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​Best Value for Money Laptops in South Africa for 2021

An affordable laptop isn’t that difficult to come by — but if you’ve ever made the mistake of heading for your local computer store and choosing the cheapest sleek-looking machine preinstalled with the latest version of Windows, you probably already know that good cheap laptops are a whole other matter.

Can you simply not afford to pay upward of 15,000 Rand for a new computer, and you’re worried you might end up with a subpar laptop that doesn’t meet your needs? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. This look at the best cheap laptops on the market in South Africa in 2021 will narrow your choices down to only the budget laptops that also actually do what you need them to. Even if you don’t have a ton of tech knowledge!

​Buyer’s Guide: Things to consider before getting a budget laptop in South Africa

Picking out the best (budget) laptop is fairly easy if you can decipher all the specifications — but of course, not everyone is super tech-savvy. I’ll make it easy for you. 

Let’s start with the obvious truth. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll have to make some compromises along the way. You’re not going to get the same quality you would find in a high-end gaming laptop or college laptop designed to run complex physics simulations.

You can, on the other hand, definitely find a dependable laptop that’s going to meet your everyday computing needs perfectly, along with allowing you to enjoy some light gaming, for a great deal. Here’s what to look for when you shop:

  • The processor or Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the chip that tells the other parts of your laptop what to do. Within the budget range, you’ll typically be able to choose from an Intel Celeron processor, an Intel Core i3, or an Intel Core i5. The i5 is the most powerful, offering you the better user experience. Your laptop will be faster and you’ll be able to have more applications open. The other two options can still meet your basic computing demands, though. Some of the best budget laptops are even equipped with an Intel Core i7! Take full advantage if you spot these machines.
  • RAM, or working memory, influences how good your computer is at multitasking, and it works together with the CPU. Try to aim for 8 GB of RAM, especially if the laptop also has an i5 processor.
  • Many budget laptops now have Solid State Drives, which is great if you want your machine to power up fast. With cloud storage, the size of the hard disc is becoming less and less important.
  • Some budget laptops have dedicated graphics chips. This is a nice bonus.
  • Battery life. Even if you don’t know anything at all about laptop batteries, that’s OK. The manufacturer will offer estimates about how long it can last you. The more intense the app you’re running, though, the sooner you’ll need to charge it.
  • The other parameters to look at are a little more obvious — the quality and size of the display, the keyboard, the build quality, and the sound quality, for instance. 

Ready to dive in? Here we go!

Best Value for Money Laptops in South Africa

​1. HP Laptop 15-dw3003ni

For a price of R10,465.00, this HP laptop is one of the very best budget laptops on the market in South Africa today. Why? I’m glad you asked! If you pick this HP laptop, you get a very decent Intel Core i5 processor that offers far superior performance compared to the Intel Celeron processors you’d typically be saddled with in the budget laptop price range, but for a bargain price. 

This machine also has a handsomely sized 15.6″ display — with an anti-glare feature! — and Intel Iris Xe Graphics to take your viewing experience to HD quality. Other important features users will appreciate include a great battery life of up to six hours, a full-size keyboard with a number pad, and a sleek design. Thanks to its light weight of 1.17 kilos, carrying this laptop around with you won’t be too taxing. 

On the downside, this HP laptop, which comes with Windows 10 preinstalled, only has two USB A ports, which some users will find limiting. There are certainly sturdier laptops on the market, to be sure, but this model remains one of the best budget laptops for fairly intense home users in South Africa who aren’t planning to take the machine everywhere they go.

​2. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 i5

This Lenovo IdeaPad, priced at R11,057.00, is slightly more expensive — but we have to say that that’s justified. This budget laptop offers an Intel Core i5 processor that will perfectly meet most folks’ everyday needs, as well an SSD with plenty of space. 

This machine comes with a top-quality 15.6″ display, but perhaps the most appealing feature is its very comfortable and full-size keyboard. For those who need it, the IdeaPad includes a very nice selection of ports, including multiple USB options, a media reader, and an HDMI port.

To take a look at the cons, this budget laptop only offers Intel’s integrated graphics, which makes it less than ideal for anything more than some extremely light gaming. So, who’s this Lenovo IdeaPad for? Students or remote workers who are primarily going to be browsing the internet, do a lot of word processing, and who want to relax with a nice movie after will be thrilled with this affordable laptop.

​3. Dell Vostro 3500

This Dell Vostro 3500 is another excellent laptop on offer for a very reasonable price. Its core specs are similar to the other two budget-friendly laptops we’ve looked at so far — you get an Intel Core i5 processor, a 256 GB SSD, and a 15.6″ LED backlit display with Full HD resolution.

