Small and cheap laptop recommendations

byronwatson Member Posts: 3 Newcomer

Hello all.

I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations (or anti-recommendations) for a small and cheap Windows 10 laptop? I don't need anything substantial as this is just a system to keep on my electronics bench for various odds and ends; lots of use as a serial terminal as well as host for various Windows-only tools (configuration tools, timing analysis tools, etc.). I'd prefer something that is thin, decent screen sized between 10"~14" (~13" would be ideal), with modest storage (it need not be fast, but something that is easily upgraded would be nice). Decent WiFi is important, and a physical Ethernet jack would be a plus but not a requirement. I would like at least two USB ports (at least one should be USB 3+), with a USB-C port being a nice-to-have. Battery life doesn't have to be tremendous as I wouldn't be far from power, but four to six hours on a change would be nice. Charging over USB-C would be a big win. Finally, bonus points are awarded for durability as this thing is going to live in/around my workbench and while I'm not going to try and damage it, stuff happens.

Any thoughts?


  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,125 Expert

    No real thoughts on any modern laptops, I guess almost anything with the core/speed count you need that has the physical IO required would be fine.

    I have an ASUS N550J which is kinda old now but I bought it second hand for similar things as you, just OTG programming tasks as well as my main Serato DJ laptop, I don't use it for production tasks, nor would I expect good "real time" performance but I have always trusted ASUS as a laptop, it's pretty well built, has kind of a macbook style with aluminium keyboard which is backlit (something I specifically wanted for use in the dark.

    3 physical USB (tho none are USB3), half decent WIFI and hardwired gigabit ethernet. Battery is ok, prob about 2 hours at full power.

    I also have a 2019 macbook which gets more portable use now than my ASUS. It's a backup to my Serato laptop and for portable stuff I like it a bit more just because of the speed, however I dislike compatibility (or lack of) with things from one month to the next so I only use it for basic stuff, battery life is brilliant tho as is the power management and speed of everything. Pros and cons, would never replace my main machine with a mac tho.

    Not sure if I was helpful or not but in terms of laptops I always choose a decent brand name, tho don't invest in laptops all that often as they are always just dedicated to the task I need.

  • sunnysun11
    sunnysun11 Member Posts: 1 Newcomer
    edited June 2022

    I want to recommend a laptop ASUS Zenbook any new series. I have been working on these laptops for a long time. They are inexpensive and very functional. I am a programmer and their power is enough to write websites.

  • johson josph
    johson josph Member Posts: 1 Newcomer
    edited September 2022

    The great budget laptops is dominated by Chrome devices, and the Lenovo Duet 3 (or Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3, depending on where you buy it) is the best Chrome tablet that can be yours for as low as $359. This is effectively a bigger, more expensive follow-up to the Chromebook Duet Lenovo released in 2020, a surprisingly capable and inexpensive Chrome tablet that's still on this list. 

    CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2

    RAM: 4-8GB

    Storage: 64-128GB eMMC

    Display: 11 inches, 2,000 x 1,200 pixels

    Dimensions: 10.16 x 6.48 x 0.31 inches

    Weight: 1.2/2.1 lbs (tablet only/tablet + cover)

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,461 Expert

    But that is not x86 CPU notebook...... And not sure if Windows runs on it....

  • zeeshan
    zeeshan Member Posts: 2 Newcomer

    A low-end PC is a computer with relatively weak hardware and performance. A typical low-end PC has a Ryzen 3 or i3 processor, 8 GB or less RAM, and sometimes a budget graphics card.

  • zeeshan
    zeeshan Member Posts: 2 Newcomer

    One unique aspect of FAU's computer science program is its focus on real-world applications.

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