Buying a cheap laptop can feel like a gamble. You might get lucky and find a machine with a good keyboard that isn’t slower than a tortoise-snail crossbreed… or you might get saddled with a cheap piece of crap that cries when you load a browser or try to open WordPerfect because Word is just too much. Yes, you get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for crap if your budget is small.
There are laptops in the sub-$250 price range that offer good value for your money and do well for users with basic needs. But which ones?