Best Laptop Under 700 Dollars in 2018 With 5 Mid Range Choices

With dozens of different makes and models available, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of laptop options. If you are going to spend several hundred dollars, you should expect to get a powerhouse of a machine in return.

Below we’ve picked five of the absolute best laptops under $700 covering a broad range of uses. From school notebooks to work computers, one of the contenders below is sure to meet your needs.

Picking the best budget laptop under $700

At this price point we move away from the Chromebooks and other specialized devices meant primarily for web browsing. Any unit listed below can run multiple programs simultaneously and still get decent speeds.

To get the best performance, you should stick to a minimum of 8GB of RAM and a 7th gen processor. If you can bump up to 16GB or get an 8th gen, then even better.

With those basic specs in mind, there’s plenty of variety available in $600 – $700 machines. Hybrid tablet / laptop models are available here, as well as traditional portable computers to sit on your lap or a desk.

When you get into this price range, you can also often find laptops with dedicated graphics cards.That can be a big selling point if you want a work machine that’s also capable of high end gaming in your spare time.

Ready to find a perfect laptop? Let’s take a look at what’s available with our five top contenders!

Verdict: Editor’s Choice

Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1

Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1Any of the five contenders listed below could potentially be the best laptop under $700 in 2018. Two of them in particular should be at the top of your list of picks, however.

If you want a portable 2-in-1 hybrid with a touch screen, the Dell Inspiron 13 should easily be your #1 pick. For those who don’t need a touch screen and want a bigger display, then the Lenovo IdeaPad should be your go-to choice.

The contenders for best basic use laptop under $700

1. Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1

  • 2-in-1 touch screen display
  • Solid state drive
  • High end processor
  • Smaller screen size
  • Heat vent on bottom

Should this be your choice?

Ready to make the leap to a more portable 2-in-1 machine with a touch screen? This should easily be your pick if you want a mid-priced computer with excellent overall hardware specs!

Hybrid 2-in-1 laptops are where the industry is headed, so there’s no time like the present to jump on the bandwagon.

You’d expect to lose out on a few features with such a small form factor, but Dell’s Inspiron doesn’t disappoint.

At only 13 inches wide, you still get a full 8GB of RAM and an 8th gen processor. A 256GB SSD would be respectable on any full size laptop in this price range, so getting in a hybrid is a huge plus.

To get down to this size, you lose out on the full 10 key style keyboard. You do get keyboard backlighting, however, which is a nice addition in a 2-in-1 machine.

Most hybrids that bend back like a tablet aren’t meant to be opened up by the end user. The Dell Inspiron 13 is expandable to 16GB of RAM however, which is unusual for this style of computer.

The main complaints brought up by buyers concern the design of the hybrid function. Since the device can be flipped around in multiple configurations, there isn’t a perfect spot for the speakers or vents.

In laptop mode, the air vent is pointing straight down, which is an odd choice. That positioning can make it uncomfortable to keep the computer on your lap for extended periods.

Hardware specifications for Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8250U (Up to 3.4 GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display13.3-Inch FHD IPS Truelife Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life7.5 hours
Weight3.56 lbs

2. 2018 Premium Lenovo IdeaPad 320

  • Spacious 17” display
  • More RAM
  • No touch screen
  • Low battery life

Should this be your choice?

Don’t care about a touch screen at all and looking for a larger 17 inch display? This should easily be your pick for the best laptop at $699 or less!

Lenovo’s 2018 IdeaPad is on the polar opposite end of the laptop spectrum from the Dell Inspiron. If you prefer a more traditional laptop without a touch screen, be sure to consider this model.

First up, you get an optical DVD-RW drive, which obviously can’t fit into smaller hybrid laptops. There’s also room for a full keyboard and more starting RAM.

You’ll have to trade off on a few specs from our #1 pick above when going with a larger machine. Surprisingly, you don’t really lose out on much in the way of portability.

This is an undeniably heavier model than the ultraportable hybrid devices. At just over 6 pounds though, it doesn’t weigh much more than your average 15-inch device.

