Best laptops under $600 in 2024

Surface Laptop Go 2 with box
(Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

You don't have to break the bank to get a powerful laptop. In recent years, sub-$600 laptops have come a long way, and you no longer have to compromise on performance, quality, or affordability, and many of the picks on our list come with modern hardware and a ton of features. Even some of the best Windows laptops are in the sub-$600 category, including the Surface Laptop Go 2. It's our top pick in this range thanks to a premium build, excellent display, and modest performance. There are also a bunch of other great options, which we've included here.

(Image credit: Future)

Surface Laptop Go 2

Best overall

Excellent hardware and design
11th Gen Intel Core i5 has decent power
Decent battery life
Color-accurate and bright display
Resolution could be higher
No keyboard backlight
Starts right at at $600

Microsoft's Surface lineup is known to be one of the best around in terms of build quality and display, so it's no surprise that there are two Surface PCs in this roundup. Our top overall pick is the Surface Laptop Go 2, a 12.4-inch notebook PC that's fun to use. It's essentially a smaller version of the Surface Laptop 5 for those who need something compact to travel with.

The touch display has a 1536x1024 resolution, which is lower than other Surface products. However, it still looks sharp at this size. Brightness hits 400 nits to combat glare, and you get 99% sRGB color reproduction. Bezels are thin, and the 3:2 aspect ratio gives you a tall screen with more room for productivity.

Build quality is high, as expected, with an aluminum and polycarbonate body available in three different colors. Ports include USB-C, USB-A, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a Surface Connect port. If that's not enough connectivity for you, consider grabbing one of the best USB-C adapters and hubs for Surface Laptop, as they will work here as well.

Performance hardware includes an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor (CPU) for modest performance. It's much better than what the Surface Go 3 has to offer, important for anyone with heavier multitasking in mind. Pair it with up to 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and a 256GB SSD. Expect around eight or nine hours of battery life from a charge.

The Surface Go 3

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Surface Go 3

Best 2-in-1

High-res 10.5-inch display
Wi-Fi 6 and optional LTE
Good battery life
Premium design
Might not have enough performance for some

The Surface Go 3 is the best option on this list if you're looking at a 2-in-1 small enough to take with you wherever you go. It's primarily a tablet with a stand on the back, allowing you to prop it up for easier viewing. But you can also attach a Type Cover with keyboard and touchpad for a full notebook experience. The Go 3 is even compatible with Surface Pen for high-quality inking. The 10.5-inch display has a boxy 3:2 aspect ratio and crisp 1920x1280 resolution, and you get about 400 nits brightness with 100% sRGB color reproduction.

Baseline models start with an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y CPU with OK performance, but the Intel Core i3-10100Y chip is a much better bet. Models have up to 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.

Rounding out the features are dual webcams and an IR camera for Windows Hello, optional LTE connectivity, Wi-Fi 6, and dual speakers with solid audio. Ports include USB-C, 3.5mm audio, a microSD card reader, and Surface Connect.

HP Pavilion x360 14t

(Image credit: HP)

HP Pavilion x360 14t

Best convertible

11th Gen Intel Core CPUs
Comfy keyboard and big touchpad
Decent port selection
Quality convertible build
Best models cost more than $600

HP's sub-brands have come a long way, and the Pavilion x360 lineup is no doubt quite attractive for anyone who wants a budget convertible. This 14-inch option starts at $550 and has an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1155G7 CPU, 8GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and a 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD. There's plenty of opportunity for upgrades if you have the budget, including up to a Core i7 CPU with Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD.

The 14-inch touch display comes with an FHD resolution and hits up to 250 nits brightness. The display can rotate around 360 degrees to be used as a tablet or somewhere in between, and it's compatible with an active pen for inking.

If you're typing all day you will likely enjoy the comfy keyboard, and the sizable Precision touchpad makes for easy pointing. Ports include USB-C, two USB-A, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm audio, and an SD card reader. You also get Wi-Fi 6 for modern and reliable wireless connectivity.

Dell Inspiron 16 5000

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell Inspiron 16 Laptop

Large screen productivity

Modern 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U processor with Wi-Fi 6E support
FHD+ display on spacious 16-inch screen
Built-in fingerprint reader
FHD webcam with mechanical privacy shutter
Modern aluminum design
Larger size may not be suitable for users who prioritize mobility

If you love a larger display on a laptop, Dell's aluminum-clad Inspiron 16t laptop is a solid-pick. Not only does this performance beast pack in the latest 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U processor, but it also comes with a few nice extra features that you many won't expect to find at this low price point, including support for the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard, a gorgeous 16:10 aspect ratio display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200, and a 512GB M.2 solid-state drive. 

Dual-microphones, a FHD resolution webcam with privacy shutter up top, and upward-firing stereo speakers with Waves MaxxAudio Pro tuning help you stay connected to your conference calls or keep entertained on your down time round out some of the glitzier features. You'll also get a backlit keyboard, plenty of ports to choose from, and 8GB of DDR4 memory to round out the list. 

The Inspiron 16 is a workhorse of a laptop, and there's plenty to love in this package if you prioritize a larger screen over a smaller form factor. And when it comes time to recharging at the end of the day, Dell claims that its ExpressCharge technology can recharge the Inspiron to 80% in as little as an hour. 

Acer Aspire 5 Back

(Image credit: Source: Acer)

Acer Aspire 5 A515-55

Best value

Can't beat the price
FHD display
Plenty of ports
Wi-Fi 6
Fingerprint reader
Display is still a bit dull
Keyboard could be better

Whereas the latest Aspire 5 (A515-56) model isn't recommended due to the dreadful display, you can find previous models (like the A515-55) for a very reasonable price. The 15.6-inch IPS FHD display still isn't going to blow you away, but it's perfectly usable for productivity work, email, and web browsing. And that holds true for the performance hardware as well, with a 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD.

Ports include USB-C 3.1, two USB-A 3.1, USB-A 2.0, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio, plus there is Wi-Fi 6 for fast, reliable wireless connectivity. The keyboard is backlit, and there's a fingerprint reader for added security through Windows Hello. If you're looking for a laptop around $400, this should be a solid choice with a few shortcomings that can be overlooked thanks to the budget price.

If we're making some suggestions

You don't need to spend more than $600 to get your hands on a quality Windows laptop these days. There are many options out there, but our favorite is Microsoft's Surface Laptop Go 2. It delivers the best mix of premium quality build, color-accurate and bright display, comfortable keyboard and touchpad, and performance.

It's the perfect size at about 12.45 inches to go with you wherever you travel, but it's also big enough that you can use it for daily productivity work. And the 11th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU will be able to keep up with office tasks, with a battery that should last most of a workday on a single charge.

If none of the above devices are what you're looking for, check out our list of the best cheap laptops as well as the overall best Windows laptops.

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

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