“Good laptops” and “inexpensive
laptops” don’t always go together.

Assuming you need Windows 10 over
the Web-centric (
for
now
) ways
of a Chromebook
you generally have to drop around $750 to get
a notebook that’s not compromised in some fundamental way.
Something like the 
Asus
Zenbook UX305UA
 works
there.

Go below that, though, and you
have to figure out which sacrifices you can live with. Anything
in that more approachable $400-600 range


will

have problems somewhere — it’s just a
matter of hoping you find a device at least lessens the
blow.

Knowing what’ll actually do that,
though, can be tricky. We’ve previously laid out what baseline of
specs you should 
accept in a cheap laptopbut as
a quick PSA: This
Acer Aspire
 has the core bases covered.


Acer Aspire E15 cheap laptop
The
Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG has a terrible name, but great specs for
the price.

Acer

For $550, it checks about as many boxes as you could expect from
a Windows 10 device. There’s a sharp 1080p display, an up-to-date
and decently powerful Core i5 processor, a healthy 8GB of RAM,
and a backlit keyboard. It supports 802.11ac, which means fast
WiFi, and has good chunk of ports, including a more futureproof
USB-C one.

There’s also a dedicated graphics
processor from Nvidia — it’s not super strong, but it’s also not
common, and it’ll allow for


some

moderate gaming.

Most notably, it has a 256GB
solid state drive (SSD), which allows for noticeably faster
performance than the usual hard disk drives (HDD) you almost
always see in this range. The trade-off is that you get less
space, but 256GB should be plenty of room for most people.

As always, there are still things
you have to give away here. Its 15.6-inch screen is big, and at
5.3 pounds, the whole thing is on the heavier side. It’s not
exactly good looking, either, and its keyboard and trackpad just
aren’t on the level of what you’d get from a higher-grade
machine. Same goes for the display (resolution aside). You can
also expect some bloatware, which is always annoying.

But again, this is an example of
weighing your options and taking what you can get. If you


really

can’t afford to pay up for a more
premium machine, and you’re positive you won’t get by with a
Chromebook, you’ll have a hard time finding anything else this
steady.