14 tiny Windows laptops for under $400

A decade ago there was pretty much no such thing as a cheap, tiny laptop computer. Sure you could find plenty of inexpensive portable computers. And you could find some tiny models like the Toshiba Libretto line. But until netbooks hit the scene in 2007 you pretty much had to choose between cheap or tiny.

In early 2014 netbooks are a fading memory as PC makers push tablets, laptops, smartwatches, and other new devices.

But the legacy of the netbook lives on: Want a cheap and tiny laptop? No problem. Most major PC makers offer at least one device that fits the bill.

Tiny laptops

Here are 10 modern Windows laptops with 11.6 inch or smaller displays and price tags of $400 or less.

Note that this list doesn’t include Chromebooks or notebooks that ship with Linux. But bargain hunters can often find even better deals on mini-laptops by grabbing a model that comes with Chrome OS or Ubuntu.

10 inch notebooks and convertibles

1. Asus Transformer Book T100 – $399

The Transformer Book T100 is a 2-in-1 device which you can use as a tablet or a notebook. The processor, memory, battery, and all the other important bits are in the tablet section, but the system comes with a keyboard that effectively turns the 10 inch tablet into a notebook.

Asus Transformer Book t100

While many tablet makers offer optional keyboards, every Transformer Book T100 comes with a keyboard, which is why I feel pretty comfortable including it in a list of laptops.

When I reviewed the T100, I was also quite impressed with its performance, battery life, and overall value. The 8 hours of real-world battery life is also nothing to sneeze at.

For $399 you can pick up a model with an Intel Atom Z3740 Bay Trail processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of solid state storage, a 1366 x 768 pixel display, and Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student.

The tablet and keyboard combined weigh about 2.4 pounds and measure about 0.9 inches thick.

There’s also a $349 model which has a 32GB solid state drive, but it’s worth paying a bit extra for the additional storage if you plan to use this device for serious work.

2. Asus X102BA  – $300

Asus also offers a cheaper laptop with a touchscreen display and an AMD “Temash” processor. The Asus X102BA doesn’t have a detachable tablet, but it does have 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and AMD 8180 graphics. It has a 1366 x 768 pixel display.

asus x102ba

The AMD A4-1200 processor isn’t exactly a speed demon, but it’s a relatively low power chip and Asus promises up to 5 hours of battery life. As usual, you should take the manufacturer’s estimate with a grain of salt.

This model has a list price of $299, but you can often find it for a bit less. In fact one the best deals I can find is for the related Asus F102BA which has 4GB of RAM.

The Asus X102BA weighs about 2.4 pounds and measures 1.1 inches thick.

3. HP Pavilion TouchSmart 10 – $300

HP offers a few different configurations of this 10 inch touchscreen notebook. Most seem to feature an AMD A4-1200 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, a 1366 x 768 pixel display, and “up to 5 hours” of battery life.

Basically this is HP’s equivalent of the Asus X102BA.

hp pavilion touchsmart 10

It’s a notebook that weighs 3.2 pounds, measures about 0.9 inches thick, which makes it a bit thinner, but heavier than the Asus model.

4. Gateway LT41p – $330

Gateway (which is owned by Acer) offers a 10 inch touchscreen laptop called the LT41P which comes in a few different versions. While they have list prices between $330 and $400, you can often find this model for much less.

The notebook features an Intel Celeron N2805 processor, which is based on the same Bay Trail technology as the Atom chip in the Asus Transformer Book T100, but which should offer moderately better performance.

gateway lt41p

The Gateway LT41P features a 1366 x 768 pixel display, 2GB of RAM, and either a 320GB or 500GB hard drive, depending on the model you buy.

It measures 2.4 pounds, measures about 1.3 inches thick, and Gateway promises “up to 5 hours” of battery life.

5. Lenovo Flex 10 – $350 or less

The Lenovo Flex 10 is a touchscreen laptop that has a flexible hinge that lets you rotate the screen 300 degrees so it’s facing away from the keyboard. You can’t quite push the screen back 360 degrees to use the machine in tablet mode, but you can use it as a sort of desktop, or presentation kiosk-style machine.

flex 10

Lenovo says the laptop supports Intel Celeron and Pentium Bay Trail processors, 2GB to 4GB of RAM, and up to 500GB of storage.

