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The COVID-19 crisis has ushered in a new era of online collaboration. In countries like the Philippines where social distancing and staying at home have been a necessary move to contain the spread of the deadly virus that hit the world at the onset of 2020, online collaboration has been a necessary tool to communicate and to keep office and school workflows undisrupted.
With online collaboration comes a need for the necessary tools, mainly a laptop. Laptops are expensive depending on their specifications. The higher the specs and capabilities, of course, the pricier the laptops become. There are however laptops that are designed specifically for students and new, young professionals who need a computer mainly to support collaboration and school or office projects/reports. These, mostly entry level, are more affordable. We, at Priceprice.com, have compiled a list of laptops with price tags that are not over PHP 20,000 to help you shop for the equipment that perfectly fits your budget. To make the list more specific, we have narrowed it down to only 14-inch laptops, the average size recommended for using productivity apps such as Microsoft Office tools.
- Things to Consider When Buying a Budget-Friendly Laptop
- Recommended Laptops under PHP 20,000
- Spec Comparison
Things to Consider When Buying a Budget-Friendly Laptop
Like it or not, when faced with budget constraints, you cannot get all the best features out of a laptop. You have to make some compromises. It is important to know your primary purpose for the laptop and buy the laptop model that is best suited toward that purpose. Here are some things you need to consider.
1. The Operating System (OS). For a budget laptop, you most likely have two OSs to choose from: ChromeOS or Windows. Nowadays, Windows 10 is standard, and it is not recommended to get a lower version for document and software compatibility purposes. If you are using a laptop to support non-heavy content work, it is best to choose Windows over ChromeOS. ChromeOS is best for students or those whose priorities are data-making tools, such as Word processors, and do not need to access a lot of applications nor install a lot of software on their devices.
2. Random Access Memory (RAM). For laptops within our chosen price range, the average would be 2GB to 4GB RAM. Higher than 4GB is recommended and thankfully, there are laptop manufacturers these days that are generous with their entry-level laptops. RAM is responsible for letting more apps run in the background without slowing down your laptop. The higher the RAM, the faster your laptop can switch from one app to another or run apps simultaneously. If you do not need to use a lot of apps or access many websites all at the same time, then a 4GB RAM is quite fine. With all the tech advancement these days, we do not recommend lower than 4GB RAM, unless your budget is too tight to afford it.
3. Keyboard response. For students and professionals whose work depend on writing and typing loads of documents, keyboard design should be considered. Note that a keyboard with slightly submerged keys may help avoid lots of typing mistakes, while shallow keys are more ergonomic and can help ease burden from your shoulders and arms. If you need to crunch numbers for your math subjects, or your work needs you to calculate a lot of data, consider getting a laptop with a full-sized keyboard that has a numeric keypad at the side.
4. Battery life. If you do not want the hassle of having to plug in your laptop almost all the time, consider a laptop with long battery life, at least 6 hours on average. If budget is too tight, then look for one that lasts at least 4 hours. Fast-charging features are also important especially if you need to use the laptop outside of the school, office or home where a power plug is not available.
5. Display resolution. Note that 4K resolutions do not come cheap so don't go looking for such within this price range. The standard resolution for this price range is 1366p x 768p, considered HD, which is decent for a 14-inch laptop. For 15-inch laptops however, consider getting a higher resolution, preferably 1080p x 1920p. Students and young professionals who do not need to work on graphics and designs, or video editing, where graphic details are key, an HD resolution is just fine. What's important is that the display has low eye strain features especially when you have to stare for long hours at your laptop screen. Also, if you plan to use your laptop outdoors, make sure your screen brightness is adjustable and it is equipped with anti-glare features.
6. Input terminals. Depending on your requirement, look closely at available ports and terminals. If you need to present and project your laptop, or you need to attach it to a larger monitor from time to time, make sure you have an HDMI port. The terminals should be compatible with your other devices. For laptops with small storage capacity, you would need to use portable drives, flash drives and the likes so consider the USB ports available in the laptop. Make sure to check that the USB version (2.0 or 3.0) is compatible with your other devices and connectors.
