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Budget laptops are increasingly being integrated with faster, better configurations than before. Image Credit: Unsplash/Windows

If you're a student or someone who's just entered the job market, your next laptop upgrade will depend on a tight budget. The latest releases on the shelf are a splurge, but working on a computer with outdated specs isn't an option, either. Fortunately, in a market with consistent technological leaps, budget-conscious shoppers now have a wider variety of cheap laptops to choose from.

According to Muhammed Shameer, IT support and partner at Dubai-based repair store Techmate Computers, budget laptops in the UAE have a starting price of Dh700 and upwards. The value range shifts as you consider your purpose, becoming more expensive with a demanding processor, larger RAM and other convenient add-ons like touch display and fingerprint login.

"First, we need to look at what you'll be using the laptop for. Budget laptops are usually recommended for entry-level professions and students. You could go for refurbished options, if you don't mind losing the warranty," said Shameer.

Brand-new models are aplenty, so start by scouring for a processor that's right for you. A speedy laptop should at least come integrated with the Intel Core i5, our expert suggests, with a RAM of 8GB minimum. For carrying out more intensive tasks, look into laptops with Intel Core i7 from the latest generations, though these do come at a premium.

Often, Intel's competitor AMD and its processor equivalents are cheaper, if you need faster computing times at low prices. Laptops with AMD Ryzen 5 or 7, for instance, should bring similar speeds to the table, though there might be "overheating issues", adds Shameer.

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From Lenovo to HP, shop for a pocket-saving laptop from our list, which only features models under Dh2,000. Now's the best time, too, since Amazon's deals on laptops are only on for a limited period. Get a Prime membership to skip on delivery fee and get your device as soon as today.

1. Best Overall: Lenovo IdeaPad 3i 

Pros

  • Runs on the 12th Gen Intel Core i5 processor
  • Spacious 16GB RAM
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Webcam privacy shutter
  • A variety of ports, from SD card reader to USB-C

Cons

  • Low webcam quality
  • Battery drains faster when gaming

Lenovo IdeaPad 3i is a powerful, everyday laptop that has a compact 14-inch screen perfect for students, says Shameer. The machine runs on the 12th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, which is faster than the 11th Gen i7, so speed is just right for multitasking on the daily. It meets the minimum 8GB RAM requirements, but also offers an expanded 512GB solid state drive (SSD) storage. Unlike the slim modern laptops of today, the IdeaPad 3i impresses with a range of connectivity options, including a USB-C port, SD card reader, HDMI and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The webcam is, unfortunately, not much to look at with a one-megapixel sensor; however, it does come with a privacy shutter. As long you're carrying out basic tasks, sans gaming, the battery life is efficient, say reviews. They all agree that it's a fast, lightweight computer.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh157.50 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh190, a one-year extended warranty for Dh242, and a two-year damage protection plus one-year extended warranty for Dh284.

2. Best for Multitasking: HP 15 Business Laptop

Pros

  • Runs on cost-effective AMD Ryzen 5
  • Large 16GB RAM for playing heavy software
  • Fast-charge support
  • 720p HD webcam
  • Fingerprint one-touch login
  • Ports include SD card reader, HDMI, USB-C and more

Cons

  • Battery pack is not removable
  • Only eight hours of battery life

If you'll be running heavy software, then you need a laptop with a massive RAM upgrade to avoid lags and hiccups. Our expert-recommended HP 15 carries a larger 15.6-inch screen and a whopping 16GB RAM for clearing demanding computing tasks easily with quick boot-up times. Despite the display size, the laptop is only 0.7 inches high, making it space-saving in transit. Shameer approves of its AMD Ryzen 5 processor, so you can enjoy these fantastic specs under Dh2,000, worry-free. Compared to the IdeaPad 3i, the HP 15 has a much better 720p HD webcam but delivers a shorter battery life at eight hours. This drawback is redeemable in hindsight, when you consider its fast-charge technology that gives you 50 per cent in 45 minutes. You get an HDMI port and an SD card reader as well. Reviewers say that it's the best purchase you can make in this price range, and add that it plays heavy storage files flawlessly. Students also attest to the battery life claims and easy portability.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh153.33 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh190, a one-year extended warranty for Dh284, and a two-year damage protection plus one-year extended warranty for Dh242.

3. Best Budget: ASUS E410 

Pros

  • Decent speeds with Intel Celeron processor
  • Runs office apps, light games and videos well
  • Up to 12 hours of battery life
  • Looks modern and stylish
  • Has HDMI, USB-C port, SD card reader and more

Cons

  • Hangs with heavy software

Our cheapest laptop in the list should be considered for elementary users or as a second device for on the go. The ASUS E410 is another expert-picked computer, and it's fitted with low-end specifications, such as 4GB RAM and an entry-level Intel Celeron processor, which make the laptop affordable. It handles basic tasks well and sports a stylish chassis while doing so, coming in Peacock Blue with a number pad on the trackpad and a bright yellow Enter key for a youthful look. You can lay the 14-inch screen down flat at 180 degrees when you need more eyes on the display to collaborate and share. At this value price, the laptop still connects to various external media via HDMI, USB-C, USB-A, SD card reader and 3.5mm audio jack. It's a gorgeous piece of equipment, note reviewers, adding that it's very light and easy to carry around. Those who use it for Microsoft Office applications, movie streaming and light gaming have no trouble gettings things done. The number pad can take some getting used to, however.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh62.42 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh95, a one-year extended warranty for Dh227, and a two-year damage protection plus one-year extended warranty for Dh121.

4. Best Value: Acer Aspire 5

Pros

  • Great display quality on the 15.6-inch screen
  • Fingerprint login
  • AI-assisted 1080p webcam
  • Multiple speedy ports including Ethernet, HDMI 2.0 and USB-C Gen 3.2
  • Comes with Windows 11

Cons

  • Basic speeds despite the Ryzen 7 chip

Tackle moderately demanding applications with the Acer Aspire 5 that runs on AMD Ryzen 7 and 8GB RAM. Even though it comes with a large 15.6-inch screen, the laptop weighs under 2kg with ultra-slim height dimensions of 0.7 inches. The best part is that it's integrated with a dedicated graphics card, the entry-level AMD Radeon RX Vega 10. Take video calls and join meetings with confidence through the 1080p webcam, which comes with AI-assisted features like auto-framing, gaze correction and background blur. In addition to up-to-date connectivity options, you also get to plug in an Ethernet cable for fast internet speeds. Reviewers' only qualm is that it operates on an older generation of Ryzen 7, so it's equivalent to the 8th Gen Intel Core i5, just decent for light work. Others find it even faster after upgrading the RAM to 16GB. 

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh166.54 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh190, a one-year extended warranty for Dh284, and a two-year damage protection plus one-year extended warranty for Dh242.

5. Best Mid-Range Laptop: Dell Inspiron 3511

Pros

  • Comes with Windows 11 support
  • Fast processing with 11th Gen Intel Core i5
  • Lifted hinge for an ergonomic typing angle
  • Sustainable construction
  • Connects to HDMI, USB-A, SD card reader and headphone jack

Cons

  • Lifted hinge makes the laptop vulnerable to damage
  • No USB-C port

Those who prefer a Dell machine will find the Inspiron 3511 model to be their best value option in this price range. Get fast processing speeds with the 11th Gen Intel Core i5 and 8GB RAM. Thanks to its 15.6-inch screen, the laptop features a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad and a spacious touchpad. It's also sustainable in its make, constructed from recycled plastics and packed in 100 per cent recycled paper. Charging times are short for when you're in a hurry, with the ExpressCharge technology that fuels the laptop up to 80 per cent in just 60 minutes. In design, it stands out for the lifted hinge that automatically raises the keyboard to an ergonomic angle so you have an easier time typing. Connectivity options do leave out a USB-C port, however. Buyers love how fast the laptop is but do caution exercising care when opening and closing the laptop due to the unique build of the hinge.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh131.67 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh190, a one-year extended warranty for Dh284, and a two-year damage protection plus one-year extended warranty for Dh242.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.