The CHEAP Laptop Challenge


– Hey guys, this is Austin, and have I got some deals for you. In front of me, I have
four brand new laptops all purchased for $300 or less. Are you going back to school? Or maybe buying your very first laptop? Or do you wanna give
your kids something that they won’t be able to
destroy the bank with? Well I’ve got the deals. Speaking of deals, this
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champion as part of the new player program to start your journey. And of course, a huge shout
out to Raid Shadow Legends for sponsoring this portion of the video. So first up we have an HP laptop. So this is the smallest
of the group at 14 inches. It’s a cheap laptop,
but it’s not a “craptop” as the kids say. There are lots of laptops
which are available for significantly less than this, say Chromebooks and what not, but generally speaking you
take a huge hit to the specs. I mean, they’re very much meant for like, Chrome, and maybe a second Chrome tab. Whereas all of these laptops
actually have real specs. We’re talking Ryzen processors, we’re talking Core i3s, we’re talking stuff which
you can actually use for everyday use. Next up we have the Acer Aspire 5. Another system which
comes in at exactly $300. This is a larger laptop,
so it’s a 15 inch display. However, there’s a couple
things that really jump out, including, this is powered
by a Ryzen processor. If it’s IPS and 1080P, this actually looks to be pretty solid. Next up we have the ASUS VivoBook F510QA at an incredibly wallet busting $313. Another 15 inch laptop. So that’s, uh, very plastic, but it’s got USB-C. We also have an AMD A12
processor, which is a little bit, um, older, shall we say? But I will give it a fair try nonetheless. Not bad, not bad. And if you really want to
push the limits of budgets, you’ve got this guy. The Lenovo at $220. I will say, definitely the
cheapest looking laptop here. It’s the only one with
an optical drive, though. Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Now, the real test will be, which of these are actually good? Which of these are terrible? And which of these should
you spend your hard-earned, or maybe more importantly, your parents’ hard-earned money on? [Ken] The answer is yes. So after some time with these laptops, the hardware is one of the
real areas that these jump out. And in last place, is
certainly the Lenovo. Now to be fair, this is
the cheapest laptop here. The downside is it actually feels like it. So, the entire thing is
just made out of very cheap feeling plastic. I’m sure it’ll be reasonably durable, but I mean, there’s a lot
of flex on like, the screen. It just doesn’t really feel
super well put together. Now that being said,
there are some advantages. The keyboard is completely fine. The track pad is solid. It has okay ports, as
well as that DVD drive. However, it cannot measure
up to the other laptops in its class. In third place, we have the ASUS. Now this one actually looks really nice, although it is still made out of fairly cheap-feeling plastic. It does feel reasonably
durable, and it’s the only one with a fingerprint sensor, which is a legitimately big plus. The only thing that really
pulls this ASUS down is the keyboard. It feels very cheap. In fact, I spent a
little bit of time with a $200 ASUS a little while ago, and it had almost the exact same keyboard. It’s fine, it’s usable,
but it’s dead last in this comparison which puts it in
third place for hardware. In a very close second
place, we have the HP. Now this is another laptop
that definitely looks more expensive than its price tag suggests, and there’s not a lot to complain about. So you have a good keyboard, a solid track pad, plenty of ports included, again you have USB-C. Really, the only issue here
is that there’s another laptop that just does
everything a little bit better. Spoiler alert: it’s that one. It’s clear that Acer is using
the same design for more expensive laptops because
this feels awesome. Not only do you have the aluminum lid, importantly you also have
the back lit keyboard, the only one of these
cheap laptops that does. It’s really nice to type on. You’ve got a solid touch pad. And you also have a
good selection of ports. An all around win for the Acer. Now when it comes to buying a $300 laptop, something which is important is can you actually upgrade it? And to start out with,
let’s see what’s inside this Acer. So number one thing I notice
is that we can very easily upgrade the memory. So, standard, all of
these have 4GB of DDR4. However, it should be very easy to do, which I think you should do, because not only is Ryzen