7. Storage. For the uninitiated, the different internal storage drives are designed for specific purposes. A hard-disk drive (HDD) is usually for huge capacity and the minimum is usually 500GB – big enough to contain your photos, videos and media files such as music and movies. Solid-state drive (SSD) is mainly for speed, as using up most of your HDD's space can also slow down your laptop. An SSD offers a large capacity storage and at the same time can speed up the overall operations of the laptop thus allowing faster transfer of data. SSDs however are not as cheap as HDDs. Embedded multi-media controller (eMMC), meanwhile, is preferred for its power-saving features.
Note that we did not include processors in our list of considerations. Budget-friendly laptops always had something to sacrifice and more often than not, it is the CPU and GPU. Note though that a mid-range processor does not mean it doesn't perform well. They do perform decently but of course not as highly as top-range ones. For the price range of PHP 20K and below, a Core i7 is ideal, but mostly the chipsets would go around a Core i3 or Core i5. As much as possible, choose Core i5 or higher. The number of cores also has a bearing on the laptop performance. For this price range, dual-core and quad-core processors are offered, and it is better to choose the latter. Note too that Intel Atom would be at the bottom if you rank Pentium, Celeron and Atom, so unless your budget is quite tight, it is best to opt for an Intel Pentium chipset.
Recommended Laptops under PHP 20,000
Here are some 14-inch laptops that are affordable but still current in the market and decent enough to support both school and work requirements.
1. Lenovo Ideapad 330 (14 inches) – PHP 15,500
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The Lenovo Ideapad 330 14 is designed for students and young professionals who carry their laptops to school or to the office daily like a regular workhorse. It has a special protective finish and rubber detailing on the bottom to fight off wear and tear and regulate cooling. Intended to increase one's productivity, the Ideapad 330 has been fitted with internals that support seamless multitasking.
There are two resolutions available for the 14-inch display: a 1,366p x 768p HD and a 1,920p x 1,080p FHD resolution.
The price of the standard Lenovo Ideapad varies from PHP 15,500 to PHP 19,995 depending on the display and processor variant. It comes with a choice of AMD A6-9225, Intel Pentium quad core, Celeron dual core or Celeron quad core. There are also Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 variants but these are over the PHP 20,000 mark. The CPU is complemented by either AMD Radeon 530, NVIDIA MX 110, or NVIDIA MX 130 for its GPU.
The Lenovo Ideapad 330 within our stated price range has a 4GB RAM, which is decent enough to run a few applications simultaneously, coupled with 256GB up to 500GB internal memory, which is quite adequate for storing lots and lots of photos, music and even HD movies in the laptop.
One cool feature of this affordable laptop is its four display modes suitable to specific viewing needs. The Normal mode is best for daily laptop productivity tasks, and if the user's eyes feel tired from a long day's work, there's an Eye Care mode that diminishes blue light to ease eye strain. For a good photo-viewing, or video- and movie-watching experience, turn on the Vivid mode for awesome contrast settings, and if you want to personalize the color settings, then switch to Manual mode.
This Ideapad laptop comes preinstalled with a Windows 10 trial version out of the box, which the user can upgrade to a full version for better productivity at school or at the office.
2. ASUS E406SA Intel Atom x5 Processor (14 inches) – PHP 14,999
The ASUS E406SA is another laptop suited for students and young professionals whose laptop requirements are more on productivity and portability. Being 17.6mm thin and weighing only 1.3kg, this laptop can be a daily study and work companion. This 14-inch computer comes with a 1366p x 768p-resolution NanoEdge display with thin 7.8mm bezels and 76.5% screen-to-body ratio for a very good viewing experience.
It boasts of the latest Intel Atom x5 quad-core processor coupled by a decent 4GB RAM. Storage is at 64GB eMMC for this price range but can support up to 128GB, which allows ample room for documents, photos, music and movies.
Connectivity will not be an issue as the ASUS E406SA supports ultra-fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi, the speed of which is 3x faster than the usual 802.11n. Communication using instant messaging, videoconferencing and other meeting tools will surely be easy as a breeze with this affordable but impressive laptop. Furthermore, it has a fan-less design, which keeps noise levels down, ideal for working remotely in a public place such as in coffee shops or co-working spaces, or for students, at libraries or boarding houses where you need to respect others' needs for quiet and privacy.
Battery life is long lasting as it boasts thrice the lifespan of standard lithium-ion batteries. ASUS' fast-charge technology allows charging of up to 60 percent in a little over 40 minutes.
Overheating after long hours of use will not be a problem as the laptop is equipped with ASUS' IceCool technology that provides an efficient cooling system.
Students and young professionals will love the ASUS E406SA's stylish design and attractive colors, namely Iris Blue, Star Grey and Pearl White.
3. Acer Aspire 3 A314-31 (14 inches) – PHP 19,999
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One budget-friendly laptop with decent specifications is the 8th-generation 14-inch Acer Aspire 3 A314-31. To make the laptop affordable, versus its bigger 15.6-inch Acer Aspire 3 A315-41G sibling, some features are average, but definitely not inferior. Instead of a full HD display, the slim Acer Aspire 3 A314-31 comes with a 1,366p x 768p HD LCD display panel, just right for students, individuals and professionals who will use the laptop for day-to-day activities.
The laptop variants depend on its configurations. There are two SoC configurations, one is the Intel Pentium N4200 quad-core processor with 1.1GHz up to 2.5GHz clock speeds and 2MB cache; another is the Intel Celeron dual-core processor N3350, with similar 2MB L2 cache and 1.1GHz up to 2.4GHz clock speeds. Both configurations are coupled with an Intel HD graphics processor.
Both configurations come with a 4GB DDR3L SDRAM, paired with a 500GB HDD storage and 128GB SSD/eMMC.
You can easily connect to Wi-Fi and to a LAN port as the Acer Aspire 3 A314-31 supports 802.11ac wireless LAN and Gigabit LAN connectivity.
A 640p x 480p webcam enables video collaboration with colleagues or connecting with friends and family on social media. There are two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port and HDMI output for your input devices.
4. HP Notebook 14 – PHP 17,998
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Another fairly affordable notebook fit for students and for professionals on a budget is the HP 14-ck0127tu. Not just stylish, it does a good job of keeping one connected and productive. Its HD SVA BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit 1366p x 768p display is good enough for a decent viewing experience. It sports a full-size island-style illuminated keyboard that is most useful to students and people who use Office productivity tools even in a dimly lit environment.
Powered by an Intel Celeron N4000 chipset with dual-core CPU that has 4MB cache and a base frequency of 1.1GHz and a burst frequency of up to 2.6GHz, along with an Intel UHD Graphics for its GPU. Memory speed is not bad at 4GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM, supported by a 500GB internal memory on SATA. These internals guarantee decent reliable performance for non-content-heavy tasks.
With a long-lasting, fast-charging 3-cell Li-ion battery, it is effortless to stay connected and entertained. Powering the HP Notebook 14 takes 0 to 90% charge in a matter of merely 90 minutes.
For communication or vide-chatting, the laptop comes with an HP TrueVision HD Camera with integrated digital microphone and a dual-speaker setup that HP has fine-tuned for an exceptional stereo quality. Wireless connectivity is achieved through Intel 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 features. Local network is made possible by integrated 10/100/1000 GbE LAN.
The HP Notebook 14 has one multiformat SD card reader, one HDMI port, one headphone/microphone jack, as well as one RJ-45, one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports.
5. Acer Chromebook 14 – starts at PHP 13,654
Chromebooks, which run on ChromeOS, are especially designed for students, and the Acer Chromebook 14 is one of the good ones. While you can't expect this laptop to perform demanding business and content-heavy tasks, it is ideal for whole-day typing and browsing webpages. With the Acer Chromebook 14's impressive build quality that extends to its perfectly sized keyboard and touchpad, pounding on endless essays, emails and crunching Excel databases are quite effortless.
The basic Acer Chromebook 14 comes with a 14-inch Full HD display, which is a plus for students and other users, as visuals will surely be perfectly crisp in this laptop. Movie and video watching will be enjoyable as for a budget-friendly laptop, contrast is fine enough for users to make out important details. Furthermore, visibility is impressive as this laptop's display hinge allows a full 180-degree rotation — you can tilt it all you want and lay it flat.
An Intel Celeron N3160 quad-core chipset powers up the Acer Chromebook 14, in tandem with a 4GB RAM. If you own an Android device, you will see a little similarity with how Chromebooks run. Open plenty of tabs and applications simultaneously and you'll definitely feel occasional lags and stammers although not an issue for users who are not using this device as an everyday workhorse.
Internal storage is either a 16GB or a 32GB SSD/eMMC so it isn't advised to store your huge files of photos and videos in the laptop.
Battery can last up to 12 hours with non-heavy usage – good enough for a user to work at coffee shops, restaurants, the mall, or anywhere where a power outlet isn't available.
The Acer Chromebook 14 supports Wi-Fi and LAN and comes with HDMI and USB 3.0 ports.
6. ASUS X407MA (14 inches) – starts at PHP 14,499
The ASUS X407MA is one of the best laptops within our stated price range, boasting a super-fast 8GB RAM, which is ideal for multitaskers. Not only that, the laptop boasts a dual-storage design that combines a large-capacity HDD with a superfast SSD. It's perfect for students, individuals and professionals who are looking for style, performance and affordability combined in one machine.
Flexibility is the keyword for this impressive laptop, as it comes with different configurations to match the user's needs. First off, there are two anti-glare LED-backlit HD display-resolution configurations: 1366p x 768p and 1920p x 1080p. Both configurations have a 60Hz refresh rate.
There are four processor configurations, with dual-core and quad-core CPUs, available for the ASUS X407MA in the Philippines, and these are an Intel Atom Z3775 with up to 2.39GHz speed, an Intel Pentium Silver N5000 processor with up to 2.7GHz, an Intel Celeron N4100 with up to 2.4GHz and an Intel Celeron N4000 with up to 2.6GHz speed. There's a choice between two graphic processors: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 or a higher Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620.
As earlier mentioned, 8GB DDR4 SDRAM is standard across all configurations, which is coupled by dual, large volume options for internal storage. The base is a 500GB SATA HDD plus 128GB SATA 3.0 SSD, and the larger storage is a combination of 1TB SATA HDD and a 256GB SATA 3.0 SSD.
The X407MA has a good battery life, and better yet it comes with a fast-charging feature allowing 60 percent charge in little below 50 minutes.
For its price, the ASUS X407MA comes with cool features such as a fingerprint sensor for security, and an attractive laptop-cooling technology.
There are laptop brands that dominate the budget and midrange segment. Most of the 14-inch laptops priced PHP 20K and below are offered by ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, and HP and those that we mentioned here are just a few of their offerings. Dell's midrange offerings tip a little over this price range with its midrange laptops, but it does have older models that still pack quite good specifications such as the Dell Latitude E6430 and the Dell Inspiron 14-3421.
Depending on the brand quality and reviews, some old models can still provide good support though they may be short of new features. Rest assured though that there is going to be at least one laptop model perfect for your needs and will not break the bank. We hope you learned something from this article to help you make wise and informed decisions on your budget-friendly laptop purchase.
|Model||Lenovo Ideapad 330 14||ASUS Laptop E406SA||Acer Aspire 3 A314-31||HP 14-ck0127tu||Acer Chromebook 14||ASUS Laptop X407MA|
|CPU||AMD, Celeron Dual Core, Celeron Quad Core, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, Pentium Quad Core||Atom, Celeron Dual Core, Celeron Quad Core||Pentium Quad Core||Celeron Dual Core||Atom Quad Core, Celeron Dual Core, Celeron Quad Core, Pentium Quad Core|
|GPU Model||NVIDIA MX 130
NVIDIA MX 110
AMD Radeon 530
(Offerings vary by configuration)
|Integrated Intel HD Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 505
DDR3L Shared graphics memory
|Intel UHD Graphics 600||Intel HD Graphics 400 LPDDR3 Shared graphics memory||Integrated Intel HD Graphics 520
Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620
|RAM||4GB, 6GB, 16GB||2GB, 4GB||4GB||4GB||4GB||4GB, 8GB|
|HDD||500GB, 1TB, 2TB||500GB||500GB||500GB, 1TB|
|Display Size||14 inches||14 inches||14 inches||14 inches||14 inches||14 inches|
|Weight||Starting at 2.1 kg||1.3 kg||Approx. 1.8 kg||Starting at 1.47 kg||Approx. 3.4 lb (1.54 kg)||1.5 kg with Battery|