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Finding the Best Budget Computer to Fit Your Needs

budget computer

Now more than ever before, you need a computer in order to complete schoolwork, especially when it comes to online classes. Although the option to go to the library is always there, owning your own laptop or desktop improves the quality of your life by making access more convenient. 

Even better, today you can purchase an affordable computer that meets your budget without giving up on quality. These computers are capable of working reliably for years with the right care. 

Read on to learn our picks for the best budget computer you can buy today that doesn’t skimp on quality! 

Desktop vs. Laptop

To simplify your decision-making, you’ll first want to decide whether you want a desktop or a laptop. Consider your lifestyle and whether paying a little extra for a laptop with the same specs as a desktop is worth the ability to travel with it. 

For instance, if you find that between class and work you’re rarely at home, then a laptop will suit you better because you can use it wherever you find power outlets and strong public WiFi. 

On the other hand, if you want a more powerful computer but don’t want to spend as much, desktops tend to be more affordable. These are also a more comfortable option if you have time and a dedicated space at home to work at your desktop. 

Desktops Under $500

Desktops are a comfortable option that can help boost your productivity if you find yourself spending more than an hour at a computer each day. You’ll be able to choose an ergonomic keyboard that suits the shape and size of your hands. Moreover, with the right desk and chair adjustments, you’ll be less prone to injury from sitting in the same position for hours.

Dell Inspirion Small Desktop (3471)

If you need to make room in your wallet as well as your dorm room, the Dell Inspirion Small Desktop is our top budget desktop as it’s a great performer and space-saver.

It comes with some quality specs such as: 

  • Small tower
  • SSD with 1TB hard drive
  • Optical drive included
  • Bluetooth included

However, you’ll be giving up some performance because of its Core i3 CPU and 8GB of RAM. This computer is perfect for browsing the Internet, sending emails, and completing work. It doesn’t work so well if you want to do some major photo or video editing or want a desktop that you can play games on. 

This computer starts at $349.99. 

HP Pavilion Desktop (TP01-0014)

Do you want a sleek looking desktop that doesn’t take up much space and performs well for office tasks and schoolwork? The HP Pavilion may be the best choice for you.

Its pros include:

  • Good build quality
  • Sleek tower design
  • 4 USB Type-A slots
  • Optical drive

The best part about this desktop is that it’s a solid choice if you plan on upgrading it in the future. Although its performance isn’t the best with the Core i3 CPU, you have the option of upgrading it in the future to increase its performance.

This computer starts at $499.99.  

Laptops Under $500

Laptops are versatile and powerful machines that enable you to work while you travel. Although you’ll need to remember to keep it safe and protected while you’re on the go, there are luckily a wide number of affordable, protective cases and bags to make sure your investment is safe.

Asus VivoBook Flip 14 TP412FA-OS31T

If you’re looking for a Windows laptop that allows you to work offline versus a Chromebook, then the Asus VivoBook may the best choice for you. Although you won’t be able to do any intensive photo or video editing or have multiple apps open at once, this is a solid choice for Internet browsing and completing work. Some of its features include: 

  • Backlit keyboard
  • 14-inch 1920×1080 touchscreen
  • Great build quality
  • 128GB SSD storage 

The durability and build quality of this affordable laptop is a big selling factor, as you can feel secure bringing it with you to work or class. 

This computer starts at $400. 

Asus Chromebook C425TA-DH384

Chromebooks are some of the most inexpensive laptops you can find, but you’ll need to be okay with needing to connect to WiFi when you want to use one. They also don’t run Windows and instead use Google Chrome’s operating system. However, some basic versions of Office apps can be found online if you need to access them. 

The Asus Chromebook is our top budget laptop as it packs a punch for its performance at its price point and features: 

  • Intel Core m3-8100Y processor 
  • 64GB flash storage
  • 8GB memory

You’ll also find that it’s lighter and more compact than regular laptops, making it easy to carry around for long amounts of time. It also features a long battery life so that you won’t need to search around for a power outlet every time you need to sit down to do work. 

This computer starts at $350. 

The Best Budget Computer for College

With the advance of better storage and computing technology, purchasing the best budget computer doesn’t mean you’re choosing a computer that will die on you in under a year. These computers are worthy investments that can keep up with daily college coursework, Internet browsing, and even light gaming.

Besides computers and office supplies for school, textbooks can be one of the largest out of pocket costs. However, you can save money with textbooks too by choosing to purchase used books or rent them.  

Ready to continue preparing for the next semester? Buy or rent affordable textbooks with us today! 

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.