In our previous budget laptop guide, we rounded up some of the best laptops under Rs. 20,000 in India, and we found some very interesting features and capabilities ranging from tiny form factors to even a laptop with a 4G SIM slot. In this guide, we'll be raising the budget by Rs. 10,000 to see how much better we can do in terms of performance and usability. With a budget of Rs. 30,000, we're targeting a price range that many people look at when picking up their first laptops.
While Rs. 30,000 is a lot of money for most people, the features that you get at this level can still be quite limited. The big upgrade you'll notice going from a budget of Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 is that you can get a nice increase in CPU power. You can also expect more storage, as most of the options we shortlisted have a 1TB hard drive. There's a lot to cover, so let's get started.
Like we mentioned, one of the reasons for picking a laptop in this price band is the increase in CPU power. Compared to sub-Rs. 20,000 laptops, these models be able to handle multitasking and heavier workloads a bit better. The overall system performance might still be a little weak due to the use of mechanical hard drives, but applications such as video encoding and file compression do benefit from a faster CPU. You can expect a couple of things as standard in this segment, such as 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive.
The Acer Aspire 3 (A315-53-317G) (Review) is one of the few (if not only) laptops under Rs. 30,000 to feature an Intel Core i3-8130U CPU, which makes it the most powerful model on our list. At the time of writing this guide, you can find it online for as little as Rs. 27,990.
It doesn't have the best aesthetics, with a plain black all-plastic body, but it does feel sturdy. It's also quite slim and packs in a decent number of ports. Acer has thoughtfully provided two quick-access panels on the bottom for swapping out the RAM and hard drive, which is very convenient if you need to upgrade them. The keyboard is quiet and comfortable to type on, and performance in apps is good.
This is also one of the few laptops in this segment to sport a full-HD display. It's sharp when reading text but the panel itself isn't very vibrant, and vertical viewing angles are a bit weak. You only get a VGA resolution webcam, which produces poor quality images, so it's not ideal if you'll be making a lot of Skype calls.
Windows 10 has its moments of sluggishness but this really can't be helped due to the slow hard drive, and is a consistent issue with all the laptops in this price segment that we tested. Finally, battery life is also decent, and while you can't get through an entire workday on one charge, you can expect around four to five hours of battery life with frugal usage.
The Asus VivoBook X407UA is a worthy runner-up as it packs in a decent set of specifications for a price of around Rs. 26,990. What we really like about this laptop is its compact size thanks to the 14-inch display, and good aesthetics with its dual-tone finish.
The body doesn't feel too premium as the chassis is made entirely out of plastic. The keys also feel a bit mushy to type on, compared to the Acer Aspire 3 (A315-53-317G). However, you do get a fingerprint sensor in the trackpad area, which is nice to have.
The VivoBook X407UA also has a panel on the bottom for the two RAM slots, but there's no easy access to the hard drive. This model isn't very slim but it is quite light.
CPU performance is decent too. This model features a slightly old Intel Core i3-7020U CPU, which isn't as powerful as the 8th generation version that Acer uses, but it's good enough for everyday workloads. Multitasking and app performance are fairly good, with a bit of intermittent sluggishness creeping in every now and then.
The display only has an HD resolution but text and images don't look too jagged due to the smaller panel. The bezels on the left and right are fairly slim, which gives the display an immersive feel. Some of the things we didn't like were the microSD card slot instead of a full-sized SD card slot, and the low-quality VGA webcam. Battery life isn't great either, and the battery should last you for just about four hours of light work.
Just like in our previous budget laptop guide, the main criteria here was that the cost of each laptop should include Windows 10 preinstalled. Models sold with Linux or DOS are potentially less expensive and could make sense if you have a Windows licence already, but for most people, having a useful operating system (OS) installed out-of-the-box is just a lot more convenient.
We would have loved to see 8GB of RAM at this price level, since Windows 10 doesn't deliver the best experience with just 4GB of RAM. Unfortunately, it's impossible to find a laptop with decent specs and Windows with this much RAM, in this budget, at the moment.
In terms of CPUs, we tried looking for Intel's 8th generation chips, but these were very tough to find. We did find a couple of models with 7th generation Core i3 CPUs, which are still not bad. We avoided older CPUs including Intel's 6th generation parts as well as AMD's dated A-series APUs.
We did manage to find one laptop with a modern AMD Ryzen 3 2200U CPU, which is also something to keep an eye out for thanks to its powerful integrated graphics. Intel's Pentium Silver N5000 is also a good low-end CPU to look out for. It's fairly recent and power-efficient, and it supports DDR4 memory.
Lenovo IdeaPad 330-15IGM
The Lenovo Ideapad 330-151IGM is available online for about Rs. 25,000, and for this money, you get a good-looking laptop with a metallic finish for the keyboard area, which gives it a premium feel. You only get two USB ports though, which is a bit limiting, and there's no panel on the bottom to access the RAM or hard drive. The 15.6-inch display only has an HD resolution, so text and icons appear quite jagged. Viewing angles are also weak.
The laptop features an Intel Pentium Silver N5000 CPU, which offers decent performance but isn't as competitive as the other laptops we tested. The webcam isn't very good and the speakers don't get very loud either. On the other hand, battery life is good, as this laptop lasted for 4 hours and 17 minutes in the Battery Eater Pro test.
HP Notebook 15-da0295tu
HP wasn't able send its most eligible laptop in for testing for this comparison but the Notebook 15-da0295tu packs in a decent set of specifications such as an Intel Pentium Silver N5000 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a 15.6-inch HD display.
ou get a good set of connectivity options, which include three USB ports and a DVD writer. The laptop also has a HD webcam, which is nice considering most others stick with VGA. It's worth a look at an online price of roughly Rs. 26,000.
Lenovo Ideapad 330-15ARR
The Lenovo Ideapad 330-15ARR is an interesting laptop in this segment as it features AMD's Ryzen 3 2200U processor. This is still a first-generation Ryzen mobile chip but there aren't many of them at this price range with Windows 10, which is what makes this laptop worth considering at this price. You get 4GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB hard drive, a 15.6-inch full-HD display, and dual speakers with Dolby Audio.
For connectivity you get two USB ports and a USB Type-C port, which is not easily found in this segment. Unfortunately, we weren't able to test this laptop but the overall package looks very interesting.