Top 10 Budget Laptops for Designers & Creatives in 2019

For many of us, when we start our creative journey, we might
have all the passion and imagination in the world, but one thing we
may lack is the money to have the best technology to make our
dreams a reality.

We started to reminisce about those early days and wanted to
give you, our loyal reader some assistance in getting the best tech
available for your budget and still keep your drive & business
growing.

When we started building our list of the Best Budget Laptops for
Designers and Creatives in 2019, we tried to consider the things
that we would look for when buying a new laptop.

So let’s start there shall we?

Related Posts:

7 Things toLook For When Buying A Budget Laptop

When you’re serious about your craft and want to make sure
that the work you’re putting out there is the best that it can
be, you want to make sure that the tech you’re using does what
you need it to.

Without the right gear, your work can suffer. Now while we know
you might be on a budget, there can be many things you need to know
and look for when buying a laptop. If nothing else, we wanted to
make sure you don’t go in uninformed.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Set A Budget

We’ve all been there. You head to the store, see the newest
and brightest tech available and get excited. Then reality sets
back in and you realize that you have a budget, but can you get a
good laptop on a tight budget? Let’s break it down a little
bit.

  • $150 to $350

While these are the least expensive laptops out there, it
doesn’t mean that there aren’t quality options out there for
you to choose from. Chromebooks run the Google Operating system,
might not have all the bells and whistles of some more expensive
options, but can still be a quality choice when you’re first
starting out.

  • $350 to $600

You can buy a quality laptop with an Intel Core i5 or even an
AMD A8 CPU plus 4 to 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive for less
than $600 these days. While these specs are impressive, for the
price, they can come with some exclusions such as an SSD, FullHD
display or long battery life. There are exceptions to this though
such as the Acer Aspire E 15
or the Asus Vivobook which
can be upgraded to an SSD.

  • $600 to $900

At this point, many manufacturers will start to put features on
the laptop that won’t appear on those with lower price points
such as a metal finish, SSDs or even high-resolution displays.
Finding a quality laptop with the features you need without
breaking the bank is very doable in this price range.

  • $1000+

You can get a top tier laptop for over $1000. Consider looking
at our
top laptops for graphic designers
post.

2. Operating System

Operating Systems

Other than price, many people will end up choosing a laptop
because of the operating system that the laptop runs on. Whether
its personal preference because of familiarity or recommendations
from a colleague, laptops are generally available with three
different OS:

  • MacOS

The laptops that Apple manufacturers are packaged with MacOS.
While functionally similar to Windows 10, there are subtle
differences such as an Apps dock instead of a Start menu. Mac users
also have Siri instead of Cortana for voice assistance. While many
people tout the ease of use that comes with Apple’s operating
system, the biggest downside is that the laptops that have this OS
can be quite expensive. An entry point for a cheap Mac would be
considering a renewed older model.

  • Windows 10

With its appearance on many more laptops than both MacOS and
ChromeOS, Windows is considered to be the most flexible operating
system out there. Appearing on a wide range of laptops from those
costing $150 to thousands of dollars, the variety of features that
Windows offers can make it an enticing choice. Since its release in
July 2015, the improvements that have been added to Windows have
made it a very popular choice for designers and creatives.

  • ChromeOS

A simple and secure operating system, the ChromeOS from Google
is found on Chromebooks. While the interface is reminiscent of
Windows with an app menu, desktop, and ability to drag windows
around, the main browser is Google’s own Chrome browser. A
downside to using the ChromeOS is that some web applications
don’t work all that well offline. That is changing however as
newer, high-end versions of the Chromebook are now able to run
Android applications.

3. Traditional laptop or 2-in-1

HP Pavilion X360

These days, laptops will fall into two main categories: standard
notebook style and 2-in-1 hybrids that come in two different
variations. A hinged version that allows you to put the device in
many different configurations and a detachable that come off the
keyboard entirely.

Many of these tend to provide a better experience one way
instead of the other with bend-back laptops being a laptop first
while detachable offers a superior tablet experience. If you
don’t see having a tablet in any form as a necessity, stick with
a traditional laptop as you’ll usually get better performance for
the money you will spend.

4. Screen Size & Weight

Laptop Screen Sizes

While all the power under the hood is great to have, if all that
power causes you to lug around a huge laptop, it might not be worth
the money. Laptops are generally categorized by the size of their
display:

  • 11 to 12 inches

These will generally be the thinnest and lightest laptop that
you can find. The screen is between 11 and 12 inches and only
weighs around 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.

  • 13 to 14 inches

Laptops of this size will provide the best combination of
portability and usability. This is especially true if you find a
laptop that weighs less than 4 pounds.

  • 15 inches

Usually weighing around 4.5 to 6.5 pounds, 15-inch laptops are
the most popular choice for those who want a laptop with a larger
screen but isn’t so heavy to be a burden when carrying it
around

  • 17 to 18 inches

If you have a laptop that stays primarily on your desk and
isn’t carried around much, a laptop with a 17 or 18-inch screen
can provide you with the processing power you need to do
high-quality work without needing a desktop computer.