It’s also worth noting that this laptop comes installed with Windows 10 Professional (while most budget laptops have Windows 10 Home) and a good-quality keyboard that even has a num pad. The only drawbacks, really, is the integrated graphics card and the fact that this laptop is just slightly bulkier. All in all, this is a very nice laptop for working professionals who want the best value for their money. The Dell Vostro 3500 can be yours for a friendly price of R15,123.00.

​4. Acer Aspire A514-54 i5

Onto the next cheap laptop option! Let’s dive straight into the pros of this Acer Aspire laptop. This notebook is manufactured in silver or black, and to get the tech stuff out of the way, it’s armed with an Intel Core i5 processor, up to 20 GB of RAM, a dedicated Intel Iris Xe Graphics chip, and a (decently large) 356 GB Solid State Drive.

This small Acer Aspire has a 14″ LED backlit display that makes this machine extremely portable, but that’s not what makes this laptop so unique. When you lift the screen, the base of your laptop lifts up too, allowing for better airflow and therefore less overheating. Yes, that means this laptop is suitable for slightly more intense use. If you travel a lot, you’re in luck, too, because this budget laptop has a long battery life of up to nine hours.

Did you really want a backlit keyboard? This machine’s got one! You might be surprised that this innovative laptop is only R11,740.00. Consider grabbing this Acer Aspire laptop if you’re often out and about and want to be able to work or study while you’re on the move.

​5. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 i7

So, here’s the cool thing. This 15.6″ Lenovo IdeaPad falls, at R13,799.00, well within the more budget-friendly price range, and it’s even cheaper than the Dell Vostro we looked at earlier. Besides 8 GB of RAM and a spacey 512GB SSD, it also features not an i5, but an i7 processor. All of those neat features are housed in a very sturdy casing, and this machine is definitely going to be able to withstand some intense use.

The combined headphone/speaker jack might annoy users who do a lot of voice calling (although if you’re listening to music, the laptop’s sound quality is surprisingly good), and the integrated graphics aren’t optimal either. This Lenovo IdeaPad remains a very nice choice for users who want a powerful budget laptop manufactured by a leading brand.

​6. Acer Aspire A514-54 i7

Yes, the next value for money pick is indeed another Acer Aspire — but this one’s perfect for business users or students who don’t want to settle for a lesser processor and who absolutely need an Intel Core i7. 

The very best part of this Acer Aspire A514-54, which has Windows 10 Home preinstalled, has got to be its high-quality 14″ Comfyview LED backlit display, though! Do you tend to be glued to your laptop all day, including (against all health recommendations, of course!) late into the night? Comfyview ensures that your viewing experience won’t be a “pain in the eye”. 

This machine can be yours for R14,778.00 — and if you don’t mind the integrated graphics, it will happily take you on some light gaming journeys as well as allowing to word-process the right away.

​7. Proline V146B2

Finally, because this is, after all, a post about budget laptops, people who absolutely want the cheapest possible laptop should take a look at this Proline. For R4,599.00, you really can’t go any lower.

So, you just want “a cheap laptop”? This machine certainly falls into that category. The specs? Let me translate. “Works fine for some web browsing and word processing. It helps to have an external hard drive for your storage needs, because the onboard hard drive is fairly tiny.”

If you want to know if you can run demanding programs on this budget laptop, you can quit reading now. That’s only to be expected for that price point. Has your six-year-old child been asking you for a laptop, on the other hand? Yes! This budget laptop will satisfy all their YouTube cravings, so they don’t hog your work computer, and they’ll also be able to play games, at least some browser games, on this very inexpensive laptop. On the plus side, Proline is a proudly South African brand, and all its products are also assembled right here in Africa! By choosing Proline, you’ll do your bit to support the local economy.

Shopping for a Budget Laptop in South Africa? Some Final Tips

Are you on a tight budget? Do you need a cheap laptop, but do you also absolutely want a decent laptop? The sad news is that laptops do tend to be slightly more expensive in South Africa than in some other places (cough, cough — United States — cough, cough). There’s good news, too, though. For R15,000.00 or less, you can still get an OK, and even a good, laptop. So long as you’re not a very intense gamer, any of the first six cheap laptops are likely to meet your needs just fine, and then some.

If you’re still looking around, don’t forget to keep an eye on the most important specs, and pay attention to the laptop’s build quality as well. Those who are looking for extra good deals may additionally want to keep a close eye on laptops that are just outside their budget, and swoop in when the machine goes on sale!

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