Cheap notebooks up to USD600: Even at a low price you often get a lot of equipment, enough performance for everyday office tasks or a state-of-the-art touch display. In this Article we will show you the ranking for the best Laptops under $600 in 2020.
Ranking: Best Laptops under 600 Dollars of 2020 in Detail
Cheap and good? This is what low priced notebooks up to 600USD can do.
Between cheap scrap laptops and sinfully expensive models, you can also buy cheap and good notebooks at online shops or around the corner at discounters. We have looked at the test results of the current notebooks up to USD600, analysed them and present you two low-priced laptops in comparison.
Ranking First: Dell Inspiron 15
- Great Perfomance
- Luxurious Case
- Awesome Screen
- Need to get used to keyboard
There are various Ultrabooks on the market. Some are very light, some have a lot of computing power and some are very robust. But none really combines everything you could wish for. The DELL Inspiron 15 is also not perfect, but in many places it is further than its competitors.
Those who have ever unpacked a notebook from Dell know what to expect here. The Dell Inspiron 15 comes in a plain brown cardboard box with the Dell logo on the side. Inside it, apart from the device, you’ll also find the adapter, the Dell Active Pen and a few notes.
What’s immediately positive about the Dell Inspiron 15 is its simple appearance. There are no gambling and nothing unnecessary. Let’s go around the device and start in a closed state.
The display lid is made of aluminum and accordingly, the Dell Inspiron 15 makes a high-quality impression at the first touch. The matt black color is also really pretty. The edges of the lid to the main unit are very well and evenly finished. The workmanship is therefore top notch.
On the left side of the Dell Inspiron 15 there is a USB type-C port, an HDMI output, a small status LED and a connector for the mains plug. On the right side there is a classic USB Type A connector, a 3.5mm combo jack connector for a headset and a MicroSD card reader. Otherwise, there’s not much to see on the outside, so we open the device.
As an Ultrabook with 13 inch, there is of course no number pad. The keyboard doesn’t go all the way to the edge of the device, but is slightly recessed. The touchpad is placed centrally underneath the keyboard and is a good size. Dell has decided against glass for the touchpad material. Nevertheless, the fingers glide quickly and precisely over the pad and the typical wipe gestures also work perfectly. Moreover, the touchpad doesn’t seem to have a noteworthy dead zone.
The inner surfaces of the Dell Inspiron 15 are also made of aluminum. Generally, Dell has used very little plastic in this device, which provides a very valuable feeling during use.
Ultrabooks must first and foremost be mobile. Accordingly, a flat design is just as sensible as a low weight. In order to avoid breaks on the road, the performance must also be right. The Dell Inspiron 15 fulfills all three points: With only 1.4 kg, it is comfortable to carry with one hand and with a height of 15-16mm, it even fits into the fullest bag. Of course, there are lighter and thinner Ultrabooks on the market, but then the performance is unfortunately mostly missing. Thanks to the i7-8565U and 16GB RAM, the Dell performs very well in everyday use.
Connectivity is a difficult issue with Ultrabooks. On the one hand, unnecessary connections should be avoided. On the other hand, as a user I should never have the feeling that I’m missing a connection. On top of that there is the space problem. Notebooks are getting thinner and thinner and then there is often simply no space for a network connection and in many models even a full-fledged USB Type-A.
The Dell Inspiron 15 is somewhere in the middle when it comes to connections. The built-in USB type C is for example not a Thunderbolt 3 port. I do get a 4K display fired via USB Type-C, but for two monitors of this type I would need Thunderbolt 3. Instead, I have a full-fledged HDMI output. There are plus points for the USB type-A connection. Especially accessories like cable mice simply need this connection. Those who work a lot on the move with the usual office applications will profit greatly from the Dell Inspiron 15.
For professional image and video editing two things would be missing again. First, the Dell Inspiron 15 doesn’t have a dedicated graphics unit. This would noticeably accelerate applications like Adobe Photoshop and DaVinci Resolve. The integrated Intel UHD620 can also be used for such tasks, but then not on a professional level. The second thing that video and photo artists would miss is a full-fledged SD card reader. There may be photographers who only use MicroSD cards with adapters in their cameras, but the standard format in video and photo cameras is currently the SD card. For all other users, however, this only plays a minor role. They are simply happy about a MicroSD card reader.
