Budget laptop recommendation

Wife is looking for a laptop. She does browsing, uses Libre Office (mostly writer) and PDFs, VLC videos, Youtube. So, all low-level stuff.
She wants to use it while sitting in our garden. She may take it to work (teaches).

This is all I could find (yeah, it would be bad if I complain about people not using the Search feature and then not use it myself :wink: ).

I'll put either Z15 Core or Z16 Core on it. Maybe the former since she may not want to deviate from what's currently on her desktop.

Recommendations? Thanks.

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With that type of use case, she is most certainly not a heavy user, not only does she not do gaming, but she also doesn't do production work, so she doesn't need a powerful machine.

Any machine that uses a core I5 2.2GHZ CPU with 8GB of RAM, and an integrated GPU, will be good enough.

Slightly nicer if you like thinner...

Or, if you'd rather have her completely ready for 2021 notebook computing solutions...

Or, if you want to step up performance a bit, 11th gen CPU with XE integrated graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB NVME SSSD drive.

Is there a budget to work with? I only ask because someone would be correct in offering you the latest gaming machine all the way down to a pentium 4.... is there a specific request for ram/processor?

Does screen size matter? 10"+? 12, 13, 15, 17, 19?

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Zorin sells preinstalled laptops here... the starlite or starbook could work well for her. May also want to look at the clevo line with 15 or 17 inch screens.

System76 Galago Pro
CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i7-8565u 1.8GHz, Quad Core Processor up to 4.6GHz, also available in Core i5
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 8 GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM – extendable up to 32 GB
Storage: Up to 240 GB SSD space
Display: 14-inch Matte Full HD Display
Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Battery Life: Up to 5 hours when fully charged
OS: Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS and higher versions.
Weight: 87 lb
Availability: Globally
Price: US$ 1,099.99
Buy: system76

ASUS Zen book UX331UA
CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250u processor
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
Storage: 256GB SSD space
Display: 3-inch Full HD Display
Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Weight: 2.50 lb
Battery Life: Up to 14 hours
OS: In-built Windows 10 home, compatible with Ubuntu 16.04 and higher versions.
Price: US$ 1,289.47
Buy: amazon

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Sorry, good point. I should have mentioned. She wants in the $300 range.
She’s cool with any screen size. I don’t have a processor preference.

OK, just letting you know, the only thing your getting in the 300 dollar or less range, are Chromebooks. If you don't mind Chromebooks, go right ahead. But I don't like Chromebooks, its my opinion that they are not real computers. However, having said that, they should do pretty much most of what she wants to do I guess.

Search Amazon for Chromebooks, you will find ones at 300 or less. I think the cheapest of them are around 150 dollars, but I wouldn't go for those. Pretty much should buy right at that budget.

Cause during these days of the tech shortage, everything has been up in price. What you used to get for 600, now costs 1000, what you could get for 1000, now costs 1500, you get the idea. So, just get her a Chromebook I guess at 300 dollars.

Would this be worth it? Hp 14" Laptop With Windows Home In S Mode - Intel Core I3 11th Gen Processor - 4gb Ram Memory - 128gb Ssd Storage - Silver (14-dq2031tg) : Target

And, of course, would it be fine for Zorin?

Looking at the SPECS, that appears to be a nice budget machine. I hope she likes white, I don't personally, but if she likes it, thats all that matters lol.

Specifically, the screen size might be all she needs, she could always hookup an external display via USB-C I believe? I like the fact that it uses an 11th gen CPU, that is very current. For her use case, an I3 might be just enough oompth to get it done.

128GB of SSD storage is more then enough for her use case, which is why most of my recommendations, were not over 256GB, I don't think she needs a lot of storage space. She's not doing any gaming, no production, nor is she doing on/computer multi-media, she streaming is what she is doing.

I do caution the 4GB of RAM though, thats the only part of this machine that I do not like. Because this is super budget class, I assume it uses a single 4GB soldered on RAM stick. Which means there is no upgradability. I haven't double checked to confirm yet, but thats usually the case with these.

If you could get the same machine with 8GB of RAM for 300, I would go with that. If not, go ahead and get that machine, just let her know, its not gonna be a peppy spordster.

Thanks. There are buyers on that site who commented that they could upgrade the RAM.
My concern is whether or not it would throw a fit with Zorin. I read that S mode doesn’t allow Linux installation but one can switch out of it permanently and that will allow Linux installation.
I’m aware of the secure boot and fast startup windows blocking Linux installs. Are there any other things to keep an eye out for?