5. Keyboard & Touchpad

Having the best laptop in the world, no matter how much it
costs, can mean absolutely nothing if the keyboard doesn’t fit
your hands the right way. A good laptop keyboard should offer
tactile feedback, enough space between the keys and when you press
a key, it should move vertically enough to make it feel
satisfying.

The touchpad shouldn’t give you a jumpy cursor and also
responds well to your movements as well as multitouch gestures like
pinch and zoom. Some manufacturers still provide a pointing stick
between the G and H keys. This can be helpful as it will allow you
to navigate your laptop’s screen while keeping your fingers on
the home row of the keyboard.

6. Specifications (What’s Inside)

Laptop Specs

When you look at the specs that a laptop has, it can be a little
daunting at first. There are a lot of letters on display and it can
be tough to know what each one of them means and what you should
pick. While there can be some debate over the screen size you
should choose, for designers and creatives, focusing more on three
areas will help you choose a quality laptop in your price
range.

  • Storage size

Laptops will either come with an HDD (hard disk drive) or an SSD
(solid state drive). You want to try and buy a laptop with the
highest amount of storage that you can afford and should aim for at
least 256GB to start. If you have many files and projects that you
can’t keep saved on your laptop, you may want to also look at an
external hard drive.

  • RAM

While there are some budget-friendly laptops that come with 2GB
of RAM, you should strive for a laptop that starts with at least
8GB. 16GB would obviously be better if you can afford it, and
anything higher might break your budget altogether.

  • CPU

The CPU is essentially your laptop’s brain and giving your
laptop a strong brain can make doing your job much easier. The CPU
can affect the performance of the laptop in both good and bad ways.
In our opinion, if you don’t have any extra money to spend on
other areas of the laptop, make sure you are getting a good
processor for the money.

7. Battery Life

Some people who buy a laptop will only look at the specs that it
may come with and overlook a very important factor: battery life.
If you’re not going to be leaving your laptop on a desk, plugged
in all day, you want to shoot for at least 7 hours of battery life,
more is obviously better. Just because the manual says that it
lasts for 10 hours isn’t always correct. Do your research and
read third-party reviews of the laptops you are interested in to
get an accurate idea of the battery life.

Top 10 Best Budget Laptops for Designers and Creatives in
2019

While it is true that there are many laptops available for you
to purchase, finding the best budget laptops, especially for those
who may be a designer or work in another creative field can be a
bit tough. There are so many options out there for you to choose
from.

What we decided to do was take our criteria of what to consider
when buying a laptop and select those that most closely matched.
This means that to us, the list below has the Best Budget Laptops
for Designers and Creatives in 2019.

If you want to know more about any on our list, click a link
below to get more information. However, if you want to know why we
picked the ones we did, keep reading below.

Prices above are approximate. Live rates are below.

Can you afford more? See our post:

The Best Budget Laptops Compared

Preview
Best All-Around

ASUS VivoBook F510UA Thin and Lightweight 15.6” FHD WideView NanoEdge Laptop, Intel Core i5-7200U...
Best Premium Budget

New 2018 Lenovo Yoga 730 2-in-1 15.6" FHD IPS Touch-Screen Laptop, Intel i5-8250U, 8GB DDR4 RAM,...
Best Budget Mac

Apple MacBook Pro MD101LL/A 13.3-inch Laptop (2.5Ghz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD) (Renewed)
Best Budget Tablet Laptop

Microsoft Surface Go (Intel Pentium Gold, 4GB RAM, 64GB) and Microsoft Surface Go Type Cover (Black)
Best Chromebook

Samsung Chromebook 3, 11.6", 4GB Ram, 64GB eMMC (XE500C13-K06US)
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8130U, 6GB RAM Memory, 1TB HDD, 8X DVD,...
Title
ASUS VivoBook F510UA Thin and Lightweight 15.6” FHD WideView
NanoEdge Laptop, Intel Core i5-7200U…
New 2018 Lenovo Yoga 730 2-in-1 15.6″ FHD IPS Touch-Screen
Laptop, Intel i5-8250U, 8GB DDR4 RAM,…
Apple MacBook Pro MD101LL/A 13.3-inch Laptop (2.5Ghz, 4GB RAM,
500GB HD) (Renewed)
Microsoft Surface Go (Intel Pentium Gold, 4GB RAM, 64GB) and
Microsoft Surface Go Type Cover (Black)
Samsung Chromebook 3, 11.6″, 4GB Ram, 64GB eMMC
(XE500C13-K06US)
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6″ Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8130U,
6GB RAM Memory, 1TB HDD, 8X DVD,…
Prime Status

Source: FS – _Marketing
Top 10 Budget Laptops for Designers & Creatives in 2019