The Dell Inspiron 15 has a touchscreen. Accordingly, it also reflects a bit, but still to a bearable degree. I’ve already seen much worse makeup mirrors in other competitors. Nevertheless, the notebook should not be used in direct sunlight. The Dell Active Pen wouldn’t make much sense without a touchscreen. The display has a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. The Dell allows a very sharp display of content with over 300ppi. Fortunately, the size of desktop icons can be easily adjusted in the Windows settings. However, such a high-resolution display also consumes more battery than 1080p panels.
In terms of illumination, there’s nothing to complain about in the Dell Inspiron 15. The display is very evenly illuminated. On the entire display the deviation is less than 10% and that is an excellent value for a notebook. The 300nit panel does a good job, but should still like to get even brighter. When used in direct sunlight, the contours of Windows are rather to be guessed at even at maximum brightness. But even so, the screen is a lot of fun with its high resolution and touch input, or rather pen use.
When using the Dell Active Pen I did not notice any significant weaknesses. The control through the menus works well and precisely. The only thing worth mentioning is my poor handwriting, which sometimes led to recognition problems. It’s just really fun to whizz over the display with the pen and take notes or just scribble something. The display can also be easily operated with the fingers.
Tent mode is perfect for media consumption. To do this, the display folds back and you can make yourself comfortable on the couch. The Dell Active Pen can also be used well in Tent mode. Notes and drawings work better when the display is completely folded down and the notebook is simply laid flat on the table – just like a sheet of paper.
When the Active Pen is not in use, it can simply be placed in a magnetic holder below the display of the Dell Inspiron 15. However, it is not charged there. If the pen runs out of juice, the battery inside must be replaced.
The Dell Inspiron 15 surpasses most other notebooks in terms of color space coverage. With 99% sRGB and 76% AdobeRGB, it proudly sits at number 2 in our list of notebook color fidelity.
The performance of the Dell Inspiron 15 comes mainly from its strong processor. Dell relies on an Intel Core i7 in the energy saving U-version. The quadcore also ensures that several applications in parallel are no problem. The CPU of a total of 16GB RAM is supported. Both ensure that the Inspiron 15 reacts quickly and doesn’t break a sweat even with demanding applications. In a direct comparison with similarly equipped notebooks, the Dell notebook lies about the same. Only the Dell XP 13 delivers better results in the usual benchmarks. Therefore, customers have to dig deeper into the “big” brother’s pocket and do without a few connections.
The memory test was still interesting. The Dell Inspiron 15 is available in two memory versions and one of them contains Intel’s new Optane H10 technology. This Optane version of the Dell has a 512GB SSD and 32GB Optane memory, which together sit on an M.2 module. The combination should enable lightning-fast accesses and at the same time enable 1000GB of memory on ultrabooks. That sounded exciting and so I put both versions of the Dell Inspiron 15 through the usual benchmarks.
Problematic in such a test: Intel Optane should learn over time which programs and files you use frequently and then keep them ready for you in the fast Optane memory. This would make your system feel even faster over time. But that would take time and normal user behaviour and no editor to check one benchmark after the other to be able to make a comparison. To make a long story short: The benchmarks usually show only minor or partially contradictory deviations between these otherwise identical notebooks.
In terms of battery life, the Dell Inspiron 15 is slightly behind competitors with similar technical equipment. It will probably be due to the Dell’s display. A 4K touchscreen simply has a higher energy consumption than a simple Full HD panel. The achieved 5 hours in are nevertheless a very good result. Users should therefore get through a normal working day well without having to panic in the afternoon to look for a power outlet.
Heating and Sound
The Dell Inspiron 15 is hardly audible in idle and normal use. Even when the notebook is really put to the test, the fans never reach a disturbing level. This is a good performance from Dell, especially in the slim design.
But if I place the notebook in Tent mode and work on larger graphics with the pen, the fans start up faster. If I then position the notebook normally on the table again, the fans quickly shut down again. Bonus points are awarded for the fact that the fans don’t start beeping even at maximum speed, as I can see with more and more notebooks.
Sound in notebooks is always a bit difficult. Especially ultrabooks often have to make compromises due to their flat design. For good sound there is simply not enough resonance space.
If I bring the Dell Inspiron 15 to half volume, the sound is balanced, although there is of course a lack of midrange. On the other hand, if I turn up the volume, the loudspeakers start to distort the treble. Fortunately, this distortion is kept within limits. In return, the small business notebook achieves a decent sound volume. So, in order to give a presentation with video/sound in a small conference room, the Ultrabook is completely sufficient. It’s also perfectly suitable for watching an episode on Netflix in the hotel room in the evening.