While it has more RAM, the IdeaPad actually has a slower processor than the Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 hybrid.That may not be an issue however, as this IdeaPad series comes in several different configurations all at the sub-$600 price point.

Prefer a 1TB HDD over the smaller SSD? Want to drop back down to 8GB of RAM in exchange for an 8th gen processor. Those are all options.

There’s usually only one main issue brought up by reviewers. Due to the larger screen size drawing power and the older processor, you get lower battery life with this model.

Hardware specifications for 2018 Premium Lenovo IdeaPad 320
ProcessorIntel Dual-Core i5-7200U (2.5GHz)
RAM12GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display17.3-Inch HD Anti-Glare Display, 1600 X 900 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life5 hours
Weight6.17 lbs

3. 2018 High Performance HP

  • Larger screen
  • Massive hard drive space
  • No SSD
  • No 8th gen processor

Should this be your choice?

Do you prefer lots of storage space and a big screen but still want a lightweight and portable machine? This HP 2018 laptop model should be your pick!

The HP offering in our look at budget laptops shares quite a few similarities with the Lenovo IdeaPad. Both are 17 inch screens, and both have similar 7th gen processors.

They diverge sharply in specs from there, however. Rather than a smaller 256GB SSD, with HP’s model you get a massive 2TB hard disk drive.

Some users prefer more physical storage space over faster booting. If you are in that boat, this should be your pick over the IdeaPad.

You’ll also notice a difference in the RAM here, with 8GB of included system memory. That’s a recurring issue in any laptop at this price range.

If you want an 8th gen processor, you typically won’t get 12 or a full 16GB of RAM. If you want more RAM, laptops at this price point will usually drop down to lower end processors.

Besides the screen size, the main selling point mentioned by buyers is the surprisingly small weight for a 17” laptop. Although a large desktop replacement machine, it manages to be even lighter than the Lenovo.

If you want to upgrade later, you can expand up to 16GB, which is about standard for this price. If you want to eventually go to a full 32 or 64GB, you’ll need to look elsewhere, however.

Hardware specifications for 2018 High Performance HP
ProcessorIntel Core i7-7500U (2.7 – 3.5 GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage2TB HDD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display17.3-Inch HD SVA BrightView Display, 1600 x 900 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life7.5 hours
Weight5.29 lbs

4. ASUS TUF Thin & Light Laptop

  • Larger storage space with a hybrid drive
  • Dedicated graphics card
  • Doesn’t include a DVD-RW drive
  • Obvious gamer design

Should this be your choice?

Looking for a multipurpose machine that’s great for school and playing new games? This should be your pick as the best laptop for a student who also wants to do some gaming on the weekends.

What ASUS offers here is workhorse of a computer that can also double as your best gaming laptop at this price.

The overall specs are similar to what you can get from any of our other contenders. With 8GB of RAM and an 8th gen processor, you can expect fast speeds for most programs.

Two key differences set this ASUS model apart from the rest of the pack. First off, it has a hybrid SSHD offers the size of a regular 1TB HDD with the speed of a solid state drive.

Second, this model has a dedicated graphics card instead of an integrated chip. That doesn’t necessarily mean this model won’t appeal to you if you aren’t interested in gaming, however.

This is one of the few laptops out there available with an optional Office 365 bundle through Amazon. Most computers these days make you buy your own Office subscription or use a third party suite.

The TUF Thin And Light is exactly what it sounds like, providing a low profile in terms of thickness and weight. Unfortunately, it has a much more high profile in its color scheme and red etched design.

That may be great for college kids, but office professionals may not care for the design. If you are looking for something that fits in at a business setting, this may not be your best bet.

Unlike the two models listed above, you don’t get an optical drive here, which is a frequent complaint from reviewers. That may not matter if you don’t use DVDs anymore and stick to digital downloads or USB memory, however.

