Top 5 Budget Notebooks

Notebook computers for budget minded consumers usually trade performance for price. If we want to pinch our pennies we have to compromise and settle for cheap notebooks that are light on performance.

Enter the best budget notebooks. With these offerings you’ll be able to get the most powerful, feature-filled notebooks you want at a price that won’t break your bank.

Gateway NX250X

This little beauty sports a Pentium M processor and a long-lasting battery making it a contender in our best of the best budget notebooks.

It comes with 512MB PC2-4200 DDR2, an 8x DVD burner and a 14” wide screen monitor. The 40GB hard drive spins at 5400rpm, certainly well above average. With its 6-in-1 card reader this little notebook is a full-fledged multimedia ready system you can tote with you wherever you go.

Dell Inspiron 2200

Dell is a name you know that you can rely on - and this Dell Inspiron 2200 makes the grade as one of the top 5 budget notebooks. Its powerful Pentium M 1.7 GHZ processor handles most professional applications.

This notebook comes standard with 512MB PC2700 DDR Memory, a 40GB hard drive, a 24x CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive, a Type II PC Card Slot and three USB 2.0 slots. It uses a 14.1” LCD screen, however it has no media card readers.

Averatec AV3715-EH1

If you’re into ultraportable budget notebooks that pack a powerful punch, then this Averatec AV3715-EH1 Notebook is just for you.

Its AMD Semprin 3000+ processor is not as powerful as a Pentium yet is adequate for most applications. Its screen is a mere 12.1 inches, yet the notebook comes with an AMD Sempron 3000+ Processor, an 80GB hard drive, a DVD burner, FireWire, USB and a 4-in-1 media reader. Its Ethernet and Wireless support make it perfect for mobile computing.

Acer TravelMate 2413LCI

The best budget notebooks for people wanting a no-frills system, this Acer TravelMate 2413LCI Notebook is a fair-priced value. The technology is not as powerful as Pentium.

You get a 1.50GHz Intel Celeron M processor, adequate for basic desktop applications but not heavy applications. The notebook includes 512MB DDR2 RAM, a 60GB harddrive, DVD-ROM/CD-RW, Windows XP Pro, and a 15" screen. Battery life is fair and the unit includes one USB 2.0 and One Type II PC Card Slot.

Dell Inspiron 1200

Dell makes its second entry in our lineup of best budget notebooks is this with this Inspiron 1200 Notebook. Another value model, it comes with a 1.30 GHz Celeron M 350, 256MB, 30GB, DVD/CD-RW, a 14.1” widescreen and Windows XP.

It’s very easy on the price, and again a perfect unit for those looking for a no-nonsense system. If you’re looking for wireless support on this system, however, you can only get it with an additional PC Card.

Conclusion There you have it, our pick of the top 5 budget notebooks. The budget notebooks included in this review range from basic units to those offering more powerful performance at a decent price. As always, the first question you should ask is not the price - but what you plan to use it for. Pentium and AMD processors are required for heavy multimedia applications, whereas desktop applications can work with a Celeron processor. Consider connectivity with existing technology as well. Do you need media reader support—or a PC Card? Ask the right questions beforehand, and you will choose the right budget notebook.

Gary Hendricks runs a hobby site on building computers. Visit his website at for tips and tricks on assembling a PC, as well as buying good computer components.