Whether you are suffering from this hard economic downturn or you're simply looking to save some money, you can find the best budget laptop computers here. Both notebooks and netbooks tend to be expensive and are often priced much higher than most people can afford. What's worse is that some of them are way to expensive for the features they come with. The best budget laptop will provide excellent value for the price it is marked at. Fortunately, there are several notebooks and netbooks to choose from, but only a few of them can be considered to be the best budget laptop. It's hard to claim one single model as being the top choice, though, because everyone has their own personal preferences. So, in order to satisfy multiple demographics, we will take a look at the top five contenders for the best budget laptop on the market.

Top 5 Best Budget Laptop Computers

Asus U50F-RBBAG05

Asus U50F-RBBAG05

Best Budget Laptop For: Business/Students

Keeping in mind that these portable computers are not listed in any specific order, the first notebook is the ASUS model number U50F-RBBAG05. This is the best budget laptop because it packs a lot of power, memory and hard drive for its relatively affordable price. You can buy these ASUS notebooks under $500 in most cases and they come with a powerful and blazing fast Intel Core i3 330M processor. This component happens to be one of the most advanced processors available, operating at 2.1 GHz, which certainly helps its cause as the best budget laptop.

The value of the processor itself is almost enough to keep this ASUS notebook on the list, but it also has other noteworthy features like a 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and a vivid and clear 15.6-inch wide screen display.

Dell Inspiron 14RDell Inspiron 14R

Best Budget Laptop For: Business/Students/Portability

We have reviewed several models of the Dell Inspiron in various other articles and the 14R has made its way on the list for the best budget laptop as well. This is because Dell is not only an excellent, reputable brand but the Inspiron is also one of the most popular notebooks ever built. It is small and very portable compared to standard 17-inch mini computers as it is only a 14-inch notebook. The Dell Inspiron 14R earned a spot for the best budget laptop for its great reputation for being a top value notebook for a reasonably affordable price. They come with a ton of amazing features including a super-fast and powerful Intel Core i7 370M Dual Core Mobile processor, 3GB of DDR3 RAM, a hefty 320GB of hard drive and wireless capabilities.

There are many other features that make the Dell Inspiron 14R one of the best budget laptop computers, too. The 7-in-1 card reader is not something you will find on too many other notebooks, let alone for the price of around $500 to $600. It also has an awesome 14-inch WXGA display with Intel GMA 4500MHD Integrated Graphics, a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution and a 1.3 mega pixel web cam. Weighing in at about 5 pounds with dimensions of 13.5" x 9.7" x 1.3", these contenders for the best budget laptop come with a Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium operating system as well as Office Starter and McAfee Security Center.

Toshiba Satellite T235D-S1345Toshiba Satellite T235D-S1345

Best Budget Laptop For: Portability/Media/Gaming

The Toshiba T-series is a clear-cut top choice for the best budget laptop, and I think many people will agree once they get a better idea of what these ultra-thin, super-light, mini notebooks have to offer. With dimensions of 12.7″ x 8.8″ x 1″ and weighing about 4 pounds even, this Toshiba Satellite model is one of the smallest and most lightweight portable notebooks on the market and they are very affordable. You can get them for just under $500 and they are well worth it with all of the great features they come with. One of the major reasons the Toshiba Satellite is one of the best budget laptop computers is because of its Turion II Neo Dual Core processor, which is made by AMD, a company that specializes in building processors at affordable and inexpensive costs. The processor is also very energy-efficient and is designed to operate with really low voltage.

The Toshiba Satellite T235D-S1345 also comes with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, 4GB of installed RAM with a maximum expandability of up to 8GB, a 320GB hard drive, and a 6-in-1 media reader that supports SD Memory Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMediaCard, xD-Picture Card and SDHC Memory Card. Another reason it is the best budget laptop is due to it's crystal clear, vivid display for being such a small notebook. It has a 13.3-inch TFT wide screen LED-backlit display with TruBrite and a ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4225 graphics processor.

Compaq Presario CQ61-410USCompaq Presario CQ61-410US

Best Budget Laptop For: Business/Students/Media/Gaming

Here is a slightly larger notebook compared to the others on the list but definitely earned the right to be called the best budget laptop with years of reliability and positive reviews. The Compaq Presario has been popular for a long time and the CQ61-410US is an excellent model to consider for the value it provides.

As mentioned, they are a bit large, weighing about 6 pounds with dimensions of 14.9″ x 9.9″ x 1.6″. They have a beautiful 15.6-inch wide screen display with a 16:9 ratio for bright and colorful graphics that just seem to pop out at you whether you're playing games or watching movies. Like most of the other entries for the best budget laptop computers, they feature Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition and you can buy these Compaq Presario notebooks for around $500 on average.

Gateway EC14D07UGateway EC14D07U

Best Budget Laptop For: Students/Portability/Media/Gaming

The last top value notebook on our list is the Gateway EC14D07U. Gateway is a brand that is known for their inexpensive and affordable prices, especially with their desktop PCs but also with their portable computers. These mini notebook computers are easily some of the best budget laptops with their wide range of very cool features that you wouldn't expect to see on such an affordable model.

These Gateways have an Intel Pentium SU4100 processor which operates at 1.3GHz, a 320GB SATA hard drive and 4GB of DDR2 RAM. If that kind of power and memory isn't enough to convince you that this Gateway notebook is the best budget laptop for the money, then you'll be pleased to know that there are many other cool things about it to increase its value. They have an 8X DVD-SuperMulti Double-Layer Drive, which is not something you'll see on many other notebooks. The battery is very powerful too, especially for this machine's small size, with a life of up to 8 hours. One of the nicest things that make it the best budget laptop is the 11.6-inch LED-backlit, high-definition, wide screen display with Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD.