Choosing the best Windows laptop in 2021 should be easy. However, good models are in short supply. Especially at the budget end of the market. Spending more does widen your choice, but it’s easy to end up with a dud.
There are plenty of reviews awarding stars to laptops costing over a grand, but most of us want a decent device, that’s also affordable. Rather than testing expensive high-end kit, we’ve focused on finding the best Windows laptops in the UK – starting from under £300.
Best Windows Laptops
Verum has compared 100s of laptops. We’ve scrutinised specifications, consumed owner opinions and checked every detail to shortlist the best Windows laptops you can buy in 2021.
Best Windows Laptop under £300:
Lenovo IdeaPad 1 11”
This entry-level Lenovo laptop does the basics well and best of all, it’s super cheap. Physically, it’s small, light and highly rated by owners. Internally, the hardware specification is designed for Windows 10 S mode. This is a light version of Microsoft Windows 10, that requires less memory and less processor power, meaning a cheaper laptop.
Windows 10 S mode gives you performance and superior security. As you’d expect there are a few limitations. Essentially, you can only download Microsoft verified software from the Microsoft store. This restriction is no bad thing. Yes, you’re tied to Microsoft approved software, but this also means no dodgy downloads.
The Microsoft Store includes all the normal stuff, including Netflix, Minecraft, Spotify etc. This works for most people and could make it an excellent choice if you’re buying this laptop for your son or daughter.
The HD display is perfect for surfing the web, playing Minecraft or watching a film. Connectivity, as you’d expect from Lenovo is good. The keyboard is liked by the majority of users. The trackpad is slightly offset, which may take a little getting used to, but it works well.
This Asus laptop is a great alternative to a Chromebook. It’s well balanced and very affordable.
Windows 10 S | DISPLAY: 11” 1366×768 | WEIGHT: 1.4kg | DIMENSIONS: 288x200x19 | CPU: Athlon Silver 3050E | RAM: 4GB | STORAGE 64GB | USB-3.1 x2 | HDMI x1 | MicroSD | Audio Jack
Lenovo IdeaPad 1 | Verdict price £240 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Windows Laptop under £400:
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14ADA05
This Windows laptop from Lenovo is perfect for everyday computing. The lightweight, well-built design gives the impression that it’s expensive. And it certainly compares well to numerous more expensive laptops, but what’s important here is that it’s a great notebook for a very affordable price.
Best laptop for students
The AMD Ryzen 3 3250U processor is perfectly suited for most jobs. And it’s a good pick for students. It’s not the right choice for playing the latest games or editing video, but realistically you need to spend over a grand to do this. Most UK schools, colleges and universities use Microsoft and for this reason, a Windows specification is a must.
The overall design, keyboard and screen represent excellent value at this price. Plus, the number of ports instantly removes any connectivity issues.
For everyday computing & multitasking, this Lenovo laptop performs well running Windows 10 S. It’s quick, secure and works effortlessly with software from the Microsoft store.
There are numerous £1000 laptops to choose from, but if you want a light, well-designed laptop that has a technical specification equal to most tasks, then the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a great choice.
Windows 10 S | DISPLAY: 14” 1920×1080 | WEIGHT: 1.6kg | DIMENSIONS: 327x241x20 | CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3250U | RAM: 4GB | STORAGE 128GB | USB-2.1 x2 | USB-3.0 x1 | USB-C x1 | Micro SD | HDMI | Audio Jack
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 | Verdict price £399 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Windows Laptop under £500:
ASUS VivoBook M413DA
Powerful and lightweight – the Asus M413DA does everything it should, plus a whole load more. Yes, there are quicker and lighter laptops to buy, but they either cost a load more or lack in other areas.
The 14” Full HD screen has a tiny bezel, which not only enhances the quality feel but also dictates the overall size of the laptop – It’s super compact and weighing only 1.4kg, it’s small and light enough to carry around. Adding to this, Asus states that the battery will last up to twelve hours, although this clearly depends on what you’re using it for.
The specification is well balanced. Multitasking is quick due to the 8GB of RAM and with 512GB SSD, onboard storage is fast & plentiful.
There’s no shortage of ports on this laptop, making connectivity a breeze. Four USBs (including a USB-C), an HDMI socket along with a Micro SD means you can charge stuff, transfer pictures and connect easily to a second screen.
Windows 10 Home Laptop
This best buy laptop from ASUS runs Windows 10 Home edition. Unlike models running Windows 10 S, there are no restrictions with this machine. Yes, everything in the Windows Store is available, but you can also download what you like from all sources.
The only downside of this laptop is its popularity. It sells out fast! But if you want a laptop to do everything for under £500 and it’s in stock – Buy it!
Windows 10 Home | DISPLAY: 14” 1920×1080 | WEIGHT: 1.4kg | DIMENSIONS: 325x214x16 | CPU: AMD Renoir R5 3500U | RAM: 8GB | STORAGE 512GB | USB-2.0 x2 | USB-3.1 x1 | USB-C x1 | Micro SD | HDMI | Audio Jack
ASUS VivoBook | Verdict price £499 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Windows Laptop under £750:
Asus ZenBook UX333
This laptop does everything brilliantly. Small, light and powerful, it compares favourably to everything in its class and numerous laptops costing more. Head to head with the MacBook Air, this Asus ZenBook is lighter, smaller and quicker. Plus, it costs a fraction of the price.
Smaller than a magazine, the ZenBook is designed to go everywhere. It’s light, has a battery capable of lasting all day and is built to last. Asus uses the military standard, MIL-STD-810 to demonstrate the product is reliable and durable. The tests cover everything from temperature extremes to vibration and drop tests – in short, this laptop is designed to go beyond everyday use. If you’d like to know more, take a look here, to see what the ZenBook has to endure before making the grade.
The Intel Core i7 CPU is fast and reliable. Plus, with 512GB SSD onboard storage, every task is doable, even when you’re offline. Other features include facial recognition sign-in, backlit keyboard and great connectivity, with every port option covered.
If you want a powerful, robust, lightweight Windows laptop with a ‘last all day’ battery, then the Asus ZenBook UX333 is for you.
DISPLAY: 13.3” 1920×1080 | WEIGHT: 1.1kg | DIMENSIONS: 303x189x17 | CPU: Intel i7-8565U | RAM: 8GB | STORAGE 512GB | USB-2.0 x1 | USB-3.1 x1 | USB-C x1 | Micro SD | HDMI | Audio Jack
Asus ZenBook UX333 | Verdict price £850 | Not Currently Available
How to Choose the Right Laptop for You
Buying the best laptop is easy, if you start with a big budget. However, most of us want to buy a decent device for an affordable price. A good place to start is with the operating system.
Laptop Operating Systems
- Windows 10 S – Familiar, secure & low cost. This is a good option, if you’re familiar with Microsoft software and on a tight budget. The restriction (which is no bad thing) is that you can only download software from the Microsoft store. In addition to the likes of Word & Excel, you’ll also find Spotify, Netflix & loads more. What you won’t find is any malware or other dangerous downloads.
- Windows 10 Home – Familiar and works with most software – mainstream to specialist. This is the best choice for most people who want flexible computing (home, work & study).
- ChromeBook – Similar to Windows 10 S, but based on the Google (rather than Microsoft) ecosystem. Easy to use, secure and affordable. You need to be happy working in web-based applications.
- Mac OS – If you like Apple devices and have a budget over £1000, then take a look at the best MacBooks. Build quality is superb. A MacBook will work beautifully alongside your iPhone.
The Verum best buy laptops on this page are all designed for Windows 10 S or Windows 10 Home. The recommendations are for everyday computing needs. Spend more for faster & lighter laptops. Along with speed and weight, a bigger budget gets you a better screen, sound, battery life, connectivity storage.
Laptop Specification – Checklist
- Processor (CPU) – Both Intel & AMD make excellent processors. There are no bad options – spend more for speed.
- SSD storage is superior to HDD. It’s faster, lighter and more reliable. All the recommended laptops here use an SSD. If you need more storage, think about a cloud option (comes with Microsoft 365) or take a look at the best external hard drive.
- We recommend a minimum of 4GB of RAM, although 8GB is better for multitasking – great if you work with lots of tabs open.
- Big screens are good for work and play. However, a big laptop screen means a big, heavy laptop. A good solution for home working is to use a small / light laptop alongside an additional monitor.
- Depending on your plans, battery life is important. Bigger is better, but the time on a single charge is largely dependent on what you’re using your laptop for.
- The right ports mean you can connect to a big screen, use external storage, charge your phone and use headphones for that Zoom call. The more USB ports the better. HDMI is a must. And depending on your needs an audio jack plus SD card reader are good to have.
Regardless of operating system, it’s essential to keep your software updated. Old software invariably has vulnerabilities and is targeted by hackers. Alongside keeping updates turned on, you need security software on a Windows laptop. The good news is that in recent years Microsoft has significantly improved its own FREE security software. For safe computing this is all you need. However, if you’d like to know more, do read our guide to the best security software.
Best Buy Windows Laptops
Lenovo IdeaPad 1 | Verdict price £240
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Best Budget Buy
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 | Verdict price £399
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ASUS VivoBook | Verdict price £499
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Ultimate Best Buy
Asus ZenBook UX333 | Verdict price £850
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Most of us use our laptops for work and play. This includes everything from Word and Excel to emails, surfing and watching videos. However, video editing and playing the latest blockbuster games require much higher specifications. A good gaming laptop can cost over £2000 and even at this price, it will struggle to compete with a PC of the same budget. If you don’t need Microsoft software and use a laptop predominantly online, then do consider a Chromebook. Alternatively, if you like your iPhone, take a look at the best MacBooks. However, if you’re after a new Windows 10 laptop, choose any of the models above – spend more for faster speed, more storage and less weight.
Verum recommended products sell out quickly. Especially at the moment. If you’re preferred model is in-stock, great. But don’t hang around!
If it’s not available today, do check back – we’re constantly updating.