Top 10 Laptops Under $600 for Back to School.

 

With the back to school season lingering in the foreground, the topic of budget laptops has yet to be touched. Having a laptop is a necessary expense at school or work but, it is not necessary to break the bank to get a good quality laptop. Many of the top name brands have budget laptops that are going to be good quality and give you what you need to succeed in the classroom or boardroom. So here are the top 10 laptops under $600 devices for back to school.

Lenovo Yoga II

For those who are looking for a great budget hybrid device, Lenovo has hit it out of the park. The Yoga II is one of the best hybrid devices out there, with its revolutionary fold back hinge that allows the user to use it as a traditional clamshell, a tent for presentations or a tablet. With an 11" laptop you expect it to be portable, and at a mere 2.4 pounds the Yoga II is one of the lightest in the industry. The Yoga does lack a little bit on graphics with a 32 mb Intel Graphics card. As well, the 2.16 gHz Intel Pentium N3520 processor is going to be able to handle most programs but, do not expect to be able to do anything to demanding on this underwhelming processor. The screen is not spectacular but, it is a good quality IPS screen that comes out clear and crisp. Battery life in this hybrid is important, and with an average of roughly 5.5 hours it is a good solid laptop battery. The Yoga II is a great overall computer for those that are looking for a versatile hybrid that will allow them to complete school work as well as making them able to kick back and watch the latest Game of Thrones episode.

7/10- Great compact hybrid but does lose points in the processor and video card. As well, when typing you can feel the computer flex which is very unnerving.

Features in Spotlight

  • Intel Pentium N3520 Processor 2.17GHz with bursts up to 2.42GHz
  • 11.6" LED high-definition widescreen 10-point capacitive multitouch display
  • 4GB DDR3L Memory / 500GB Hard Drive / NO Optical Drive
  • Built-in HD Webcam / WLAN (802.11b/g/n) / Bluetooth 4.0 interface
  • Windows 8.1 64-bit / 360° 2-in-1 design / Weighs only 3 lbs
Acer Chromebook C720 P

When you are looking for a cheap laptop, you will not get more value than with the Chromebook C720P. One has to remember we are in the time of a change in portable computers and the chromebook is a great companion to a tablet or smart phone, but does have its limitations. The first of which is the on board storage, the Chromebook only has 32 gb of hard drive space. However, you get 100 gb of storage on the Google drive for free for two years. If you are looking for more space, the only option is an external hard drive. The case and keyboard are a great surprise, even though they are made of plastic they feel good, and the keyboard has all the options you need and feels great to type on. The processor is a simple Intel Celeron 2955U that has 1.4 GHz. As well, the graphics card is the base Intel Graphics Card. Battery life on this little machine is great, with just under 6 hours of activity before it dies. If you are looking for a traditional laptop, this is not the device for you. For those wanting something small to get some work done on the go, and that have other devices that can handle bigger projects, the Chromebook C720P is an amazing option.

5/10- Amazing small little computer, but with the lack of storage, processor and video card, as well its lack to be a standalone machine loses, it major points in our opinion.

Features in Spotlight

  • Intel Celeron 2955U 1.4 GHz (2 MB Cache)
  • 2 GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • 32 GB Solid-State Drive
  • 11.6-Inch Touchscreen, Intel HD Graphics
  • Chrome, 7.5-hour battery life

 

Acer Aspire E1

The Acer Aspire series has released yet another aesthetically pleasing laptop, that has some decent power to it as well. The laptop boasts a Intel i-5-4200U processor that puts out at 1.4 GHz. Coupled with the HD 4400 Intel graphics card, this laptop has some great starting specifications to work with. This combination is not uncommon but, this is the cheapest laptop we have seen with the combination and that has got our attention. Weighing only 4.5 pounds, this plastic laptop is meant to be handled with care but, does give off a professional vibe with its sleek design. The screen itself it nothing special but, if you avoid direct sunlight you should be happy with the glossy finish that comes with this sleek device. It does lack a touch screen which makes the preloaded Windows 8, a slight pain. Battery life is not the strongpoint of this machine, with only a 3 hour battery you will need to bring along your charger for those long sessions in the library. A great priced laptop that is going to do everything you will want, just do not load Battlefield 4 on it and you should love this device.

7/10- Great specs for such a cheap computer, but with the lack of battery life and no touch screen drops this computer down a few pegs.

