek MT8173C chip that seems off-balance in the overall hardware configuration. However, it’s much lighter in emissions and fluent in performance compared to its counterpart Intel Celeron 4000 series. You can easily do some lighter versions of multi-tasking, HD streaming, and casual web surfing.
Besides, the PowerVR GX6250 GPU enables the machine to mark 60FPs at 1080p and also supports 4K/30Hz external monitors. But then, smooth greasy performance isn’t a guarantee here.
So, for students who are looking for the best budget laptops under 300 primarily for assignments, class works, and light-intensity multimedia entertainment, C330 won’t disappoint you at all.
The port selection is a mix of good and bad. It’s good to see an HDMI 1.4 here, but all USB-A and C have been planted on a single side. This may be off for some users.
The only feature that pops in front of your eyes while looking from the surface is the battery life. As this is a low-power fanless machine, getting a stable 10-11 hours battery life is an absolute bet.
- Good Build quality
- Decent display performance
- Low heat and noise emission due to a fanless design
- Most adequate battery life
- Lightweight and compact for regular travelers
- Configurations are non-upgradable
- Limited port selection
3. ASUS L210 – Ultra Thin Laptop for College Students under 300
Specification: CPU: Intel N4020, Storage: 4GB Memory, 64 GB eMMC, Display: 11.6″ Slim 1366 X768, Intel UHD 600, Battery: Upto 11Hrs
Why should one buy this? A best laptop for students on a budget, in fact, an extremely thin budget like under 250$, with somewhat sluggish processing hardware but some features will definitely stun you. The build quality, addition of Asus signature trackpad, and longest battery life are more than adequate for school students and casual home users.
Who’s it for? Extremely light users, school grade students, home users
Why we picked Asus L210 Ultra-thin Laptop? Though Asus has upgraded its CPU game, it isn’t enhanced enough from the previous N4000. However, we see students who predominantly focus on documentation, emails, and light web surfing can reap maximum benefits from this highly affordable machine. But then, some innovative touchups likes trackpad and lightweight chassis with longer battery life make your student life easy.
The design part is somewhat that is not very uncommon. The same plastic body with thick bezels around an 11.6-inch screen doesn’t make much difference from the crowd.
Also, the 1366X768 resolution covers a dim display. However, the screen isn’t glossy, rather matte-finished to make it viable while outdoors. Similarly, it isn’t from the Zenbook family but carries the signature virtual Numpad for users who find cool features at a price of peanuts.
So on this whole note, there is a mix of positives and negatives when it comes to multimedia entertainment and academic or professional work.
Furthermore, we see a minor rise in the CPU department where ASUS preferred Intel Celeron N4020 over its older brother. Still, the processing game doesn’t show much difference, and you only do the minimal tasks without facing any processing friction and lags.
Nonetheless, if you are much focused on text content creation, lenient toward multimedia consumption, things look more than nicer.
The ASUS L210 comes with a fanless setup that converts the small 38WHr battery into a beast. The 10-11 hours battery backup, along with lightweight, compact design, ensure an excellent portability scene for students and travelers.
- Highly affordable with great value of money
- Good build quality
- Excellent battery life
- The stunning Virtual Numpad feature under a budget
- Middling performance
4. HP Stream 14 – Laptop With Colorful Attractive Design
Specification: CPU: Intel N4000, Storage: 4GB Memory, 64 GB eMMC, Display: 11″ IPS 1366 X768, Intel UHD 600, Battery: Upto 11Hrs
Why should one buy this? The HP Stream series isn’t new in the club. But if you don’t like the Chromebook-like machines, the Stream series is the perfect alternate setup to consider. The great design is watchful, but plastic construction seems flimsy. Above all, this is the most affordable student laptop in the HP lineup.
Who’s it for? School-grade students, casual users, low-level multimedia users,
Why we picked HP stream 14? The most extended battery life is an absolute trick here to catch users, but we don’t want to mention it. However, the slimmest and most colorful design definitely catches one’s attention who looks for the aesthetically stimulated machine. But it isn’t the least feature to pick this machine. The 81.5 sRGB coverage is a somewhat distinctive point in the competition. Otherwise, the hardware configuration isn’t very uncommon, meaning the very basic Intel Celeron and UHD combination.
On the design part, you’ll find HP Stream 14 a sleekest machine in the town. Along with colorful designs and a whole plastic body, the design isn’t much futuristic but only weighs 3.1 pounds, putting a feather touch on your shoulders. However, the build quality doesn’t seem a point to appreciate. With plastic giving a hollow feel when clicking or typing, the overall plastic seems flimsy.
We perfectly understand HP as an A+ grade brand, sacrificing to meet the target of best student laptops under $300.
On the configuration part, there is nothing new for your treat. The same orthodox N4000 with a combination of Intel UHD 600 doesn’t go above the standard performance. With that said, students can only consume light versions of entertainment, emailing, and text content.
The port selection seems decent with only the lack of Ethernet Jack that’ll make you only rely on Wi-Fi. Otherwise, it’s good to see a lineup of 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB2.0, HDMI, Kensington security lock, and headphone port.
Stream 14 is on the list of machines that throw extraordinary battery life. With moderate brightness settings and Wi-Fi consumption, you can easily reap 10+ hours. This isn’t the big difference from its competitor but also not a lag in a crowd of big battery earners.
- Aesthetically elegant machine
- Decent port lineup
- Superb battery life
- Lightweight and highly portable
- The same old mediocre CPU and GPU combination
5. Acer ChromeBook Spin 311 – A Versatile and Good Quality Laptop under 300:
Specification: CPU: MediaTek MT8183, 8-Core, 2.0 GHz/Intel N4020, Storage: 4GB Memory, 64 GB eMMC, Display: 11″ IPS 1366 X768, MediaTek Integrated Graphics, Battery: Upto 11Hrs
Why should one buy this? Acer launched a highly affordable mini laptop with premium finishing, tons of battery juice, and a chic design for students to enjoy entertainment and work in a single machine. Yes, the low-end Intel processor can be a worry for many users, but this machine sports a versatile configuration. And we also find an attractive connectivity setup with Bluetooth 5 is included in the package.
Who’s it for? School and college students, light multimedia entertainers, home and casual users.
Why we picked Acer Chromebook Spin 311? We didn’t find anything extraordinarily leveraging the users. Nonetheless, some features are worthy to grab a maximum value of money. The Intel Celeron may be an ordinary thing, but coming with a passively cool Mediatek Chip configuration makes it a highly silent and cool boy. For that purpose, the battery enjoys more space and gives you a 12+ hour backup.
On the design part, Acer did an overly old-schooled thing that may bring down smiles for those who are looking for stylish machines. The 11.6” machine with the thickest bezels is “Not-all-all” trendy in any sense. The IPS display is still under the 270 nits brightness category and comes with a super glossy finish. This makes it a terrible option to use outdoors.
However, you can celebrate the premium finish. The overall feel about this budget student laptop is fantastic.
While you ask how mature is the processing department? You can take a clear idea from the inclusion of Intel Celeron N4000 and Intel UHD 600. But meanwhile, you can also look at Mediatek MT81803 SoC, a passively-cooled eight-core CPU. But due to some brand consciousness, I am pushing this variant here.
On the port sides, you find a USB-C 3.2 Gen1 that is used for charging and an external display setup. Other than this, you get USB-A 2.0 and Kensington security lock. The connectivity department is further decorated with a QUALCOMM Wi-Fi chip supporting the 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards. Notwithstanding, above all, it’s pretty exceptional to see Bluetooth 5.0 in such an affordable machine.
Moreover, we find the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 a good boy in the battery department. With low emissions, the battery keeps going above 12+ hours smoothly.
- Excellent finishing
- Versatile specs and configuration
- Lightweight, just 2.60 pound
- A good battery earner
- Old-school design specifically thickest bezels
The Bottom Line – Wrapping Up the Story
You may have noted down that the competition margin between these devices is marginally low to somewhat non-existent apart from brand name and overall build. Seeing the configuration section, there are a lot of mixes and relatively same hardware patterns. So under the hood, which can be your final choice among these best student laptops under $300?
A difficult task!
However, let me pick the best $300 student laptop for you. So, My clear winner is the ASUS E410 Ultra-slim laptop. Reasonably, it comes with comparatively bigger storage (128GB), a more generous 14” screen with above 70% screen to body ratio and the same outstanding performance in the battery section.
Nonetheless, the processing job is somewhat mediocre, and if you want to go somewhat above this standard, Lenovo Chromebook C330 is an ultimate go. Though it’s a small machine, the light emissions and creamy performance counter the lack that you possibly see in the ASUS E410.
Other than these, you can watch out for other machines according to your preferences and requirements.
Bust the Myths, Not Your Mind – FAQs:
What features can a $300 laptop have?
A budget laptop under $300 has some standard specs like an HD screen, up to 4GB of RAM, 32GB SSD/128GB HDD, standard AMD/Celeron/Mediatek chipset, and more.
Is it possible to play games on $300 laptops?
Let’s get the cat out of the bag on this question. A budget laptop will not give you enough power to play high-end games with sophisticated graphics. So, the answer is no. You can’t play console-level games on a budget laptop. The screen is basic, and the graphics performance would be dismal. You can, however, play some light games that can comply with the configuration.
Which laptop configuration is best for students?
For students, there is no common configuration. The setup depends on the type, of course, they are pursuing at college. For example, a software engineering student would need a powerful processor for coding, while the graphic designing student would also require a powerful chipset with a good graphics card for handling heavy designing software like Photoshop.
Similarly, a humanitarian or commerce student would get away with the entire course duration on a standard laptop with a basic configuration.