There is no maintenance cover on the Dell Inspiron 15, but the base is only secured with 7 screws. Dell also gets plus points here because there are no hidden screws or strange re-hooks in the middle of the base cover. After unscrewing the screws, just carefully run a fingernail or plastic card along the side edge and the plate simply comes off.
Really much can’t be done under the flap though. The SSD can be changed quickly and the battery can be accessed easily. Purely physically, the batteries of notebooks get a bit weaker over the years and so it’s a good thing that I can change it in a few minutes.
That’s when it stops with the easy to reach components. If you want, you could also change the Wi-Fi module, but that would probably only be of interest to very few users. The RAM is not visible at first and probably some parts would have to be removed for this. As far as it can be upgraded at all. With 16GB RAM, there is fortunately no reason for this at first.
The Dell Inspiron 15’s performance is very good. The strong Intel Core i7 processor and 16 RAM provide very good performance. The display could still be a bit brighter, but otherwise convinces with its high resolution and the possibility to operate it with the fingers or a Dell Active Pen.
Dell may not have reinvented the wheel for the business ultrabooks with the Inspiron 15, but they definitely found a combination of high-quality components that is more convincing than its competitors in many places.
There are two different versions of the Dell Inspiron 15, both with a 13.3 inch display, Intel Core i7-8565U and 16GB RAM. With 256GB internal memory the price is $430. The large version with 512GB SSD and Intel’s new Optane H10 technology currently costs $629 (Check Price on Amazon here). For the given components and the very good processing the price is reasonable.
Ranking Second: ASUS VivoBook 15
- Great Perfomance
- Safe Case
- Big Storage
- Battery fast empty
- Display not Perfect
Display and Storage
In addition to 8 gigabytes of main memory, the VivoBook tested includes a 128 gigabyte SSD for Windows and programs as well as a 1 TByte large, classic hard drive for your data. Here you only reach the limits of memory equipment at a late stage. The processor in the form of an Intel Core i3-7020U offers very good performance for everyday work and the overall system is pleasantly fast. The 15.6 inch Full HD display has a matt surface, which improves readability in sunlight. The connections are mostly all important, but we would have liked more fast USB 3 ports. Unfortunately, the SD card reader can only accept micro-SD cards – a full-size, large card reader would be desirable here, so that photos from cameras and co. can also be transferred without an adapter.
Weight and keyboard
The keyboard offers a pleasantly soft feedback, a long stroke distance and a good key spacing. And the clickpad also pleases: The surface isn’t sticky but lets the finger glide pleasantly. Moreover, the device is restrained in its noise development even under full load.
The notebook is quite light for a 15.6 inch device, but still rather thick. The battery is comparatively small with 33 watt hours, which leads to disappointing battery runtimes of only 5 hours of video playback and around 3.5 hours in our productivity test.
Those who plan to use the notebook mainly at home will still get a recommendable device at an acceptable price due to the high performance.
The ASUS VivoBook 15 can convince in the test right away. The performance is very good, and the equipment and ergonomics are also impressive. However, the 15.6 inch display is only mediocre, the mobility even disappointed us: The device is not well suited for long work away from the power outlet. The bottom line is that the Asus VivoBook 15 offers very good performance and a lot of memory at an acceptable price.
Ranking Third: ASUS VivoBook Max X541UA
- Many Ports
- Okay Performance
- Optical Disc Drive
- No HD display
The laptop Asus VivoBook Max X541NA-GQ028T has an Intel Celeron N3350 processor (1.1 GHz) built in, which is accompanied by 4 GB of RAM. It stores on a 500 GByte HDD and has 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA and an SDXC card reader as interfaces. The VivoBook communicates wirelessly with 802.11n WLAN and via Bluetooth. The other features:
- DL-DVD burner + RAM
- 100 MBit/s Network interface
With a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, the 15.6 display achieves a chessboard contrast of 141:1 and a maximum brightness of 231 cd/m². The display is matt and achieves a brightness distribution of 94.3 percent.
All in all, the computer weighs 2.0 kg and draws its energy from a 35 Wh battery. In terms of battery life, we measured 5:50 hours for office applications and 4:30 hours for video playback. The technical data alone doesn’t say much about the actual performance, though – the laptop achieved 2,272 points in the benchmark PCMark7. How much graphic power is in the ViviBook is determined with 3DMark (Gloud Gate). The result is 2.251 points.