Features in Spotlight

  • Intel Core™ i5-4200U 3 MB Cache processor (1.6GHz/2.6GHz w/ Turbo Boost), Windows 8 64 bit
  • 4 GB DDR3 Memory, Maximum Memory support 8GB
  • 500 GB 5400rpm Hard Drive
  • 15.6 Inch HD Widescreen CineCrystal™ LED-backlit display (1366 x 768) - Intel HD Graphics 4400
  • webcam, HDMI, USB 3.0, card reader up to 4 hour battery(2500 mAh Lithium Ion 4 cell)

 

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite NP915S3G-K01US

Samsung has brought out a budget Ativ book, and they really did miss the mark on this one. Samsung has been a powerhouse and they utilized the Intel i-5 or i-7 in all of their machines, until the Book 9 lite. They opted to go with a custom build AMD A4 quad core with 1 GHz of power, and it is lacklustre at best. The machine can handle everyday tasks, and that is about it. The graphics card is a 512 MB AMD Radeon HD 8250 which does couple with the screen to create a good solid display. The laptop is no longer metal but, has been replaced with a durable plastic. The plastic does look good, and it does feel like a hefty laptop even though it is extremely sleek in design. The battery life on the machine is good with the average usage just over five hours on battery. Although the machine debuted at just under $799 it has dropped down significantly and is a decent buy now at $584.96. As an added bonus, those with Galaxy phones will be able to direct wi-fi connect to the laptop to back up and restore their phones. For those looking at a laptop that was supposed to fit into the mid tier for laptops, but has since dropped this is a decent buy.

6.5/10- The build is good, just lacks the power that Samsung is known for. Plus, the significant price drop will make everyone question the machine.

Features in Spotlight

  • AMD Quad-Core 1.4 GHz Processor optimized for Samsung, 4 GB DDR3 Memory
  • 128 GB Solid-State Drive SATA3
  • AMD Radeon Graphics
  • 13.3" LED HD, 1366 x 768, 16:9, 10 Point Capacitive Touch Screen
  • Windows 8, Up to 5.5-hour battery life
Acer Aspire V5-552P-X404

If you are looking to get into a touch screen laptop with Windows 8, you will not find a better deal than the Aspire V5. This laptop shows other companies that you do not need to cut corners to produce a good quality touch screen laptop, and the price is second to none. The v5 comes with a powerful Intel i-5-3317U processor with 1.7 GHz of power that will be able to handle most tasks with ease. This is couples with a Intel HD 4400 graphics card which produces a great screen but, will force you to turn down settings for most games. It is a 15" screen, and the pixel count is lacking for such a large device. It is a nice looking laptop but, you are going to want to keep on lookers far back as the closer you get the more flaws you will notice with the keyboard and layout. The biggest downside for this laptop is the disappointing battery life of 3.5 hours. For those looking for an introductory touch screen machine, this is a great choice as long as you are not taking it on the road.

8.5/10- Good solid 15" computer, looses points due to screen pixels, and most of all the lacklustre battery life. Although will not beat the price of $599.99 for a machine like this.

Features in Spotlight

  • AMD A10-5757M 2.5 GHz Processor (4 MB Cache)
  • 8 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1 TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
  • 15.6-Inch Screen, AMD Radeon HD 8650G Graphics
  • Windows 8.1, 4.5-hour battery life

 

HP - ENVY Touch-Screen Ultrabook

This is a great machine for those looking to make the jump to Windows 8 and that want to keep the traditional lap top feel. HP has had its ups and downs over the past few years, and for this ultra book they took the time to create a good little machine. With the atypical HD 4000 Intel graphics card in the Envy the screen looks great but, you will have to turn down settings for practically any game. The processor in the Envy is powerful for a laptop this price with a 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5-3317U. The device has the typical resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, this is the most common resolution for devices under $1000. The screen has great color, and contrast and only inverts if looking down on it, from the side is ok. Although it is a little heavy at 4.5 pounds, the Envy looks and feels good. The keyboard is backlight but, the track pad is a little glitchy with stock settings. Battery life is great on the device and it comes as promised, HP promised 5 hours and we clocked it at 5 hours and four minutes. Overall, the Envy is a great buy at its price and we would recommend it for anyone looking for a traditional laptop with touch screen capabilities to handle Windows 8.

8.5/10- Solid machine with good battery life, only loses points for the screen and track pad software.

Features in Spotlight

  • 14" LED-backlit high-definition touch-screen display, Intel® HD Graphics 4000
  • Intel® CoreTM i3-3217U processor : Features a 3MB L3 cache and 1.8GHz processor speed.
  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM, 500GB hard drive (5400 rpm), 32GB mSSD Hard Drive Acceleration Cache
  • 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth interface, Built-in TrueVision HD webcam and dual-array digital microphone
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports and 1 USB 2.0 port, Microsoft Windows 8 operating system preinstalled

ASUS Transformer Book T100TA-H1-GR

Asus has brought out their own version of the chrome book, that is a great deal and an even better machine for the price. This hybrid device, allows for you to do all of your work, while still getting a great little laptop that can turn into a tablet in seconds. The processor that powers this little device is a 1.3 GHz Intel Atom z3440 which will take on any of the daily tasks you will ask of it. With standard HD Intel graphics, this little guy looks great and will handle Netflix and streaming with its good quality screen. The Transformer comes with a standard 1366 x 768 screen resolution on a 10.1" screen and for the price that is completely forgivable. This hybrid's best feature is its battery life, it lasted over 11 hours... yes you read that right 11 hours. This will last you through your commute and full workday before you are going to need to charge it once again. Although it should be noted that it does take a bit of time for it to charge fully. This is a great option for those who do not want to spend on a surface, but want a full keyboard to utilize.

