Budget is one of the biggest concerns for most people when it comes to buying a laptop. Thankfully, the laptop market has evolved to a level where something is available for just about every need and budget. If you’re looking for a laptop, but don’t want to spend more than Rs. 30,000, then here’s what you can expect to buy for this price.
Entry-level laptops are great for basic productivity work like web browsing, online classes, data storage, and running office apps like Word, Excel, etc. This work doesn’t require a high-end processor, too much RAM, or GPU. So, entry-level components like RAM, and CPU, will be just fine. A good option to consider when on a tight budget is a Chromebook, which runs the popular ChromeOS from Google. Besides this, there are regular Windows-based laptops also available around this price, but the options are limited. Let’s understand what components and laptop options to expect at this price point.
You can expect to get an Intel Celeron, Pentium Silver, or AMD Ryzen 3 series of CPUs at the entry-level. Ryzen 3 is a pretty good CPU for running Linux or Windows OS. Check out the HP NB 255 G8 Laptop which comes with AMD Ryzen 3-3250U CPU, 8 GB RAM, Radeon Vega 8 GPU, and 1 TB HDD. Though this laptop features an HDD instead of an SSD, it offers better performance and scalability than most other laptops in the same range. If required, you can replace the HDD with a SATA SSD later by spending a bit more. The RAM is also upgradeable up to 16 GB. At Rs. 29,000, this device is a steal deal in this segment.
The Ryzen 3 3250U CPU is a 2 Core 4 Thread APU with 3.5 GHz speed, accompanied by an integrated 3 Core 1200 MHz Vega 8 GPU. This processor is a good choice for academics, basic software programming, office productivity, data processing, browsing, FHD streaming, and entry-level gaming.
If someone offers you a Core i5 or i7 CPU at this price point, then either the device is refurbished or the CPUs belong to a very old generation. Neither option is recommended.
If you opt for an entry-level laptop, most probably you are going to get a 14” screen. This screen size is pretty good for most routine work. In fact, many premium segment laptops also come with a 14” display. The difference here is in the brightness and resolution quality. Entry level 14” displays will give you 1366×768 resolution and 200-250 NITS brightness. Don’t expect a Full-HD screen or IPS display at this price. The touchscreen is a premium feature, but you can still get it if you opt for a Chromebook. Check out the HP Chromebook x360 14a-ca0504TU which comes for INR 30,000 and features a 14” touchscreen display. This device is powered by Intel Celeron N4120 CPU, 4 GB RAM, Intel UHD 600, and 64 GB eMMC storage.
The price range of 30k will keep you away from getting configurations with 1 TB SSDs or 240 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD combos. At best you can opt for the 64GB eMMC or 128 GB SSD in most modern entry-level laptops. If you want more storage, then you will have to go for a 1 TB regular HDD. These have their own performance limitations due to older technology. If you can stretch your budget just a little to upgrade to an SSD, then you must. The performance boost you’ll get will be worth it.
This is vital for multitasking and more resource-data-intensive applications. Usually, 8 GB is the sweet spot, but 4 GB will also do at this budget. So, if you can get a laptop with 8 GB RAM at this budget, then please go for it. Otherwise, you can always buy one with 4 GB RAM and upgrade it later.
Dedicated Graphics Card:
Under 30K, you’ll hardly find a dedicated GPU in any reputed laptop brand. If you want something better than onboard graphics like Intel UHD, then your best bet is to opt for Ryzen 3 APU, which comes with an integrated Radeon Vega 8 GPU. Another point to note is that in a laptop, you can’t install a GPU later, so if you have any requirements for a dedicated GPU, revising your budget is the only option.
Laptops under 30k will feature a VGA webcam or if you are lucky, a 720P webcam at max. HP Chromebooks feature a 720P webcam with a built-in mic, which is pretty decent for the price. When it comes to WiFi, the best you will get is 802.11 (2×2) Wireless LAN and Bluetooth 5 for this price. The faster WiFi 6 standard is not available under the 30k budget.
Connectivity ports like USB 2, USB 3.1, 3.5mm Audio jack, and HDMI ports are common in this segment. Micro USB and Thunderbolt I/O ports are premium features, hence you can expect those under 30k.
While many high-end laptops also suffer from poor battery life, it is the brand that actually ensures premium battery quality and long battery backup. Even at a 30K budget, it is not much if you ask for a battery that gives you 4+ hours of battery backup. Especially while you are browsing UHD videos, or playing music, the battery tends to drain faster. To support the battery power requirements of these days, I would recommend going for HP laptops only.
Personally, I have used multiple laptops to date, and apart from premium Apple laptops, HP is the only brand that provides excellent battery backup and quality. All HP laptops come with batteries with 1000 life cycles that last for 3 years without hindrances. Also, HP is the only brand in India that features 3 years of battery warranty on most of their laptops.
On the other hand, if you choose Chromebook, you will automatically get extended hours of battery backup and the credit goes to Chrome OS, as it’s known to be extremely power efficient. So, the HP Chromebook x360 14a-ca0504TU is a great option if battery backup is a huge concern for you. All HP Chromebooks feature 12+ hours of battery backup, and it’s the perfect choice for frequent travelers and remote cloud natives.
Many budget laptops are bulky
Most budget-friendly laptops are old-fashioned and bulky, but there are few laptops that are trendy and lightweight. A heavy laptop will increase the weight of your EDC and it can cause shoulder pain in the long term. So opting for a laptop that is lightweight, trendy looking, and features a metallic body is always recommended. HP Chromebooks usually weigh less than 1.5 KG, and the above-discussed HP NB 255 G8 Laptop weighs only 1.7 Kg.
At this budget, you might get a touchscreen laptop like HP Chromebook, but getting a device that has a pen, stylus or any touch tool input support is highly unlikely. Actually, the compatibility of touch tools varies depending upon the motherboard. If you can’t stretch your budget beyond 30K, then there is no chance you will get a laptop with a board that supports touch tool inputs.
According to the discussion above, you can understand that although there seem to be numerous laptops available under 30K, only a few of them are available in 2022. No matter what your budget is, always try to maximize the value for money, and that can be done by opting for a scalable product. If you are a complete online worker or cloud-native like me, then Chromebook is the best choice for you without any second thought.
But if you want to use it for academic purposes, multitasking, basic editing, and light gaming then you have to stick with a Windows laptop. In that case, going for a laptop that features Intel Celeron, but runs on Windows would be a blunder to do. If you do not want to face frustrating performance issues, then opt for Ryzen 3-based laptops under this segment. If you manage to find any brand new laptop under this budget with Intel Core i3 (10th or 11th gen), that also can be a considerable choice.