We determine the following loudness under full load: Acceptable noise development
Asus presents a real equipment monster in the test with this VivoBook – from the almost forgotten VGA port to HDMI and CardReader, everything important is built in. The workmanship is also surprisingly good for a price range below $600. Unfortunately, the Asus VivoBook couldn’t convince with more in the test. The performance stays behind expectations and is only sufficient for office applications and web browsing. Mobility also suffers here.
Ranking Fourth: Acer Travelmate B1
- Good Battery
- Acer Active Pen included
- Good Price
- Display Mirroring
- Keyboard not comfortable
Display and Storage
At the heart of the Acer TravelMate Spin B1 is an Intel Pentium N4200 clocked at up to 2.5 GHz, which provides above-average performance. Everyday office and internet tasks, as well as smaller games, which are plentiful in the store of the pre-installed Windows 10 Pro, aren’t a problem for the convertible. The 4 GByte RAM, on the other hand, is no longer up to date, which quickly becomes noticeable especially when multitasking and editing pictures and videos. The performance is still sufficient for smooth operation and a quick start – also thanks to the 256 GByte SSD.
If the internal memory is not enough, external data carriers or other peripheral devices can be connected via the two USB ports (once each USB 3.0 and USB 2.0). The slot for SDXC cards can also be used as a memory upgrade. The TravelMate also has an HDMI output and a LAN port on the side of the case. The WLAN-ac module and Bluetooth 4.1 provide wireless connectivity, while the included Acer Active Pen perfectly rounds off the successful mid-range equipment.
The 11.6-inch IPS panel has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (Full HD) and ensures pin-sharp images. Even dark areas are displayed neatly thanks to the high chessboard contrast of 197:1 – and the evenly distributed maximum brightness of 280 candela per square meter provides a relatively bright and homogeneous picture. Somewhat disturbing, though, is the reflective display, which reaches its limits especially in direct sunlight.
Battery and Convertible Function
A great strength of the TravelMate series has always been the long battery life. This does not change with the Spin B1. The convertible lasts for over 11 hours in simulated office mode and a full 9:40 hours in pure video playback. Only few other notebooks can surpass this. Therefore, despite its relatively high net weight of 1.5 kilograms, the laptop is a reliable TravelMate – both as a classic notebook and as a tablet with a flipped keyboard.
Operation and ergonomics can score points in both modes. For example, the keyboard has a crisp counterpressure and a sufficient stroke. The mouse replacement also reacts reliably and is essentially convincing. But the TravelMate is only really fun in tablet mode with touch operation. Here it reacts quickly and precisely to finger and stylus inputs.
The convertible hype doesn’t even stop at Acer’s TravelMate series. But unlike most of its competitors, the TravelMate Spin B1 B118-RN-P6BE shines in the test with a successful synthesis of performance, mobility and price. Acer is also generous with accessories and includes an Acer Active stylus with the TravelMate. Overall, the tablet-notebook combination fits perfectly into the high-quality Acer series.
Ranking Fifth: HP 1NW56UT Laptop 250 G6
- Good Equipment
- Good Performance
- High weight
- Display Mirroring
The HP laptop scores well in the test in terms of equipment. On the one hand, the solid 256 GByte SSD hard disk, which is solid for this price class, and on the other hand, the wide selection of connections. With HDMI, SDXC memory card reader as well as two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port, the laptop meets all current standards. It also offers an HDMI and VGA port for an additional analogue monitor and an integrated CD/DVD drive.
With its Intel Core i3 processor with 2.3 GHz and 8 GByte RAM, it is also a good choice in terms of performance if you are looking for a solid office laptop. With a measured battery life of 8:24 hours for word processing and 6:49 hours for watching videos, it performs quite well in comparison.
Especially the weak display is negative in the test. The matt screen only has a brightness of 179 candelas per square meter and thus comes across very dark. Especially those who like to watch videos or work outdoors won’t have much fun with the display.
The silver case looks modern optically, but the laptop is also one of the heaviest products among the 15 inch laptops with its two kilograms. Its dimensions also look rather bulky. So if you are on the road a lot, the laptop is only suitable to a limited extent.
In the test, the HP 250 G6 silver (4BD24ES#ABD) is only sufficient for a satisfactory overall result. With 8 GBytes of RAM and a solid processor, the laptop has reasonable performance rates, but its dark display and heavy weight cloud this balance.