7/10- Specs are what you expect of a sub-$400 machine, but the battery is what pushes this rank up. 11 HOURS!

Features in Spotlight

  • Preinstalled Full License MS Office Home & Student 2013. Full Version Win 8.1.
  • Includes 500GB Hard Drive Keyboard Dock with USB 3.0 port.
  • Intel Quad Core Baytrail-T Z3740 1.33GHz. 2GB RAM.
  • Storage Capacity: 32GB Solid-State in tablet, 500GB Hard Drive in dock.
  • 11-Hour battery life. 1.2MP Webcam. mHDMI, mUSB, mSDXC slot. BT 4.0. Wireless Dual-Band 802.11N.

Dell Inspiron 15R i15RMT-3878sLV

The fifteenth edition of the Inspirion laptop does not disappoint, and the build quality has vastly improved. This laptop looks great, it is a shiny black finish that looks professional, and its slim profile of only 1 inch, makes it a great laptop for on the go. The screen is the weak point on this device. Its resolution is 1366 x 768 which lets you view 720 p video, but full HD is not going to be able to happen on this device. As well, it is not touch screen, but for the price this is not that surprising. If you can get over the screen, and are using the device for mainly word processing, web use and the odd video this is a great little machine. It comes with a 1.8 GHz Intel Pentium 2117U processor which will be able to handle the majority of tasks you ask of it with relative ease. With standard Intel HD video card, the machine is a budget machine that is going to perform well for you. If you are looking for a great value for a traditional laptop and screen resolution is not the most important thing in your life, the Dell Inspiron is a solid choice.

6.5/10- The build quality is good, but the lack of HD quality screen as well as lack of touch screen bring this done. Add to this the fact they did not put an I-3 processor in and that is where the ranking has this machine full of potential sitting at.

Features in Spotlight

  • Intel Core i3 3227U 1.9 GHz (3 MB Cache)
  • 6 GB DDR3
  • 500 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
  • 15.6-Inch Screen, Intel® HD Graphics 4000
  • Windows 8

Microsoft Surface 2

It hard to talk about budget laptops under the range of $600 without talking of Microsoft's premier tablet, that is also going to double as a laptop. Tablets with Bluetooth keyboards are not a new thing but, Microsoft has optimized Windows Office for the Surface, and with the keyboard it would be foolish not to include this device on our list. The Surface 2 has a good quality 10.1" screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with full HD optimization. The Surface is powered by a 1.7 GHz Nvidea Tegra 4 quad core processor that allows it to be quick, and handle the complicated tasks that are demanded in an office setting. The tablet has an amazing battery life with over 14 hours of life before needing a charge. This is a difference maker when you are travelling for business or in an area that is not guaranteed to have plugs. The one big downside of this device is you are going to need to buy the keyboard to go with it. They range from $119-$139 for the keyboards that act as a cover for the screen. You are also going to have a usb slot, a built in kickstand and access to over 100'000 apps and that list is still growing. If you are looking for a great portable device that is also going to double as a laptop and that is fully optimized for Windows, look no further than the Windows Surface 2.

9/10- Amazing specs, great integration with Windows and the best screen we have seen on a sub $600 laptop machine, only down side is buying your own keyboard.

Features in Spotlight

  • NVIDIA Tegra 4, 2Gb System Memory, 32GB Hard Drive
  • 10.6" High-definition widescreen 5-point multitouch with ClearType technology (1920 x 1080)
  • Front Facing 2.5MP camera, Rear Facing 5.0MP Camera
  • SD Card Slot, 1 x USB 3.0, HDMI Output, Windows RT 8.1, Touchscreen, Internal Speakers
  • 1 Year Limited Manufacturer's Warranty

Lenovo Ideapad N581

Lenovo hits it out of the park once again.

This is a great laptop for the price, and honestly one of the best budget laptops beneath $600 on the market today. If you are looking for a great overall machine, look no further than the Ideapad N581. The traditional laptop comes with a 2.5 GHz Intel i-3-3210m processor that will handle practically all that you throw at it. As well, it comes with Intel HD 4000 graphics card which will prove to be a decent little card but, you will have to turn down settings if you are looking to game. The screen itself is a 13.6" screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. Although it is not full HD, the screen is vivid and looks good even if two or three people are watching it. The build quality is great on the Lenovo, and you will have to be careful of course but, it will survive a few knicks and bruises. This is truly on of the best laptops for under $600 and is on sale right now at Amazon for $529.99. For an overall machine to have at University or the workplace, this is a great choice for any student or professional.

8.5/10- Great overall machine, if only it was touch screen and showed full HD and then we might have the perfect laptop at this price point.

Features in Spotlight

  • Intel Core i5-4200M
  • 6 GB DDR3
  • 1024 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
  • 15.6-Inch Screen
  • Windows 8.1, 5-hour battery life