Computers fuel the actions of our everyday lives, and when you’re looking to purchase a new device you will find yourself lost in a sea of choices. This can be a good and a bad thing because years ago there weren’t a lot of options, and most of these tech choices were expensive. You were out a pocket a significant amount of money, and most of the time you were purchasing something that didn’t fit all of your needs. Thankfully, we are at a time when the market favors buyers and we can research our options effectively. Many people like to have smaller laptops because they are easier to transport and still pack the power that you need to accomplish your everyday tasks. So, it is no surprise that many manufacturers are attempting to make the smallest laptops in the market to suit your needs.
Initially, when deciding on purchasing a mini laptop, you need to be willing to give up some features that are important to you. The truth is, these computers are very easy to travel with, but because of their size they don’t have enough room for everything. For example, there are many smaller devices that have a powerful RAM and significant memory, but their speakers and webcam are not of the highest quality. Even though you have most of the features that you want, you will not be able to have them all. So, what you actually have to worry about are the features that you need to accomplish your tasks. Are you a student that is just looking for a laptop to get your through college, or are you a designer that is going to have to run memory heavy programs? You need to determine exactly what you will be using your small device for before you start shopping.
How does the price of a smaller laptop compare to larger devices?
Depending on the features, you are able to purchase a nice computer, that is smaller, for well under 1,000 dollars. Although most smaller devices have lower storage and memory, it is still enough to complete daily tasks. No, we’re not suggesting that your computer will not be functional, but you might not have a CD-drive. Also, depending on the operating system you select, it will also affect your budget. If you choose to have a Mac versus a PC you are going to spend significantly more money. However, you can purchase a PC with a lot more features for the same price as a base-model Mac. If you even consider a Mac a base model because most of these devices are far more advanced than other companies. All of these characteristics of technological devices should be taken into heavy consideration when purchasing a device.
Which operating system is right for you?
Normal Mistakes People Make When Purchasing Laptops:
1. Buying the Cheapest Option: Money makes the world go around, and when shopping for a brand you might think that buying the cheapest option is the best solution. However, you couldn’t be more wrong. This option seems smart because you need to abide by your budget, but if you buy a device that can’t run your programs you’ve wasted money. Generally, you can pay just a little bit more to up the power of the processor or the memory. This extra 50 to 100 dollars can make your computer experience way better.
2. Overpaying: This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people overpay because they don’t do enough research. It is important to seek out other computers that compare to the model that you have. One of the best examples of users overpaying is when they think they must purchase the newest model on the market. Just because a computer is released doesn’t mean that it is time to chuck in your model for a new one. In fact, most computers will hold their value if they are taken care of. So, before buying something, do a little bit of reading to make sure that the money is worth it, and that it isn’t popular because of some fad.
3. Must Have the Newest Laptop: We touched on this a bit in the overpaying for a laptop, but most people get upset with the status of having a new piece of technology versus needing it. You can see the line of people every year that get a new phone, when their old phone was just as efficient. In fact, in most cases, the specs aren’t even that different. There is guaranteed to be a new product out every year, and instead of wasting money you can save your purchase for a model that you really need. Consider the long-term value of any product you decide to buy before spending money on it.
4. Not Paying Attention to Ports: We talk about this all the time, before purchasing your computer you need to ask yourself what you need the technology for. A laptop is not a one-size fits all solution to your computing needs, and as such you must be sure that the device has the right capabilities. If you are shopping for a Mac, it might be necessary that you have a Thunderbolt 3 port. However, when looking at PCs you might still be using a USB 2.0 drive to store information. If you buy a computer with a USB 3.0 port, then you won’t be compatible. Ports are something that you should always consider before your make your new purchase.
5. Getting the Best Resolution: Graphics are important when purchasing a computer, especially when you are a designer and need a higher level of detail. However, the average user does not need to waste money on the best resolution. If your resolution is high you will immediately notice that battery life is suffering. What is the point of having a portable device that needs to be plugged in constantly? If you select a lower resolution then you guarantee yourself up to 2 more hours of battery life. So, although your screen will look pretty, what features really matter to you?
