Not everyone needs the most powerful and feature-rich computer available. Sometimes, all that's needed is a basic, inexpensive system that fills a very specific need. And it turns out, there are lots of options on the market for under $500. Here are a few of the best deals around.
Lenovo IdeaPad 120S
Notes and spec: New; 11.6" display, 4GB RAM, 32GB SSD, Intel Core Celeron N3350
From: JB Hi-Fi
Boasting a pair of USB 3, a USB C and HDMI ports, the IdeaPad 120S will fit the need for those who work off the cloud and need a laptop for occasional travel or to keep the kids occupied. It ships with Microsoft's pared back Windows 10 S so you're limited to apps from the Windows Store. But if your storage needs are modest and you work from the cloud this is a low-cost system.
HP Stream 11.6" 11-Y023TU
Notes and spec: New; 11.6" display, 2GB RAM, 32GB SSD, Dual core Celeron
So, this one is not going to se the world on fire but if you're after a very basic system that lets the kids get online and do their homework, this laptop will suffice. It also includes a 12-month subscription to Office 365.
Kogan Atlas 13.3" UltraSlim X350
Notes and spec: New; 13.3" display, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, N4000 Dual Core 2.4Ghz processor
At 1.2kg, Kogan has put together a well-specced system that will tick the boxes for most users. The screen size is decent, it weights 1.2kg and battery life is rated at between six and eight hours. That makes it a viable option for those with simple needs.
ASUS VivoBook E403NA-US04
Notes and spec: new; 14" display, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, Celeron N3350
If you're mainly focussed on using cloud apps the lack of local storage wont; be a big deal. This VivoBook skimps on storage and memory but makes up for it with a larger display than many of the other inexpensive systems.
Lenovo Thinkpad X240 12.5-Inch Laptop
Notes and spec: Refurbished; 12.5" display, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Core i5-4300U
Although this is a refurbished unit, it packs a lot of bang for buck. Unlike many of the bargain units, this one has a powerful processor worth plenty of ports and a 4-in-1 card reader. But it only has Windows 7 so you'll need to stump up for an upgrade.