10 best laptops under £250

Looking to buy a good-value, efficient machine? IndyBest finds portable tech that won’t explode your Christmas present budget

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The Independent Online

As technology has got better and cheaper, budget laptops have become not just cheap, but good too. Spending under £250 on a portable computer doesn’t mean compromising performance, and if you are using your laptop for normal, non-taxing tasks like email and web browsing, a budget laptop could be everything you need. Here’s our pick of the best.

{1} Acer Chromebook 13: £200, amazon


Chromebooks use Google’s operating system – basically a browser window – which means that it’s best if you’re already using Google’s apps. The screen is nice, but matte, and the colour is a bit white. It’s the perfect laptop for working and writing on, though not as versatile as others.

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{2} Dell Inspiron 15: £250, Dell


While cheap laptops have often meant choosing between build quality or features, or specs or look, Dell’s Inspiron range fits everything in. It’s not especially spectacular or exciting — but everything works, and is good.

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{3} Lenovo S20: £170, amazon


Lenovo was doing cheap but very reliable laptops for longer than most, with the ThinkPad range that it bought from IBM in 2005. This is slightly cheaper than those, but packed with much the same quality.

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{4} HP Stream: £179, John Lewis



The Stream is HP’s answer to the Chromebook: built to be online, which helps it be cheap and slim. It’s thin, light and sleek but also rugged. And comes in a range of sizes and colours.

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{5} Asus Transformer T100: £249, Currys



This isn’t just a great budget laptop, but a good tablet too – the screen pops away from the keyboard, giving it its name. It couldn’t be your primary computer (the hard drive is very small, among other things), but if you’re after something compact in addition to an existing device, this could be it.

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{6} Toshiba Satellite C50D-B-120: £230, amazon



This has a 15.6ins screen, much bigger than many computers in this price bracket, but doesn’t compromise on the rest of the specs while doing it. If you’re after something big, well-built and light, this has it all.

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{7} Asus EeeBook: £220, John Lewis


This tiny computer doesn’t make many of the mistakes that ultra-portable laptops do, like feeling flimsy and difficult to type on, but it’s still small and light.

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{8} Lenovo Flex 10: £200, amazon


Lenovo, which has built a niche in building bendy laptops, has made this computer, which can bend its keyboard all the way round to hide it away. It’s not a fully hybrid laptop – but if you like using a touchscreen, this could be the one.

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{9} Acer Aspire ES1-311: £249, amazon


This is a real workhorse – budget, but as good as many laptops that go for a much higher price. If you’re after a simple but trustworthy machine, this has great specs (including a 1TB hard drive) but at a good price.

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{10} Dell Chromebook 11: £193, Currys


But if you’re after a smaller Chromebook – what used to be called a netbook – this can do the job. It’s light and easy to use despite the size, and its battery lasts for ages. Again, be sure that a Chromebook is the right thing; but if you are, this is a great portable one.

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If you’re happy to use a Chromebook, then Acer’s is a great computer — but you should be sure that you’re happy with Chrome OS. Our favourite bigger budget laptop is Dell’s Inspiron, and if you want something smaller then we prefer the Asus EeeBook.

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