6. Test Drive the Device: If you were buying a car you’d want to sit behind the wheel, so why not see how the computer you want operates. Many people buy things online, and in doing so you are buying products that are sight-unseen. However, it is worth it to take a trip to the store so that you can put your hands on the keyboard and really try it out. A lot of complaints, especially with convertible devices, is the way that they feel. You can completely avoid this issue by just going to the store. While you’re at the store, talk to employees and see which models are the best sellers and ask for their opinions.
7. Does Size Matter: It might seem like a great idea to get a 10-inch monitor because it is affordable, but in all likelihood, it is going to be difficult to see the screen. In this article, we discuss the important aspects of having a smaller device, and you are going to compromise some features with size. However, if you can afford a 13-inch screen then that is something worth paying for. In fact, most people traveling with their laptops want a 15-inch screen. It’s important that you know what you are getting into, and that you’re prepared to pull out your glasses, so you can see details.
8. Having Tunnel Vision: Whether it is your love of a particular brand or feature, zoning in on one aspect of a laptop is never the right move. When you are so focused on one thing, you can miss another machine that fits more of your needs. If you’re shopping on a budget, it is better to find a machine that encompasses most of your needs, instead of buying a model that is popular. Also, look at the specs of the device you want, and decide if they are trying to sneak in extra features that really do nothing. For example, most people don’t need past 8 GB of RAM, but it can look like a good idea to purchase that for extra money if you don’t know the difference.
9. Getting an Ultrabook for the Price: Yes, smaller laptops are far more affordable and Chromebooks have made it look like a healthy alternative for a high-powered machine. If you are only going to check your email, write some word documents, and browse the internet then a Chromebook is perfect. However, if you are a designer and need to run programs then an ultrabook isn’t going to come close to the specs that you need. Storage is also another issue, because most of these ultrabooks have none. So, before you get excited about this affordable price, you need to make sure that the device is powerful enough to do the work.
10. Not Knowing what a 2-in1 is: Again, below, we list a lot of options that are 2-in-1 machines, and it’s important to know what these tablet hybrids are capable of. There are some great options on the market where it can really feel like the 2-in-1 is a traditional laptop, but that isn’t the case. In fact, most of these options are just slightly more powerful tablets that are aren’t capable of much else. So, a lot of consumers decide to purchase these devices, not knowing that they will never have the power or memory to accomplish their tasks. It is important to not only pay attention to the price tag, but to make a purchase that meets your needs.
The Importance of the Keyboard
One of the reasons that the keyboard is specifically mentioned is because it is one of the chief complaints. Many users order a 2-in-1 and are upset when the keyboard is hard to use, or isn’t what they expected. Now, if you find yourself in this keyboard situation there are some solutions. You can always buy an external keyboard and hook it up to the screen. You won’t spend that much extra money, and you’ll be happy with the device that you have. You can also get a 2-in-1 and use it primarily as a tablet. Especially if you’re looking for a tablet, but you kind of want something in between, it can be worth the bad keyboard. Just be prepared to go to the store, so that you can put your hands on some of these products. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by doing your research, and testing out any of the devices that you like.
Screen size: does it really matter
When we were compiling these list, we spent many hours filtering through prices and customer devices to pick the best choices. We put in the effort to make your shopping process that much easier. Below, you see the top 10 choices in the market, and you’re sure to find a model that suits your needs.
Samsung Chromebook 3 XE500C13-K04US
Chromebooks are the future of the industry because they are small, affordable, and run off an interesting operating system. If you have children, you will notice that Chromebooks are the leading devices in schools whether you look at elementary to high schools. There is a reason that Chromebooks are used, and it’s because they’re reliable and are very budget friendly. This 11 inch-screen is a bit smaller than most designers want when they purchase a computer, and that is because the screen doesn’t have enough detail and definition for graphics. However, you can purchase this computer for less than 200 dollars, which is an incredible value. There are many Chromebooks on the market, but Samsung is one of the best manufacturers.