The most common model I’ve found features an Intel Celeron N2806 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. It gets up to 4 hours of battery life.

Each model has a 10.1 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI and audio jacks, stereo speakers, WiFi, and Bluetooth.

The Lenovo Flex 10 measures about 10.7″ x 7.4″ x 0.8″ and weighs just over 2.6 pounds. The most common model

11.6 inch notebooks

1. Asus VivoBook X200/Q200 – $300ish

Asus has been offering a line of portable touchscreen Windows laptops with 11.6 inch displays since late 2012. It’s a bit hard to keep track of all the different models, because they’re sometimes sold as the VivoBook X200, Q200, F200, or S200 series.

vivobook x200ca

What these laptops tend to have in common are 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel displays, 2GB to 4GB of RAM, and 320GB or 500GB hard drives. Most models seem to weigh around 3 pounds.

Some models feature Intel Celeron processors while others have Pentium or Core i3 chips. Here are a few models that provide a decent value:

2. Asus K200MA – $329

At first glance, this laptop looks a lot like the models listed above. But it’s a newer laptop featuring an Intel Celeron N2815 dual-core processor based on Bay Trail technology.

asus k200ma

The notebook has a 1366 x 768 pixel display, a 500GB hard drive, and USB 3.0 support. It has a 3000mAh battery.

Note that B&H says the laptop has 2GB of RAM, but most other retailers say it comes with 4GB.

The Asus K200MA measures 1.2 inches thick and weighs 2.6 pounds.

3. Acer Aspire V5 – around $350 and up

Acer’s Aspire V5 is another model that comes in a variety of configurations. I’ve seen models with Intel Celeron and AMD A4 or A6 processors. There are even models that ship with Linux instead of Windows.

acer aspire v5

One of the more common configurations right now features an Intel Celeron 1017U processor, Windows 8 software, 4GB of RAM, and 500GB of storage. Another has an AMD A4-1250 processor, 4GB of memory and 500GB of storage.

Both models sell for close to $350, feature 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel touchscreen displays, and weigh around 3 pounds, give or take.

Here are a few models selling for under $400:

4. Dell Inspiron 11 3000 – $379

Dell was one of the early players in the netbook space, and while the company doesn’t currently sell anything that would meet the definition of a netbook, Dell does offer this portable, affordable laptop.

The Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series laptop measures about 0.75 inches thick, weighs 3.2 pounds, and features an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel touchscreen display.

dell inspiron 11 3000

The notebook is powered by an Intel Celeron 2955U Haswell dual-core processor and features at least 2GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive.

Dell promises about 8 hours of battery life, and the notebook has a decent array of ports including an SD card reader, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, HDMI and Ethernet jacks.

While the notebook has a list price of $379, it’s often available for a bit less than that.

5. Toshiba NB15T – $380

Toshiba’s 11.6 inch laptop has an Intel Celeron N2810 Haswell Bay Trail processor which is a 7.5W chip that uses about half as much power as the Haswell-based Celeron 2955U found in Dell’s laptop. But Toshiba only promises up to 4 hours of battery life from this thin and light laptop.

The Toshiba NB15t features an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, HDMI, VGA, and Ethernet jacks, 802.11ac WiFi, and an SD card slot.

toshiba nb15t

The notebook measures about 1 inch and weighs 3.3 pounds.

Like Dell’s notebook, the Toshiba NB15t has a list price of about $380, but regularly sells for less.

6.  Lenovo IdeaPad S210 – $399

Lenovo is another company that’s been offering affordable thin and light laptops since near the start of the netbook age. In early 2014 most of the company’s 10 inch products are tablets. But you can still find affordable portable PCs in the company’s 11.6 inch S Series.

The Lenovo IdeaPad S210 comes in a few different configurations, featuring a choice of an Intel Pentium 2117 ULV Ivy Bridge CPU or a more powerful Core i3-3217U Ivy Bridge processor.

toshiba nb15t_01

If you want a model that sells for under $400, you’ll usually have to opt for the Pentium version. But the Core i3 laptop isn’t much more expensive, and sometimes you can find one that sells for well below its $500-ish list price.

Both laptops have 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel displays, 4GB of RAM, and 500GB hard drives and both have 3 cell, 24Whr batteries. The laptops feature HDMI and Ethernet jacks, but no VGA ports. They weigh about 3.1 pounds and measure about 0.9 inches thick.

7. Lenovo IdeaPad S215 – $399

Lenovo also offers a similar 11.6 inch laptop powered by an AMD processor. The Lenovo IdeaPad S215 features a similar design to its Intel counterpart, but this model comes with a choice of an AMD E1-2100 processor or an AMD A4-5000 chip.

lenovo s215

Both models feature AMD Radeon HD graphics, 4GB of RAM, and 500GB hard drives. The laptops weigh about 2.9 pounds.

The AMD A4 model tends to sell for $419, but you can pick up the lower-powered model for about $399.

8. HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11e – $399

HP offers several 11.6 inch laptops under the Pavilion 11 line including AMD and Intel-powered models. Some are convertible tablets with detachable keyboards or 360 degree hinges that allow you to fold back the screen until you’re holding a tablet.

The Pavilion 11e is neither of those things — it’s cheaper. There are multiple versions of this laptop, but they all seem to feature low-power AMD processors, 4GB of RAM, and 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel displays.

hp touchsmart 11e

The laptop weighs about 3.1 pounds.

Here are a few models:

9. HP Pavilion 11t x360 – $400

HP recently added an inexpensive convertible to its line of portable notebooks. The HP Pavilion 11t x360 looks like an 11.6 inch laptop, but you can push back the display 360 degrees until it’s back to back with the keyboard and hold the computer like a touchscreen tablet.

hp pavilion x360_01

The system has an Intel Pentium N3520 Bay Trail processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. It has an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel touchscreen display.

HP promises up to 4.5 hours of battery life which is less than stellar for a tablet, but not bad for a laptop in this price range… especially one that also has a tablet mode.

The HP Pavilion 11t x360 measures about 0.9 inches thick and weighs 3.1 pounds.

It sells for about $400.

  • HP – $400

hp pavilion x360_02

  • Sam

    First off, Brad, thank you for not using the
    annoying gallery style that so many other
    web sites use (you know who you are).

    The computer industry owes a debt of
    gratitude to the One Laptop per Child
    initiative for spurring the development
    of netbooks.

  • Michael Thompson

    It still seems like they are pricing these systems as if there wasn’t any competition, which there is in the mobile space.

    • George

      Prices have come down somewhat (the Windows
      license fee is reportedly down to $15 apiece fom $50, same
      as what it was when a crippled version of Win XP
      was offered to netbook makers, the Bay Trail CPUs
      are at about the performance level of Core 2 Duos).
      So you have laptops fully capable of doing mainstream
      work today for what netbooks used to cost not too long
      ago.

      As sales of PCs shrink, expect further price drops
      in these small Windows laptops, especially as

      Chromebooks come on strong. I also
      expect “universal” smartphone keyboard shells, like

      Motorola had for their Droids or Asus for its Padfones,
      to come back, for $100-$150.

      • Michael Thompson

        If the Windows hardware comes down just a little bit more I think I’m on board.

  • Nathan Hubbard

    It seems all of those where you mentioned the resolution are lower than my cheap Chinese tablet. I don’t think I’d be able to handle that.

  • paktu

    I’m still hoping for cheap Windows slider or clamshell UMPCs. I miss my OQO slider. I still use my Viliv N5. I need to find a new battery though.

  • Cal Rankin

    I do appreciate that manufacturers make laptops for people who need to do more than a Chromebook, but need nowhere near the power or size of the number of decent Windows laptops.
    Granted, for a number of people, this would probably be used for the same purpose as a Chromebook, but some people probably prefer Windows.
    Whatever the reasons may be, it is still nice that cheap laptops are still available.

  • tk76

    I still have my old Libretto C70 as well as my Kyocera 6035 smartphone. They actually worked well 15 years ago.

    • Vagabnd

      Still using them as your daily machines? I always loved the Libretto.

      • tk76

        No, that would be a reach, but I did get about 4 years of good use out of each and they still work. They are in storage along with my working C=64 and Intellivision.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~tomleem BigGoofyGuy

    I think that will help make an informed decision. I think they are neat since they are not only small but also sell for a small price. :)

  • Timmymac

    Awesome work in collecting and comparing all of these various machines. Stories like this are why I keep coming back to Liliputing. Thanks again to Brad!

  • Arrdee

    Reminds me of the days when we counted ourselves lucky to have a 7″ or 9″ CRT monitor (25 lines by 80 chars) to work with. And no, there were NOT all “green” screens. Most had a white phosphor, and many used amber. Darned kids are spoiled now (waves cane in the air to punctuate the point).

  • Kyle

    The new bay trail processors run really great, even the lower end Atom Z3740 on the T100 has no issues with running any normal task on the desktop, hd video, light games, light photo editing etc. I wish the Other 10 inch models got longer than 4 hours of battery, it seems like if Asus can stick a battery inside a tablet to make it run 10 hours, the others could fit a larger battery to suit their processors that don’t use a terribly large amount more power if i remember correct.

  • PenguinX64

    I have an Asus X201 with an 11.6 inch non-touch screen. It’s a nice lightweight laptop for under $300. Mine came with Ubuntu, because I hate Windows 8 Metro Tiles. It was easy to replace the hard drive with a 128gb SSD for $89. I ended up installing Linux Mint instead of Ubuntu, because I prefer the MATE graphical interface. Now I have a Linux Ultrabook with an SSD for under $400. Sweet!

  • Stephan

    This was really helpful, thank you. It wold be nice to see another similar review in the higher price ranges. Moreover, I’d love to see a review of the Panasonic Let’s Note line. Perhaps you could request review units. Keep up the good work!

  • http://g33ky.de/ Dr. Azrael Tod

    i’m pretty happy with my Asus t100ta, while it’s still not as light and easy to handle as my old Toshiba T100, it packs enough ressources to do pretty much whatever i want.

    What i find kinda sad is that there seems to be pretty much nothing around with more than 2GB RAM. I don’t care if the CPU is 10% faster, but 2GB more RAM would be something worth some more euros to me.

    BTW another thing noone seems to sell: devices a bit bigger (meaning 12-14″), lasting all day for 2kg) where everything costs you an arm and an leg (1200€ and more) and there is a big bunch of crappy old stuff that packs less value then the bay trail atoms and where batteries last about 3-4h. :-/

    • CyberGusa

      Mobile RAM is limited in available for the higher capacities but that’s starting to change… probably before the end of the year we’ll start seeing 4GB become the new norm… There’s already one Android phone that’s going to come out with 4GB and that means they’re finally mass producing them enough to lower the unit costs and then it’ll become more common…

      For now, some premium models, like the recently released HP Elite Pad 1000, offer Bay Trail T with 4GB of RAM and pretty high storage capacity options as well, not to mention 4G for those who want it but starting price is nearly double the T100’s at well over seven hundred…

      • Maty

        Actually, the reason these Bay Trail machines are limited to 2gb has to do with the fact that there was no working connected standby for 64-bit. Not sure when this is set to change (or perhaps it has already).

      • CyberGusa

        No, you don’t need 64bit to use only 4GB of RAM, it’s really only required to go above 4GB… At only 4GB then 64bit just helps make fuller use of all the capacity but 32bit doesn’t otherwise prevent you from using up to 4GB…

        Besides, it wouldn’t explain why they didn’t offer 3GB as a few other high end mobile devices offer…

        Anyway, the drivers are already available now but they’re still only offering 2GB, with just a few business class premium devices offering up to 4GB later…

  • ⁣⁣

    Liliput Puting

  • Rossy Perkin

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