Hardware specifications for ASUS TUF Thin & Light Laptop
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8300H (up to 3.9GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage1TB SSHD
GraphicsGeForce GTX 1050 (2GB)
Display15.6-inch Full HD Display, 1920 x 1080 pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life5 hours
Weight5.07 lbs

5. Dell Inspiron 15.6″ Laptop

  • Very low price
  • Solid state drive
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Lower screen resolution
  • Bloatware galore

Should this be your choice?

Need to get a great deal and stay as far under $700 as possible? This should be your pick for the best affordable laptop!

Looking to stay under budget? The Dell Inspiron is available at the absolute lowest possible price in this range, usually up for grabs at just over $600.

Even though it’s nearly a full hundred dollars cheaper than many other contenders, you still get decent specs. 8GB of RAM and a 7th gen processor are more than enough for most college students or basic office users.

Buyers often cite the low price as their reason for going this route. The main downside they mention is that you get quite a bit of bloatware in exchange for that cheap price tag.

If you go this route, be prepared to spend some time uninstalling programs after Windows performs its initial setup.

Like the speed of a solid state drive but want more space than the standard 256GB? This model is available in a different configuration with both a 128GB SSD and a secondary 1TB HDD for an extra $50.

Hardware specifications for Dell Inspiron 15.6″ Laptop
ProcessorIntel Core i5-7200U (Up to 3.10 GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display15.6-Inch Truelife LED Backlit Display, 1366 x 768 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life6 hours
Weight4.8 lbs

Do these laptops support Windows Ink?

Although it wasn’t the case just a year ago, now all Windows 10 devices have the option to turn on Windows Ink. This feature is most helpful for convertible 2-in-1 computers with a stylus, or with any touch screen laptop.

Essentially Windows Ink lets you freely write and draw using your stylus or finger. To get the most out of your device, this lets you easily scribble notes without having to pull up a word processor.

Although it isn’t immediately apparent, you can actually still use Windows Ink even if you don’t have a touch screen. It just takes a bit more work to get going.

With a non-touch screen device like the Lenovo IdeaPad or ASUS TUF models, just right-click the Windows Start bar. Select “Show Windows Ink Workspace Button” to turn on the Ink option.

From there, you can use your mouse to draw with Windows Ink just like if you were using a stylus on a touch screen laptop.

Should I always go with a touch screen?

There’s just no doubt about it. Touch screens are becoming the norm, and it won’t be long before most laptops come standard with touch functionality.

Having a touch screen makes it easier to use some Windows 10 apps that are meant for tapping rather than clicking.

Not everyone is in love with the touch screen fad though, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to buy one if you don’t need it. People with pets or small children who like to press flashing lights can find touch screens are more of an annoyance than they are worth.

Touch screen models also often jack up the price while decreasing the overall size. When you prefer a standard laptop that actually sits on your lap, touch screen models aren’t the best fit.

Although this is slowly changing, many touch screen models aren’t built with upgrades in mind either. When you want to upgrade your RAM or hard drive, going with a standard 15 or 17 inch laptop is usually a better bet.

Should I consider spending more and going above the $700 range?

The appeal to sticking in the $600 – $699 price range is that you get the most bang for your buck without getting into the truly expensive computers.

If you aren’t interested in high end graphics cards for gaming, there often isn’t a need to go above $700.

Whether you need a computer for high school, college, or office tasks, these contenders will usually be more than you need. The combo of 8GB of RAM and an 8th gen processor won’t often run into programs that don’t run well.

That being said, there are some specific instances where more expensive notebooks are worth the investment. Do you plan to use heavy duty video editing tools, for instance?

When you get into specialized software for engineering or cutting up huge video files, you may want to spend more. For those kinds of tasks you want to aim for at least 16GB of RAM, a dedicated graphics card, and the highest end processor you can afford.

Finding the best laptop on a budget

Which of these notebook computers has the features you are most interested in trying out? Whether you are a college student, office professional, or part-time gamer, one of these contenders should be your choice!

Be sure to give us a shout out if you pick up any of our choices for the best laptop under $700, and leave a comment below if you’ve found any other models we should be looking at!

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