Some of the specs of this device are an a-typical processor, that of the Intel Celeron N3060. Generally, you’ll find that most computers have an Intel i5 or an Intel i7, but the Celeron is just as efficient it’s just not as powerful. The battery of this device is said to give 11 hours of life per one charge. When traveling with a computer you want to make sure that you don’t have to stay plugged into an outlet, and this Chromebook exceeds expectations. You can select 2 GB or 4 GB of RAM and there’s 16 GB of memory available. Chromebooks run off apps versus programs, so that is the only learning curve that you will have with this device.
|Samsung Chromebook 3||Main Specs|
|CPU||Intel Celeron N3060 processor|
|OS||Google Chrome OS|
Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible
Here is the perfect example of a multi-use device that is a great value for the price. When purchasing a smaller device, having additional options is one of the selling points. You sacrifice the size, but have things like a touchscreen like this Acer. This is another Chromebook, and as we mentioned before, this is one of the most sought after operating systems on the market right now. This device is 11 inches and has an Intel Celeron Quad-core processor. If you’re going to pick a computer that is smaller, it’s perfect to select one that converts to different modes. This Acer stands up in display mode, can be used for presentations, and is easy to travel with. Many users enjoy traveling with a touchscreen, so that they can get their work done on the go, with the choice of dealing with a keyboard.
The batter for this Acer is 10 hours, which is perfect for study or work sessions. With a 4 GB RAM, you have enough power to handle most programs, and because Chromebooks run off a different operating system that is plenty of power. There is also 32 GB of flash storage that is perfect to save all your documents. The benefit of this device is the ability to convert this computer to several different modes and the ability to touch the screen.
|Acer Chromebook R 11||Main Specs|
|CPU||Intel Celeron N3150 Quad-Core Processor|
|Graphics||Intel® HD Graphics|
|Memory||4GB DDR3L Onboard Memory|
|Storage||32GB Internal Storage|
Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 11-inch
Here is an interesting option, the Acer Cloudbook is Microsoft’s answer to the Chromebook operating systems. For under 200 dollars, you can purchase this smaller laptop which is perfect for your day-to-day activities. The 11-inch screen makes this device easy to slip in a carry-on or over the shoulder bag. The main benefit of the device is the cloud software, and if you have read any type of technological magazine lately you should be familiar with this term. Even the music that you listen to in your streaming devices is held in a cloud. The ability to store documents and files in a virtual cloud means that you don’t need storage in your computer. Acer allows you to build a cloud that suits your own needs, which means that it will be as big as you want and is easily accessed by many different devices.
The RAM of this device is only 2 GB, which is the smallest processor that we have mentioned so far. Also, the battery is not as powerful as the others we’ve discussed. If you take this computer on the go, you’re only going to have 8 hours before you are hunting for an outlet. However, those that are looking for a device with storage that they can customize will appreciate this gadget.
|Acer Aspire One Cloudbook||Main Specs|
|CPU||Intel Celeron N3050|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics|
|Memory||2GB of DDR3L Onboard Memory|
|Storage||32 GB Internal Storage|
Again, we have a beautiful option on this list that is more than just a smaller computer. The price point is a little bit higher with this device, but you can still purchase this device for less than 400 dollars. Intel is the processor for this Dell, and a respectable 4 GB of RAM. Again, you should not expect to get a ton of memory with any of these smaller computers, unless it is in the form of flash or cloud storage. This Dell is the first that we have mentioned that has a windows operating system, which means there will be some bloatware on this device. One of the highlights of this computer is the 500 GB of memory. There are few other devices that you can purchase at this price point that give you this amount of variation and memory.
Having a 2-in-1 Dell gives you the freedom of choice where you can vary your device’s mode depending on the function. Break this sleek device out for a meeting to impress clients, or use this computer as a tablet while traveling. We’re always trying to minimize the number of things we carry around on a daily basis, and this Dell is the perfect way to combine two of your most used technological gadgets.
|Dell i3168-3272GRY||Main Specs|
|CPU||Intel Pentium N3710|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics|
|Display Size||11.6 Inch|
|Memory||4 GB DDR3L SDRAM Included|
|Storage||500 GB HDD Storage|
HP Stream 11-y010nr
Welcome to the list another 11-inch screen, but there is also an option to have a 14-inch, for just a little bit more money. Whichever option you choose, the price point this computer sells at is around 200 dollars. Again, the value that you get with these options is incredible, most companies are selling smaller computers for around 200 dollars. There is an Intel Celeron processor and 4 GB of memory. Generally, you’ll see that most smaller laptops have around 4 GB of RAM. Another fun thing about this HP is the ability to order this computer in a light blue or violet color. Most people care a lot about the casing of their device, and you’re stepping out of the box with these colors. The battery clocks in at just under 11 hours of use, which will get you through your day at work or class with ease.
A downside, compared to the last option, is the 32 GB of memory. However, that is not the most limited amount of memory on a device on this list, and you can store a lot of files in a cloud storage program. Those that want a colorful laptop that performs as good as it looks should consider this HP.
|HP Stream 11-y010nr||Main Specs|
|CPU||Intel Celeron N3060|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 400|
|Memory||4 GB DDR3L SDRAM Memory|
|Storage||32 GB eMMC|
HP x2 10-inch Detachable 10-p020nr
Yes, there is a smaller laptop screen, but this HP sets itself apart from its convertible competition. The smaller the screen the more a computer will remind you of a tablet, but it is possible to have a device that is versatile enough to work as both. This HP even comes with a stylus which makes it even easier to convert as a tablet. For a little under 300 dollars, it is possible to have a high-end tablet that functions as a laptop. Since this device is so small, it can be charged to half of its battery life in only 30 minutes. Speaking of the battery, this device lasts for ten and a half hours. Again, if you want a laptop that is going to be able to travel places with you, you don’t want to have to be on the lookout for outlets constantly.
There are only a few downsides to this HP purchase, but there isn’t enough power for users to run high memory programs. This is generally the issue with smaller devices, but this is so small that it is a problem. However, this is a good option for someone that wants a tablet with just a little more power than a typical model.
|HP x2 10-inch Detachable 10-p020nr||Main Specs|
|CPU||Intel® Atom(TM) x5-Z8350 Processor|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 400|
|Memory||2 GB DDR SDRAM Memory|
Lenovo IdeaPad Mix 310
Lenovo, is a name that is trusted in the industry because of the craftsmanship and the price point. This is another device priced just under 200 dollars, but this option offers the capability to up the amount of flash storage. You find that with budget models it really isn’t possible to customize them to your specifications, so it’s nice to be able to add a little bit more storage. The biggest benefit of this computer is that it is another convertible device, where you can take the keyboard and completely detach it. Again, those that need more power with their tablet, or are looking to downsize the amount of technology they are carrying around. There are fewer models that convert to a tablet that have these specs.
This Lenovo does not have the highest amount of battery life, at only 10 hours for this convertible laptop. However, there are two webcams that are of the highest quality to assist you in your daily tasks. A lot of these smaller devices do not have the highest quality features. There is absolutely no hard drive on this device, so if that is something important to you, this isn’t the device for you.
|Lenovo IdeaPad Mix 310||Main Specs|
|CPU||Intel Atom X5 Z8350|
|Memory||2 GB RAM|
|Storage||32 GB eMMC|
RCA Viking Pro 10” 2-in-1 Laptop
Anytime you see a 10-inch screen on a computer you might as well assume that it is some type of convertible laptop. This RCA is a model that many buyers enjoy because of the look and price point. Many buyers were familiar with RCA decades ago because their TVs generally wore the brand on the front. However, having the staying power in an ever-changing industry speaks to a company’s ability to adapt and produce quality products. The first thing you’ll notice about this computer, other than the ability to buy it for less than 150 dollars, is the blue shell. This RCA device also allows you to completely detach the keyboard from the screen. This is the perfect option for those that need an extra device, want multiple mode capabilities, and don’t want to spend a ton of money.
A drawback for this device is a lower quality RAM, at 1 GB. This is more of a tablet than a computer, but there is a 32 GB hard drive. So, you don’t have the ability to run memory-heavy programs, but there is an ability to store most of your files successfully. This RCA is ideal for someone that is conscious about their budget, and wants a device operating on an Android platform.
|RCA Viking Pro||Main Specs|
|CPU||Quad Core Chip-MT8127|
|Storage||32GB onboard storage|
ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 (Water Resistant)
Now we come to a device on this list that has many specifications that are perfect for the user on the go. It doesn’t matter what type of technological device you have, whether it’s a smart phone, tablet, computer, or camera, we all know that water and technology doesn’t mix. So, isn’t it a nice thought to be able to use a device and not have to worry about spilling anything on it. Almost every user has a cup of coffee or a bottle of water next to their computer, and many issues occur when these get spilled. This ASUS is designed to be used heavily, and is encased with rubber guards for protection. Dropping and spilling things on your computer can cost a lot of money, and this ASUS was created to survive everything. This device is another small device you can purchase for less than 200 dollars.
The ASUS allows users to perform tasks with peace of mind that their computer can withstand the elements, for a time of up to 10 hours. There is only 16 GB of flash storage, which is on the lighter side of this list. However, it is always possible to have an external hard drive if you need more storage.
|ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02||Main Specs|
|CPU||Intel Celeron N3060 Processor|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics|
|Display Size||11.6 inches|
|Memory||4 GB DDR3 RAM|
|Storage||16GB Flash Storage|
ASUS Transformer Mini T102HA-D4-GR
This mini is more of a traditional 2-in-1 laptop and is the final option on our top 10 list of small devices. At a slightly higher price point, you can buy this Transformer with a Quad Core Atom processor or a Quad Core i7. This ASUS is the first computer on this list that has the ability of having an Intel i7 processor, which gives you the ability to run any program that you need. There is also up to 11 hours of battery life, and this gives you an entire day of working on this device before having to charge it up. Another plus is the 128 GB of flash storage, so it really is possible to use this versatile model as a computer, where some of the other tablets would never have real functionality. This is really one of the most powerful computers on this list, and is the perfect choice for someone seeking to spend a little more money to open up an entirely new world of choices.
There are minimal setbacks with this ASUS, and a chief complaint is the keyboard, that it isn’t versatile when it’s used. Another issue was customer service with the device, which can be frustrating when things go wrong. However, ultimately, those that want a budget tablet or small laptop will be satisfied with this purchase.
|ASUS T102HA-D4-GR||Main Specs|
|CPU||Intel Atom Quad Core x5-Z8350|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics|
|Display Size||10.1 inches|
Now that you have the details:
You’ve perused through the list of our top picks and should now have an idea of the amount of machine you can purchase for your money. Now, you know which features you can leave behind and the specs that are necessary to have. There are several ways that you can purchase these devices, and most consumers prefer using online platforms. Thankfully, you will be able to buy any of these devices from the comfort of your own home, and not feel rushed about your decision.
We gave you the background and points that you need to cover before you start down your path toward purchasing your new piece of technology. Keep in mind, that it is possible to buy an affordable small computer, but you will not have the power or options that you receive when you spend slightly more money. If there is one thing that you should have learned today, it is totally possible to only spend a few hundred dollars and end up with devices to handle your workload. So, now you must venture out into the marketplace and buy the device of your choice, to get you through the next few years of computer use.