Cheap, reliable laptop for Skype, web browsing, streaming video (USA, 14" or bigger screen)


Nov 12, 2014
Hi all,

The screen on my (quite old) laptop just broke, so I'm in the market for a new one. I already have a nice desktop computer that I use for gaming, so I don't need anything too powerful.

My wife is spending a year away, so this laptop will mostly be used for us to hang out while lying in bed. Basically, I want to be able to have Skype open while watching HD video from Netflix,, or my hard drive. It would also be nice to have a screen whose brightness can go very low, since I'll mostly be using it at night right before I go to sleep.

$400-$500 is the upper end of what I'm willing to spend, but I'd like to go as cheap as possible while meeting the needs given above.

I'd like at least 14" screen size, but I'm not too picky.

I'd like it to be reliable, so I don't need to worry about replacing it anytime soon.

I'm fine with buying used and/or refurbished if people generally have success with the proposed model.

1080p would be great, but I'm fine with 768p if that's significantly cheaper.

I have a spare Windows 7 key that I can use, so I'd prefer no operating system or Linux (just to save money).

I don't care much about battery life, speaker quality, weight, aesthetics, etc.

Note: Somebody I know from work is selling a laptop with the following specs for $290 (no tax or shipping since I'd just pick it up from him).

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E430

  • Display: 14" LCD (1366 x 768)
    OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
    CPU: i5 3320M @ 2.60Ghz (3rd Gen - Intel HD4000 Graphics)
    RAM: 6GB DDR3 (2GB + 4GB)
    HDD: 320GB SATA II 3.0Gb/s Seagate

Should that be capable of streaming Skype and HD video at the same time? Would that be a good deal, or would I be better off looking elsewhere?

Thanks for any help!
That laptop is more then capabile.

Most all 15" or smaller laptops will be 768 resolution.

Any laptop with core i3 3xxx or 4xxx and 6gb of ram will be just fine.

The two best brands for build quality right now (at least in the < $100 price range) is Lenovo and Asus


Jul 9, 2011
Do you need Windows? I know it's out of left field but I just picked up a 14" Chromebook for $350 and it's crushing. Really solid piece of hardware so far. Just a thought.