Cheap Laptop Under $400


Apr 12, 2012
1. What is your budget?

Under $400. I'd love to get as cheap as possible.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Size doesn't matter

3. What screen resolution do you want?
I don't know.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

5. How much battery life do you need?
4-6 hours

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
The Sims 4. High or Medium.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Just writing papers, looking at pdfs and listening to music.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Enough for gaming.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
A year or two. I'd like to upgrade later.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
I don't know.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

13. What country do you live in?
United States

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I'd like to be able to hook it up to my Mac mini if possible. If not, it's okay.


You are basically limited to laptops with integrated graphics in your budget which will be enough to play the Sims 4 at 1366x768 resolution and likely 1600x900 resolution. Playing at 1080p may be possible with the lowest graphic settings.

Below are two options. Both only have 4GB of RAM so I recommend you purchase a stick of 4GB of RAM and install it since it will improve game performance in two ways. First, more RAM means less disk caching when Windows runs out of memory which can cause lag. Keep in mind that Windows, the Sims 4 and the integrated graphics core will be using the RAM installed in the laptop. Second, with two sticks of RAM installed, the RAM will operate at full speed rather than half speed with only one stick of RAM. That can generally increase performance by about 10% - 15% depending on the game.

HP 15-ay169nr Touch Laptop - Core i5-7200u, Intel HD 620, 1366x768 screen - $394

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM - Core i3-7100u, Intel HD 620, 1080p screen - $350

Ballistix Sport LT 4GB Single DDR4 RAM - $25 (currently on sale)

Between the two I would choose the Acer laptop because it has a 1080p screen which to me is very useful outside of playing games. It allows me to see more information on the screen at one time compared to a 1366x768 screen. That's important to me when I work with spreadsheets or read through documents. For you that means you can have a word processor on the left side of the screen and a we browser on the right half of the screen if you need to write a research paper. However, you give up the Core i5-7200u that has a stock speed of 2.5GHz and can Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz. The 3.1GHz only applies when 1 core is being used, when both cores are used it will likely top out at 2.8GHz to prevent overheating. Instead you get the Core i3-7100u with a stock speed of 2.4GHz. It is still fast enough for what you want to do.

The following video is the Sims 4 being played on a laptop with a Core i3-7100u, 1366x768 screen and 8GB of RAM (2 x 4GB sticks):

Below is a review for the Acer laptop I recommended. It also includes a playlist link in the description to some games played on the laptop if you are interested. For example, it can play LoL (not a demanding game) at 1080p with very high settings.
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