going to be faster with more memory, but also 8GB is just nice, and it’s pretty cheap right now. Besides that, though, this
seems to be pretty solid. We have a 48Wh battery. We also have a WD 128GB NVMe drive. This actually might be the cleanest, easiest to work on laptop I’ve ever seen. This is, wow. It’s gonna be tough to top this one. So as I’m taking apart the HP, I immediately have a note. This is not as easy as the Acer. Not only do you have to take
off the two rubber feet, which, to be fair, is kinda easy to do, you also have to kinda
disassemble this entire bottom piece. We do have what looks to
be a SATA based drive. It looks like a SATA drive, but it is a M.2 style module. We have an entirely empty 2.5 inch drive. So this is easy to jump up to 8GB of RAM, throw another SSD in there, in fact you can even
swap out the stock one. The only real downside
here is that it’s just not as easy to access. It’s doable, but you’re gonna
have to be a little careful. So next up we have the ASUS. Now this is, well,
unnecessarily challenging. Not only do you have a series
of exposed screws on the back, but you also have screws
underneath the feet so you have to tear them up, which always is a pain. Yet again, we see a
very similar case here. We have 4GB of RAM which
you can easily upgrade that to 8, or I guess
theoretically 16 if you want. We do have an empty 2.5 inch drive bay. As well as we have an SSD
which I assume is SATA. Yes. So this is a Sandisk X600,
so another 128GB SSD. My main gripe here is that
this one is by far the most difficult to do. Just because they’ve kind
of added a bunch of hurdles with the different sizes of
screws and removing the feet. But still very easily upgradable. The Lenovo is also not
particularly easy to do. Similar to the HP, it is kind of like a unibody style shell. The first thing I notice
is that unlike the other systems we’ve been taking a look at, this is using a full 2.5 inch SSD, which means that there’s
no, to my knowledge, easy way of upgrading the drive here. You either have to replace
your optical drive, or you have to replace your optical drive. (laughs) That’s pretty much it. There’s also no easy way
of upgrading the RAM. We have 4GB in here, and I think this is a very,
very obvious last place. Oh, and it only has a 30Wh battery, again the smallest of
this entire comparison. Yeah, Lenovo is hard to get into, not much upgradability, tiny battery. Thumbs down. Our next test is an incredibly demanding gaming benchmark, known as Minecraft. I’m just kidding, that runs on everything. We’re gonna be trying Fortnite today. [Ken] Great. (laughs) First off we have the Acer, and this actually seems to
have the best specs on paper, with a Ryzen 3 processor
and Vega graphics. However, it wants us to run at 480p and everything set to low. That’s not good. Yeah. If this can’t play at 720p, these other laptops certainly
are not going to be capable. This is certainly not the best
looking Fortnite experience in the world. However, the Acer is
capable of playing it. So running at 600p with
everything set to low, yeah, I know, but it’s a $300 laptop, I’m actually getting reasonable frames. I’m getting somewhere in the 40ish range, usually kind of bottoming out. That’s a, that’s playable. It actually feels reasonably responsive. (laughs) Look how bad that looks. So, uh, 600p, even on low settings, not remotely playable at all. Well when we drop the resolution to 360p, we get like, 30ish frames per second. Now I will say one thing
with all of these systems, is that because they’re only
using single channel memory, there are some more
performance gains if you jump up to 8GB. But, that’s bad. Not good. I don’t like that at all. Let’s try the other systems. This is also bad. Now we have the Lenovo. Now this, to be fair, is
the cheapest system here, and it also is the least powerful
with an AMD A9 processor. (laughs) Well, maybe don’t play
Fortnite with this one. I’m seriously so impressed
with the Aspire 5. I ended up spending $20 to
upgrade it to 8GB of RAM, and honestly, it has
actually made a surprisingly big difference. Purely by jumping to dual channel memory, we’re getting nearly 10%
better CPU performance, and almost 20% better
graphics performance. For $20, I mean, that’s about the best bang for your buck
upgrade that I’ve ever seen. For significantly less than $400, you’re getting a solid laptop with a great 1080p IPS display, good
keyboard, touch pad, and importantly, you actually
get pretty solid performance. I mean, if you’re looking
for a laptop on a budget, the Aspire 5 gets two big thumbs up.

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