I really love the fact that the seller is able to upgrade the RAM, please by all means have it upgraded to 8GB. Cause I can tell you right now, Gnome running on 4GB, is gonna be like trying to pull a shake through a straw.

These are a few video's that I found, that might be helpful to you.

How about a used laptop ? would increase your specs some

Yes, I saw better performance machines for a lower cost under the umbrella of RENEWED. Which is just a nicer way of saying used. Do you know why I did not link Carmar to any of those?

How do we know there isn't a virus on it? How do we know if their is a hackers back door on it? How do we know if the computer was used to commit a crime in the past and the seller is trying to get rid of it?

You are always taking a risk buying used. You don't know how the computer was treated, you don't know how it was used. Its similar to buying a used car in that way. You just don't really know what you are buying.

You also don't know weather or not the computer was overclocked all the time, causing undoo wear. Or, if somebody, had been storing the notebook in a notebook bag while it was on and running. :crazy_face: :roll_eyes: :woman_facepalming:

Always best to buy new if you can...

I have bought used computers 12 or more from Dell discount outlets,Goodwill computer stores, etc. Most are corporations making donations, tax write-off or frozen assets. Never had a issue with a single make or model. Total wipe of drives and I'm running a great system.

All our family laptops were former corporate leased machines.
I bought them from the professional sellers (on eBay) which give at least 30 days guarantee. I replaced HDDs with SSDs and increased the amount of RAM (from 4 to 8GB and 8 to 16 GB). They are all running great for more than 4 years now. The price I paid for those laptops was 40 to 50 % of the original price.


The machine from target is silver not white @StarTreker ... but i digress.... the only issue you may have with that is the m2 ssd which is an NVMe Drive. It has been a hit and miss for this new technology to work in Linux. Depends on the motherboard manufacturer and the drive manufacturer.

As for a chromebook, it may be an option for you, but be careful... some of those machines come with the arm processor architecture instead of x86.... read the specs carefully. You'll want the 64gb eMMC.... but that to presents a potential issue because many users have had issue installing zorin in eMMC drives.


Thanks, @337harvey .
I found the laptop specs and the CPU specs. Doesn't show eMMC or ARM information. Websearching didn't yield that either.

I saw some more candidates. They all show eMMC:

  1. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-14-laptop-intel-celeron-4gb-memory-64gb-emmc-jet-black/6478314.p?skuId=6478314
  2. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-14-laptop-intel-celeron-4gb-memory-64gb-emmc-pale-gold/6478311.p?skuId=6478311
  3. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-14-laptop-intel-celeron-4gb-memory-64gb-emmc-indigo-blue/6478315.p?skuId=6478315
  4. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-14-laptop-intel-celeron-4gb-memory-64gb-emmc-pale-rose-gold/6478312.p?skuId=6478312
  5. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-14-laptop-intel-celeron-4gb-memory-64gb-emmc-snowflake-white/6478313.p?skuId=6478313
  6. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-14-laptop-intel-celeron-4gb-memory-64gb-emmc-jet-black/6425564.p?skuId=6425564
  7. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-14-laptop-amd-3020e-4gb-memory-64-gb-emmc-hard-drive-jet-black-jet-black/6432874.p?skuId=6432874
    Would like your thoughts, if you don't mind.

@FrenchPress @Bubby - Thank you. Good suggestions but I'm wary of used. On that one I have to agree with @StarTreker . What I'd really like to do is pick up one of ST's first post's suggestions but the wife is stuck to her budget - and it is her laptop, so I can't really argue with her. Btw, ST, I've been running Z15 Core on this for at least a couple of years - no pulling shake through a straw :wink: .


The manufacturer and model of the processor are what you are looking for....intel celeron and amd are not arm processors. You would see ARM or snapdragon (one of the most popular ARM processors available) in the description somewhere if they are ARM.

Thanks, I had assumed Arm was a feature and that AMD & Intel were the only show in town. Shoulda websearched. :disappointed:

I appreciate everyone chiming-in. She decided to just use my beater Gateway whenever she needs to go out and I’ll jump back on my desktop if I need to. If we do buy, I have convinced her it’s silly to spend on a low-end machine when a few hundred more get a better one. But that’s for the future.


Hey they made a nice system once upon a time. Many happy customers



Or this: